So since january, i’ve used the galaxy s20 fe, the galaxy s21 ultra and the galaxy z fold 2.. All of which i had mixed experiences with, and i was kind of looking forward to putting my sim into a phone from another manufacturer, but two months after the initial launch of the galaxy s21 after a couple of software patches, i’m, just gon na spoil this thing. Right from the get go, this phone has not only been my favorite out of all of the devices i’ve used so far this year, but it’s. Actually, my favorite samsung phone of all time want to know why well let’s unpack it. So to start, the design of this phone is phenomenal. It’S got a great compact form factor which feels amazing in the hands. The bezels are super thin and almost consistently sized all the way around, but the best part of all is that the display itself is completely flat and there it is. That is probably one of the biggest reasons why i love this phone, even more so than the other amazing phones from samsung like the s21 ultra or even last year’s note, 20 ultra it’s, simply because the display is flat. You combine that with. As i said, ridiculously slim bezels and a miniature hole, punch and you’ve got yourself a winner. Just compare the s21 to the s20 fe here for a moment and those bezels on the s20 fe all of a sudden look dated as all get out now.
It is the same feeling plastic on the back, as we had on the s20 fe. So samsung has cut cost there a little, but i think now that we have that chrome camera unit flowing into the rails on the side. It feels like you get slightly better. Bang for your buck in regards to build quality in comparison to the s20 fe, and i know some might not, but i also quite like the purple and gold colorway on this particular unit. Now, along with being flat, the display itself is also really fluid and smooth it’s got that adaptive 120hz refresh rate like its more premium flagship brothers, and it honestly performs just as well. It is ever so slightly dimmer at its maximum brightness compared to the s21 ultra’s display, but it’s still pretty bright enough for outdoor use. Now, coming back to this side by side with the galaxy s20 fe notice that flickering on the s20 fes display see. This is something that i have noticed as well, not the flickering per se that’s, something that only my camera can pick up. But i’ve noticed that the s21 display feels much nicer than the s20 fes display, and i kind of wonder if this flickering that my camera is picking up is some sort of visual evidence of that now, as i said, you obviously can’t see the flickering in real Life, but it does feel like a subpar display compared to the one that we get on the s21, but anyway the fingerprint sensor on the s21 is yet another in display sensor that i’ve actually enjoyed using, and i think, as long as in display sensors keep being This good or better, then i can officially now say that i am all aboard the in display sensor train now, whilst the regular s21 may not have as many cameras as the s21 ultra, i have to say, i’ve still really enjoyed using the s21 to take images And videos, as i’ve mentioned in all of my samsung reviews so far this year, i think the biggest improvement in images with this year’s lineup has been how it captures photos of people.
Portrait photos in particular look far more natural than they did from last year’s devices from samsung, but then, aside from that in pretty much all lighting conditions, images, look top shelf great contrast, really nice clarity, but they don’t have that grossly overly edited look to them anymore. Selfies also look much better in this year’s lineup, thanks to the fact that we can now select a natural color tone rather than a bright one, and so overall images out of this phone look really really nice and, as always, videos look really solid as well. Now, to put them to the test, let’s do a quick back and forth comparison. Whilst i thank today’s video sponsor skillshare, so here we are in the great outdoors. The sun is absolutely beaming down we’re onto the selfie camera first, so let’s talk about skillshare, so skillshare is an incredible online learning community that has tens of thousands of classes across a wide range of categories, including cinematography, graphic design, video editing just to name a few And what’s great is that you just pay a monthly price, and that gives you access to any class that you might like all right over to the main camera. Now, if you’ve watched any of my phone review, videos, then you’ll know that i love to create a fancy and unique intro graphic title for each of these videos. What you might not know is that i create all of these in adobe after effects it’s honestly, one of the funnest and most creatively challenging aspects of putting together my phone review videos all right now over to the ultrawide lens.
So in my quest for new after effects ideas, i just recently stumbled upon this incredible class on skillshare called the stop motion. Look. It is a really well presented class by graphic designer jake bartlett and it unpacks how to create these really funky and realistic. Stop motion animations using after effects: okay back to the selfie camera. Now it is a super in depth class, nearly three hours in duration, so i’ll just be chipping away at it over the next little while but don’t be surprised if you happen to see a similar style of effect in a future video uploaded to my channel now, Let’S get out of this hot sun and get back to the studio to close this off skillshare premium starts at less than 10 a month, but because they’re sponsoring today’s video, they are offering a free trial to the first 1000 people who use my link down in The description below so definitely make sure that you check it out and get learning okay, so to wrap up the chat around cameras. Whilst it is a slight downgrade only having one two times, telephoto lens, as opposed to the three times and ten times that we get on the s21 ultra i’d say for most people, including myself, the set of cameras on this phone are definitely good enough. Now another downgrade on paper with the regular s21 in comparison to the s21 plus and the s21 ultra is battery capacity. This phone only has a 4 000 milliamp hour cell, whereas the s21 plus and the s21 ultra have 4 800 and 5 000 million power cells respectively, and yet battery life for me has been just as good as what i experienced with the s21 ultra something to Keep in mind, though, is that day one battery life with all phones, but in particular samsung phones in my experience, is always pretty bad and so don’t be alarmed when your phone dies on day, one with less than three hours of screen.
On top from there, things do keep getting better and better i’ve been finishing nearly every day, with about 30 to 40 battery left and around four to five hours of screen on time, sometimes even more – and this is a very solid result for my usage now in Terms of software this year has been a bit of a learning curve for me in regards to one ui and trying to figure out how to best optimize this skin from samsung, first and foremost, i’ve realized that you’ve got to use samsung’s one ui home screen launcher. If you use a third party launcher, you will see a noticeable hit to fluidity and, i think, to battery life as well. The good news is that we can at least clear the entire one ui home screen, unlike the pixel launcher on pixel phones, and to make the home screen look a little more me. I’Ve set up my home screen icons using widgets created in the shortcut maker application and then i’ve installed a galaxy themes, icon pack, which has actually reduced the size of all of the app drawer icons as well, which i love. You can even use the good lock app to get even more flexibility on the home screen, including more grid size options. But with that said, the second rule to ensure fluidity is at its maximum on samsung phones is don’t use a lot of the functions that come with the good, lock application, even though you get a lot more customization flexibility using the good, lock application.
In actual fact, most of the customizations will slowly each away at the fluidity of the phone it’s really odd and maybe it’s worth unpacking in its own video one day. But if you want the most fluid of experiences when using a samsung phone, i would just avoid the good lock application altogether. Now i probably wouldn’t have even considered using and staying with samsung’s own one ui launcher if it wasn’t for the fact that they’ve now introduced the google discover page to the left, which is great, and so with all of that in mind. I’Ve come to really enjoy using samsung software on this phone and i think it has really enhanced the performance overall i’ve had this running theory for a while that samsung was cutting costs on their lower end. Phones like the s20 fe and the a51 by not really optimizing the software like what they do with their higher end phones. But the good news is that this has not been my experience with the regular s21 it’s fast it’s fluid and, as i said, i’ve really enjoyed the software experience. Aside from that, i just wanted to quickly mention the speakers on this phone and suffice it to say they’re great. Now, surprisingly, you do get a pretty consistent level of volume out of both the bottom firing and earphone speakers, which means any audio coming out of this phone sounds really really well balanced. Now, the only slight downside to the regular s21 are the haptics they’re.
Definitely on the lower end in terms of quality, particularly when you compare them to the other flagships released by samsung in recent months, but they’re also not horrible and i’ve kind of gotten used to them, mainly by setting the vibration strength to one millisecond in the gboard Settings, and so with all of that said, given its lower launch price in comparison to previous years, i think the regular s21 is the sleeper hit of all of the samsung phones launched at the start of this year. It’S leaps and bounds better than the s20 fe. Thanks to the more premium design, the much better display and improved software, optimization and i’ve even preferred using it compared to the s21 ultra again, largely because of the design and compact form factor. This is a really great phone and i’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time with it.