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Samsung surprised us with the early launch of the Galaxy S21 series: the S21, the S21+ and the S21 Ultra. They stand out from their predecessors through their design and lower price. These improvements have not come without a few In return, though, Samsung did make a few concessions.
The Korean phone manufacturer Samsung introduced us to their latest models two months ahead of schedule. The most striking difference with older models is the lower price. We want to find out the extent to which it influences the appeal of the S21 series.
A design that breaks with trends
Let’s start by taking a closer at the design. Samsung has rethought the so-called camera island and the result is definitely intriguing. The aluminium housing wraps nicely around the edge of the smartphone in the same colour as the device or in a complementary hue. As there are no technical reasons given for this change, it is presumably a design exercise - and a very successful one - that will definitely not go unnoticed by the competition.
For the screen, Samsung sticks to the approach they took for the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: all three new models benefit from the dynamic 120Hz refresh rate and the high image-quality offered by AMOLED. The manufacturer claims that the screen is brighter than before, but uses less energy. Sound impossible? They’ve made the impossible with new organic materials.
Genuine ‘photo phones’
The cameras are up next. As mentioned above, the camera island has an eye-catching design but the camera performance also delivers what you would expect with Samsung’s reputation as a manufacturer of ‘photo phones’. The S21 and S21+ are equipped with three sensors (a 12MP dual main sensor, a 12MP wide angle and a 64MP tele). The Ultra version even has five: a 108MP main sensor, a 12MP wide angle, two MP tele lenses and a ToF sensor with laser autofocus). The cameras are coupled with the familiar Samsung photo software as well as their updated night mode, in addition to an upgraded Space Zoom.
Cheaper, but at a price
While the Galaxy 21 is cheaper than the S20, this nevertheless comes at a price. Several noteworthy concessions were made. For instance, the front is impressively made of the hardest Gorilla glass on the market today. But the back consists of matt plastic. While this hardly detracts from the overall appeal it does give a somewhat ‘cheap’ impression for a device that costs up to €1000 (VAT excl.) in the S21 Ultra version. Furthermore, the memory can’t be expanded and the device doesn’t come with a charger or earphones.
If you’re willing to take the concessions of the slightly lower price in stride, the new Galaxy S21 devices are nice all-round 5G smartphones with a striking design, top-quality cameras and an extremely bright screen.