Why We Chose the Samsung S21
Samsung’s Galaxy S21 represents a modest upgrade over its flagship phone and still provides a 3.5 mm headphone jack that many still want their phones to have. Though not cheap, its 5nm chipset provides ample performance – and its attractive appearance.
But it omits microSD expandability and MST support (for mobile payments), which might turn off power users. Otherwise, this device offers strong battery performance and powerful cameras.
Samsung has done an admirable job balancing cost and value with their Galaxy S21 phone, effectively striking a balance between cost and value. They’ve reduced Quad HD to Full HD+ for an adaptive refresh rate to maximize performance depending on what you’re doing; additionally, this device supports Samsung’s Eye Comfort Shield feature, which filters out more blue light during the daytime but gradually rolls it back back down during evening time to respect circadian rhythms.
Exynos 2100 processor runs smoothly and has excellent benchmark test scores, making my gaming and app usage seamless without any lag or slowdown. I was even able to run several at once with no noticeable slowdown!
The S21 comes equipped with a 4,000mAh battery capable of lasting an entire day’s usage and provides both fast and wireless charging options, though power users may find themselves disappointed that it lacks support for S Pen integration.
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Design matters greatly in the smartphone world and can make or break an experience. Samsung Galaxy S21, their latest flagship phone from Korea with some eye-catching aesthetic features that may win you over, may just do that.
A combination of rounded frame and polycarbonate back makes this phone comfortable to hold. Furthermore, plastic reduces fingerprint accumulation more effectively than glass on other phones while its premium feel comes from metal edges that give a firm grip when gripped.
Samsung should apologize for ditching microSD expansion and MST support on this phone – both are major drawcards to users – but the three rear cameras still provide plenty of compelling imagery.
Like its cousin the S20, the Galaxy S21 runs Android 11 with Samsung’s latest skinned user experience called One UI 3.1. In comparison with older Samsung flagships, One UI boasts cleaner notification icons and greater continuity across apps. Furthermore, there’s also an Ultrasonic Fingerprint sensor on board that works with two fingers simultaneously, as well as monthly security updates starting on January 1. My review unit already had this update installed when I picked it up!
Though not offering hardware upgrades like last year’s flagship phone, the S21 does deliver excellent camera results and offers several useful camera modes and tools – from Portrait mode with artificial blur to efficient night mode and the option to shoot in Pro mode and switch between wide and ultrawide shots on-the-fly using Single Take.
Daytime photos taken with the S21’s rear camera produce excellent detail and color balance – nearly on par with that produced by Google Pixel 6 cameras – however its low light capabilities fall far short; indoor shots quickly becoming soft and overprocessed indoors quickly becoming overprocessed portraiture tending to oversmooth faces and lose details compared to Google’s model.
The front-facing 10MP selfie camera on the Galaxy Note 9 is good enough for most needs; it’s great for TikTok Stories and performs admirably in daylight conditions; however, its tendency to oversmooth faces compares poorly against both Pixel 5 and iPhone 12 smartphones. Video quality remains exceptional with 4K at 24fps or FHD and UHD both available with optional stabilization enabled at 60fps respectively.
Samsung is known as an industry leader when it comes to mobile displays, and the S21 does not disappoint in this department. Its 1080p IPS panel provides bright and crisp visuals with plenty of contrast and colour (though oversaturation may occur when set to “Vivid” mode). Furthermore, its 120Hz maximum refresh rate adjusts automatically based on usage – for instance if playing a game, its refresh rate stays at 120Hz whereas when scrolling social media feeds or reading it can reduce down to 48Hz in order to save battery life.
On the performance front, the S21 runs Android 9 seamlessly on either Snapdragon 888 for North American markets or Exynos 2100 in international ones – never causing me to experience laggy or slow performance while multitasking was effortless.
The S21 cameras are top-of-the-line and its Super Steady video recording feature works wonders to produce flawless shots. I could do without its plastic back, and its lack of MST, but otherwise have been very satisfied with my S21 experience.
Samsung’s Galaxy S21 smartphones represent their premium offering for 2021, featuring sleek designs, stunning cameras, a new processor and long battery lives compared to competitors in the market.
The S21 series of phones are powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 chipset, constructed on 5nm EUV process for improved processing speeds compared to 2020’s Snapdragon 865 chip and can handle all your daily smartphone processing needs easily.
Samsung introduced Always On Display on their S21 smartphones to keep you connected without draining your battery. It keeps the display active in low power state showing time and unread notifications; however, as it can eat up a significant portion of battery power it would be wiser to disable it.
Unfortunately, the S21 series phones lack expandable storage – something which disappoints Android fans looking to use their device for heavy multitasking or mobile gaming – but this shouldn’t be seen as a deal-breaker by buyers.