Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus Full Review: The Middle Child
Currently, the smartphone market has been all about the recent flagships that have been released, and the S-series from Samsung is also the talk of the town lately. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus is the middle child out of the three models. I have used the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus for more than 10 days, and here is my full review of the device. Let’s head into the article for the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus full review with all the pros and cons.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus Specifications
Samsung Galaxy S21
6.2- inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 120Hz, HDR10+, Corning Gorilla Glass Victus front, plastic back
The Galaxy S21 Plus comes in a much better design than last year’s Galaxy S20 Plus. The camera bump is where the Galaxy S21 series stands out, with it being a part of the side frame. With the design, the phone certainly looks neat and can turn heads as well.
The phone’s built quality is also better with an aluminum frame with glass front and glass back both protected by Gorilla Glass Victus. And despite weighing more than 200g, the device still feels light and feels great on hand as well. And like last year’s, the phone comes with an IP68 dust/water resistance rating, so; you don’t have to worry about dropping the phone in water.
Display- Smooth 120Hz at FHD+ but no QHD+
The display is certainly smooth with the 120Hz refresh rate and is swift while scrolling, too, but some people might the QHD+ display you got with the Galaxy S20 Plus last year. Although the QHD+ display was available last year at 60Hz could be a turn-off depending on your priorities. The display comes with an adaptive mode for 120Hz, which adjusts the display from 48Hz to 120Hz, depending on the screen’s content. And you can certainly feel the smoothness which scrolling through the apps.
With the Galaxy S21 series, you miss out on the curved display, but the display comes with better protection with Corning Gorilla Glass Victus. The Dynamic AMOLED Panel comes with excellent colors with Natural and Vivid settings for your to adjust accordingly. It also has an excellent brightness which can be viewed without any difficulty even at the brightest of sunlight. Overall, the display feels great at 120Hz, providing you with great viewing pleasure.
Performance and Gaming- Swift but no 90fps
Samsung has exponentially improved their chipset game with the Exynos 2100 giving a tough competition to the Snapdragon counterpart. This year’s Exynos has a better CPU performance than the Snapdragon 888 SoC. It is powered by an octa-core processor with 1×2.9 GHz Cortex-X1 & 3×2.80 GHz Cortex-A78 & 4×2.2 GHz Cortex-A55 cores. Unlike the S20 Plus, you won’t get 12GB RAM with the phone, but with a better-optimized chipset and better optimization of the Software, you won’t miss the 12GB RAM.
Talking about the benchmark scores on Geekbench, the phone scored 1046 single-core scores and 3104 multi-core scores, whereas, on Antutu, the phone scored a benchmark of 599408.
Considering the Flagship phone, the phone’s overall performance was expected and topped with the 120Hz adaptive display; the phone was very swift. Normal day-to-day tasks run with ease like you would expect out of any flagship phone, and multitasking is not even an issue here.
But when gaming, I wished Samsung S21 Plus could do better; we had seen 90fps gaming on the Note 20 series and considering a newer phone with a better chipset S21 Plus should have been a phone supporting 90fps gaming.
Camera- Last year’s Hardware
The camera hardware in the Galaxy S21 Plus is almost the same as last year’s Galaxy S20 Plus with the same 12MP Sony IMX555 sensor and 64mp telephoto lens. Still, the Ultrawide lens has a new Sony IMX563 sensor instead of the Samsung S5K2LA sensor.
Normal Images from the Samsung Galaxy S21 come out great with vibrant colors that are slightly more saturated than the S21 Ultra. The camera does a great job on natural light with great details and captures great details as well. The scene optimizer also does a great job enhancing the photos, but you better turn off the scene optimizer for consistent results. And on optimal light conditions, Samsung S21 Plus produces the best pictures in its class.
The portrait shots from the main camera are also great with edge detection and create a natural depth of field. The photo editor in the camera is also great, with good edits and natural filters.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus gives great low-light photos with great light even at the darkest conditions, but as the light gets dimmer, the S21 Plus starts producing a Lil bit of noise and fewer details. Whereas the ultra-wide camera produces great photos, it lags by a lot compared to its primary camera. On optimum light conditions, you shall be impressed by the wide-angle camera as well.
Next up is the 64MP telephoto lens with 1.1x Optical Zoom and a 3x hybrid zoom, but the camera can go up to 5x zoom without losing much on the details. But in dark conditions, the image quality definitely deteriorates as you zoom further. The 10x zoom option is also there, which you won’t be needing much, and I have no clue why the 30x zoom option is even there.
The selfie camera also does a great job with photos, and the portraits from the selfie camera are also equally better. There is also wide-angle selfie mode which isn’t very wide compared to the normal camera, but still, I would prefer the wide-angle for my selfies.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus can shoot videos up to 8k at 24fps, which I didn’t find myself using much and also, the stabilization is almost not there in the 8k videos. But the stabilization does a great job in the 4k videos and the 1080p, which was definitely better than what I expected.
The director’s mode in the video is great for the vloggers out there or when you need to capture videos from both perspectives.
Battery- All-day Battery
With the all-new Exynos 2100, the battery efficiency of the phone also has gone significantly better. You get a 4800 mAh battery with 25W fast charging support, but you do have to buy the charger separately. With normal day-to-day usage, the phone certainly will give you an all-day battery. But with power-hungry apps and games, you can expect to charge the phone before the end of the day.
With 120Hz adaptive charging with GPS turned on throughout and Wi-Fi or Mobile data turned on about 90% of the time, the device easily gave me around 8-10hr of usage. And on days when I used to game on the device, I usually needed to charge the phone in the evening.
Moving on to fast charging, it still has only a 25W fast charging support which is way less than what other flagship phones or even other mid-ranger Chinese phones are offering.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus ships with the latest Android 11 topped with One UI 3.1. The One UI feels cleaner than ever, but the amount of bloatware can still be overwhelming.
Talking about the system update, Samsung has already rolled out a system update for their Galaxy S21 Plus and Samsung also has promised to give three years of OS updates until Android 14 in 2023.
Overall, Samsung has brought a great phone, Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus, but there are times where the phone could have done better, and there are also times where the phone has nailed it down. I wish there was also a 1440p resolution available on display regardless of the refresher rate, but still, you get a great 120Hz adaptive display at 1080p.
The camera setup is also great with the best cameras considering the segment, but on the performance size, I wish the phone supported a 90fps gaming like the Note 20 Series with a last year’s chipset did. Considering the price, Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus is okay compared to its iOS competitor, and if you do not want to pay extra for the S21 Ultra, you could go for the S21 Plus, losing out on some features.