As we all know and expect Samsung has come up with three variants of this year’s flagship smartphone – the Samsung Galaxy S21,the Galaxy S21+ and the S21 Ultra (https://techknowsp.com/samsung-galaxy-s21-ultra-5g-need-anything-else/).Here we will have a look at the base model the Samsung Galaxy S21.Before that I should remind you that all the phones are 5G ready.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 starts at around 200$(~Rs.14000 INR) less than the previous year’s flagship Galaxy S20 which itself is a big bonus for all potential buyers.Still the phone costs Rs.69,999 INR for the base variant and 4000 bucks more for the top model.The price is high but in my opinion justified for what it provides.
Now coming from Samsung this reduction in price may raise doubts in your minds that surely some things are missing and you are right but not completely.Yes some specs have been cuttled but they won’t be noticed by more than 90% of the common man.We will come to those slowly but now let’s address the question I raised in the title of this post.
Do you need the ULTRA? Well that will be for you to answer and I will give my opinion at the end.First let’s take a look at what the Samsung Galaxy S21 has to offer.
You pick the phone,turn it around and the first thing that catches your attention is the camera module.Similar to the S21 Ultra the camera module looks as if it is wrapped around the Samsung Galaxy S21,the module being a little smaller in area.My first feeling was not so bad but slowly I became more and more impressed with the design.With the big camera bumps in phones nowadays sometimes I feel that they are a different part which has been joined with the main phone.The more I am looking at the S21 the feeling is as if the camera bump is an integral part of the device.Hence for me Kudos to the designer.
Rest features are pretty similar to that of the S21 Ultra.The punch hole selfie camera is tiny and the phone display is flat.There is no 3.5mm audio jack,no slot for expandable storage and no charging brick (the new normal).The glass on the front is Corning Gorilla Glass Victus (latest and most durable till date).The back is plastic or as Samsung calls it glastic.The finish and the colours are awesome.This is the first cuttlement (plastic back instead of glass) but surely that will not bother most.
The phone is just 7.9mm thick and weighs~170g.It is IP68 certified water and dust resistant.Overall the aesthetics are beautiful and very premium.
The display is a 6.2″ Dynamic Amoled 2X display with 1080×2400 resolution and 120Hz refresh rate.The aspect ratio is 20:9 and pixel density is ~421ppi with a maximum brightness of~1300nits.Obviously it supports HDR 10+.
The display is awesome and the difference with the Ultra being that it doesn’t have 1440p support.The referesh rate is also varying from 48Hz to 120Hz in the Samsung Galaxy S21 while in the Ultra it varies from 10Hz to 120Hz.Again this is a cuttlement which almost nobody will notice.
Barring the other variants we can say this is the best display available at this moment.Moreover since the size is also 6.2″ the form factor of the phone is perfect for onehanded use.It may seem smaller when kept beside the Ultra but 6.2″ is big enough.I should also mention that in the previous year’s S20 series maximum resolution and refresh rate were not possible together which Samsung has rectified this season.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 runs Android 11 out of the box with the latest Samsung One UI 3.1 slapped over top.
Now the most irritating (atleast to me) aspect of the phone and that is the chipset.As usual our US friends get the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset in their S21 while we get Exynos 2100.Both run on 5nm technology but the difference between these two remains.Yes all tech experts have certified and the benchmark scores also reveal that Exynos 2100 jas closed the gap with Snapdragon 888 but a gap remains.So at the same price the US buyers get the best SoC out there.
GPU is Mali G78-MP14 for the Exynos powered phones while Adreno 660 is for the Snapdragon customers.
RAM is 8GB with two storage variants of 128GB and 256GB respectively.Again the RAM variant has been cuttled from 12GB or 16GB of the Ultra but 8GB is more than enough.
A triple camera set-up adorns the unique module on the back.The primary camera is of 12MP f/1.8 wide lens with dual pixel PDAF and OIS followed by a 64MP f/2.0 telephoto lens with PDAF,OIS 1.1X optical zoom and upto 3X hybrid zoom.The last camera is a 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide sensor with 120° field of view and supports Super Steady Video.
Well the Samsung Galaxy S21 does not boast of that 100times zoom of the Ultra but 30 times is excellent and the overall camera specs is premium.There is no question on image processing.Portraits are perhaps the best in the business and as usual the phone comes with lots of modes and features.The only complaint you may have is the absence of a macro lens though not all of you I am sure.
The fingerprint sensor is under display ultrasonic and better than the predecessors.Face unlock is also fast.
BATTERY AND COLOURS
A 4000mAH non removable battery is housed with 25W fast charging prowess.Fast wireless charging of 15W is also supported along with reverse wireless charging.
Phantom Gray, Phantom White, Phantom Violet and Phantom Pink are the colour options.
The only problem I have with the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G is the onboard storage capacity since there is no option of expandable storage.Besides this I personally have no issue with the phone.The form factor is my personal favourite,the display is awesome enhanced by the high 120Hz refresh rate and the camera quality is also above par with most other smartphones out there.Yes Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 would have been better but realistically speaking most of you won’t find any difference while using the Exynos 2100 version.
Now with all these positives let us get back to my question.Why do we need the Galaxy S21 Ultra at so higher a price?To answer the question we should remember that the Ultra device packs every highest possible specifications present.The display is larger,the back is also Corning Gorilla Glass Victus,the camera is radically better featured (videos same) and the battery is also larger.Moreover the S21 Ultra also supports S-Pen which the Samsung Galaxy S21 doesn’t.So it is clear that if you can afford then the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra should be your pick but if you have some budget restrictions then the S21 is a very recommendable phone.
Please let me know what you think in comments.