The Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G is the corporate’s most premium smartphone but, with a robust concentrate on cameras. Identical to the Galaxy S20 Extremely (Evaluation), this new mannequin boasts of 100X “area zoom” and 8K video recording, however with an improved taking pictures expertise and even higher picture high quality.
We have already talked in regards to the design and predominant specs of the Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G in our current first impressions article, so for this evaluate, we’ll dive straight into the cameras and system efficiency first. If you happen to’re severe about images or capturing video, then try to be within the Galaxy S21 Extremely, which is essentially the most able to the three Galaxy S21 fashions. Nevertheless, is the value justified? Let’s discover out.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G value and variants
Earlier than we start, let’s rapidly go over the variants of the Galaxy S21 Extremely which are accessible in India. In different nations, Samsung has lowered the launch costs of the Galaxy S21 sequence, nevertheless because of taxes and forex charge fluctuations in India, the costs have gone up a bit in comparison with final yr’s fashions. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G begins at Rs. 1,05,999 for 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, and there is a second possibility priced at Rs. 1,16,999 which has 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage.
It is expensive for positive, however nonetheless prices lower than what Apple is charging for its iPhone 12 Professional sequence. The bottom variant of the Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G looks as if it ought to be the extra standard mannequin of the 2, however remember that there isn’t a microSD card slot for storage growth this time, so when you assume you will be taking pictures plenty of 8K video, you may wish to take into account the upper storage variant as an alternative.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G cameras
Whereas the digicam capabilities of the Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G stay largely just like these of its predecessor, Samsung has reworked the implementation, particularly of the telephoto cameras. There is a new-generation 108-megapixel main digicam which does nona-pixel binning, combining data from 9 pixels into one, for extra detailed 12-megapixel images.
There is a 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle digicam and two telephoto cameras. The latter each have 10-megapixel sensors, however with several types of optical zoom lenses. One has a 3X optical zoom, whereas the opposite is able to 10X, with a periscope-style lens. There is not any point out of hybrid zoom this time, nevertheless there’s nonetheless some AI processing being utilized at greater magnification ranges.
Samsung continues to market House Zoom, which on the Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G, goes all the best way to 100X. At such a excessive magnification, it could get very difficult to border pictures appropriately. particularly when you’re taking pictures handheld, which we skilled with the Galaxy S20 Extremely. That is the place the brand new Zoom Lock characteristic is available in. Once you transcend 20X magnification, you get slightly preview window within the viewfinder that will help you discover your topic higher. If you happen to maintain the body regular sufficient for one and a half seconds or faucet the preview field, the digicam will lock focus in your topic and stick with it (the preview field turns yellow to substantiate this), making it a lot simpler to get a correctly framed shot.
The brand new telephoto lenses together with this zoom lock characteristic implies that zoomed-in pictures look higher and are barely simpler to seize. The digicam app provides the identical exhausting stops at 3X, 4X, 10X, 30X, and 100X, or you need to use the slider to choose the precise zoom degree you want. The Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G will use digital zoom between 1X and 3X, earlier than it switches to the primary telephoto digicam, after which once more between 3X and 10X when it switches to the second telephoto digicam. Picture high quality is noticeably sharper on the native optical zoom ranges, in comparison with any degree in between. At 100X, picture high quality is relatively a lot weaker however AI processing does assist in getting usable pictures.
In low gentle, most smartphones ditch their telephoto cameras and simply use the first digicam with digital zoom due to their extra beneficial apertures, however the Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G will nonetheless use its telephoto cameras as a lot as potential regardless of their slim apertures. The outcomes are predictably poorer, however when you use them with Night time mode, the outcomes are surprisingly good. In such circumstances, the zoom vary is proscribed to 10X and the cellphone sticks to the 3X telephoto digicam even at that degree, for the reason that 10X digicam has a really slim f/4.9 aperture. I managed to get superb pictures from the telephoto digicam at night time.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G can even seize native 108-megapixel photographs utilizing its predominant digicam, permitting you to amplify and crop round your topic later, which in principle has the identical impact as zooming in. Nevertheless, I seen that the picture high quality is not one of the best, and also you’re higher off utilizing the telephoto cameras. This goes for pictures taken in daylight in addition to low gentle.
Pixel-binned 12-megapixel images taken with the principle digicam in good gentle seemed glorious. Dynamic vary was good, there was loads of element, and colors seemed pure. Autofocus was fast and exact because of the laser AF sensor, like we noticed on the Galaxy Observe 20 Extremely. If you happen to go too near your topic, the digicam’s ‘focus enhancer’ kicks in, switching to the ultra-wide angle digicam for a super-macro shot. I discovered this annoying because it tends to activate even when you aren’t too near your topic and the picture high quality is a bit weaker in comparison with what the principle digicam can seize. Fortunately, slightly toggle icon within the viewfinder allows you to swap it off instantly.
Shut-ups look nice, with wealthy particulars and colors. Samsung’s Reside Focus mode is now merely known as Portrait and provides the identical bokeh patterns to select from as earlier than. The ultra-wide digicam can be competent in terms of taking pictures landscapes, with an analogous color tone as the principle digicam. In low gentle, the first and ultra-wide cameras proceed to impress even with out Night time mode, nevertheless you may count on higher uncovered photographs when utilizing Night time mode.
There is a new video taking pictures mode known as Director’s View, which provides dwell previews of what the ultra-wide, predominant, and 3X telephoto digicam can seize when you’re recording, so you realize what to anticipate earlier than switching. You can even allow a dwell feed from the selfie digicam, with a split-screen or picture-in-picture window, which Samsung calls ‘Vloggers view.’ I personally did not discover a lot use for this taking pictures mode, nevertheless it might be helpful for some individuals. The remainder of the taking pictures modes are just like what we noticed final yr, together with Single Take, Portrait Video, Tremendous Gradual-mo, and so on.
Samsung has made some adjustments to the video recording capabilities of the Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G, however they’re nonetheless not as in depth as I’d have favored. Now you can shoot 4K 60fps video with any of the cameras, one thing that Apple launched with the iPhone 11 Professional. Nevertheless, you can’t swap between cameras on the Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G as soon as recording has begun, which is slightly limiting. For this, you will must shoot at 4K 30fps.
Samsung continues to be hyping 8K video recording, which is now stabilised, nevertheless it additionally closely crops the body. Video high quality is sweet in daylight, however may be very grainy in low gentle. There is not any restrict on the recording size. The large disappointment for me although is that 8K video continues to be restricted to 24fps, like on the Galaxy S20 sequence. Video high quality total is excellent, with sharp element, good stabilisation, and pure colors in footage shot within the daylight. Movies shot in poor lighting, even with the 3X telephoto digicam, have been additionally spectacular.
General, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G has a mighty spectacular set of rear cameras, and all of them have necessary roles to play, not like telephones with devoted depth or macro cameras. The selfie digicam can be equally competent right here. It has a 40-megapixel sensor and captures binned 10-megapixel images by default. It has autofocus, and may shoot 4K 60fps stabilised movies. Picture high quality in daylight and low gentle, particularly with Night time mode, is excellent.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G efficiency and battery life
Aside from glorious digicam efficiency, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely can be a true-blue flagship with cutting-edge elements. The Indian model is powered by Samsung’s Exynos 2100 5G SoC, which has similarities to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 SoC by way of fabrication course of and the categories and variety of ARM CPU cores used. The 12GB RAM variant that I had for evaluate posted robust benchmark numbers. It scored 5,70,453 factors in AnTuTu, and 960 and a couple of,995 factors respectively in Geekbench’s single-core and multi-core exams. These numbers are nonetheless behind what Apple’s A14 Bionic within the iPhone 12 sequence can produce, however truthfully, you would be exhausting pressed to inform any distinction between these telephones with common use.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G simply ran graphically intensive video games corresponding to Name of Responsibility: Cell and Asphalt 9: Legends on the QHD+ decision. Gameplay was clean with stable framerates. The higher half of the steel body did warmth up in a short time when gaming, which you’ll really feel when you use this cellphone and not using a case. The truth is, this heating was noticeable even when utilizing the digicam app. The cellphone by no means bought uncomfortably scorching for me, and neither did this appear to throttle efficiency, however your mileage may differ.
The Galaxy S21 Extremely additionally absolutely helps Samsung’s S Pen, which is bought as an adjunct. I could not take a look at this since Samsung did not ship it together with the cellphone, however I think about that the expertise ought to be just like utilizing the newest Galaxy Observe sequence telephones. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely additionally helps Wi-Fi 6E and has an Extremely Extensive Band (UWB) chip, which ought to enable the cellphone for use as a digital key to unlock your automobile (when suitable fashions are launched).
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G doubles up as a wonderful gadget for media consumption. The 6.8-inch AMOLED show will get extremely brilliant, and colors look wealthy and punchy. The QHD+ decision provides superb sharpness, which is helpful when studying textual content. The largest new characteristic, as I discussed in my first impressions piece, is that you need to use the 120Hz refresh charge on the native decision. It is also adaptive, which implies when no contact enter is detected, or when you’re watching a video, the refresh charge robotically scales all the way down to 60Hz. Samsung says it could go down all the best way to 10Hz to save lots of energy, however I wasn’t in a position to take a look at this declare.
Movies usually look nice on the Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G’s show. Watching darkish scenes in films is not an issue because the AMOLED panel can obtain spectacular black ranges. Audio from the stereo audio system can be superb because of the Dolby Atmos enhancement. You get high-fidelity audio playback with help for the DSD 64/128 and 32-bit PCM codecs over a wired headset.
Different flagship options embrace an IP68 ranking for mud and water resistance, Samsung Pay through NFC and MST, and a complete lot of sensors together with a new-generation ultrasonic fingerprint sensor. Samsung claims that is about 1.7X bigger than the earlier mannequin, and in my expertise, it labored very effectively. All that is wanted is a fast faucet for profitable authentication. Face recognition is supported too, and can be dependable.
I discovered battery life to be fairly stable. The 5,000mAh battery capability is identical as what the Galaxy S20 Extremely had, and simply lasts for greater than a full day of heavy to medium utilization. With lighter use, I used to be in a position to extend the battery life to slightly greater than a day and a half. This was with the show set to QHD+ and the 120Hz adaptive refresh charge enabled. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G lasted for 15 hours and 37 minutes in our HD video loop take a look at, with the display on the default decision (full-HD+).
The Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G helps quick charging however solely at as much as 25W, with a suitable USB PowerDelivery (PD) Sort-C adapter. That is one thing you will have to purchase individually, both from Samsung or a 3rd get together vendor, since you do not get an influence adapter within the field anymore. The truth is, you get solely a USB Sort-C cable and the SIM eject instrument.
I attempted charging the Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G with a 27W Motorola adapter and OnePlus’ 65W adapter which ships with the 8T, and in each circumstances, I used to be in a position to get a couple of 70 p.c cost in a single hour. You possibly can inform that the cellphone is charging quickly as a “tremendous quick charging” message seems on the lockscreen. This cellphone can even wirelessly quick cost with a suitable charger, and reverse wi-fi charging can be potential.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G software program
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G runs OneUI 3.1, and it labored easily with no actual trace of lag or slow-downs within the week that I needed to evaluate this cellphone. That is the newest model of Samsung’s customized pores and skin, and is predicated on Android 11. It appears to be like and feels slick. Acquainted Samsung gestures and shortcuts such because the Edge Panel are all current, which ought to make current Samsung customers really feel proper at house. In contrast to the iPhone 12 Professional Max, you can also make higher use of the big show by opening two apps in split-screen. Samsung DeX is current, which I discovered tremendous helpful for transferring information from my laptop computer to the cellphone and vice versa, wirelessly.
I did get some spam notifications from the Samsung Store app after I first started utilizing the Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G, regardless of unchecking all of the packing containers to not obtain advertising and marketing data, however this stopped after a day or two. Nevertheless, what I did not count on to see have been third-party advertisements in a few of Samsung’s personal apps corresponding to Climate and Sport Launcher. These are static advertisements and are not actually intrusive, however you actually should not should see them on such an costly smartphone. If you happen to open the climate app or Sport Launcher, they’re proper there on the prime.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G ergonomics
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G packs in plenty of options, however all of this comes on the slight value of ergonomics. It is a large cellphone by any definition, and actually, it is even a bit thicker and heavier than the Galaxy S20 Extremely. It is also fairly top-heavy, and you may really feel this imbalance, even with two-handed utilization. I am not complaining an excessive amount of, although, since coming from the iPhone 12 Professional Max, I discover it a bit extra comfy for one handed use because of the rounded sides.
The brand new design makes the Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G look approach higher than earlier fashions. Samsung’s new contour-cut design for the digicam module is exclusive, and manages to masks the digicam bulge fairly effectively. You additionally get premium supplies throughout, with Corning Gorilla Glass Victus for the back and front, and a steel body.
For a very long time, Samsung’s Galaxy S flagships in any given technology have been primarily differentiated by show and battery dimension, with the ‘plus’ fashions benefiting extra. This modified final yr when Samsung launched a 3rd ‘Extremely’ mannequin with a concentrate on cameras. This yr, Samsung is making an attempt to create a fair bigger hole between its fashions. The Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G continues to be the hero product, however the Galaxy S21+ 5G and Galaxy S21 5G now have lower-resolution (full-HD+) shows, and the latter even ditches the glass again for plastic. Samsung did one thing related with the Galaxy Observe 20 sequence final yr, with the Extremely mannequin getting a premium therapy, whereas the usual mannequin needed to dwell with massive compromises.
We’re but to evaluate the Galaxy S21 5G and Galaxy S21+ 5G, so I am going to reserve my judgement for them until we do, nevertheless it’s clear that Samsung desires to push customers who need essentially the most premium expertise in direction of the Extremely mannequin, even when they do not care that a lot about cameras.
Samsung has bumped up the costs of all its Galaxy S telephones this yr, however the Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G, specifically, continues to be definitely worth the premium in my view. It provides higher worth than the iPhone 12 Professional Max (Evaluation), is equally highly effective, and has among the best telephoto digicam implementations out there. Add to that the superb construct high quality, nice show, robust battery life, and productiveness options corresponding to S Pen help, and that is simply one of the best Samsung flagship thus far.
Is Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely essentially the most full Android cellphone but? We mentioned this on Orbital, our weekly expertise podcast, which you’ll subscribe to through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, obtain the episode, or simply hit the play button beneath.