Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus Review

7.3
Expert Score

Galaxy S21+... Is this the awkward middle child?

The Good
  • Large vibrant display
  • Aluminium frame
  • Good battery life
The Bad
  • Doesn't ship with a charging brick
  • Non-expandable storage
  • Slightly heavy

The Galaxy S21+ is a flagship that’s incredibly similar to the regular S21. So, what exactly does this phone have that the vanilla model doesn’t? 

Well, if a larger and more vibrant display is a deal-breaker for you then you might just find this to be the right fit with a less hefty price tag when compared to the bleeding edge S21 Ultra.

Is this the one to go for if you don’t want to pay the big bucks for the S21 Ultra? Probably yes. This and more about this latest tech we’ll find out in this review.

Design & Display:

The Galaxy S21+ is an elegant looking flagship made of a curved glass panel with an aluminium frame compared to the less premium plastic back of the S21. The camera bump seamlessly melts into the frame, which is the signature contour cut design Samsung went with for the Galaxy S21 series. The Galaxy S21+ like the vanilla S21 seems sturdy though. Both phones feel pretty familiar in the hand because of their matte finish.

One major difference between the vanilla S21 & the S21 Plus is the size. The Plus model is built around a 6.7-inch display & weighs about 200g, which makes it a slightly hefty design as compared to the vanilla Galaxy S21. So, it’s large but nothing that outrageous. However, some might still prefer the compact size of the 6.2-inch vanilla S21. 

The Galaxy S21+ comes with a flat Dynamic AMOLED display that offers a 1080p resolution & an adaptive 120 Hz refresh rate with a small punch hole for the selfie camera. The resolution is less than the QHD of last year’s model but there if you’d enable 120 Hz the resolution would bump down to 1080p anyway. The higher refresh rate makes moving elements on-screen look super smooth and since it’s adaptive it’ll go down to save power according to what you have on the screen.

Content on this screen looks great, the rich colours, good sharpness and deep black levels are what you’d expect from a flagship-grade Samsung. And compared to the smaller Galaxy S21 the larger screen size does make a bit of a difference too. Colours can be tuned to be very accurate in settings & the display is quite bright. 

Performance & Hardware:

Performance-wise the Galaxy S21+, like the vanilla S21 feels faster in everyday use than its predecessors, handling demanding jobs such as multitasking and running multiple apps in split-screen mode effortlessly.

The Galaxy S21+ comes with the newer UFS 3.1 storage which has a fast read and write speed. The device packs 8 GB RAM and gives two storage options. A 128 GB option & a 256 GB option. This year’s storage isn’t expandable on the S21’s either.

The user interface on the S21+ & the other S21 models is Samsung’s One UI 3.1 based on Android 11. It does come bearing some changes when compared to previous versions e.g., the volume control sliders are now vertical instead of horizontal, and the gallery is much easier to navigate now thanks to the film strip of thumbnails down at the bottom.  

One UI 3 also integrates plenty of features from the new versions of Android, you get notification history, which you can access in settings. Powering all of these features is an Exynos 2100 or a Snapdragon 888. Both are cutting-edge and are built on a 5 nm process. The level of performance is great and everything runs smoothly including games. Plus you get support for 5G network connectivity too.

The rest of the S21+ features are virtually identical to the regular S21. You get an ultrasonic fingerprint reader which has been improved over last year. Waking up and unlocking the phone is faster now and more reliable. 

Battery:

The S21+ comes with a 4800 mAh battery as opposed to the 4000 mAh on the vanilla Galaxy S21. The battery life of the S21+ model is noticeably better than the S21. This year again Samsung flagship doesn’t ship with a charging brick in the box, meaning that you’ll have to buy one if you don’t already have one.

But you do have support for 25W charging, it also supports 10 W wireless Qi charging. The Galaxy S21+ also supports a reverse charging feature. This allows you to charge your Galaxy Buds or other Qi-compatible accessories by placing them on the back of the phone. 

Cameras:

This model includes a triple camera setup similar to the regular S21. That has a 12 MP main camera, a 12 MP ultra-wide camera with fixed focus & a 64 MP telephoto camera that provides 3X zoom. The cameras produce decent shots. The Galaxy S21+ model also packs a 10 MP selfie camera.

Image quality from the main camera is the same as the one you get on the regular S21. The photos look great with a wide dynamic range, nice colours & accurate detail. With the 8 MP ultra-wide, you get sharp images with nice colours, but not as over the top as last year’s S20.

The 3X zoom through the 64 MP telephoto, produces decent images but it does lose some sharpness & contrast as compared to a full size 64 MP shot. However, it produces impressive zoomed portraits. 

In low-light conditions, the main camera performs well with nice exposure, decent dynamic range & more resolved details. Turning ONN night mode in low light conditions results in a much brighter exposure with eliminated noise. This also produces better-contained highlights and improved details in shadows.

Final Verdict:

Except for a larger display, the Galaxy S21+ offers all the same flagship features you’ll find in the vanilla model but at a 25% higher price than the S21. If you’re looking to upgrade from an older version than the S20 series, then the Galaxy S21 will be a great switch with similar features as compared to the Galaxy S21+ model.

 

 

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