Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G review
Almost as big as the Ultra, but not quite as camera-centric. Nearly identical to the vanilla, but with a plus-size screen, extra battery and a more premium touch. Yes, we're talking about the middle option in the 2021 Samsung S-series roster, the Galaxy S21+.
Plus stands for 'more of it', and the S21+ has a bigger display - at 6.7 inches in diagonal, it's a lot closer to the Ultra's 6.8 inches than it is to the S21 proper's 6.2. Beyond the size, however, it's more vanilla than it is Ultra - the resolution is 1080p, and the Adaptive refresh rate handling is the half-there variety, but Adaptive it is nonetheless.
There's 'more of it' when it comes to battery capacity, and here, too, Plus aims for the Ultra - at 4,800mAh, it's oh-so-close to the 5,000mAh of the top model. More importantly, perhaps, the middle option is the only one that's gotten a battery upgrade this year.
The third area where the Galaxy S21+ differs from the S21 is the build. And here, from the vantage point of the S21+, the choice of plastic for the S21's back makes sense - this way, the Plus has one more thing going for it. Maybe.A family of Galaxies: S21, S21+, S21 Ultra
We touched upon the differences between the S21 and S21+, two out of three of those quantitative, the other - well, qualitative. Here's a reminder of the other bits that make up the S21+.
Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G specs at a glance:
- Body: 161.5x75.6x7.8mm, 200g; Glass front (Gorilla Glass Victus), glass back (Gorilla Glass Victus), aluminum frame; IP68 dust/water resistant (up to 1.5m for 30 mins).
- Display: 6.70" Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 120Hz, HDR10+, 1300 nits (peak), 1080x2400px resolution, 20:9 aspect ratio, 394ppi; Always-on display.
- Chipset (International): Exynos 2100: Octa-core (1x2.9 GHz Cortex-X1 & 3x2.80 GHz Cortex-A78 & 4x2.2 GHz Cortex-A55); Mali-G78 MP14.
- Chipset (USA/China): Qualcomm SM8350 Snapdragon 888 (5 nm): Octa-core (1x2.84 GHz Kryo 680 & 3x2.42 GHz Kryo 680 & 4x1.80 GHz Kryo 680; Adreno 660.
- Memory: 128GB 8GB RAM, 256GB 8GB RAM; UFS 3.1.
- OS/Software: Android 11, One UI 3.1.
- Rear camera: Wide (main): 12 MP, f/1.8, 26mm, 1/1.76", 1.8µm, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS; Ultra wide angle: 12 MP, f/2.2, 13mm, 120˚, 1/2.55" 1.4µm, Super Steady video; Telephoto: 64 MP, f/2.0, 29mm, 1/1.72", 0.8µm, PDAF, OIS, 1.1x optical zoom, 3x hybrid zoom.
- Front camera: 10 MP, f/2.2, 26mm, 1/3.24", 1.22µm, Dual Pixel PDAF.
- Video capture: Rear camera: 8K@24fps, 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/240fps, 720p@960fps, HDR10+, stereo sound rec., gyro-EIS; Front camera: 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30fps.
- Battery: 4800mAh; Fast charging 25W, USB Power Delivery 3.0, Fast Qi/PMA wireless charging 15W, Reverse wireless charging 4.5W.
- Misc: Fingerprint reader (under display, ultrasonic); NFC; FM radio (Snapdragon model only; market/operator dependent); Samsung DeX, Samsung Wireless DeX (desktop experience support), Samsung Pay (Visa, MasterCard certified), ANT+, Bixby natural language commands and dictation.
Samsung Galaxy S21+ unboxing
The Galaxy S21+ arrives in the same half-height box as the other high-end Galaxies for 2021 and, likely, from here on. When you don't pack a charger and headphones, there's no point in wasting cardboard, is there?
We're not strictly against the disappearing chargers trend. There are charging stations in the office with QuickCharge 3.0 outputs, and those have been serving us well for several years now and will continue to do so. Additionally, between us, we've bought an assortment of USB Power Delivery adapters for personal use and the bulk of us likely fall in that group of people who won't be needing new chargers with their next phone purchase. So there could be actual benefits to this, eventually. Perhaps the way the marketing teams have been sugarcoating the process is what's been most annoying. Anyway, on to the design.