The Samsung Galaxy S21 plus bears more resemblance to the Galaxy S21, compared to the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
Expert Rating 4/5
Samsung’s annual fixture at the launch of the new Galaxy S-series flagship ended a few weeks ago, with the company announcing a trio of phones including the Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21 Plus, and Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G. Interestingly, unlike previous years, the difference between the S21 Plus and Ultra models is quite significant at the moment. Additionally, the price of the Galaxy S21 Plus is also very low, which also gives rise to the question – should you save a few bucks and set aside the S21 Plus or, the S21 Ultra 5G? I will try and reply to this review. Stay with me
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus is a feature-rich flagship that invites competition from its own brethren. As a result, it is topped in terms of specs by the Ultra model and is the standard Galaxy S21 in terms of affordability.
Design and performance
Turn off the late kick by talking about the design of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus and here, the company has adopted a slightly different way of styling the phone than the Ultra model. How you may ask? First of all, you can take the phone in dubbed Phantom Violet with an amazing two-tone finish, which is only for S21 and S21 Plus variants. As you can see from the images attached in this review, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus looks a class different in this Hue and whenever you take it out of your pocket, the smartphone will undoubtedly attract the eyeball.
Unlike the other, all-metal S21 Ultra 5G, the S21 Plus uses a mixture of glass and plastic for its construction. As a result, while the S21 Ultra 5G edges up by introducing a more luxurious in-hand feel, the S21 Plus ’20g lighter chassis is significantly more comfortable to use and manage on a day-to-day basis.
This is not to say that the Galaxy S21 Plus makes you feel cheap, focuses on you, and the handset still offers a sense of premiumness that you expect from the Samsung flagship. What’s more, the phone also ships with IP68 certification, which can cause damage from accidental splashes of water.
And, you’ll also get Corning’s latest Gorilla Glass Victus on the back and front of the handset, which can limit scratches to an extent on your brand new S21 Plus. All the good stuff, really. So, if you ask me, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus is a great phone in its own right and can easily stand up against the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G in terms of design.
Unfortunately, more than I can say about the performance of the phone, but before you take out your pitchfork, allow me to make a case for the same. You see, Samsung phones have always offered the most amazing performance in their respective price ranges and the S21 series is no different.
With the S21 Plus, you’ll be able to feast your eyes on the 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED display that refreshes at 120Hz. So, what’s the catch? Well, unlike the display on the Ultra variant, the Galaxy S 21Plus is capped at full HD + resolution.
Now, for all intents and purposes, display on the handset is fine for the consumption of media or other content on the fly. Heck, it’s also HDR 10+ certified and you can actually stream shows to HDR from OTT services like Netflix. The panel also brightens up brilliantly and I don’t face any issues outside the phone either under the sun.
But, at the end of the day, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus is priced at over Rs 80K – a price tag that should warrant the best possible features. Instead, the company’s decision to drop the 2K screen feels like an unnecessary cop-out, even when brands like OnePlus display very few 2K, 120Hz, AMOLED displays on their flag.
However, there is a layer of silver, as the display on the Samsung Galaxy S21 + is flat, and not as curvy as the S21 Ultra 5G. Now, I am sure you are well aware of the benefits offered by the flat touch-screen display. But, at the cost of sounding like a broken record, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus’s screen reduces accidental touch and paves the way for more consistent one-handed operation.
The only downside to this implementation is that the bezels, while minuscule, are still a staple in contrast to the S21 Ultra 5G compared to the S21 Plus. In the whole case, while the S21 Plus ships with an excellent panel, the phone is somewhat outclassed here by its elder brother.
Before I wrap up this section, I should talk about some other design elements of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus. First, like the S21 Ultra 5G, the S21 plus also lacks a microSD card slot. So, choose and choose your storage version wisely. Secondly, the S21 Plus also ships with a fast in-display fingerprint sensor with facial recognition tech for seamless biometric authentication.
During my testing, these two did exceptionally well, so there are no complaints here. The phone offers excellent haptics, so if you are big on texting, the S21 Plus will give you good service. And, one more thing – unlike the S21 Ultra 5G, the S21 Plus does not support the company’s S-Pen which has probably been set to separate Ultra variants from the lineup.
On to the cameras and here, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus ships with a drastically different camera setup as seen on the S21 Ultra. Towards the back, the handset features a 64MP telephoto lens which by means of some software wizardry, allows the handset to use 3X hybrid optical zoom and 30x digital zoom. You’ll also get a set of 12MP sensors comprising a wide and an ultra-wide-angle shooter. As for selfies, the smartphone comes equipped with a 10MP selfie shooter up front.
In daylight scenarios, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus proves its precision by clicking remarkably detailed and vibrant photos. The images adequately demonstrate the dynamic range, and with this, you will see that not only the sky and other bright sources of light are properly exposed in all photographs, but there is also plenty of detail in the shadows or darker parts of the scene.
What’s more than the S21 Ultra, the images look almost identical, the only difference being that the photos from the S21 plus provide a greater saturation. Everything that has been considered, you will find very little to complain about here.
Unfortunately, this is more than I can say for the Galaxy S 21Plus ‘telephoto sensor. See, as good as the 64MP shooter, the versatility offered by the S21 Ultra’s dedicated telephoto lens yielded better results. Don’t get me wrong – the S21 plus’s telephoto lens is solid in itself and during the daytime, you rarely find it – the pictures look crisp, and there are no unnecessary inspections around the edges of the building.
However, clicking a photo on a 3X zoom has noticeable softness, especially in dim conditions. Also, unlike the S21 Ultra, the S21 Plus can only zoom up to 30x, and as a result, buyers opting for the device will also miss out on the company’s famous Space Zoom feature.
Thankfully, the ultra-wide sensor on the phone clicks on the beautiful landscape with minimal fringing around the edges and lots of corner detail as well. The same goes for low-light photos and with night mode enabled, the S21 + has clicked similar to the photos I could snap with the S21 Ultra.
That said, the S21 manages to keep a lid on ultra-superior lens flaring. As an example, here is a shot of my guild where you can clearly see the difference in quality from the S21 Plus and S21 Ultra lenses. Again, the difference is not between night and day, but it is definitely worth noting.
You also like a lot about the phone’s 10MP front camera and with enough light, the S21 + surprised me with a stunning selfie that showcases natural skin tone and offers depth oodles in portrait mode Does. Having said that, I preferred the wider crop offered by the S21 Ultra’s 40MP front camera. However, apart from that, the S21 Plus’s selfie camera performance aces in my books.
Performance, Battery, and Software
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus is a solid performer and is supported by the phone company’s in-house 5nm, Exynos 2100 SoC. Naturally, the smartphone is capable of handling everything you need to throw at it, and it’s holding up to half a dozen apps in memory, running two apps simultaneously, or playing graphically intensive titles, the S21 Plus It can do all this. That said, Samsung has cut some corners here, which you should know about.
Let’s start with the storage here, unlike the UFS 3.1 storage of the S21 Ultra 5G, you’ll get UFS 3.0 storage, which is still quite fast, but not as fast as the S21 Ultra’s storage, and I noticed that Apps and games opened up a bit. Faster on the latter than the S21 Plus.
Also, whatever storage variant you choose, only the S21 Plus ships with 8-gigs of LPDDR memory. As a result, unlike your pricier sibling, going up the ladder and opting for more storage will not necessarily net you any multi-tasking advantage.
Having said that, the S21 Plus is still a star performer and I have no problem with the computing capabilities of the phone. If you have read my review of the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G, then you would know that I am playing a lot of high-ranked Duty mobiles.
To that note, the S21 Plus rarely dropped a frame and consistently offered me 60fps gameplay – and changed all the way with graphics settings. I was also quite impressed with how the phone handles thermal and the handset’s chassis is never hot to the touch. In addition, the phone’s stereo speakers pack a wall, which has immersed me in the game. All things considered, the S21 Plus is one of the best-performing Android phones right now.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus drank juice from a 4,800mAh cell, which lasted me a full day after charging. To give you a better picture, I use Snapchat, WhatsApp, Instagram, and many more social media apps at once. Apart from this, I also played Call of Duty Mobile for a while. Pool everything together and the phone offered me a screen in about 5.5 hours’ time. Now, like the S21 Ultra, the company has limited fast charging to 25W on phones, which might not sit well with some buyers.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus is priced at Rs 81,999 in India and, for the price, significantly reduces the flagship experience. As a result, the smartphone bears more similarity than the Galaxy S21, more so than the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. The Galaxy S21 Plus suffers from classic middle child syndrome and more rivalry from its siblings than others. So if you’re looking to save some money, choosing the Galaxy S21 might make more sense, as the handset offers core specs just like the Plus model, except for its relatively small display and low-capacity battery.
On the other hand, if you have deep pockets, you want to go with the Galaxy S21 Ultra, which offers more RAM, better display, a more capable camera, functions.
That said, if you set your eyes on the Plus model, then you should know that the device offers a satisfying end-user experience that doesn’t marry any major flaws. It’s a true-blue flagship that clings to the main Samsung ethos, and delivers in almost all aspects, scoring high where it matters most.
Also Read: Samsung M51 Review