Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus evaluation: The everyday center youngster

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus purple

Nestled between the inexpensive newest Galaxy S21 and super-premium S21 Extremely sits the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus. A lot of the cellphone’s {hardware} is paying homage to final 12 months’s Galaxy S20 Plus. However with a revamped design and a barely cheaper price level, does the Galaxy S21 Plus do sufficient to really feel like a model new handset worthy of your money?

With out the inexpensive worth proposition of its smaller sibling or the kitchen sink method to specs with the Extremely, the Galaxy S21 Plus isn’t precisely within the highlight this technology. However, it’s the center youngster in Samsung’s flagship portfolio {that a} good variety of Samsung’s premium clients can have a watch on. Discover out if it’s the precise cellphone for you in Android Authority‘s Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus evaluation.

About this Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus evaluation: I examined the Exynos mannequin Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus over a interval of six days. It was working One UI 3.1 on the December 2020 safety patch. The unit was bought by Android Authority for the needs of this evaluation.


Design: New search for acquainted {hardware}

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus purple

Credit score: Robert Triggs / Android Authority

  • Gorilla Glass Victus back and front
  • 161.5 x 75.6 x 7.8mm
  • 200g
  • In-display fingerprint scanner and facial recognition biometrics
  • Distinctive redesign and digicam housing
  • Flat show
  • Aluminum body
  • Phantom Black, Silver, and Violet. Pink, Gold, and Pink (Samsung unique)

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus flaunts a redesign that may’t assist however flip heads. The brand new look is actually bolder than Samsung’s earlier designs and is probably not to everybody’s style. Even so, I’m fairly a fan of the brash Phantom Violet colorway I’ve been utilizing for the evaluation, and there’s no doubting Samsung’s consideration to element and construct high quality. It is a very well-built smartphone.

There’s Gorilla Glass Victus on the back and front of the handset, providing stable safety from drops and cracks. Glass could be a little slippery, however that’s par for the course within the premium tier of the market. This sits in distinction to the common Galaxy S21 with its “glasstic” rear cowl. There’s additionally an IP68 ranking for water and mud safety, which has been normal in Samsung’s flagships for generations now.

See additionally: Samsung Galaxy S collection — A historical past of the largest identify in Android

On the safety aspect, the cellphone boasts an in-display fingerprint reader that works fairly snappily. Facial recognition through the front-facing digicam can be supported and this works a fraction quicker than the fingerprint scanner. Though each are fast and correct sufficient that I didn’t expertise any issues unlocking the cellphone. It’s value noting that the facial unlock is all software-based and never as safe as hardware-based options.

The Galaxy S21 Plus affords a really properly rounded {hardware} package deal that is still a gold normal within the trade.

For the audio fanatic crowd, there’s no return of the beloved headphone jack right here. However the cellphone does help SBC, AAC, aptX, LDAC, and Samsung’s Scalable Bluetooth audio codecs for wi-fi headphones and the like. The cellphone’s stereo speaker setup sounds fairly good and serves up first rate stereo separation. Simply don’t anticipate to listen to thumping basslines from these little tucked-away drivers. FM radio can be included too, for those who’re nonetheless jamming to your tunes the old school means.

All-in-all, the Galaxy S21 Plus affords a really properly rounded {hardware} package deal that is still a gold normal within the trade


Show: Acquainted Samsung brilliance

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus lockscreen

Credit score: Robert Triggs / Android Authority

  • 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED show
  • 2,400 x 1,080 show decision
  • 394 pixels per inch
  • 120Hz adaptive refresh fee, 20:9 facet ratio

The show on the Galaxy S21 Plus is great and never simply when it comes to high quality. The primarily bezel-free design and selfie digicam cutout are acquainted attributes of Samsung’s latest premium design ethos.

Samsung has reduce its show decision this technology, from QHD+ (3,200 x 1,440) right down to FHD+ (2,400 x 1,080) to save lots of on prices. Nonetheless, this gained’t make any distinction to most consumers, as the marginally older Galaxy S handsets defaulted to an FHD+ software program decision out of the field anyway. With a 120Hz adaptive refresh fee, HDR10+ content material help, and brilliant AMOLED know-how behind it, Samsung’s show prowess is as spectacular as ever. Though in contrast to some rival handsets, you may’t power all apps to utilize the silky clean 120Hz refresh fee. As an alternative, the refresh fee is perpetually locked in adaptive mode.

Samsung’s show prowess is as spectacular as ever.

Whether or not or not you’ll miss or rejoice on the lack of curved glass boils down to non-public choice. Personally, on a handset this measurement, I don’t thoughts a slight curve to help with dealing with. Though on the similar time, the flat design is healthier suited to media playback and gaming, as content material doesn’t disappear and deform on the edges of the show anymore.


Efficiency: 5nm is quick and environment friendly

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 888/Samsung Exynos 2100
  • Adreno 660/Arm Mali-G78 14 core
  • 8GB RAM
  • 128/256GB storage

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus is powered by the most recent 5nm flagship silicon, similar to the remainder of the vary. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 seems within the US and choose Asian markets, whereas the remainder of the world will get the Samsung Exynos 2100. Paired up with 8GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB of quick UFS3.1 inner storage, you gained’t be left wanting for efficiency right here. Though sadly, Samsung has eliminated the microSD growth slot from its complete Galaxy S21 vary.

See additionally: Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely Snapdragon vs Exynos examined: Which is quicker?

We’ve extensively examined and in contrast the efficiency of the Snapdragon 888- and Exynos 2100-powered Galaxy S21 Extremely. These outcomes are reflective of the Galaxy S21 Plus too. Earlier years have seen a big hole between the 2 chip producers, leading to two tiers of efficiency for Galaxy S house owners. The excellent news is that the hole has narrowed this 12 months, with each telephones handing in just about an identical efficiency for many functions. The Snapdragon 888 retains a notable lead in terms of gaming, however even right here the efficiency delta isn’t as nice as in earlier years.

The Exynos 2100 powered Galaxy S21 Plus clocked in Velocity Take a look at G benchmark occasions as quick as 90 seconds, with a median of 101 seconds over 10 concurrent runs. This places it in roughly the identical ballpark because the Galaxy S21 Extremely mannequin benchmarked beneath. Broadly talking although, peak efficiency is significantly better than sustained efficiency with this chip.

Whereas day-to-day efficiency has largely felt like a solved downside for various generations, at the least in premium smartphones, apps nonetheless really feel simply that bit snappier shifting to those 5nm chipsets. The whole lot runs buttery clean on the Galaxy S21 Plus variant I’ve been testing, from net shopping and HEVC video playback to firing up 3D video games.

In reality, in style graphics benchmarks like 3DMark suggest working its newer exams, because the Mali-G78 maxes out its outdated scoring mannequin. As a lot debate as there could also be concerning the deserves of the Snapdragon versus Exynos fashions, each present next-gen efficiency that fanatic customers covet.

The Galaxy S21 Plus additionally helps 5G sub-6GHz and mmWave networks. Sadly, I don’t stay in an space with 5G protection to have the ability to check this out. Nonetheless, primarily based on our expertise with the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 Extremely, we already know that the Snapdragon 888’s totally built-in 5G modem is a stable performer. In fact, your mileage with 5G knowledge speeds will in the end rely in your location and provider protection.


Battery: Time to learn up on charging requirements

  • 4,800mAh battery
  • 25W wired charging pace (suitable chargers solely)
  • 15W wi-fi charging pace with 4.5W reverse wi-fi

The Galaxy S21 Plus affords distinctive battery life, very similar to the remainder of the Galaxy S21 household. The 4,800mAh battery simply lasts via a full day of heavy use, similar to snapping footage, taking pictures video, and somewhat gaming on the go. Many customers might simply see two full days of lighter use, similar to net shopping and checking e mail.

For those who’re after numbers, the Exynos Galaxy S21 Plus lasted 4 hours 18 minutes working our excessive Velocity Take a look at G benchmark on loop. That’s an excellent consequence. By comparability, the Galaxy Word 20 Extremely lasted three hours and 39 minutes, and final 12 months’s OnePlus 8T survived three hours 51 minutes.

Controversially, there’s no charger included with the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus. Whereas there are real environmental arguments in favor of this transfer, the advanced USB-C charging state of affairs will seemingly depart many customers with a headache.

Learn extra: That is the most effective Samsung Galaxy S21 charger you should buy

The handset may be powered with older chargers from numerous manufacturers, however to acquire the quickest 25W quick cost pace you’ll wish to use one among Samsung’s 25W or 45W USB-C Tremendous Quick Charging branded plugs (take a look at the article linked above for more information). We’ve additionally examined an intensive collection of third-party chargers, most of which cost at 15W. The exception is the Eleject 45W Tremendous Quick Charging plug, which helps the required USB Energy Supply Programmable Energy Provide (USB PD PPS) profile to cost at full pace. Finally quick charging the Galaxy S21 Plus goes to be a little bit of a ache for lots of customers.

15W wi-fi charging can be a good possibility for brief top-ups all through the day. Though Samsung’s know-how is beginning to fall behind the quicker 30W wi-fi charging speeds which are rapidly arriving at its opponents. The Galaxy S21 Plus doesn’t fairly wirelessly cost quick sufficient to be a viable substitute for quick wired charging, which is a little bit of a disgrace when there’s no plug within the field. The cellphone additionally helps reverse wi-fi charging at 4.5W.


Digital camera: Final-gen {hardware} with a couple of new tips

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus camera

Credit score: Robert Triggs / Android Authority

  • 12MP wide-angle — ƒ1.8, 1.8μm, with twin pixel autofocus (PDAF) and optical picture stabilization (OIS)
  • 12MP ultra-wide — ƒ2.2, 1.4μm, with AF and a 120-degree subject of view (FoV)
  • 64MP telephoto — ƒ2.0, 0.8μm, with PDAF, OIS, and 3x “Hybrid Optic” zoom
  • 10MP wide-angle selfie digicam – ƒ2.2, 1.22μm, with twin pixel autofocus (PDAF)
  • Video seize: 8K @ 24fps, 4K @ 60fps, 1080p @ 240fps, 720p @ 960fps

Digital camera specs are unchanged from the Galaxy S20 Plus, so it’s the Galaxy S21 Extremely variant that images fanatics will wish to hold their eye on this 12 months. Even so, the Galaxy S21 Plus nonetheless takes great-looking footage that stay aggressive with the most effective within the enterprise. The tried and examined principal, large, and telephoto rear digicam setup performs admirably and Samsung has a couple of new software program tips up its sleeve that will help you take higher footage and video.

See additionally: One of the best Android digicam telephones

Colours pop as we anticipate from Samsung’s images, though the extent of saturation is toned down in a bit this technology. Samsung’s Scene Optimizer may be helpful to boost your pictures, however turning it off produces extra constant outcomes. Thankfully, this toggle is true there within the digicam preview, so switching it on and off for Night time mode, and so forth, is a doddle. Normally, Samsung’s digicam app could be very straightforward to make use of with all of the settings discovered within the typical locations. Though I wouldn’t thoughts faster entry to taking pictures choices like Portrait and Gradual-Mo.

In good lighting, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus takes some elegant footage that rival some other cellphone in the marketplace. The cellphone’s principal digicam excels in HDR environments and its bokeh edge detection is fairly good, given the shortage of devoted depth detecting {hardware}.

Decrease gentle capabilities aren’t fairly as spectacular but it surely stays stable sufficient in all however the darkest situations. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus extracts a good quantity of coloration in dimly lit scenes, however you’ll spot a bit extra noise and blurry particulars because the lights go down. Night time Mode positively helps out, offering you may hold your arms nonetheless, however the outcomes are somewhat smudged.

Returning to flexibility, Samsung’s moderately spectacular hybrid zoom know-how sticks round for one more technology. Though the telephoto digicam solely has a 1.1x optical zoom, the 64MP sensor affords a 3x hybrid zoom that holds up surprisingly properly to about 5x. Not less than in brilliant out of doors lighting, zoom high quality positively deteriorates in darker situations. The Galaxy S21 Plus doesn’t honest almost as properly at 10x, however that’s most likely additional than most photographers will ever must zoom in. The 30x possibility is… properly, simply don’t use it.

The Galaxy S21 Plus’ wide-angle digicam is a bit more hit or miss. Whereas the sphere of view is nice for becoming extra in, there’s a definite lack of element and focus that isn’t fairly as much as par with the opposite two cameras. The wide-angle lens additionally suffers from numerous perspective distortion across the image edges, which is one other blemish on an in any other case first rate wide-angle digicam setup.

Galaxy S21 Plus - wide Galaxy S21 Plus – 1x Galaxy S21 Plus – large

Galaxy S21 Plus - 1x

Galaxy S21 Plus - wide Galaxy S21 Plus – 1x Galaxy S21 Plus – large

Galaxy S21 Plus - 1x

The selfie digicam is superb and the choice to toggle pure and “brilliant” pores and skin tones is a welcome contact. I caught with pure to keep away from Samsung’s overly-aggressive touch-ups. The Galaxy S21 Plus additionally affords the choice to take a wide-angle selfie from its single front-facing digicam. However the distinction between the fields of view is so marginal as to make the characteristic primarily ineffective.

The pictures taken right here will look very acquainted to Galaxy S20 house owners. Though the Galaxy S21 Plus does add Director View as an additional device in its arsenal for video lovers. It’s very helpful to preview the zoom ranges earlier than switching over throughout recording and simply regulate the entrance/again video cut up. I don’t shoot plenty of movies, however this characteristic is nice and video high quality appears each bit pretty much as good because the images outcomes. With help for 30fps HDR10+ recording, 8K 24fps, 4K 60fps, and 720p 960fps slow-motion video, you aren’t wanting video taking pictures flexibility right here.

General, the Galaxy S21 Plus is an efficient shooter, however the Galaxy S21 Extremely is positively the higher possibility to take your images sport up a notch over earlier generations. You may take a look at the full-resolution digicam samples in this Google Drive folder.


Software program: One UI 3.1

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus apps

Credit score: Robert Triggs / Android Authority

  • Android 11
  • One UI 3.1
  • Three years of Android OS upgrades and safety updates

One UI 3.1 will appear and feel very acquainted to Samsung aficionados, full with all the same old strengths and caveats. One UI largely retains out of the best way to your day-to-day duties. Apps open up snappily, animations zip previous with out a stutter, and it’s typically fairly straightforward to configure issues simply the best way you need. Though it’s nonetheless too straightforward to turn into misplaced within the settings menu labyrinth.

Samsung introduces a few minor adjustments and new options with the transfer to One UI 3.1. Because the identify suggests, Samsung’s newest OS holds only a few surprises for these upgrading from latest Galaxy handsets. Maybe probably the most noticeable distinction is that Google Uncover can change Samsung Free on the left-most dwelling display if that’s your most well-liked vacation spot for day by day information gadgets.

Learn extra: Samsung One UI 3.0 options: That is Android 11 on Samsung telephones

Different new options are extra refined tweaks for present functions. There’s a brand new object eraser device tucked away below the Labs menu possibility when enhancing images in Gallery. Samsung now helps background blurring when making video calls with apps like Duo, WhatsApp, Zoom, and others. Google Duo additionally helps auto-framing to maintain your face centered throughout video calls as properly. There’s a collection of animation, efficiency, and different tweaks dotted all through the software program too.

Samsung’s software program has a couple of drawbacks although. It’s nonetheless comparatively bloated with extra apps like Fb, YouTube Music, and LinkedIn coming pre-installed for some purpose. Doubling up on Samsung and Google Message apps out of the field is one other pointless redundancy you may wish to manually treatment. The Galaxy S21 Plus additionally removes MST fee help, leaving you with simply NFC when utilizing Samsung Pay.

Swinging again to the positives, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus is ready to obtain three years of Android OS upgrades and common safety patches over its lifespan. The corporate is rapidly turning into one of many higher manufacturers at offering well timed safety updates to its smartphones, so you have to be properly coated in the long term.

Whereas there was some controversy over Samsung placing adverts in One UI, I personally solely noticed a couple of situations of the model plugging a few of its personal providers within the notification bar. Whereas they could be a bit bothersome at first, these may be turned off pretty simply.


Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus Specs

  Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus
Show 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED
Flat FHD+
2,400 x 1,080 at 394ppi
Adaptive 120Hz refresh fee
HDR10+ licensed
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 or Samsung Exynos 2100
RAM 8GB
Storage 128 or 256GB
MicroSD No
Battery 4,800mAh
Quick wired and wi-fi charging
Reverse wi-fi charging
Cameras Rear:
– Vast-angle: 12MP, ƒ/1.8, 1.8µm with OIS and dual-pixel AF
– Telephoto: 64MP, ƒ/2.0, 0.8µm with OIS and phase-detection AF
– Extremely-wide: 12MP, ƒ/2.2, 1.4µm with 120-degree FoV

3x hybrid optical/digital zoom
30x “Area Zoom”

Entrance:
– 10MP, ƒ/2.2, 1.22µm, with dual-pixel AF

Connectivity 4G LTE help
5G (sub-6GHz, SA and NSA, mmWave)
Wi-Fi 6E help
Working System One UI 3.1
Android 11
Water resistance IP68
Coloration 128GB in Phantom Violet, Phantom Silver, and Phantom Black

256GB solely in Phantom Black

Future colours: Phantom Gold and Phantom Pink

Dimensions and weight 161.5 x 75.6 x 7.8mm
202g

Worth and competitors

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus

The Galaxy S21 Plus is the center youngster of Samsung’s Galaxy S21 collection. It contains a 6.7-inch show and a 4,800mAh battery. It has three rear cameras and 8GB of RAM.

  • Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus (8GB/128GB): $999/€1,059/£949/Rs. 81,999
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus (8GB/256GB): $1,049/€1,109/£999/Rs. 85,999

Samsung struck a tempting worth place with final 12 months’s Galaxy S20 Fan Version and continued the value stress with 2021’s smaller Galaxy S21. Whereas the Galaxy S21 Plus sees an identical worth minimize in comparison with final 12 months’s mannequin, it nonetheless feels somewhat costly throughout the confines of Samsung’s smartphone portfolio. $200 extra for an additional half an inch of show real-estate and 800mAh further battery is a tricky promote over the usual Galaxy S21.

Even so, energy customers who don’t wish to spring for the S21 Extremely should fancy a dabble. The Galaxy S21 Plus is a full $200 cheaper than the S20 Plus’ $1,199 launch worth, making it a fairly whole lot for those who skipped final 12 months’s flagship. Particularly as there aren’t too many extra compelling reductions on final 12 months’s telephones simply but.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus vs Galaxy S20 Plus vs Galaxy S20 FE

Credit score: Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Within the broader scheme of the trade, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus prices the identical because the $999 Apple iPhone 12 Professional. Though you may seize the 256GB mannequin for $50 lower than the equal iPhone variant. For those who’re after bleeding-edge Android efficiency, there isn’t an entire lot of competitors available in the market proper now. Not less than not till extra Snapdragon 888 powered handsets launch within the coming months.


Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus evaluation: The decision

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus front 2

Credit score: Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Do I just like the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus? Completely. Do you have to purchase it? Effectively, that’s not really easy to say.

The Galaxy S21 Plus is a side-ways step for Samsung’s roadmap, will little new to supply clients over final 12 months’s Galaxy S20 collection and even the S20 Fan Version. {Hardware} fanatics can be disenchanted with the shortage of bleeding-edge know-how and odd downgrade this technology with the intention to convey the S21 collection to a extra inexpensive worth level.

Learn extra: Samsung Galaxy S21 vs older Galaxy S telephones — do you have to improve?

Nonetheless, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus takes a terrific tried and examined smartphone package deal, doubles down on bleeding edge efficiency, and trims off a hefty chunk of the outdated price ticket. For those who skipped an improve final technology, 2021’s extra inexpensive pricing technique makes Samsung’s newest flagship collection its most engaging in generations.

The Galaxy S Plus lineage is as robust as ever, however the Galaxy S21 Plus is a harder promote than in earlier years.

Even so, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus is a a lot harder promote than in earlier years. If you’d like a Samsung flagship on a funds then the common Galaxy S21 affords virtually an identical {hardware} at an much more engaging worth level. On the similar time, Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Extremely is the one sport on the town for these after the better of Samsung — notably within the digicam division — for “solely” $200 extra. For those who budgeted for a Plus mannequin final 12 months now you can purchase the Extremely, and that’s the place I’d spend my cash.


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