Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely assessment revisited: This 12 months’s Galaxy Word

Patrick

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

With no Galaxy Word 21 this 12 months, the Galaxy S21 Extremely stays Samsung’s premium smartphone choice in 2021 — outdoors of its swanky foldable merchandise, after all. However the Z Fold 3 is prohibitively costly for many customers, whereas the Z Flip 3 doesn’t supply the identical power-user expertise as Samsung’s Word and Extremely merchandise.

In the event you’re available in the market for a brand new telephone, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely is way from the one ultra-high-end choice in the marketplace proper now. There’s a rising record of premium-tier rivals together with the Oppo Discover X3 Professional, Sony Xperia 1 III, and the Xiaomi Mi 11 Extremely, amongst others. So does the telephone nonetheless maintain up as a stable buy over half a 12 months later? Let’s weigh up the nice and dangerous on this Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely assessment revisit.

Our unique verdict: Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely assessment


The nice

We awarded the Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 4.5/5 stars and our coveted Editor’s Alternative award, so it’s no shock that the handset nonetheless holds up very nicely over six months later. The cellular business may transfer shortly however definitely not quick sufficient to depart Samsung’s finest within the mud.

Leading edge {hardware}

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra display on table at angle

David Imel / Android Authority

I might spend paragraphs on the Galaxy S21 Extremely’s glorious 120Hz AMOLED show, snappy efficiency (for each Snapdragon and Exynos variants), or IP68 score for mud and water resistance, however these haven’t modified since our preliminary assessment and are nonetheless proper up there with one of the best within the enterprise. In reality, the whole {hardware} bundle is just about faultless for an ultra-premium smartphone. If you would like it, the Galaxy S21 Extremely virtually definitely has it.

There’s a dual-SIM choice, 5G sub-6GHz and mmWave help, Corning Gorilla Glass Victus display safety, the newest Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity, wi-fi and reverse charging, an in-display fingerprint scanner, and extra. You’ll wrestle to discover a extra complete bundle in the marketplace even over six months later.

Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Extremely nonetheless gives probably the most complete {hardware} packages in the marketplace.

Not that there aren’t stable opponents in the marketplace too, and a few telephones are pushing forward with under-display cameras, faster-charging capabilities, and higher audio setups. However Samsung’s premier providing has you lined for an important bells and whistles in addition to some other model. That’s excellent news for patrons who had been maybe holding out for a next-gen Word — sometimes Samsung’s technological showcase. Whereas not a substitute for Word followers, the Galaxy S21 Extremely is unquestionably a telephone constructed with energy customers in thoughts. The telephone even performs properly with an S Pen stylus, though there’s nowhere to soundly stow it with no case.

Software program and updates

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra One UI software apps menu

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

In addition to providing stable {hardware}, Samsung’s One UI software program continues to go from power to power.

As we famous in our Galaxy S21 Extremely assessment, One UI is distinctively Samsung. The interface is closely skinned and gives quite a lot of options that go above and past the fundamental Android expertise. It’s not one for the purists however these extras are what make One UI a haven for energy customers who can grasp the extra instruments and choices. I discover Samsung’s Edge panels a useful multitasking instrument and am an enormous fan of the vary of digital camera capturing choices. Samsung additionally goes additional with Dex and cloud storage integration for enterprise customers.

Extra on One UI: The whole lot you must find out about Samsung’s Android pores and skin

One UI has one or two issues. Adverts baked into its in-house apps are an annoyance that can, luckily, be remedied earlier than the top of 2021, whereas navigating the massive vary of settings is verging on cumbersome. However total, One UI is among the finest Android skins round.

Simply as importantly, Samsung now has the most effective replace pledges within the enterprise too. The corporate guarantees three years of Android model updates not only for the S21 collection however for all its latest smartphones. That is accompanied by 4 years of safety updates, making certain the S21 Extremely stays related till 2025. This significantly improves the telephone’s long-term worth proposition.

Battery life

With a 5,000mAh battery onboard, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely simply lasts a full day of use — usually two when you solely require lighter workloads. Months down the road, the battery life is just about pretty much as good as day one. I’ve by no means had the telephone run out on me mid-day, even when out capturing photos for a number of hours.

The Galaxy S21 Extremely can take you thru two days of use between costs.

Whether or not you want your telephone for work or play, the Galaxy S21 Extremely has you lined. Plus you’ll be able to at all times tweak the telephone’s adaptive 120Hz show mode and energy saver settings do you have to want the handset to last more between costs.

Glorious cameras

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra camera

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

With a big 1/1.33-inch 108MP essential sensor, 3x telephoto, 10x periscope, and ultra-wide cameras onboard, the Galaxy S21 Extremely stays probably the most strong pictures packages in the marketplace proper now. Paired up with 8K, 4K 60fps, and 960fps slow-motion video capabilities and a number of different software program options, resembling Director’s View and Single Take, the S21 Extremely has even essentially the most demanding digital camera customers lined.

Associated: One of the best digital camera telephones you may get

That stated, it’s not utterly flawless. Colours can nonetheless be a bit of oversaturated in comparison with one of the best within the enterprise and also you’ll spot the occasional signal of heavier processing on nearer inspection of some photographs. Even so, the digital camera palms in spectacular and really constant outcomes, from portraits and selfies to nightscapes and long-range zoom.

Right here’s only a small pattern of the photographs I’ve taken over the previous 12 months:

Since launch, we’ve pitted the Galaxy S21 Extremely towards just about all the finest digital camera telephones accessible and it has constantly come out on prime, if not at all times with the easiest pictures then definitely for its sheer versatility. The handset pipped different premium-tier smartphones to the publish in our mid-2021 mega digital camera shootout, making it the most effective, if not one of the best digital camera telephone to purchase this 12 months. In the event you’re after additional head-to-head comparisons, take a look at our shootouts beneath.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely digital camera shootouts:


The not so good

After all, Samsung’s telephones are by no means completely free from controversy. The dearth of a microSD card growth slot, no headphone jack, and the absence of a charger within the field are positive to grate on one or two potential prospects on the market. However in my time with the handset, I’ve come throughout a few different minor bugbears that detract from what’s in any other case the most effective smartphones cash should buy.

Clunky design

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra in hand

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Though sporting comparable {hardware} to final 12 months’s fashions, Samsung redesigned the Galaxy S21 collection with a sleeker digital camera housing and a extra streamlined “Contour Minimize” look. Whereas this works for the common S21 and S21 Plus, I’m much less bought on the bulkier measurement and look of the Galaxy S21 Extremely.

At 227g and eight.9mm thick (~12mm when you embrace the digital camera housing), the Galaxy S21 Extremely is a hefty smartphone. Granted, that weight features a massive 5,000mAh battery, wi-fi charging, mmWave 5G, and a number of different technological goodies, so there must be some give and take. Samsung managed to make the telephone 2mm thinner than the S20 Extremely, however it’s nonetheless not what I’d name ergonomic and stays a distracting weight in your pocket.

That stated, the design definitely isn’t dangerous. It’s nonetheless arguably higher than the Apple iPhone 12 Professional Max and its palm-slicing edges. Nevertheless, after enjoying with the elegant Sony Xperia 1 III (186g) and the beautiful Oppo Discover X3 Professional (193g), it’s onerous to say that the Galaxy S21 Extremely seems or handles wherever close to as properly because the swankiest telephones within the enterprise. In the event you’re spending cash on a vogue assertion, look elsewhere.

Gradual and finicky charging

Samsung 45W Travel Adapter box contents

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

25W wired and 15W wi-fi charging is considerably sluggish by trendy requirements, though prioritizing low temperatures over brute charging pace is a wise choice for long-term battery well being. I wouldn’t advocate shopping for a 100W charging telephone as an alternative.

See additionally: One of the best Samsung Galaxy chargers

Nonetheless, the telephone’s 5,000mAh battery takes a slightly sluggish 70 minutes to replenish utilizing a 25W charger and a bit of over 90 minutes at 18W. Wi-fi charging is even slower, making it solely appropriate for a top-up all through the day.

Be sure you seize a USB PD PPS charger to quick cost the S21 collection.

Whereas there are commendable causes to drop the in-box charger, Samsung has compounded the issue by necessitating a USB Energy Supply PPS compliant charger to maximise the handset’s 25W wired charging capabilities. Decide a normal USB Energy Supply or different plug and also you’ll be capped at 18W and even decrease. Not offering a charger within the field makes it extra probably that buyers will journey up and purchase the improper plug. Samsung gives suitable charging equipment for as little as $20, however there’s stiff competitors from third-party options too.

Audio system may very well be higher

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra face down on desk

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

A extra minor criticism I’ve is with the Galaxy S21 Extremely’s audio system. They provide loads of quantity, an inexpensive stereo presentation, and sound respectable sufficient for watching TV reveals. However there’s one thing a bit of off in regards to the sound that’s onerous to pin down. It’s not muffled as such, however it’s not the punchy presentation you may anticipate from a telephone at this value.

I feel it’s as a result of the decrease speaker is chargeable for many of the quantity and bass. In the meantime, the highest speaker is extra treble-heavy and appears to exist principally to provide the impression of stereo steadiness. There’s some trickery afoot and whereas it’s principally nicely disguised, you’ll discover one thing a bit of off when listening to your favourite tracks.

The underside speaker grille can be very simple to cowl when holding the telephone in panorama mode, so not very best for gaming and films. If telephone audio system are a prime precedence in your subsequent buy, you will discover higher choices on the market with forward-facing audio system, such because the Asus ROG Telephone 5.


Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely assessment revisited: The decision

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra stood by cactus

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Whereas Samsung saved many and even minimize some core specs from 2021’s Galaxy S21 and S21 Plus to decrease their value, the Galaxy S21 Extremely stands out within the vary for persevering with to pack within the newest and best of Samsung’s options. The improved digital camera bundle, 1,440p 120Hz show, and S Pen help are nicely definitely worth the $200 low cost over 2020’s S20 Extremely.

Up subsequent: Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely assessment second opinion

Even so, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely is just not an affordable gadget, priced as it’s at $1,200. It solely turns into costlier for energy customers who require 256GB or 512GB of storage, costing $1,250 and $1,380 respectively. At these costs, multimedia fans may need to take a look at the Sony Xperia 1 III ($1,299), whereas cellular players could want the Asus ROG Telephone 5 ($999). Nevertheless, now you can discover the S21 Extremely with a $200 low cost from Samsung and different retailers, making it virtually a steal.

With out the Galaxy Word collection this 12 months, the Galaxy S21 Extremely is the fall-back gadget for Samsung power-users who don’t need to dabble with Samsung’s foldables, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 ($1,799) and Galaxy Z Flip 3 ($999) — though calling it a fall-back is considerably unfair to the Extremely and slightly undersells its credentials. The telephone stays probably the most completed technological showpieces the cellular business has to supply and continues to be a advisable buy for individuals who will make use of the telephone’s technological prowess.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra macro of back cameras

Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely

If you would like essentially the most highly effective telephone in Samsung’s Galaxy S21 collection, the Galaxy S21 Extremely is for you. It comes with the most important show at 6.8-inches, the most important battery at 5,000mAh, and one of the best digital camera setup with a main 108MP sensor. It additionally comes with as a lot as 16GB of RAM. Nevertheless, it is also the most costly with a beginning value of $1,199.

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