Sunday, March 7, 2021
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Samsung Galaxy S21+ First Impressions and Hands-on Review –

Samsung Galaxy S21 series has three models, just as last year, but this time the South-korean giant isn’t particularly keen on maintaining feature parity between them.

The upside is that these distinctions are also reflected in prices and the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21+ cost significantly lesser than the Galaxy S21 Ultra (review) while staying true to a flagship grade experience.

We were indeed curious to check how much is Samsung actually cutting back in practical terms. A full review mandates that we get some more familiar with the phone. Meanwhile, let’s detail our take, what we liked and what we didn’t in our Samsung Galaxy S21+ first impressions!

Samsung Galaxy S21+ Price and Specs

Model  Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus
Display  6.7-inches AMOLED, 1080 x 2400 pixels, Gorilla Glass Victus
Dimensions 161.5 x 75.6 x 7.8 mm; 200 g
Chipset  5nm Exynos 2100 octa-core (2.9 GHz Cortex-X1 + 3x 2.80 GHz Cortex-A78 + 4x 2.2 GHz Cortex-A55)
RAM and Memory  8GB; 256GB not expandable 
Rear camera 12 MP (f/1.8) primary, OIS64 MP (f/2.0), 1.1x optical zoom, 3x hybrid zoom, OIS12 MP ( f/2.2) ultra-wide
Front camera  10 MP, f/2.2
Battery  4800mAh, 25W fast charging 
Software  OneUI 3.1 (Android 11)
Others In-display fingerprint sensor, Samsung Dex, Samsung Pay, UWB connectivity, AKG Tuned stereo speakers
Price  Galaxy S21+ 8GB +128GB: Rs. 81,999
Galaxy S21+ 8GB +256GB: Rs. 85,999

Samsung Galaxy S21+ Unboxing

As you must know, Samsung has heavily cut down on the box contents to reduce wastage and carbon footprint – gone are the adaptors and those comfy AKG tuned wired earphones. Whatever the motivations may be behind this radical change, we are willing to take one for planet earth.

Box contents include:

  • Samsung Galaxy S21+ handset with pre-applied screen protector
  • USB Type-C to Type-C
  • SIM ejector tool and documentation

Samsung Galaxy S21+ Design and Build

The first thing we noticed was that the Samsung Galaxy S21+ is lighter and so much more managable than the Galaxy S21 Ultra. The distinctive camera module remains the veritable highlight of the Samsung’s design this year.

The triple camera setup has a slice of metal layered on top, which from a distance feels like an extension of the side aluminum frame. With one less sensor as compared to the bigger and bolder Ultra sibling, this metal layer is slimmer and less broad – and feels a tad more appealing to us.

Unlike the base Galaxy S20 which has polycarbonate back, Samsung retains the smudge-resistant frosted glass back for the Galaxy S21+. But honestly, for some one who’s all too familiar with the agony of shatterd glass backs, I wouldn’t mind a good quality polycarbonate back half bit- the kind we experienced on the Galaxy S20 FE last year.

On the front, Samsung has further shaved off the chin and bezels are resultantly more uniform. The major omission are the display curved. We like those curves and firmly opine that they make a phone feel more premium. At the same time, many people detest them and consider them a classic case of form over function – and they’d probably be more welcoming to this change.

The bigger and faster ultrasonic fingerprint sensor has made the cut and so have the exciting AKG tuned stereo speakers. There’s no expandable storage or audio jack this year.

All said and done, we quite adore the Galaxy S21+. It looks amazing and feels remarkably solid.

Samsung Galaxy S21+ Display

There is no justification for why Samsung couldn’t have delivered both 2K and 120Hz for a S-series flagship, but the display on the Galaxy S21+ still feels amazing. This is an HDR10+ compliant AMOLED screen that goes up to 1300 Nits bright!

It’s also worth pointing out that a full HD+ display is sharper than a 2K display scalled down to Full HD+, because then the remaining of the 2K pixels are judged and filled by the software.

The point being, that a full HD+ display at 120Hz (adaptive) is anyday better than to have to dial down a 2K screen to Full HD+ for higher refresh rate support (as was the case will all 2020 Samsung flagships).

The refresh rate is adaptive, which is to say that it can vary from 10 to 120Hz based on content being displayed and a few other parameters.

Also Read: Best phones with true VRR displays in 2021

If our Ultra experience is anything to go by, you will hopefully be able to run the display at its maximum settings without incuring too much of a battery penalty. From settings you can choose between DCI-P3 (Vivid) and sRGB (Natural) color profiles, of which we prefer the latter.

We plan to stack the display against the best available options including the Galaxy S21 Ultra during the course of our review. But yes, from our brief experience – Samsung doesn’t seem to have faltered in this regard.

Samsung Galaxy S21+ Performance expectations and Software

All Galaxy S21 series phones are powered by Exynos 2100 chipset which we recently tested on the Galaxy S21 Ultra and which proved to be a massive boost when compared to Exynos 990 from last year. This one is restricted to relatively lesser 8GB LPDDR5 RAM, but should it matter if we don’t feel a difference? Anyways, we will be going through the performance details in our full review shortly.

The fingerprint reader feels fast and snappy and call quality has been excellent so far.
Samsung has includes cutting edge connectivity options including 5G, Ultra wide-band connectivity, Wi-Fi 6E, and Bluetooth 5.2.

There is a 4800mAh battery on baord which isn’t much short of the 5000 unit we had on the Ultra – so we expect similar 8 to 10 hours of screen on time with moderate to heavy usage.

As for the software, we are by now quite familiar with Samsung’s OneUI 3.1 (Android 11). It’s extremely intuitive, well designed and one of our personal favourite interfaces.

Also Check: Best Samsung Phones To Buy In 2021

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus Camera Expectations

Talking about the camera, the Galaxy S21 Plus shows iterative refinements over the last gen S20+ (as far as specs go). It’s missing the 108MP sensor and zoom chops of the Ultra, but there are new software tricks like 8K snaps, Portrait mode filters, and director’s view to look forward to.

The primary camera is a 1/7.6-inch 12MP sensor, and it’s paired with a 64MP 3x hybrid zoom camera – both of which have OIS. The third 12MP wide-angle camera doesn’t have AF as on the Ultra.

We haven’t had enough time to test the camera yet and will ward off the verdict till we complete our testing.

Samsung Galaxy S21+ First Impressions

The Samung Galaxy S21+ is a extremely premium flagship with a mesmerizing display and bold, distinctive looks. It’s backed by a powerful chipset, has a very assuring battery, and runs a delightful software.

Compared to the pricier Ultra, it’s primarily cutting down in terms of camera hardware but compensates with a slimer, more managable design.

Should you buy it? Unfortunately it’s still too early for us to comment. We will be rigorously testing the S21+ in the coming days and will be back with a final verdict really soon.

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