Samsung Galaxy S21+ review: The ultimate smartphone?
For the past few years, our news feeds around every launch cycle have been bombarded by the Ultras and Maxes of the smartphone world. Take the hype around these phones at face value and you’d believe that they are the ones doing the heavy lifting (in terms of revenue) for their respective companies. But that’s far from the truth. In fact, it is the middle child (or children, when you consider Apple) that are actually bringing in the volumes for phone makers.
On paper, the Samsung Galaxy S21+ seems like the perfect middle child. High-end specs, a new design and a tonne of features – all point towards it being a stellar smartphone. We got our hands on one to see if that’s really the case.
The S21s have had a design refresh and the camera module now seems like an integral part of the design. The metal housing for the unchanged cameras is a neat touch and together with the glass back, Samsung has put all of its design prowess to good use in the S21+. The bezels are thin, the back of the phone feels great to the touch and the form factor is far more accessible.
The display, as in all recent Samsung flagships, is the pièce de résistance of the phone. It gets a resolution drop from 1440p to 1080p when compared with the Ultra. But it is still among the best displays on the market. Plenty bright, great colours and no curved edges mean that I like it over the Ultra’s.
Fire up the phone and you’d notice that Samsung’s OneUI has had some improvements like the rest of the S21 family. Performance is taken care of by the Exynos 2100, ably supported by 8GB of fast RAM. While it is a definite step down from the Ultra’s RAM numbers, in actual usage, 8 gigs is plenty enough and I never faced an issue with performance. The 4800mAh battery can pack in enough juice for a long workday. Samsung’s 25W charging solution, though not the fastest, didn’t leave me asking for more. I consistently got through one full work day with a bit of battery to spare.
Samsung has thrown everything but the kitchen sink at the S21 Ultra this year when it comes to cameras. The S21 and the S21+ however, share the same module from last year. But don’t let that fool you. The S21+ has a very competent smartphone camera setup. And through the last year, Samsung has worked on the image processing and that shows. The 12MP primary sensor has a wide f/1.8 aperture and it does well in a variety of lighting conditions. The ultrawide does a splendid job when given sufficient lighting. The photos are brighter with more vibrant colours, than say from a competing flagship. But that’s expected from a Samsung smartphone today. And if you like how Samsung processes images, you really can’t go wrong with the S21+. Unlike the Ultra, there is no optical zoom and you have to make do with digital zoom from the 64MP telephoto. If you are someone who takes a lot of zoomed in photos, this could be something important to note.
So, should you buy it? For the price, the S21+ is a slim, beautifully put together phone. It offers all the camera capabilities that almost any smartphone buyer would need and has flagship level performance that simply won’t be found wanting.
You can click here to buy yours.