Samsung Galaxy S21 initial review: A little bit of history repeating

Samsung "regular" phone has a lot to offer.
Samsung Galaxy S21 initial review: A little bit of history repeating
Samsung Galaxy S21 initial review: A little bit of history repeating

Samsung’s new regular is the Galaxy S21, and it is a phone with appears to be like that set it except for its contemporaries. Whereas some measures have been taken to carry the worth down, first impressions of the essential parts of this phone – the construct, the facility, the Display – are all superb.

Samsung’s new regular is the Galaxy S21. This phone sits in the most inexpensive place, more compact, however providing all the facility of its bigger siblings, the Galaxy S21+ and the S21 Ultra.

We have spent a while with the brand new gadget to carry our early first impressions. As Shirley Bassey mentioned, it is a little bit bit of history repeating.


  • 151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9mm, 172g
  • Plastic back
  • IP68 waterproofing

In earlier generations, the common Galaxy S has set the tone for the household, providing a smaller model of the telephones within the plus place. That was the case all the best way back to the Galaxy S8, the 2017 phone the place Samsung moved curved Display edges into the mainstream. Previous to that, the Samsung Galaxy S7 occupied the entry-level slot with a flat Display, whereas the S7 Edge sat in a more premium place. What’s maybe most outstanding in regards to the Samsung Galaxy S21, is that return to a flat Display in spite of everything these years.

It was one thing that the Galaxy S20 FE did in direction of the tip of 2020 and on the time it felt like Samsung exploring a brand new path for its telephones; now in 2021 the flat Display and the plastic back are in, drawing a more distinct line between the S21 Ultra on the prime of the desk and the S21 on the foot.

However this is not only a story about Samsung stripping away premium options. Certainly, some will see that having a flat Display is inherently more usable, simply as some will see that choosing a plastic back means you are less prone to smash it on day one.

What’s essential in regards to the plastic back is that it doesn’t look or really feel low cost. Due to the best way the camera has been built-in on the S21, with that housing flush in opposition to the widened body of the phone in that corner, there is a sense of objective and elegance to this phone that you do not get elsewhere.

Let’s face it: nearly as good because the Galaxy S20 FE is, it may very well be any phone from any variety of producers – however the Samsung Galaxy S21 appears to be like distinctive. There’s nothing else prefer it in the marketplace, and whether or not you love it or detest it, the exuberant camera design is a part of the model id. It’s totally Samsung.

We did not think we might just like the Phantom Violet color, however there’s one thing about it. There is a high quality in being distinctive that we admire, the contrasting colors giving this mannequin an edge over the Phantom Gray (prone to be the highest vendor) which hides the camera a little bit more.

In fact, Samsung holds onto the IP68 waterproofing, as a result of that is nonetheless a premium handset and the dimensions makes it simple to deal with and simple to slide into your pocket.


  • 6.2in, 2400 x 1080 pixels, 424ppi
  • Adaptive refresh price 48-120Hz
  • HDR10+ assist

We have spoken a little bit in regards to the Display design above, so we’re not going to repeat that right here – and most proper onto the subsequent decision which may Display controversial. Samsung has reduce the Galaxy S21 back to full HD. Which means you’ve a 2400 x 1080 pixel decision, 424ppi, whereas in earlier years, Samsung has supplied Quad HD+ shows.

The truth is that Samsung has at all times run Full HD+ because the default decision and many individuals were pleased to simply accept that, by no means venturing into the upper decision that was supplied. On a phone with a 6.2-inch Display it is not an enormous problem, since you’re speaking about actually tremendous element, however it’s true – when it comes to decision, the S21 is not as adept because the generations of phone that got here earlier than it. It additionally, comparatively, now slips in beneath the iPhone 12 when it comes to pixel density.

However the massive increase that you just get is adaptive refresh price, with the Galaxy S21 capable of shift to refresh charges between 48 and 120Hz to go well with the content you are viewing. That may imply for a static web page it will likely be a low refresh and for a quick transferring web page, it’s going to enhance. There will probably be less blur on scrolling and higher visible efficiency on video games.

Amongst these modifications, Samsung has stored the colourful and punch Display that it is identified for. First impressions of this compact flagship are nice, we’re positive that the Display will please many.

Hardware and specs

  • Exynos 2100 or Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, 5G
  • 8GB RAM; 128GB/256GB storage options
  • 4000mAh battery

As with earlier variations of Samsung Galaxy S telephones, you may both discover the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 or Exynos 2100 powering your phone. Whereas that can possible nonetheless divide the critics, the construction of those two platforms is now rather a lot nearer than it has been in earlier years, which bodes properly for Samsung.

We have not spent sufficient time with the Galaxy S21 to totally consider its efficiency, however first impressions are of a slick and highly effective handset. There are fewer options this time round, with 8GB RAM and both 128 or 256GB storage, however the massive change right here is the removing of the microSD card slot.

That, for a lot of, would be the biggest draw back to Samsung’s repositioning of the Galaxy S. For a few years, Samsung has been the model the place you might purchase decrease storage and increase that with a budget memory card. However, with data costing less and streaming so prolific, it does beg the query of whether or not folks actually need to hold a lot native content on their units today.

There is a 4000mAh battery within the Galaxy S21 and we suspect it will most likely final quite properly, however we have not had the prospect to full take a look at its efficiency. There is not any charger within the field this time round, so you may have to make use of one you have already obtained, or purchase Samsung’s 25W charger as an adjunct.

Wireless charging is supported, in addition to reverse Wireless charging.


  • Triple camera system
  • Main camera: 12-megapixel, 1.8µm pixel size, f/1.8 aperture, OIS
  • Telephoto: 64MP, (3x optical / 30x digital zoom) 0.8µm, f/2.0, OIS
  • Ultra-wide: 12MP, 1.4µm, f/2.2
  • Selfie: 10MP, 1.22µm, f/2.2

As was the case with the Galaxy S20, the S21 has three cameras on the back taking a unique method to the Ultra. We have not had the prospect to totally assess their efficiency, however we’ll stroll you thru the main points.

The method is totally different to the Ultra, choosing a 12-megapixel fundamental camera with giant pixel – 1.8µm. It is a restrained method and the identical taken by the iPhone and Google Pixel, aiming to present higher outcomes as a result of it does not have to make use of pixel binning from smaller pixels which is what occurs in excessive decision sensors.

That leaves the primary, ultra-wide and entrance cameras very a lot as they were earlier than on the S20 and we discovered they labored fairly properly. They sit with a 64-megapixel telephoto camera, aiming to provide the 30x digital zoom.

Effectively, that is not solely true, as a result of Samsung is giving you entry to the 64-megapixel sensor to shoot at full decision if you wish to. Which means it’s going to take 64-megapixel images like a fundamental camera, quite than utilizing it as zoom.

The Galaxy S21 helps a full vary of latest shooting options, in addition to enhanced video seize with 4K 60fps supplied on all of the lenses, whereas 8K 24fps is obtainable from the back cameras, once more coming from that 64-megapixel sensor.

As we mentioned, we have not had the prospect to full assess the efficiency of the camera, however we’ll carry you the outcomes as quickly as we are able to.

First Impressions

You is likely to be tempted to dismiss the Samsung Galaxy S21 out of hand – plastic back, no microSD, that flat Display – however you would be unsuitable to take action. The Galaxy S21 is a premium phone, with some distinctive design options that stands it aside from many rivals on this area.

There are essential things that also stand out about this phone: there’s loads of energy, the Display remains to be nice and the camera is loaded with potential. Even higher, it is a little bit cheaper than the Galaxy S20 was at launch.

We’ll carry you our full verdict on the Samsung Galaxy S21 within the close to future.