The Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus is the middle brother that fails to stand out. It is a phone with many strengths, but in my opinion, it is a bit in no man’s land.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus: apprentice of much, master of none
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus is the middle brother of the latest family of flagships from the South Korean giant. This phone shares many features with the largest in the saga, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, although it also lacks many others.
If you still don’t know which of the three Samsung Galaxy S21 you should buy, read on to discover everything you need to remember about this intermediate model.
Design and screen: as expected
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus has an almost identical design to the Ultra and regular S21 models, albeit with dimensions of 161.5 x 75.6 x 7.8 mm and a weight of 202 grams. Thanks to its rounded edges and corners, it is a comfortable phone in hand, but it is a bit slippery.
S21 Plus Display
The tested unit was a silver color that Samsung calls Phantom Silver. It is a model with a matte finish that, although it does not get dirty as quickly as glossy finishes, does get covered with fingerprints with regular use, so we recommend that you always put a cover on it if you do not want to spend the day cleaning it.
Regarding the screen, the phone has a 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2x panel and FullHD + resolution (2,400 x 1,080 pixels). In addition, it offers a maximum refresh rate of 120 Hz, with which the animations and transitions through the menu are more fluid but consume a lot of battery. For regular daily use, it’s best to use the screen in 60Hz mode. Overall, it has excellent quality and decent brightness, although its colors look slightly saturated. To correct this, opting for the Natural screen mode found in the device settings is best.
Samsung incorporates a triple camera in this phone, but we do not have a sensor for portraits or a double telephoto lens like the one on the S21 Ultra. Instead, the device offers this configuration of cameras whose primary lens is accompanied by zoom and an ultra-wide angle.
- 12-megapixel ultra-wide angle, f/2.2 aperture, and 120-degree viewing angle.
- 12-megapixel wide angle, f/1.8 aperture, and 79-degree viewing angle.
- 64-megapixel telephoto lens, f/2.0 aperture, and 76-degree viewing angle
- A 10-megapixel front camera, f/2.2 aperture, and 80-degree viewing angle.
In good light, the primary lens takes sharp photos with a very natural color reproduction – nothing to do with the tendency to saturate the previous brand models. The dynamic range sometimes tends to burn out the highlights, which is solved with HDR. The only drawback is that this mode is automatic, and you cannot activate it whenever you want.
S21 Plus Automatic mode
Bokeh portraits aren’t what you’d expect for a phone in its range and price. Although you can choose the level of intensity of the blur, it is pretty artificial, and the clipping is often erratic.
The night mode, for its part, resolves quite well and gives promising results, with entirely contained light sources and less artificial colors than other phones such as the Huawei P40 Pro.
Finally, the primary camera offers detailed, bright, and sharp selfies. With this, we can also take photos with a bokeh effect, but, as with the rear camera, the cutout is not as natural as we would like.
The Galaxy S21 Plus is a phone that has many strengths but which, in my opinion, is a bit in no man’s land. On the one hand, this device offers high-end specifications, such as a processor with impeccable performance, a 120 Hz screen, and relatively acceptable autonomy. However, it lacks more resolution on its screen and, above all, cameras that give better results.
That said, this phone is an option if your budget does not exceed 1,000 euros (although even for less than that price, there are perfect options such as the Xiaomi Mi 11). However, if you can pay a little more, it is better to opt for its older brother, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, since it offers everything it lacks for 1,259 euros.
power in abundance
For power, the Galaxy S21 Plus is powered by an Exynos 2100 processor accompanied by 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of internal storage. During the tests, this internal configuration was enough to perform everyday tasks perfectly and much more demanding, for example, playing resource-intensive titles such as Asphalt 8.
In terms of performance, the biometric security systems that the device incorporates should also be mentioned. On the one hand, we have 2D facial unlocking, which is very fast and accurate. The same can be said of the fingerprint sensor under the screen: even if you do not place your finger entirely inside the area, it recognizes the fingerprint and unlocks quickly.
The device customization layer is OneUI 3.2. This runs on Android 10, and one of its most significant advantages over other brands like Xiaomi or Huawei is that it offers many customization options. There are quite a few pre-installed third-party apps like Facebook, Spotify, or YouTube Music, but all of them can be removed.
Indeed you begin to wonder if a phone as powerful as this has the autonomy to match. Well, the battery of this mobile is 4,800 mAh, and in my experience of using it was good, but not everything I expected. With a full charge and giving it quite intensive use, I got a day of autonomy. However, it cannot go another day without charging it. The phone has fast and wireless charging, but no charger is included in the box.
The cameras are not up to par.
Does not include a charger.
Low-resolution screen for its price.