Samsung Galaxy S21 5G Review, More Fun Than Galaxy S20 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G Review

Of the many flagship smartphones available today, there are only a few choices for those who want a powerful device with the best camera performance and capabilities. In the end, the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G came after the Plus and Ultra variants were inaugurated earlier.

Its presence can be said to be a breath of fresh air, especially for those who are looking for a flagship with small dimensions. The price is quite cheap, even cheaper than the previous generation, if you buy it during the first sale. However, yes, there is something "subtracted" from the previous series, although in my opinion it's still okay.

After a week of using the Galaxy S21 as a daily driver, this smartphone might very well be your best choice. Not in the same class, indeed, but my impressions with the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G are more enjoyable than yesterday's Galaxy S20 Ultra. Why is that? Here's the full review.


It's been a long time since I held a smartphone this small, the flagship class too. Finally, the iPhone 7, which is an old flagship, before finally deciding to upgrade to the iPhone with "bangs". Therefore, I am excited to try this standard variant of the Galaxy S21.

The thickness is 7.9mm and weighs only 170 grams. Indeed, Samsung decided to use polycarbonate material on the rear body, where the other two series use glass. But Samsung is great enough to create an in-hand feeling or a feeling when held like glass. There is almost no difference.

And the reason Samsung makes sense is that consumers want a light weight when holding a small smartphone. Another reason, is to be able to present more color options; Phantom Gray, Phantom White, Phantom Pink and Phantom Violet. In my opinion, this Phantom Violet color is quite neutral, not too feminine and not flashy in some conditions, it looks more light blue.

The combination of the frame to the gold camera module is also very fitting. Talking about the design of the new camera module, I was skeptical at first. But when I saw it in person, it turned out to be better than expected. Of course, the IP68 certification is also still present. For this part, perfect for me.


There is something trimmed on the Galaxy S21 screen when compared to the previous series. The screen is now flat, and the resolution has also dropped from QHD to "just" full HD. I myself am more comfortable navigating on a flat screen, and in terms of resolution, it still looks very sharp, especially at its compact size.

Measuring 6.2 inches in size, the four bezels are extremely thin and symmetrical, making them feel smaller in the hand. Use a 2X Dynamic AMOLED panel, the refresh rate can reach 120Hz. It's coated with Gorilla Glass Victus and can light up to 1300 nits, brighter than the previous S20.

The quality of the panels is of course top notch. The resolution that has dropped from the previous generation is not a problem for me, who also uses full HD when reviewing the Galaxy S20 Ultra & Note20 Ultra. It still looks sharp, and can save power too, especially with the adaptive refresh rate support.


And as expected, the three of them used the exact same type of sensor from the previous series; 12MP f / 1.8 Dual Pixel with OIS, 12MP f / 2.2 ultra wide-angle, and 64MP f / 2.0 telephoto with 3x hybrid zoom. However, that does not mean there is no improvement.

Just like the Google Pixel, which uses the same sensor for several generations, the quality of photos and videos has improved thanks to the image signal processor (ISP) supported by the latest chipsets, as well as assistance from AI. And it can be seen from the photos and videos produced by the Galaxy S21. Can produce high quality photos of any situation.

The main sensor can produce sharp photos with good color reproduction. The advantage of not using a 108MP sensor like the Ultra series is that it can focus faster, and the focus range is wider. Unfortunately, the ultra wide-angle sensor is not equipped with autofocus.

The telephoto sensor will indeed produce smoother photos (which can also be seen from portraits), but it is still very suitable for sharing on social media. Night mode on the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G is also not excessive, aka it can still make photos clearer without making night photos look like the afternoon.

Even without a special depth sensor, the separation between the object and the background from the portrait photos is quite good, closer to the Pixel in my opinion. For video recording, it can record up to 8K 24fps or 4K 30fps on all camera sensors. So when recording video, you are free to move from the three rear sensors to the front camera though.

Samsung provides Director's View mode to record video from both sides of the camera, as well as notify the user of the point-of-view (PoV) of each sensor, so they can know exactly the view of each sensor before deciding to switch. The Single Take mode can also take more content, with a duration of 5 - 15 seconds.


One UI 3.1 based on Android 11 on the Galaxy S21 looks more mature and simpler. When I first explored the homescreen, I was immediately surprised when I swiped to the right. The far left page is now given the default Google Discover option, which previously used Samsung's own feed. The power button doesn't have to be the shortcut for Bixby.

The rest is more or less the same as the previous One UI. What I want to mention here is the quality of the speakers that are loud and clear even though the dimensions are small, plus the vibration motor is also precise and smooth. And what became a star for me, although not very superior, is the in-display fingerprint sensor.

Use the second generation from Qualcomm, the sensor is made bigger and more responsive. With my sweaty fingers, the success rate has increased considerably from last year's Samsung flagship. It also feels faster, even though it's not as instant as realm or OPPO.


Just like before, the official Galaxy S21 series comes using the Exynos 2100 5nm. This chipset has a CPU architecture similar to that of the Snapdragon 888, aka the fastest 1-core, 3-core and 4-core which is more power efficient. RAM capacity is 8GB, with 128 / 256GB memory options without a microSD card slot.

Of course, the performance of the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G is very fast. Moreover, with a full HD resolution screen and One UI which seems to be quite optimal, the process of opening applications and multitasking is no problem at all. It's just that, the part around the rear camera will feel quite warm, especially when camera access is intensive. Not to the point of being annoying, but you will feel it without an additional casing.


Because of its small dimensions, of course the battery capacity carried by the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G will be more comfortable. 4,000 mAh, supports fast charging 25W via cable and 15W wirelessly. The fast charging standard is not the fastest among other Android flagships, so it takes time to fully charge.

Charging for 30 minutes just reaches about 50%, while to reach 100% takes about 75 minutes. Screen on-time is only about 4 hours, and for everyday use, it can last from morning to night. As long as you don't access the camera too often, because the battery percentage can drop dramatically.


This is the best compact flagship Android smartphone this early 2020. The price is also relatively cheap, especially if consumers buy it during the initial sales promo period, with a bonus that if calculated is even cheaper than the Galaxy S20 FE.

As long as it is still able to accept some disadvantages such as no microSD card slot and the battery resistance is slightly detachable. And the equipment is now more minimalist, without a charger head and earphones. The Galaxy S21 can be an alternative for those of you who want a Samsung flagship at the cheapest price.

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