8.2
Score

Pros

  • Newly Revamped Design
  • Still the same Flagship Experience from Samsung
  • Decent Camera Performance
  • More emphasis on the Software Department
  • Much better Fingerprint Sensor

Cons

  • A Step down from the Galaxy S20
  • More of an Incremental Update over the Predecessor

Final Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy S21 is more of a Vanilla Smartphone from the whole lineup covering the essentials just like the predecessor, but in a new look.

Sometime around in March for the past few years, Samsung has been announcing their new Galaxy S Series smartphones and it’s one of those tech events to look out for. But in 2021, things took a turn for better where the brand decided to announce the new Galaxy S21 in January right after the CES 2021. That said, Samsung Malaysia graced us with the new Samsung Galaxy S21 for us to review – and here’s our final verdict on this smartphone.

If you are here for the S21+ review, stay because both the phones share a lot of similarities.

Watch our Video Review

TL; DR

Very Fashionable Design Overall

1/4

It has been a while since we saw an original design from Samsung, with the S10 being the last one to rock Samsung’s signature design with the cameras positioned in the top middle region. After that, every flagship starting from the Note10 to the Note20 had a rather generic design which looked same as other manufacturers. The Samsung Galaxy S21 revamps the design – to make a fashionable statement too. We received the Phantom Violet which has gold trims with Violet backing that’s now matte regardless whichever color you go for. Say goodbye to fingerprint magnet backing.

Yep, No Charger Included

Yes, despite the “meme” Samsung posted, they took the same route in ditching the charger for their new S21 Series, just like how the Cupertino brand did it. But honestly, it doesn’t bother us too much given that manufacturers include a rather slow charger inside of the box and expects consumer to fork out extra money for a faster charger. Eliminating the charger entirely is alright, given that GaN based chargers are becoming popular for its compact yet efficient power delivery capabilities, it’s a charger worth spending your hard-earned dime on.

Exynos 2100: Improved and Efficient Performance

The moment the new S21 touched the Malaysian shores – consumers are going around making the popular comment and you know what comment that is. For the most part, Exynos processor have a good track record regardless of the whole benchmark scores which for the most part is synthetic and doesn’t directly translate to real world use case scenarios. The Exynos 2100 which is found in the new S21 series are based on a new 5nm process – making it an efficient processor in terms of performance and power consumption. For the most part, the phone feels just like how a flagship should feel – snappy, quick, and responsive. You can check out the benchmark scores below.

Geekbench
Geekbench
3DMark
3DMark
AIDA64
AIDA64
Antutu
Antutu

Toned Down Specification from the S20 Series

As compared to the previous generation (i.e.,) the Galaxy S20, the S21 takes a step down on certain aspects of the specification – the display is now an FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X instead of a QHD+. But in terms of quality the S21 still has the best display you can come across on a smartphone with the crisp colors and responsiveness. That automatically makes you forget everything about the QHD+ resolution. The display still has the 120Hz Refresh for smoother transition and a better Blue Light management for better eye care which works really well.

The MicroSD Card slot is gone – making the S21 Series of smartphones, non-expandable. That shouldn’t be a problem given that the phone does come with a huge capacity to begin with. But sadly, for those who does prefer having a MicroSD Card slot for easy transfer and hot swapping storages recording videos in higher bitrates, it’s a sad loss.

The S21 and the S21+ are Very Identical Phones

In the comparison image above, you will realize that the Galaxy S21 and the S21+ are fairly identical smartphones through and through. Except for 3 things. The display size – the S21+ rocks a bigger 6.7” FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X Display, the Battery – coming in at 4800mAh for the S21+. Finally, it has the UWB (Ultrawide Band) for the SmartTag and Smartthings Integration – in fact, giving users to use their phone as the key for their car.

Triple Camera Galore

The phone packs a Triple camera setup at the back of the phone – 12MP Ultra-Wide, 12MP Wide angle and finally a 64MP Telephoto Camera, respectively. It’s the same setup for the S21+ too, so expect the performance to be pretty much the same with both the phones. Below you can check out some of the sample shots taken with the S21.

Conclusion

The Samsung Galaxy S21 is a rather incremental updated smartphone among the whole S21 Series because it misses out on features like the UWB which is newly added and its only found on the S21+ and S21 Ultra. But the S21’s constant refinement in making it a better phone by Samsung shows that the phone is good the way it is and has the idea of “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” going on. The design is a sight to behold. Say if you are coming from the Galaxy S20, this phone isn’t for you as the experience is still going to be pretty much the same – but if you are coming from something a little older, go for it.


Thanks to Samsung Malaysia for gracing us with the Galaxy S21 and for making this content happen.