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Samsung Galaxy S21+ review: Almost perfect

Samsung Galaxy S21+ review
Samsung Galaxy S21+ review (HT Tech)

The Galaxy S21+ seems like the perfect choice from Samsung's flagship trio. It does have some shortcomings though giving it that near-perfect tag and in our review we've explained why. Read on.

Samsung’s Galaxy S21 phones are the most premium Android phones out there right now. All three phones come with the fastest mobile chipset, upgrades in camera, one of the best displays and premium-looking design.

The Galaxy S21+ sits between the vanilla Galaxy S21 and the high-end Galaxy S21 Ultra. It comes with all the flagship offerings albeit there are some exclusive features available on the S21+ Ultra. The Galaxy S21+ seems like the perfect choice from Samsung's flagship trio. It does have some shortcomings though giving it that “near-perfect” tag. 

Let's start with the design. If you're familiar with the Galaxy Note 20 series, you'll see a lot of it on the Galaxy S21+, particularly the raised rear camera module on that glossy metallic finish. The Galaxy S21+ unit we received is the 'Phantom Violet' with the gold embellishments on the cameras and all around the phone. We personally quite liked this design as it made the phone stand out and look luxurious. It's also much better than the sober colours we saw on the Galaxy S20+.

Galaxy S21+ in Phantom Violet
Galaxy S21+ in Phantom Violet (HT Tech)

Samsung has possibly the best AMOLED displays on a smartphone, and the same can be seen on the Galaxy S21+ as well. Adding to that is the 120Hz adaptive display. Colours are vivid and bright which is very Samsung-like. The animations and scrolling experience are really smooth. Galaxy S21+ has an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor which is fast but requires you to place your finger very accurately for it to read.

Galaxy S21+ has a 6.7-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED display.
Galaxy S21+ has a 6.7-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED display. (HT Tech)

The Galaxy S21 series is powered by the Exynos 2100 which is said to be the equivalent of the Qualcomm 888 processor. It ships with 8GB of RAM and up to 256GB of on-board storage. The phone is updated to the latest One UI 3.1 version with March 2021 security update.

Day to day tasks like browsing through social apps, WhatsApp, streaming and a little bit of game are a breeze on the phone. It does tend to heat up a little bit during times like installing a software update, streaming for a long time, and gaming too. It is a bit annoying in the beginning but not so much that you would want to stop using it. The battery life was slightly disappointing. With adaptive brightness and always on display turned on throughout, the Galaxy S21+ will get you just around a day's juice. On excessive usage like watching videos continuously will make the phone last just around 6-7 hours. 

We did face stutters with the camera app of the phone, especially when capturing photos continuously with the 64-megapixel sensor. The camera app would freeze for a few seconds, and we had to force close it to get it running again. Otherwise the phone handled regular heavy tasks well. Gaming was honestly a delight on the phone that even light games like Among Us looked very appealing. Genshin Impact was one game we really enjoyed playing on the Galaxy S21+ since it's rich in graphics. The gameplay was smooth and fast, and it offered a rich experience altogether.

The cameras are a definite winner for the Galaxy S21+. Samsung tries to offer an almost natural look with its photos but there's a slight tinge of beautification noticeable. It's not bad though and nothing too crazy like the Oppos and Vivos. And Samsung does it without big numbered sensors. You'll notice rich colour reproduction in the photos, something Samsung users will be familiar with.

Samsung Galaxy S21+ camera sample
Samsung Galaxy S21+ camera sample (HT Tech)
Samsung Galaxy S21+ camera sample
Samsung Galaxy S21+ camera sample (HT Tech)

We quite enjoyed shooting videos with the Galaxy S21+. So far, the flagship iPhones have been the go-to choices for videos but the Galaxy S21+ does an excellent job as well. We tried out the Director's View too which is an interesting feature but we didn't find much use for it in our day-to-day functioning.

This is something we don't usually talk about in our reviews but we have to mention it since it's a first for the Galaxy S21 series. The in-box accessories have been limited to the charging cable, SIM ejector tool and user guide. Samsung has its reasons for doing so but it’s not really convenient for customers since it’s a Type-C to Type-C charging cable so you need a Type-C adapter. Also, if you want fast charging you would need to get an adapter for this or settle with slow charging.

Verdict

The Galaxy S21+ is an expensive phone with a price tag of 81,999. That’s a lot to spend on a phone, any phone. But it does deliver in almost all the areas, and it’s also the closest competitor to the iPhone 12 series. 

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