Samsung Galaxy S21 5G review

21 January 2021


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  • Anonymous

Selfies are extremely processed. Way more than even normal with Samsung. It's a crazy amount of processing.

But switching over to night mode for a selfie gets a way better more accurate photo. Sometimes even with more detail despite being much less processed.

  • Notannavovk

Hello, you have option in pro mode choose 108 megapixel lenses ? Or only low quality lenses.

  • Ping

Finger print log on don't work, hard to set ,then don't work . S7 had no problems. Very fast . Want trade it back .

  • Anonymous

Just-A-User, 30 Jan 2021Hey everyone, I'm curious as to why the majority of ... moreSome of us take a bunch of photos, esp with real cameras. High res photo can easily take up 8-12MB ea, so you'll run out of that 128gb real fast.

So far, compared to my outgoing S20+5G.

1. Battery life is so far better
2. Adaptive refresh seems to somehow be nicer than the fixed 120Hz
3. Screen is fine
4. Camera is fine
5. Fingerprint reader is much faster, the one on the S20+ is awful, far worse than the one on the S8 I had previous to that.
6. For me, the size is much, much better.
7. Flat screen, really loved my Xperia Mini something or other back in the day and this reminds of that, much better for me. I use a case anyway so curved screens make absolutely zero positives for me.


Plus negatives
1. No microSD card, after looking at how much room I was actually using on my 200GB card I decided it wasn't actually required for me, can fit my entire music collection on it with plenty to spare
2. Memory, well I'm barely scratching half the available 8GB so although a drop, it's made no difference
3. 1080p screen. Hmm, undecided, had to run the S20+ at 1080p to use the 120Hz anyway.

Negative?
1. No headphones? Well maybe for others but they're crap anyway. My current IEMs cost more than half the cost of the phone so why would I want cheap, nasty phones. The free Buds are already on sale too.
2. No charger. OK this one is a definite negative but seems to be the way they're going.

Not been able to check the 5G yet as it's not very widely available near me.

sdny8, 29 Jan 2021Returning the S21. I can't get past the slow face unlo... moremy Note 10+ has the same issue with FP. It's a Samsung feature.

  • Anonymous

The battery sucks for s21 it drains really fast unlike with my huawei.

  • Aadit

Terrible picture quality, specially when you get closer, image edges become blur. Looks as if portrait mode. Has network issues, specially sending text sms doesn't work always. Battery screen on time only 6 hours even at 60 Hz and always on display turned off. Face ID and finger print both failed multiple times!

  • cool

my s21 battery drains so fast...

  • Hindsight

Still rocking Huawei P10 and everything works just fine for a normal day of use.
Dropping this kind of money for this specs. is crazy.

  • Just-A-User

Hey everyone,
I'm curious as to why the majority of people are moaning so much regarding the loss of the sd slot and the headphone jack. It's not that they offer you limited storage options, with the basic being 128 GB, and the removal of the headphone jack is something that is happening in nearly all the flagship phones in the past few years. I'm currently using my galaxy s8, which I have since 2017 and I don't think I ever had a problem with my 64 GBs. Granted I don't play games on that one, but I have plenty of apps and with Spotify there even when downloading playlists I still have plenty of space.
Also regarding the loss of the QHD, panel to an FHD, as I have permanently my phone on the FHD and the number of times I used the QHD is scarce.

Anyways, sorry for the long text.

Find two differents between S21 and S20. Money for nothing.

  • FanBIY

Where is the charger and MicroSD expansion?? What a joke

  • T-Money

Note9 User, 28 Jan 2021Dear GSMArena, on p.5. 'Camera quality', under &#... moreWhat I noticed was that some of pictures had parts that were blurry, particularly as you get near the edges. It almost looked like some parts of the image had another image stacked on the top, but slightly askew.

I was wondering why more people weren't commenting on this!!

  • Arte

Only 8gb ram, the s205g had 12 GB ram.
Epic fail

  • sdny8

Returning the S21. I can't get past the slow face unlock and inability to unlock using fingerprint sensor half the time. The UI isn't my cup of tea either still too far from stock Android.

  • Note9 User

Alex, 28 Jan 2021Have you seen the camera samples before the update? They we... moreOkay thanks, it would be good if Samsung would allow itself more time for software fine tuning before the review stage, otherwise people might think it's the hardware & ISP.

  • Alex

Note9 User, 28 Jan 2021Dear GSMArena, on p.5. 'Camera quality', under &#... moreHave you seen the camera samples before the update? They were just terrible, ultrawide unusable even in daylight.
Now they've all got better, to the level of S20: ultrawide produces good daylight images but tele still lags a little behind S20. With the exception of the selfie cam was better than S20 from the very beginning.
But all three are still hardly usable at night beyond ISO 640.

  • Note9 User

Dear GSMArena, on p.5. 'Camera quality', under 'Image quality', you state:

'Update, January 27: Three days after publishing the original version of this review, our Galaxy S21 received a major firmware update (640MB+), which included improvements to the camera. We were hoping these would address certain peculiarities we had experienced with the phone and they, indeed, have.'

Please can you tell us which aspect of the images are improved, I'm guessing it's soft detail & maybe colour saturation ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ please confirm, & which if any of the images are post update.
Thank you in advance.

  • Anonymous

Had this a few days now, I was going to wait and see what other phones come out but this ticks all my boxes and with the samsung promotion it helped make my choice. I usually buy sim free but got this through a network provider.

Nice in the hand, one handed use was a must, my old phone forced me to stretch my hand open further than felt natural. I also did not want a glass back, and will likely add a slim case to it as well. I like the idea of higher quality plastic backs or leather backs like what oppo are using. Camera is good, was out taking photos in almost pitch black handheld and whilst not up to proper camera standards are very useable for snapshots. Good results in the daylight too.

Wifi hotspot is blazing fast compared to my old phone. this supports 5ghz and wifi6 so getting proper speeds now through to my laptop. Only concern I have at the moment is maybe the battery size / life. Wish for a bit bigger but the S21+ is too large a phone for the upgraded battery and didnt want glass back either.

Overall very happy with it so far but would not have bought it sim free for so big of an upfront cost.