Samsung Galaxy S21 flagship review

Live photos

Content

  1. Contents of delivery
  2. TECH SPECS
  3. Positioning
  4. Design, dimensions, controls
  5. Display
  6. Battery
  7. Communication capabilities
  8. Memory, chipset, performance
  9. Камеры
  10. Software
  11. Impressions

Contents of delivery

  • Smartphone
  • USB Type C cable
  • Clip for SIM tray
  • Instructions

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)

TECH SPECS
Dimensions and weight 151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9 mm, 172 grams
Body materials Aluminum, Glastic
Display 6.2-inch (flat), FHD + (20: 9), Dynamic AMOLED 2x, auto-dimming, AlwaysOn Display, Corning Gorilla Glass Victus, HDR10 +, 120Hz (48-120Hz)
Operating system Google Android 11.0, OneUI 3.1
Platform Exynos 2100 Chipset, 5nm
Snapdragon 888 for US market
Memory 8/128 GB
8/256 GB
No memory cards
UFS 3.1
RAM LPDDR5
Wireless Interfaces Wi-Fi a / b / g / n / ac / ax, dual-band, Bluetooth 5.1, NFC, ANT +
LTE: Enhanced 4×4 MIMO,
5G
Сеть Dual SIM, nanoSIM
eSIM
Navigation GPS / Beidou / Galileo – Dual Band GPS
Sensors and connectors USB Type C (USB 3.2), USB OTG
Accelerometer, Proximity Sensor, Light Sensor, Gyroscope, Geomagnetic Sensor, Hall Sensor
In-screen fingerprint sensor (ultrasonic)
Face unlock
Main camera Main: camera with three modules
– Primary: 12 MP, 1.8 μm, F1.8, 2PD, OIS
– Ultra wide angle: 12 MP, 1.4 μm, F2.2
– Telephoto: 64 MP, 0.8 μm, F2.0, OIS, PDAF, 1 / 1.72 inches, x3 hybrid zoom (crop from the matrix)

Space Zoom
– Hybrid Optic Zoom 3X
– Super Resolution Zoom up to 30X

8K video recording

Front-camera 10 MP (f / 2.2), 2PD, 1 / 3.4 inches, 1.22 μm
bokeh effect, various additional effects, autofocus
Battery Li-Ion 4000 mAh
Fast wireless charging (15W), reversible wireless charging (up to 9W)
PD 3.0 
Degree of protection IP68
Colours Phantom Pink, Phantom Gray, Phantom White, Phantom Violet
Sound Dolby Atmos, two speakers
Payment System Google Pay, Samsung Pay
Features Samsung DeX

Positioning

In each generation of flagships, the models differ in size, and the basic version always has a screen of the smallest diagonal and acts as a compact device. From year to year, the same story repeats itself: during pre-order, buyers loyal to the brand, those who change previous flagships for new items, order an older model, a little less – an average one, and a very small share falls on the basic version. With the start of widespread sales, the situation is straightening out, but the base model does not become the most popular, in our case it will be Galaxy S21 +.

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)

The reasons for the regular Galaxy S21 not to be the top-selling model in the lineup are commonplace. Flagship buyers choose larger diagonals, not everyone needs a compact device. The difference in cost does not come to the fore, since for the majority it does not play a huge role, although stereotypes suggest otherwise. Buyers choose a device for several years, and many are not ready to sell cheap, they choose so that using a smartphone is comfortable both on the first and on the last day. Also, when choosing an initial model, many are ready to close their eyes to certain simplifications compared to older devices. For example, the case in the Galaxy S21 is made of plastic (carbon fiber reinforced plastic), in the other two models it is glass. The smaller battery size is understandable, but the old system of removing heat from the processor, which certainly affects the battery life. But no one sees this, so this trick can be applied. As well as the telephoto camera does not provide an optical zoom x3, but a hybrid one (I don’t see anything wrong with that, the picture quality remains exactly the same as if it were an optical module).

The Galaxy S21 looks like an excellent flagship in a compact design, it is versatile, well suited for anyone looking for a small-sized device. It is possible that these are young people, as well as those who purchase a second smartphone. For example, the combination of Galaxy Fold and Galaxy S21 looks perfect, one device is quite massive and with a huge screen, the second is compact and small. Let’s take a look at the exterior of this model, evaluate the design.

Design, dimensions, controls

The model is available in four colors, each color has a Phantom prefix, which describes the matte body.

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)

I looked at all the colors in stores, twisted it this way and that, I can say that there is complete parity in terms of gender. Purple and pink are for girls, black and white will suit everyone, without exception. Parity did not work out, probably, since all colors suit girls. On the other hand, I know young men with a burning gaze who choose purple and consider it quite appropriate, everyone has their own ideas about beauty.

The beauty of the case is that there are no fingerprints left on it, it is non-staining. It is possible to distinguish plastic from glass in older models, but it is necessary to directly compare these devices. Moreover, most people who take the device in their hands cannot say that the case is made of plastic. I like the matte color, tactile sensations. If you don’t keep in mind the prejudices that there are elite and ordinary materials, then it turns out that this case is very good (in the previous models exactly the same solution for the Note20, it proved to be excellent).

The Note20 meticulously scrutinized the case quality to gauge its durability. On special equipment, I checked how the plastic was erased, in the end I got such a wear.

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)

The effort that was applied to the body is equal to about two years of using the smartphone in completely not sparing conditions and taking into account the fact that the load falls on this area and only on it. Artificial conditions, in real life it is impossible to achieve something like this.

When dropped, no chips appear, the material is very durable and reliable. Already shown in independent tests, this material can withstand drops significantly better than any glass.

One of the key design elements in the new line of smartphones is the camera unit, it floats from the side surface and looks unusual.

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)

The ergonomics of this solution is not bad, since it is almost impossible to touch the edge of the pocket with the device when you take it out. Unlike the S21 Ultra, the camera lenses are not so deeply recessed into the body, do not collect dust (and this is great news!).

The camera is covered with an overlay, the impression that it is made of plastic. But the impression is deceiving, since it is metal and it differs from the side edging. On the edges of the lining, the metal can wear out, since the fit is not maximum, this is how it looks on the S21.

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)

This model can be used without a cover, there is no special need for it, especially since the cover will hide the play of colors. But you might want a transparent case with a leg to watch movies.

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)

The chassis of the device is made of 7000 series aluminum, the top is chrome-plated in the color of the case. The coating is excellent, does not bounce off when dropped, does not wear out.

The dimensions of the device are 151.7 × 71.2 × 7.9 mm, the weight is 172 grams. Compact, fits well in any hand.

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)

Compared to Galaxy S20 FE

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)

Compared to Galaxy S21 Ultra

Traditionally, there is full protection of the IP68 standard, you can drop the device into water and nothing will happen to it. The control elements are distributed as follows. On the right side there is an on / off button and a volume rocker. The bottom end is a USB Type C connector, a microphone and a slot for two nanoSIM cards.

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)

At the top there are two microphones, while there is no microphone on the rear panel. The new arrangement of the microphones, but in practice, noise cancellation, video recording – everything works perfectly.

A well-built, well-built device, everything is standard for Samsung here. Separately, I would like to note that the fingerprint sensor built into the screen has changed, its area has increased 1.7 times, and it also reacts noticeably faster. Check out the video on how it works, I think it will describe the operation of the sensor better than hundreds of words.

The second speaker is hidden under the screen, it works in speakerphone mode when watching movies, and if my initial feeling was that it was inferior to conventional speakers, now I can say that it is not. The device plays video and music perfectly, both speakers reproduce sounds perfectly. The smartphone is loud and there is nothing to complain about, you will get a great experience with how it reproduces sound.

Initially, I assumed that the speaker is normal in the younger model, but the cuts are made very thin, they are almost invisible. The very edge of the flat screen glares, which creates a deceptive impression (in the video about this device, he said that the speaker was ordinary). But in fact this is not so, exactly the same design as in all models of the series, the speaker is hidden behind glass.

Display

Let’s take a look at the technical specifications of the screen: 6.2 inches (flat), FHD + (20: 9), Dynamic AMOLED 2x, auto-dimming, AlwaysOn Display, Corning Gorilla Glass Victus, HDR10 +, 120Hz (48-120Hz). The screen is flat, has no bending of the edges, for some this is an advantage in itself.

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)

The fact that only FullHD + resolution is available on this diagonal does not bother me, since the picture is clear and clearly visible. Of course, the screen is very different in perception from the S21 Ultra, where something unimaginable has been done with it, but you can see this in everyday use, in the store you obviously will not be able to appreciate the differences. But here it is rather a story about the fact that screens from Samsung set the bar for everyone, and in the S21 the display is excellent in every sense, but in the S21 Ultra it is outstanding.

The adaptive mode more accurately adjusts to the content on the screen (the frequency varies from 48 to 120 Hz). I didn’t change the settings, I used 120 Hz always, it’s more pleasant this way. This mode affects the battery, but consumption grows by no more than 10% (in games it can go up to 15%).

The screen behaves well in the sun, there are no complaints about it.

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)

By default, the screen is set to color gamut “Saturated colors” (there is also “Natural colors”). In this mode, the brightness and contrast of the picture are maximized, and the colors hit the eyes. If the sky is not just blue, but blue. It upset me at some point, because it is impossible to navigate what you are photographing, the screen distorts the picture too much, but everything is fine on the computer. As a result, I turned on “Natural colors”, although they are muted on the menu.

Traditionally, there is a blue filter, a dark theme, including the ability to set work on a schedule. Adaptive screen brightness adjusts to your preferences. In manual mode, you can set the brightness to 550 nits, in automatic mode it reaches 1200 nits. This allows you to read your phone screen even under the brightest sun.

As always, there is the AlwaysOn Display mode, it allows you to display the clock, calendar, picture in standby mode. At the same time, the screen does not consume much power, and this makes the look of the phone diversified.

Battery

The built-in Li-Ion battery has a capacity of 4000 mAh and supports USB Power Delivery 3.0. This allows you to get rid of a simple problem – a long battery charge. So, in the S21, you can charge the battery up to 70% in 100 minutes (the charging time depends on the ambient temperature). Charging times are as follows (25W charger):

  • 15 minutes – 31%;
  • 30 minutes – 58%;
  • 45 minutes – 80%;
  • 60 minutes – 94%;
  • 70 minutes – 100%.

The kit does not include a charger, it is worth buying a 25W charger, it is enough for most use scenarios behind the eyes. There is no point in buying a 45 W charger, since the charge speed increases by the first 50%, but the total time remains plus or minus the same.

In the settings, you can turn off fast charging if it seems to you that it is wearing out the battery (in practice it is not).

Wireless charging supports up to 15W of power, which allows you to charge your smartphone in 100 minutes. It’s also very fast and extremely comfortable. For several years I have forgotten what charging at night is, I always charge my devices on the go, in between. And I never have problems with the fact that they were discharged at some inopportune moment. It takes 10 minutes to get a charge for several hours of non-stop operation. And this convenience, which is difficult to overestimate.

Reverse reverse charging allows you to recharge accessories or another smartphone, the power is up to 9W.

Now let’s talk about the running time in practice. Without any tweaks, you will get from 5 to 6 hours of screen operation on the forehead (here you need to understand that there are applications that consume the battery all the time, the same Skype when making calls). The device pulls the whole working day without problems, two days with an average load is also a typical value.

Very much the time of work depends on your tasks, each device is created for its target audience. So, S21 is not aimed at those who play heavy games non-stop, which even follows from the size of the screen. In everything, rationality is needed, including when choosing a device. There is an old processor cooling system here, no graphene film is used, which leads to noticeable heating in heavy tasks with prolonged work. For comparison, the same tasks on the S21 Ultra with the same processor increase the temperature by an average of 7 degrees, and there is a difference of 12 degrees! But in ordinary tasks, nothing like this is observed, energy consumption and temperature are within normal limits. This is not the case in several applications, for example, a conversation on Telegram warms up the device greatly, it becomes unpleasant to hold it in your hands after 15 minutes.

Communication capabilities

There is support for Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), as well as maximum aggregation of LTE frequencies. Wi-Fi 6E is also present, but for Russian users this standard is not very interesting at the moment (it is disabled by default for Russia).

Support for payment systems Samsung Pay (in Russia there is MST, emulation of a magnetic stripe of a bank card), Google Pay, the work does not raise any questions. Of course, there is full-fledged NFC for everything imaginable.

Bluetooth version 5.0, there is support for sending an audio stream to multiple devices. There is a proprietary QuickShare feature that allows you to quickly send large files to other devices from Samsung (a sort of combed Wi-Fi Direct).

It remains to be noted that the GPS is dual-band and works great in urban conditions, there are no complaints about it.

The modem built into the S21 differs greatly from the S21 Ultra in terms of the set of frequencies, the possibility of their aggregation. But in practice, this does not play any role, since Russian operators simply do not have these additional frequencies and their aggregation, the speed of access to the network for all 21s is the same and maximum.

Memory, chipset, performance

The built-in memory can be 128 or 256 GB, there is no support for memory cards, which is sad. On the other hand, choosing even a 256 GB device, you most likely will not experience problems with memory. The amount of RAM is 8 GB, it is also enough for all tasks.

Inside there is an Exynos 2100, the performance of this chipset is maximum for today’s market, it will last with a margin for several years, you will get the maximum possible for software and system performance. I wrote about how the Exynos 2100 works in a separate article.

For those who did not open the link, here are the results of a number of synthetic tests.

Камеры

Let me remind you the main parameters of the camera modules:

Main camera with 3 modules:

  • Primary: 12 MP, 1.8 μm, F1.8, 2PD, OIS
  • Ultra wide angle: 12 MP, 1.4 μm, F2.2
  • Telephoto: 64 MP, 0.8 μm, F2.0, OIS, PDAF, 1 / 1.72 inches, x3 zoom (hybrid, crop image)

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)

The front-facing camera is well known to us from many devices from Samsung, the module is not bad and takes bright pictures, there are various effects.

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)

The main module is also familiar to us, the pictures are winning in most situations, bright, see for yourself at their quality.

The telephoto module does not have an optical zoom, it just cuts out a part of the picture with x3 magnification. At first glance, this is bad, in fact, I did not notice any special differences from smartphones with another module that has x3 optics. Somewhere they win, somewhere this device depends on the shooting conditions.

There are no complaints about video recording, the device is good, 8K video recording is also supported, perhaps it will come in handy if you have an appropriate TV set.

At the end, I want to show the camera interface and different modes.

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)

Software

Everything here without any discoveries, the device works on Android 11, inside OneUI 3.1. To understand all the capabilities of the system, I am sending you to the relevant reviews.

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)


Impressions

There are no complaints about the quality of the connection, everything is fine. The call is vocal, the vibrating alert is felt, it can be customized for yourself and for any occasion. As I said at the beginning, the device turned out to be compact in the current line, you can and should choose it for its size. Or then it is worth looking at the older S21 +, since it has a larger diagonal.

The price of the S21 starts at 75 thousand rubles, which instantly leads us to the fact that last year’s S20 looks very, very interesting. We compared these devices in detail in a separate article, read it.

The situation is repeated when the choice of last year’s smartphone is rational, while you save significant money. But the S21 itself is pleasant, many people buy it, including for its design. The only drawback here can be the fact that the cooling system and the new “hot” processor do not correspond to each other. It is the S21 that heats up more than other devices of the current line, and this can negatively affect the operating time, as well as the way you feel the phone in your hands. In my scenarios, I did not feel the use of heating, but everyone has their own tasks, this minus is definitely worth keeping in mind. In the same S21 +, this problem is not observed.

In a short video I compare all three devices of the 21st series, you can watch and conclude what is more interesting for you.

Compared to the iPhone 12 Pro, the price of the Galaxy S21 looks more than adequate, the difference is 25 thousand rubles or so. Functionally, the Galaxy S21 is a cut above it.

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 (SM-G991B / DS)

In a short video I compare these devices.

The bottom line is that the Galaxy S21 turned out to be successful, but it is clearly not for all scenarios, and you need to choose it only if you need a compact device (it is compact nowadays). In other cases, look at the older models in the line.

Back to content >>>

Related Links

Share




we are in social networks:

Anything to add ?! Write … eldar@mobile-review.com

 

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.