Although the S21 is the starting model in the S21 series, it’s likely to be the most popular model and also the most bang for the buck.
The Samsung S21 costs S$1,248 in Singapore. It’s one of the most affordable flagships in the market that provides value as well.
Now what does it offer?
It is a 5G phone and a truly affordable one at that, with Singapore’s full-fledged 5G expected to roll-out only in 2025, there isn’t much value to the 5G model. But if you still want it, you got it.
In a nutshell
The Samsung S21 is the most affordable 5G phone with a 6.3-inch screen with a 120Hz refresh rate and a triple camera setup that is the best camera on a smartphone in 2021. It runs on Android 11 with the latest Exynos 2100 chipset. It has an 8GB RAM and 256GB of storage that cannot be expanded. The battery is a 4000 mAh with 25W fast charging compatibility. The S21 does not come with a charger though.
Samsung S21 Specifications
Design & Display
The S21’s design is unique. If you turn the phone around, the camera provision on the back has a different colour and the rest of the back panel has a different colour. A lot of people might not like the look of it because of the contrast, but it sure looks different.
The available colours are Phantom Pink, Phantom Violet, Phantom Grey and a Phantom White. The back finish is matte, which means prone to scratches, but looks uber cool.
The difference in design makes the S21 stand out from the other phones.
Talking about the display, It’s a straight one with no curved edges. It’s as flat as flat can get. It’s 6.2-inch display with Gorilla Glass Victus which is the latest Gorilla Glass standard.
It’s got an AMOLED 2X with HDR10+ and a 120Hz refresh rate. The Quad HD isn’t an option on the Samsung S21. The 1080p resolution is perfect for the S21 and is more than sufficient and looks great.
It also has a 421 ppi density. The display also has the fingerprint scanner underneath which is a tad bigger than the previous versions, which is a welcome addition.
The S21’s material on the black is plastic and not glass, which is expected considering the price.
In terms of design & display, the S21 is top notch.
Software, Chipset, Storage
Packed in the S21 is one of the latest and most powerful chipsets the world has ever seen. The Exynos 2100 is the one that will be available in Singapore. The S21 models in the U.S. will get the Snapdragon 888.
Do these chipsets come anywhere close to the A14 Bionic of Apple’s? It’s not there yet, but it’s very close.
The S21 comes with a 8GB RAM and 128GB of storage in the lower end model, even the 256GB version isn’t too expensive and is a perfect buy. The 256GB is the popular option because the S21 does not have a SD card.
The storage and RAM are perfect for multitasking.
The S21 runs on the latest Android 11 with Samsung’s One UI 3.0 Skin. The One UI is excellent and is fast becoming one of the best Android OS’ in the market.
Samsung S21 Cameras
Triple lens cameras will be the flavour for 202 and the S21 has an uber powerful camera. The main camera is a 12 MP wide angle lens.
The 64 MP telephoto lens is the one with the most pixels with 3X hybrid zoom. And another 12 MP ultrawide lens.
The front selfie shooter is a 10 MP wide angle lens. The S20’s cameras were brilliant, the S21’s cameras are slightly better and is one of the best smartphone cameras in the market currently.
The improvements in the S21 is the better quality of night shots and the portrait modes on the front camera.
The main camera can shoot at 8k @ 24fps whereas the front camera can shoot 4k @ 30fps. The Single Take camera option is pretty genius, which is, the camera can shoot a video while capturing a picture at the same time.
Vloggers will love the Director’s View which lets you shoot videos which helps you use the back cameras and the front cameras at the same time. A must need for a Youtuber.
The S21 has a 4000 mAh battery which is the same as the S20. This is a bit of a disappointment as the compatible fast charger is only 25W and nothing more. The latest Huawei Mate 40 has taken the battery life to the next level with 66W chargers.
Although it’s not compatible with 45W chargers, Samsung claims that battery improvements and charging improvements have made the 25W charger as good as the 45W.
There is reverse wireless charging at 4.5W and there is the wireless charging at 15W with a Qi enabled wireless charger.
The S21 does not come with a battery charger which is quite disappointing after having mocked Apple for doing the same during the iPhone 12 launch.
The same reason as Apple for not having the charger, which is, users will already have a USB-C type charger. It does ship with the type-c cable though.
The S21 is of immense value. It’s quite cheap for a large flagship phone. The average user does not need anything more than what is already available with the S21. The design is unique and the phone is got the looks of a flagship.
The OS, Software and Chipset are the latest and top-class. No complaints in that department. The camera is incredible and is the camera to beat across smartphone segments.
The battery may be a bit of a disappointment from the fast charging perspective when you purely compare it to the older version. But having said that, it still works and is more than sufficient for most users.
The S21 is a perfect flagship at a perfect price.