Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus Overview: The Typical Center Youngster

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus is the awkward center youngster of the S21 household: it’s barely greater and higher than the usual Galaxy S21, however it’s not fairly the all-singing, all-dancing Galaxy S21 Extremely – however that’s to not say there’s not a spot for the Galaxy S21 Plus on this massive, crowded world.

The larger show and higher battery lifetime of the Galaxy S21 Plus make it extra tempting than the entry-level mannequin, and with a value reduce in comparison with the S20 Plus, it’s less expensive than the high-end S21 Extremely too. However with so many similarities to its predecessor, is the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus definitely worth the cash? Properly…

Design and construct

Whereas the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus shares similarities with its predecessor, design definitely isn’t one in all them, with all the S21 vary sporting a extra subtle look full with a brand new rear digicam housing that just about merges with the bezels that encompass the telephone.

It’s a premium look to go well with Samsung’s flagship Galaxy vary, and the brand new color choices – notably the gold and purple mixture provided for evaluate – look nice, but when purple isn’t your factor, it’s additionally out there in silver, black, gold and crimson, though the latter two choices are unique to these shopping for immediately from Samsung.

That vibrant rear is protected by glass, an improve from the ‘glasstic’ rear of the usual Samsung Galaxy S21, giving it a extra premium really feel within the hand, and the matte end means it’s not a lot of a fingerprint magnet both.

Flip it over and also you’ll discover a flat 6.7in AMOLED show with tiny bezels and a centrally positioned holepunch selfie cam, providing an 88.6% screen-to-body ratio.

Some could also be disillusioned on the departure of the curved edges featured in latest releases, and whereas I agree that curved shows look nicer than flat counterparts, producers by no means actually nailed the palm rejection tech. That meant mispresses have been commonplace, and there have been additionally points with textual content curving across the edges in apps, so it’s a wise transfer general.

It’s seemingly that after utilizing the telephone for a day or two, you received’t even discover the dearth of curved edges – I definitely didn’t.  

However regardless of the massive show on supply, the Galaxy S21 Plus doesn’t really feel notably giant or heavy within the hand, measuring in at 75.6 x 161.5 x 7.8mm and 202g. After all, this can depend upon private desire, so that you is perhaps higher with the smaller 6.2in Galaxy S21 in the event you wrestle with bigger smartphones.

There’s additionally IP68 mud and water resistance on supply, that means the S21 Plus is ok to make use of within the rain, and it would even survive a dunk within the water – though I wouldn’t go away it submerged for too lengthy if I have been you, as water harm isn’t really coated by Samsung’s guarantee. You’ve been warned.


In a world the place new smartphones usually boast extra cameras, extra pixels and extra energy, Samsung took the quite controversial determination to cut back the decision of the Galaxy S21 Plus in comparison with its predecessor. Whereas final 12 months’s S20 Plus featured a high-res QHD+ panel, the S21 Plus tops out at a Full HD+ decision. On paper, no less than, that’s a giant downgrade.

In actual life, nonetheless, it’s barely noticeable – even with a big 6.7in AMOLED show on supply. It’s seemingly that solely those that have been utilizing the S20 Plus that’d discover a downgrade when watching high-res films, however with comparatively few adjustments on supply, chances are high there received’t be many S20 Plus customers investing within the new mannequin anyway.

For the remainder of us, the show boasts a 394ppi pixel density that leaves textual content, apps, pictures and video games wanting crisp and sharp, and the intense 409nits show means it’s nice to be used outdoors too. Plus, extra pixels require extra energy, so why waste useful battery life on one thing you received’t discover more often than not? Full HD+ is probably going the candy spot for many. 

Apart from, one of many seemingly causes for ditching the high-res show is that you just beforehand had to decide on between a excessive decision and excessive refresh charge, and provided that the 120Hz refresh charge is rather more instantly noticeable, it’s seemingly that the majority S20 Plus house owners opted for the latter.

This time round you’ve acquired the adaptive 120Hz refresh charge as customary, making animations and scrolling a buttery-smooth delight. It’s sensible sufficient to robotically regulate the refresh charge from as little as 48Hz all the way in which as much as 120Hz, relying on what you’re doing, in a bid to enhance battery life. Gaming will get you the total 120Hz expertise, whereas much less graphically centered duties like listening to a podcast will cut back the refresh charge, and it’s often on the cash.

Decision and refresh charge apart, the opposite massive change on supply is within the in-display ultrasonic fingerprint scanner, which is 70 p.c bigger than that of the S20 Plus, making it simpler to find and unlock your telephone.

Some have complained in regards to the efficiency of the in-display scanner of the S21 Plus, however I haven’t discovered this to be the case, efficiently scanning my print and unlocking the telephone more often than not, and the bigger space means it’s simple to provoke the scan too.

Specs and efficiency

Samsung famously likes to separate its processor providing in its flagship Galaxy S vary, which often leads to these within the US gaining access to Qualcomm chips whereas a lot of the world makes use of Samsung’s personal Exynos chipsets. And, contemplating the truth that Qualcomm’s chips often supply higher efficiency and battery life than the Exynos chips, it has been a pain-point for UK and European consumers – till now.

No, Samsung hasn’t determined to ship a Qualcomm-enabled Galaxy S21 Plus all over the world – the 5nm flagship Snapdragon 888 remains to be a US unique – however the Exynos 2100 chipset has come alongside leaps and bounds, lastly providing comparable efficiency to Qualcomm’s possibility. Being based mostly within the UK, this evaluate will concentrate on the Exynos-powered variant of the S21 Plus.

The large query is, how does it carry out in benchmarks? It’s excellent news for the Exynos-powered Galaxy S21 Plus, hitting 3589 in multi-core Geekbench 5 CPU checks and 43fps within the highest high quality Aztec Ruins OpenGL GFXBench benchmarks, simply competing with a lot of the competitors in 2021. You may check out the benchmark breakdown right here:

After all, benchmarks are a great way to quantify efficiency, however it by no means tells the total story. In real-world efficiency, the Galaxy S21 Plus is blisteringly quick: apps open immediately, it could deal with media-heavy apps like Twitter and Fb with out a trace of stutter and it could energy high-end cell video games like Name of Obligation Cell with out breaking a sweat.

That super-fast expertise is additional enhanced by the buttery {smooth} 120Hz refresh charge, making the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus a pleasure to make use of each day.

Like its customary sibling, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus sports activities 8GB of RAM as customary. That’s greater than sufficient for the common joe, however in the event you’re the sort to multitask and edit/export movies on the go, the S21 Extremely’s 12- or 16GB of RAM could also be extra up your avenue.

That’s paired with both 128 or 256GB of storage, however in contrast to some rivals, that is extra essential as there isn’t a microSD card slot on any of the S21 vary. Contemplating it has lengthy been a robust benefit for Android telephones in comparison with the iPhone, it’s disappointing to see it disappear from Samsung’s 2021 flagship Galaxy vary – particularly in the event you intend on recording numerous movies and downloading a bunch of apps.

By way of connectivity, look forward to finding the newest and biggest together with 5G, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.Zero and assist for ultra-wideband (UWB), permitting for simpler location of Samsung’s new Bluetooth tracker amongst different SmartThings advantages.

With regards to software program, the Galaxy S21 Plus runs Android 11 with Samsung’s One UI 3.1 pores and skin. Samsung’s One UI has come a good distance previously few years, providing distinctive options together with Samsung DeX assist, and it’s usually slick in operation, however there are some nuances to get used to in the event you’re coming from a tool operating inventory Android.

It’s value noting that whereas the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus will get the improve to Android 12, don’t wager on it taking place anytime quickly. Even when Google releases the software program within the subsequent few months, Samsung is somewhat slower than the likes of OnePlus on the subject of releasing the replace to its current vary, and we don’t envision it hitting earlier than the tip of 2021 or, extra seemingly, early 2022.

Digital camera

One space that has remained largely unchanged is the digicam division, with the Galaxy S21 Plus sporting what is basically the identical setup as that of the S20 Plus, compromised of a 12Mp principal snapper, 12Mp ultra-wide and a 64Mp telephoto lens with 3x hybrid zoom. That will sound disappointing, however contemplating the nice efficiency from the Galaxy S20 Plus, it’s not an enormous grievance.

As anticipated, photographs from the principle 12Mp rear snapper are detailed, vibrant and supply nice color accuracy, and the f/1.eight aperture means it excels within the low-light division too, additional enhanced by the digicam’s devoted Evening Mode. It’s a flexible snapper that you just’ll seemingly be utilizing more often than not.

The 120-degree ultra-wide-angle captures extra of the scene with a barely extra warped fisheye perspective that may distort on the edges, however relying on what you’re snapping, it’s probably not a lot of a difficulty. It’s superb for panorama images, and it’ll be nice to seize group photographs as soon as we will all start assembly up in giant teams once more.

It’s not fairly as succesful in low mild as the principle snapper with an f/2.2 aperture, however utilizing it at the side of the Evening Mode often produces first rate outcomes.

The telephoto lens presents a 3x hybrid zoom that produces outcomes you’d be blissful to share on social media, however that rapidly stops as you enhance the digital zoom to 10x, 20x or the utmost 30x zoom. The digitally magnified photographs usually lack any actual element, corresponding to CCTV footage from the early 00s, and it’s unlikely that you just’ll be utilizing all of it that always.

On the flip, you’ll discover a 10Mp selfie digicam that’s vivid and detailed sufficient for selfies and, arguably extra essential throughout a pandemic, it’s nice for video calls too.

That’s all very acquainted, however the lack of {hardware} adjustments meant Samsung might concentrate on enhancing the software program aspect of issues.

One such new function is Director’s View, permitting you to take pictures and movies utilizing the entrance and rear cameras on the similar time. That’s nice for vloggers that wish to seize response photographs as they’re recording footage on the rear digicam, merging the 2 photographs into one with out the necessity for modifying software program, and it usually works fairly properly. You’ve even acquired a preview of all three rear cameras without delay, permitting you to preview and alter lens mid-recording.  

There are additionally enhancements to the Single Take mode launched on the Galaxy S20 vary, which for the unitiated, takes pictures and movies utilizing all three rear-facing cameras on the similar time and, utilizing AI, presents what it thinks are one of the best photographs. It really works a lot the identical because it did beforehand, however with the brand new addition of slo-mo video assist, making it a useful function when making an attempt to get a snap or a video of a fast-moving topic like a toddler or a pet.

What’s barely disappointing is the return of [email protected] video – it was current on the Galaxy S20 vary on the similar framerate, and given the increase in efficiency and the claims of [email protected] video on supply from each the Snapdragon 888 and Exynos 2100, it’s disappointing to not see a rise on the Galaxy S21 Plus. Even 30fps would’ve offered barely smoother high-res footage.

In actuality, although, it’s unlikely you’ll be capturing in 8K anytime quickly given the massive file sizes and the dearth of 8K TVs to have the ability to really take pleasure in the additional element on supply. Extra helpful are the [email protected] or 60fps choices and 240fps slow-mo modes additionally out there on the Galaxy S21 Plus.

Battery life

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus sports activities a 4,800mAh battery, however as we all know from earlier Samsung telephones, a big capability doesn’t equate to nice battery life – it additionally is dependent upon how power-efficient the chipset is, and that’s historically the place the Exynos chipset has struggled.

The excellent news is that Samsung has made strides in that division. The Galaxy S21 Plus comfortably makes it via a full day with reasonable use, together with texting, taking the occasional photograph and enjoying a recreation or two of Name of Obligation Cell, and in the event you use your telephone much less usually, it might prolong to round a day and a half earlier than needing a top-up. You could possibly additional prolong it by capping the show refresh charge at 60Hz, however the place’s the enjoyable in that?

Curiously, Samsung has dropped the quick cost of this 12 months’s vary, capping it at 25W in comparison with 45W on supply from final 12 months’s mannequin, however Samsung claims that it’s on account of improved effectivity of the 25W charging capabilities.

It’s not a declare that may be simply examined although, as Samsung adopted Apple’s instance and has determined to not ship earbuds or a charging brick with the S21 vary, assuming that the majority have already got a charger useful, permitting the corporate to scale back general environmental waste. If you happen to do want a 25W charger to get untethered rapidly, Samsung at the moment sells them for £29/$19.

There’s additionally 10W wi-fi charging assist, and if you should top-up your Qi-enabled wi-fi earbuds or smartwatch, there’s 5W reverse wi-fi charging on supply too.


Samsung’s mid-tier Galaxy S21 Plus is available in at a cool £949/$999 for the 128GB/8GB mixture, and there’s additionally a 256GB/8GB combo that’ll set you again an extra £50/$50 at £999/$1,049. That will sound costly – and it’s – however it’s less expensive than the S20 Plus, notably within the US, which launched at a whopping £999/$1,199.

If you happen to’re tempted by Samsung’s newest Plus mannequin, you possibly can choose it up from the likes of Samsung and Currys within the UK, together with Samsung and Greatest Purchase within the US if you wish to purchase it outright.

You can even get it on contract, with Vodafone providing the Galaxy S21 Plus for £48 a month with a £48 upfront price, alongside the likes of O2, EE and Carphone Warehouse.  


The brand new design on supply from the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus appears to be like nice, and the brand new color choices add a vibrant really feel to the flagship smartphone. There’s a glass rear, providing an improve in really feel in comparison with the glasstic rear of the usual Galaxy S21, and the matte end means it’s not a fingerprint magnet both. Some could lament the dearth of a curved show, however with out the mispresses that got here hand-in-hand with curved shows, most will seemingly recognize the shift again.

Although the show has had a downgrade in decision from QHD+ to FHD+, it’s seemingly that you just received’t discover a distinction in real-world use. Apart from, it means you possibly can take advantage of the 120Hz refresh charge, one thing not out there at QHD+ on the S20 Plus, and a decreased decision improves battery life too.

Talking of, Samsung has lastly cracked the chipset system and produced an Exynos chipset able to competing with choices from Qualcomm, providing each blistering quick efficiency and all-day battery life with reasonable use – nice information for anybody seeking to choose up the Galaxy S21 Plus outdoors of the US.

There could also be an issue on the subject of charging, although, with Samsung following Apple’s lead, ditching each the charging brick and headphones this time round. If you happen to want a 25W charger to reap the benefits of the fast-charging tech, you’ll have to choose one up individually.

There aren’t many adjustments in digicam {hardware} on supply, however with nice efficiency from final 12 months’s S20 Plus digicam providing, it’s not an enormous disappointment. It allowed Samsung to focus extra on the software program, introducing the multi-camera Director Mode and enhancements to the One Take performance too. These wanting extra succesful cameras ought to go for the ultra-premium Galaxy S21 Extremely.

There isn’t sufficient right here to tempt S20 Plus house owners to improve, sharing most of the similar options and, in some respects, a downgrade in specs, however it’s an important possibility for these coming from an older smartphone eager to expertise a 2021 flagship.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus: Specs

6.7in Full HD+ Dynamic AMOLED 48Hz-120Hz show

Ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor

Gorilla Glass Victus (back and front)

Steel body

5nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 888/Samsung Exynos 2100 SoC (market dependant)


128GB/256GB non-expandable storage

Rear cameras: 12Mp principal, 12Mp ultrawide, 64Mp telephoto

10Mp front-facing digicam

Stereo audio system

Android 11 w/ One UI 3.1

Samsung DeX assist

IP68 mud/water resistance


WiFi 6
Bluetooth 5.0

UWB (ultra-wideband) assist

4800mAh battery

25W quick charging (contains PD charging assist)

10W wi-fi charging

Reverse wi-fi charging

75.6mm x 161.5mm x 7.8mm

202 grams

Launch colors: Phantom Black, Phantom Silver, Phantom Violet

Samsung.com unique colors: Phantom Gold, Phantom Purple

About the author: SubSellKaro

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