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Samsung Galaxy M21 quick thoughts

We reviewed the budget smartphone by Samsung, the Galaxy M21. The highlight of the smartphone is its 6000mAh battery and triple rear cameras. Is the entire package worth it? Read on.

Samsung Galaxy M21
Samsung Galaxy M21 (Hindustan Times)

A year ago, when we talked about ‘budget’ or the ‘affordable’ segment, we had to bring brands like Xiaomi and Realme in the conversation. But Samsung has been playing its aggressive game and is leaving no stone unturned in carving out a space in that ‘budget’ smartphone segment. And it is doing this with its Galaxy M21 this time. 

This smartphone is fairly new in India and you can get it in two versions - 4GB+64GB and 6GB+128GB at 14,499 and 16,499. Now that’s a really competitive price and you definitely have the likes of Realme 6 and 6 Pro or the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 Pro or 9 Pro Max in the same price range. But we’re not here to compare it spec-wise with rivals. We’re here to give our initial thoughts on the handset.

We got the more affordable 4GB+64GB Midnight Blue model, which we have used for a while. The design and build is nothing ‘premium’ here, which is expected considering Samsung’s history of launches, the price and the Galaxy M series that has most phones sporting similar looks. The plastic back panel is well, usual looking with no head-turning features. However, it is in fact sturdy and can take a fall or two from pocket height.

Samsung Galaxy M21
Samsung Galaxy M21 (Hindustan Times)

Those with rather small hands might find it difficult to operate single handedly as the fingerprint sensor at the back may slightly out of reach for them and so will be the volume buttons that are placed almost on the top right corner. 

The screen is one of the best parts of the Galaxy M21. That’s because at 14,499 you are getting a 6.4-inch Super AMOLED screen by Samsung with FHD+ (2340x1080 pixels) resolution. That’s not bad at all. The saturation levels are on spot, peak brightness level is good and Blacks are as dark as they should be. Some usuals are also there including the Adaptive Brightness feature, Dark Mode, Full Screen App settings, navigation gestures and more.

Also read: Samsung Galaxy M21: In pics

Powerformance-wsie you won’t feel any lag or stuttering for the most part. At least light user won’t. If you want a tab bit smoother manoeuvring through the OneUI 2.0, we’d suggest you go for the 6GB RAM variant. Powering the Galaxy M21 is the Exynos 9611 octa-core processor with four Cortex A-73 and four Cortex A-53 cores, along with Mali-G72 MP3 GPU. 

Samsung Galaxy M21
Samsung Galaxy M21 (Hindustan Times)

The camera front is handled by a 48-megapixel sensor, 8-megapixel wide angle sensor and a 5-megapixel depth sensor. They are fairly good in some areas and one of them is the shutter delay. What however, can be improved is the autofocus, which takes a few seconds to lock the subject.This even goes for the Face Lock. 

We could also see the smartphone taking a couple of seconds to process the image before showing up in preview. However, all that is balanced by the image quality, which was better than we thought. In dim lighting conditions, the smartphone plays well with the noise and doesn’t distort the image by a large margin. Even the zoomed in shots are well-lit and sharp. 

The 20-megapixel selfie camera really impressed us. From quick lock of the subject to Live Focus, the handset handled the image quite well. Even the editing and customisation options are ample enough to get creative with solo and group selfies.

Samsung Galaxy M21
Samsung Galaxy M21 (Hindustan Times)

On the software side of things, Samsung gives you almost the same set of features that you see in any other Galaxy smartphone, even in the A and S series. Auto HDR, Grids, HEVC video format shooting, slow motion videos, 4K resolution video recording are some of the features.

The handset has a massive 6000mAh battery, which can exceed the 24 hour mark if you are a light or an average user. Heavy users will still be able to make it through the day easily, even though the smartphone is not made for them. So if you are playing PUBG, streaming movies or just browsing social media apps, you can stay away from a charging point for the entire day without thinking about the battery ditching out on you. Although you also get a 10W charger along with it.

So all in all, the Samsung Galaxy M21 is an average phone when it comes to performance and looks. However, the display, camera and battery performance are its strongest points. If you are someone who plays a lot of online games, streams shows and movies and still wants some battery life left by the end of the day, the Galaxy M21 should be one of your best bets right now. However, if you want a good looking device that has a good overall performance, this might not be the one. 

Galaxy M21 can be called as a sensible move by Samsung as it does deliver the basics right. Yes, it does leave you wanting for more but still manages to pose a challenge for others.