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January 21, 2021
The Samsung Galaxy S21 is here, almost 11 months since the launch of the Galaxy S20, and Samsung has done some major improvements in their flagship phone, from the phone’s overall look and feel, to the spec and to the price, a whopping $200 cheaper than its predecessor at launch.
Samsung had to cut a few specs from their flagship phone in order to make the price drop possible, more on that later.
The Galaxy S21 has had a facelift, some cutbacks as mentioned above and some improvements too. Samsung’s flagship phone houses a 6.2-inch AMOLED Display, it gets a flat screen as opposed to a curved screen which was in Galaxy S20. The resolution has also been dialed down to Full HD+ instead of Quad HD.
The glass and shiny back of the phone has been replaced with a matte finish plastic which doesn’t look or feel cheap (also less likely that it can be broken due to an accidental drop, which can give a peace of mind to consumers), instead there’s a sense of purpose and style to this device that is rare to see. That is largely thanks to the way the camera has been integrated on the Galaxy S21, with that housing flush against the frame of the phone in the corner.
As aforementioned the Galaxy S21 has some trimming done to its overall spec, one that could prove to be a controversial one, and that being that the screen has been cut back to a Full HD+, however, the 120Hz refresh rate has kept its place. In reality, users would not notice any difference as Samsung has always run Full HD+ as its default resolution in previous models, and it seemed that a lot of consumers were happy to accept that and did not venture into the higher resolution setting that was on offer, perhaps partly because it significantly affects battery performance when on 120Hz setting. Having said that, the massive advantage on the S21 is that it can shift and adjust accordingly, the refresh rate can change between 48Hz to 120Hz to better suit user’s viewing. For example it will drop to the lower setting when viewing static pages and jumping to higher setting when viewing fast moving page, which should enable for a much smoother performance.
As with previous Galaxy S Range, the Galaxy S21 will either be packed with Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 or Exynos 2100 powering the device along with 8GB RAM. Although this is likely to still split the critics, the structure of these two platforms are much closer than it has been in previous years, which bodes well for Samsung.
The other absentee on the Galaxy S21 is the MicroSD card slot. Although the phone will either be packed with 128GB or 256GB ROM, for many that may mean that they are no longer able to increase the memory by adding a cost effective memory card. However, as the cost of cloud storage is reducing more and more, it begs the question whether users really need to carry so much content when they can store them online, but again there may be a split in consumers making their choice, and that could play a part in swaying a deal either way.
The camera setup has not changed, nor has the hardware between S20 and S21, though this year it’s all about the software, and for Samsung to find ways to trim down the camera module itself. The camera consists of 64MP telephoto providing 3X optical zoom, 12MP main camera, and 12MP ultra-wide, which combined has proven to produce stunning results based on the Galaxy S20 module. Add the 10MP selfie camera, which could improve things even more especially with updated Night and Portrait modes.
The Galaxy S21 operates on Samsung's latest One UI 3 software on top of Android 11. The interface is sleeker, complete with a redesigned Quick Panel and a notification screen that looks less cluttered. Users will enjoy the redesigned Lock screen widgets and the ability to add widgets on the screen and modify their transparency.
The other part that has been unchanged from its predecessor is the Battery at 4000mAh, which proved to have lasted a full day based on the Galaxy S20 tests. Samsung claim that the efficient 5nm processor is smart enough to evaluate user patterns and adjust accordingly in order to conserve power. Samsung did mock Apple for ditching its accessories such as a USB wall charger, but the Korean giants have now changed their attitude towards this and have also opted for not including a USB wall charger or headphones or a case for that matter inside the box.
There might be a temptation to dismiss the Galaxy S21 at first, due to the plastic back, flat and reduced resolution display, lack of MicroSD card slot – but that would not be the right decision. The Galaxy S21 still is a flagship and premium phone with some unique and bold design features that makes it stand out. They also had to compete on all fronts with other communication giants and rivals, on spec as well as the price and the latter has become a lot more important than ever before. Other companies are taking this seriously that consumers are looking for a phone with great spec at a reasonable price, and now Samsung have followed suit.
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