Samsung Galaxy S21 and S21+: Familiar and a little better

At its global Unpacked event, Samsung introduced the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21+, the latest flagship series that embodies unrivalled craftsmanship, connectivity, power and performance. The beautiful devices offer an iterative bump overall and a familiar user experience.

For smaller hands, the Galaxy S21 comes in a light and compact body with a 6.2-inch display whereas the Galaxy S21+ sports a larger 6.7-inch display with an even bigger battery.

The most notable change to the Galaxy S21 series is the design—now with an iconic Contour Cut Camera housing that blends into the metal chassis. It comes in an array of eye-catching colours including a new signature colour, Phantom Violet. It offers IP68 water and dust resistance out-of-the-box. Note that the Galaxy S21’s back panel is made of polycarbonate and not glass.

Size aside, the two Galaxy S21 share the same underpinnings. The display is a Dynamic AMOLED 2X Infinity-O Display (2400×1080) with an adaptive 120Hz refresh rate (48-120Hz) and HDR10+ support.

The Galaxy S21 weighs just 169g while its larger sibling tops 200g on the scales.

Under the hood, the Galaxy S21 Series is powered by either the all-new 5nm octa-core Exynos 2100 process or the 5nm Snapdragon 888 depending on market.

Paired with 8GB LPDDR5 RAM and 256GB internal storage, it lacks microSD storage expansion and a headphone jack.

The Galaxy S21 houses a 4,000mAh battery while the Galaxy S21+ features a 4,800mAh battery that supports USB PD 3.0 certified Fast Charging and Fast Wireless Charging 2.0.

Both models are 5G-enabled, supporting 5G Non-Standalone (NSA), Standalone (SA), sub6, and Ultra-Wideband (UWB)*. *UWB only on Galaxy S21+.

Beating Apple to the punch, Samsung introduced the Galaxy SmartTag Bluetooth locator. Coupled with SmartThings Find, you can easily locate Galaxy devices (even when they’re offline) and non-connected devices that are attached with the SmartTag.

The new series comes with NFC and MST for SamsungPay, although availability may vary depending on the market/region.

In terms of the camera, Samsung continues to enhance the pro-grade hardware and software of its flagship Galaxy smartphone series.

The triple camera system on the rear consists of a 12MP fixed focus ultra-wide camera with f/2.2 aperture and 1.4-micron pixels; 12MP dual pixel AF wide-angle shooter with f/1.8 and 1.8-micron pixels; and a 64MP f/2.0 telephoto camera with PDAF and OIS. The camera supports 30X Space Zoom as seen on the previous series, which also offers 3x Hybrid Optic Zoom.

Samsung has improved the 8K Snap feature and you’ll find familiar features like Super Steady video, Single Take, Portrait Mode, Night Mode, and Dynamic Slow-Mo. What’s new is Director’s View that lets you capture and view video from all camera simultaneously. The Vlogger View lets you capture video from front and rear cameras at once for real-time reactions.

Alongside the new Galaxy Buds Pro, you can also capture ambient sounds and your voice using multiple mic recording.

The Galaxy S21 Series run OneUI 3 based on Android 11.

By the way, following in Apple’s footsteps, Samsung is not including a charging brick or headphones in the box.

Pricing and availability

The Galaxy S21 starts from USD799 (~MYR3,225) while the Galaxy S21+ starts from USD999 (~MYR4,033). Samsung also launched the Galaxy S21 Ultra, for USD1,199 (~MYR4,840).

The phones are available for pre-order and will launch on 29 January 2021.

By Vernon

Vernon is the founder and chief editor of A graphic designer by profession, he has a deep love for technology, cars, gadgets, food, and travel. He tweets too much and is also known as a caffeine bacterium ("life's too short for bad coffee"). Bleeds Blue (go Chelsea FC!) and considers BMW, Porsche, Alfa Romeo cars to have in the garage--for true petrolheads, that is.