Samsung Galaxy S21+ is a 256 GB New high-end smartphone from Samsung with a 6.7-inch widescreen or 17 centimeters diagonal | 256 GB storage and 8 GB of RAM | Super long-lasting 4800mAh battery | Three rear photo sensors, 8K video, and x100 zoom. With three options, three formats, and different possibilities, we face a choice that divides us every year.
Potential buyers who want a high-end Samsung smartphone with a good price-performance compromise can turn to the Galaxy S21 Plus. It is now the only one in the new range to have changed its battery in favor of a larger one. All in all, the right product for all those who want to aim high, who love large screens, and who have no illusions about the compromises to be made compared to the S21 Ultra.
Design Of The S21+
A detail that immediately jumped out at us after a few hours in the company of this Samsung Galaxy S21 is their smartphone width. Although they were advertised as similar to the previous generation, one detail must be highlighted. The Galaxy S21 and S21 Plus both have a flat screen. A choice decided after years of curved screens and various Edge edges, which respond to user requests and make, perhaps, everyone agrees.
The flat edges impose a few millimeters more width for the same diagonal and the same format, so we are talking about 75.6 millimeters for the Galaxy S21 Plus against 73.7 millimeters for the predecessor. This is a detail that the most attentive will notice and about 15 grams more than the new model makes you feel on the scale. However, the latter could already be explained by some additional antennas ( those of 5G mmWave, installed but not working in Europe for lack of suitable networks ) and the battery of 4,800mAh.
Returning to the appearance, bare and raw, the Galaxy S21 Plus gives the appearance of a less powerful smartphone, thanks to these fine side faces, clearly visible, but on the back, it is another story. Tastes are not debatable, but we must recognize the significant effort in the desire to create something distinctive with this S21+. The three models of the range finally manage to highlight the cameras, thanks to this metallic element on the side.
The finish has changed, and for lovers of matt, rough surfaces, it is a pleasure for the eyes and the touch. Unlike its little brother, here we only have glass, front and back, to be precise, a Corning Gorilla Glass Victus, which represents the best possible protection in this area. Shatterproof glass does not yet exist, but it is the best solution if you do not want to use a screen protector or shell.
A Bright Screen That Repels Fingerprints
From Samsung, we expected the best, and this Galaxy S21 Plus did not leave us unmoved. Although the diagonal is the same as last year ( 6.7 inches ), other more important factors have changed. The first is related to the resolution now fixed at Full HD+, therefore fewer pixels available than last year, and the possibility of fixing a refresh rate up to 120Hz.
Maximum theoretical fluidity and an important difference from the Galaxy S20 (series), namely VRR technology and an operating range between 48 and 120 Hz, just like on the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S20 Ultra. The slab control driver can thus handle different situations and vary the frequency, which allows one to instantly obtain more speed in the dynamic scenarios and more static (48 Hz) in the opposite scenarios, making saving energy possible.
Although these details are hardly noticeable, there is another important aspect of these screens to highlight. We speak in the plural because the entire S21 range is entitled to it; it is the oleophobic treatment. Despite all the smartphones that we have had in hand so far, we have never had to deal with such a screen. It can repel all fingerprints and stay clean in general. It is certainly one of the best AMOLED screens with very few reflections, very high maximum brightness, and excellent readability outdoors.
Our Calman measurements show slightly better values on almost all fronts, with delta E in gray dropping to 3.6 ( vs. 4.1 on the GS20+ ) and delta E in color averaging 3.95 ( vs. 4 .33 on the GS20+ ). On the other hand, the sRGB coverage is slightly lower, dropping from 99.5% of the previous model to 98.1% of the current model; small details that do not make a difference, as mentioned: a very high luminosity with 650 it’s measured and a peak capacity of pushing well beyond.
The Inexhaustible Processor On The Galaxy S21+
It has been said that the new Exynos 2100 will be like a breath of fresh air in the world of smartphones, and so it seems that after a few weeks of use, the music has certainly changed compared to last year ( see its international variants with Snapdragon 888 ). It doesn’t matter for now because the new S21 family proves that it has the cards in hand to play with everyone, in terms of software and especially hardware.
What matters is, in fact, the final result, and even on this Galaxy S21, you have the perception of maximum fluidity and speed of execution of all operations. Whether it’s simple animations of the One UI 3.1 interface, multitasking, or opening apps. Finally, there is total homogeneity in the different stages and an interface that responds correctly without making any particular sacrifices.
The One UI interface has always shown modern graphics and plenty of features, but it’s only now ( with the latest Android 11-based distro ) that the o notices that visual freshness and dynamic response to the height of the expense. So say goodbye to lag and excessive consumption. Beautiful transparencies, a beautiful interface that remains one of the best on Android and one of the few to maintain a strong identity, but without exaggeration.
Technical Characteristics Of The S21+
- Screen: Dynamic AMOLED 2 X 6.7 “FHD + 2400 × 1080 pixels , 394 ppi, HDR10 +, adaptive refresh rate (48-120Hz)
- Case: Victus Gorilla Glass (front and back), AL7s10 metal frame
- Processor: Exynos 2100 (octa-core), 5nm
- Memory: 8 GB of LPDDR5 RAM – Storage: 128 or 256 GB of internal memory
- Audio: AKG stereo speakers, Dolby Atmos
- Water and dust resistance: IP68 certified
- Connectivity: 5G SA/NSA Sub6/mmWave, WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0, USB-C, NFC, GPS, Galileo, Glonass, BeiDou – dual-SIM + eSIM
- Fingerprint sensor: ultrasonic, in-screen (1.7x larger)
- Battery: 4,800 mAh, 25W super fast charging, 15W wireless fast charging, Wireless PowerShare
- Front camera: 10 megapixels – Dual Pixel AF, FOV 80°, f/2.2, 1.22um pixels
- Rear cameras: 12 megapixels – Pixel double AF, OIS, FOV 79°, F/1.8, 1.8um pixels + 12 megapixels ultra-wide-angle -FF, FOV 120°, F/2.2, 1.4um pixels + 64 megapixels Telephoto – PDAF, FOV 76°, f/2.0, 0.8um pixels, 3x hybrid optical zoom | 30x Space Zoom
- Dimensions and weight: 161.5 x 75.6 x 7.8 millimeters for 200 grams
- Colors: Phantom Purple, Phantom Silver, Phantom Black
- OS: Android 11
The Samsung Galaxy S21+ can be used with two nano SIMs, but, as we have already seen on the other family models, there is always the possibility of using an eSIM as an alternative. More than complete connectivity, no “confusion” as we saw last year, and support for fifth-generation networks, with the possibility of activating “mmWave” as soon as they arrive in our French cities.
Clear sound in calls, and loud as now on the best smartphones on the market. Despite the thin edges, Samsung was among the first to always put two stereo speakers as standard on the “Galaxy S” family. There is constant sound pressure, even on the speaker. The quality is very high, but we don’t notice any difference compared to the Galaxy S20 Plus.
A Smartphone That Heats Little
There are two very positive things and another less. Let’s start with the good news, and the first concerns a determining factor capable of getting along with the new Exynos SoC: temperatures! Playing several tens of minutes with the Galaxy S21 Plus, we never noticed any particular heating; the smartphone never exceeded 30° outside ( max 63° C internally on the CPU ), even after Call of Duty Mobile sessions longer than 30 minutes.
Autonomy has improved. If we think about this aspect, we can finally place the Galaxy S21 Plus among the best top-of-the-range on the market, which was certainly not possible in the past. In determining the system, the extra 300mAh of battery fitted this year ( 4,800mAh in the S21+ versus 4,500mAh in the S20+ ) are unlikely to make a difference.
On average, it was possible to finish days with around 30-35% charge remaining or get a day and a half of use without too much effort with the “Always on Display” option active. This is an excellent result considering the “extreme” performance and a screen set from the first moment to an “adaptive” motion uniformity: a refresh rate of up to 120 Hz. The ‘dark’ side of the story remains the same as last year, with little improvement, due to the progress made by almost all competitors with 25W recharges. Translated into figures, this means:
- 10 minutes to go from 2 to 20%;
- 20 minutes to reach 39%;
- 30 minutes to reach 56%;
- 40 min at 71%;
- 50 minutes to reach 84%;
- One hour to reach 92%;
- One hour 10 min to reach 98%;
- One hour 12 min to go from 2 to 100%.
This load test was conducted under normal conditions, i.e., with the smartphone on, connected to WiFi and AoD. Realistically, we all charge our smartphones under such conditions.
We used the official Samsung adapter ( 25W ) in the Galaxy S20 Plus packaging for the occasion. As you can see, there is a rapid increase in charge level in the first 20 minutes ( 37% more ), which is certainly positive. But we can see a strong decrease from the fortieth minute of charging, so much so that it will take 32 minutes to complete the remaining 29% charge and reach 100%. In short, we could do better, and Samsung needs to do better.
Photos: Three Points Of View
The cameras have stayed the same this year, at least on the Galaxy S21 Plus. The platform is more advanced, has greater graphics processing capabilities, and is an even more enjoyable and complete application. It’s one of the best available on smartphones at the moment, the best with the iPhone app, which is also fast, intuitive, and functional.
The first photos we did, were taken with the main camera, a 12-megapixel stabilized ( OIS ) lens with an aperture of f/1.8 that boasts very fast and accurate dual-pixel focusing. Images are rich in detail, even in sub-optimal light conditions. We can notice some micro-movements, bright colors, and great HDR, even in the backlight. Satisfying.
Even the ultra-wide-angle camera is 12 megapixels, but with obviously wider optics ( 120° ) and less bright for the shot (f/2.2), capable of adjusting even the inevitable distortions, thanks to software processing. There are no bent edges; they are gently cut and straightened in moments. It is always a particular and pleasant point of view, perhaps less extreme than others, but also more realistic thanks to this software trick.
The telephoto lens is also present, once again entrusted to a 64-megapixel image sensor with an aperture of f/2.0 and a 2x optical zoom. Thanks to him, we can push up to 8K video recordings. The camera offers less detail than the main one and needs more optimal lighting conditions, with a rapid loss of detail.
The 10-megapixel front camera is recessed in the small central hole. This may be the last year we see it in this form, as under-display photo and video sensors finally become a reality. Performance has stayed the same from last year. The image quality is superb, and the double point of view is felt; the smartphone then recognizes the possible selfie and asks whether to opt for a natural or luminous tone ( basically, increase or decrease the exposure ).
It’s a step up regarding videos, although the quality seems similar to the previous model. We notice better stabilization in all possible resolutions, even 4K at 60fps and 8K. This latter format, still a bit experimental, is unfortunately only available at 24 frames per second ( like last year ), so there was no upgrade to 30 frames per second for which many s were waiting.
The performance is still more than excellent, especially thanks to the vibration compensation. In summary, the Galaxy S21 Plus is one of the best smartphones money can buy today. Certainly expensive considering the price range, but more than complete. The rest is well thought out, with materials, colors, and finishes that satisfy the eyes and the touch.
The hardware platform and the excellent software customization complete the picture of a high-end device. Of course, not the S21 Ultra does not have the S Pen or even the photographic potential of the latter, but it has the autonomy that one expects from a smartphone at 1000 euros and a good weight.
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