Middle siblings never have it easy. The S21+ lands right in between in the Samsung Galaxy S21 line-up this year. It’s not as formidable as the S21 Ultra that impressed us in our deep-dive review and neither is it ultra-compact like the S21, the entry-level device in this trio. And yet, this one’s no awkward middle sibling. It might well be the flagship experience that most consumers are seeking. Question is – are you one of those consumers?
First things first. The S21+ is one of the best-looking smartphones right now. Samsung has always done big phones better than most other brands and the S21+ is a case in point. We checked out the gorgeous Phantom Violet colour option that stands out in the crowd with an elegant matte finish. The device feels really good in your hand and thankfully it’s not a fingerprint magnet. It’s lighter than the S21 Ultra and finds the perfect balance between form and function. The rear camera module is integrated seamlessly; this is certainly no camera bump.
We’ve said this before, the S21 Ultra is arguably the Android flagship to beat right now. But it’s pricey and is loaded with a slew of features that may not be critical for you. The S21+ attempts to find the balance. It’s powered by the same Exynos 2100 processor that propels the S21 Ultra. There’s 8GB of RAM and 128GB of Internal memory (versus 12GB/256GB for the base variant of S21 Ultra). I pushed this device and I didn’t see a visible difference in everyday tasks. Just like the Ultra, Samsung has knocked off the extendable memory slot and there’s no charging brick or headphones in the box. Both moves that Samsung fans will take some getting used to.
The other key box this device ticks is battery life. Samsung has packed the S21+ with a 4800 mAh. I found the battery performance better than its predecessor – last year’s Galaxy S20+. One of the key differences between the Ultra and the S21+ is the display. Samsung opts for a flat display that may users dig with a resolution that’s not quite in the same league as the Ultra. It’s still a terrific display with a clever, variable refresh rate that goes all the way to 120Hz. Colours are great on the 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2x display (1080 x 2400 pixels / 20:9 Aspect ratio / 394 PPI).
The camera set up on the S21+ is almost identical to last year’s Samsung Galaxy S20+. You get a triple cam that combines a 12MP wide, 12MP ultra-wide lens and a 64MP telephoto lens. There’s also a 10MP selfie shooter. The Zoom capabilities on the S21 Ultra with its dual telephoto lenses are significantly better. However, the S21+ is a solid all-round shooter that also benefits from the new Exynos Processor. Lowlight images are excellent and there’s a whole bunch of video tricks including the clever Director’s view which allows you to shoot with the front and rear cams simultaneously.
The Samsung Galaxy S21+ is an impressive device and it all starts with the form factor. It looks every inch premium and is the perfect heft. It’s backed by a solid hardware spec sheet. If you’re looking for the best display or a pro-grade rear cam, then you might want to consider the S21 Ultra. But the S21+ might be all the flagship you need and that Phantom Violet is bound to make heads turn.
The Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G starts at Rs 81,999 and is available in Phantom Violet, Phantom Black and Phantom Silver