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Samsung Galaxy S21 vs S21 +: What’s the Difference

Released on February 14, the Samsung Galaxy S21 range succeeds the S20, and is in direct competition with Apple’s iPhone 12. In addition to our test of the S21 Ultra, which stands out as an almost perfect solution on a daily basis, the editorial staff also had the opportunity to test the Samsung Galaxy S21, and its improved version, the S21 +. No big noticeable differences you will see, but a very high-end experience for the two iterations of the range, which is the first to get rid of its charger unit to offer thinner boxes.

Key Specification

Samsung Galaxy S21Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus
$CHECK PRICECHECK PRICE
ChipsetQualcomm Snapdragon 888Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
Display Size6.2 inch6.7 inch
Memory8 GB8 GB
Storage256 GB128-512 GB
Camera64 + 12 + 12 MP64 + 12 + 12 MP
Fingerprint Sensor PositionOn ScreenOn Screen

Design

Samsung Galaxy S21Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus
Dimensions151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9 mm161.5 x 75.6 x 7.8 mm
Weight171 grams202 grams
Screen Resolution2400 x 1080 Pixels2400 x 1080 Pixels
Pixel Density424 ppi394 ppi
ColorPhantom Violet, Phantom Pink, Phantom Gray, Phantom WhitePhantom Black, Phantom Violet, Phantom Silver, Phantom Red, Phantom Gold, Phantom Pink
Display TypeAMOLED 2X Infinity-OAMOLED 2X Infinity-O

This year, the Galaxy S21 range offers itself an identity of its own, with an imposing photo unit, which has the particularity of being integrated into the borders of smartphones. A risk-taking that will not please everyone in terms of design, but which has the merit of being original, and which allows the S21 to immediately stand out from the rest of the models currently on the market, and in particular its great rival the iPhone 12. Concerning the S21 +, there is a frosted glass back as on the S21 Ultra, in black, silver, and purple. A slight increase in range compared to the first S21 of the name, which is satisfied with a matt plastic back, a little less prestigious. Another notable difference is that the S21 + has a 6.7-inch screen, compared to only 6.2 inches for the classic S21. Something to suit fans of XXL screens, even if we still do not go beyond the Ultra iteration of the range, with its 6.8 inches diagonal.

On the side of the S21, we do not benefit from the glass at the back, but plastic. However, it is a very good quality plastic and the sensitive difference between the S21 and the S21 + is ultimately not very noticeable. It will therefore not be an argument against the Galaxy S21, which will have its more compact size, much more practical in the context of one-handed use. As for the Galaxy S21 +, after several days of testing, its handling is particularly pleasant. Aside from the case’s tendency to catch fingerprints, the feel of the frosted glass is a safe bet, and the smartphone is surprisingly balanced despite its 202 grams when weighed. On the security side, the S21 and S21 + are equipped with Qualcomm’s new ultrasonic fingerprint sensor. faster and more reliable than in the previous range. Finally, concerning its connections, the S21 and S21 + take the recipe of the S20, with a blank left slice, and a right equipped with the power button and the volume. The SIM drawer, on the other hand, has migrated to the bottom of smartphones, right next to the USB-C socket.

We will not venture to say that the S21 is the most beautiful terminal ever imagined by Samsung. On the other hand, the Korean giant succeeds here in imagining an object with an assertive design, recognizable at first glance. A risk-taking that can only be welcomed.

It’s no secret that Samsung is a master when it comes to screens. the manufacturer continues its momentum with the S21, which offers a 6.2-inch Super AMOLED panel, and the S21 + and its large 6.7-inch super AMOLED panel in 2400 * 1080 px resolution. Real happiness on a daily basis, which allows both intense displays, even in direct sunlight, but also controlled colorimetry. With the icing on the cake, the smartphone carries with it an adaptive refresh rate of 120 Hz. Concretely, in addition to ensuring perfect fluidity on your mobile FPS games and on your Tiktok feed, the S21 and S21 + can also adapt and revise their refreshing downwards depending on the situation. A good way to save a little battery during the day, while enjoying one of the best tiles on the market.

Performance

Samsung Galaxy S21Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus
ProcessorKryo 680 2.84 GHzKryo 680 2.84 GHz
GPUAdreno 660Apple GPU (4-core graphics)
RAM8 GB8 GB
Internal storage256 Gb256 GB
Storage expansionYesYes
OSAndroid 11Android 11

Under the hood, the Samsung Galaxy S21 and S21 + benefit from a particularly attractive technical sheet. In addition to their very high-flying screen, the terminals have an Exynos 2100 processor designed by Samsung, and 8 GB of RAM. Obviously, we would have preferred to find a Snapdragon 888, still reserved for the American market, but on a daily basis, the SoC has nothing to envy the competition. We have also been able to launch several recently released games deemed to be very energy-intensive, like Genshin Impact or Call of Duty Mobile, and we must admit that the result is perfect: fluid, without overheating, and very well optimized. The benchmark results also speak for themselves on the S21 and S21 +, it’s flawless.

Delivered with two storage possibilities – 128 and 256 GB, both models offer a similar technical sheet, from their components to their Android 11 OS, overlaid with Samsung One UI 3.1. Even if the S21 range is only a small evolution compared to the S20, it still loses its premium status. Obviously, both models are 5G compatible. If Samsung had chosen not to equip the entire S20 range with the new mobile standard released last year, the shooting is now corrected.

Camera

Samsung Galaxy S21Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus
Rear64 MP f/2.0, 28mm(telephoto)
12 MP, f/1.8, 26mm (wide)
12 MP, f/2.2, 13mm (ultrawide)
64 MP f/2.0, 28mm(telephoto)
12 MP, f/1.8, 26mm (wide)
12 MP, f/2.2, 13mm (ultrawide)
Front10 MP, f/2.2, 26mm(Standard)10 MP, f/2.2, 26mm(Standard)
Video recording4K@24/30/60fps,
1080p@30/60/120/240fps
4K@24/30/60fps,
1080p@30/60/120fps, gyro-EIS

Despite a good effort to melt its photo block at the level of its borders, Samsung retains a bulky appendix, which could annoy users already inconvenienced by the size of the S20 block. On the other hand, if the S21 Ultra has a photo block similar to the Note 20 Ultra, the S21 and S21 + carry the same artillery on their side. We thus find at the front, a unique front sensor of 10 Mpx in f / 2.2, housed in a single central punch. At the rear, the terminals have a 12 Mpx (f / 1.8) main sensor, a 3x 64 Mpx telephoto lens, and a 12 Mpx ultra-wide-angle.

In use, the rendering is very successful. Samsung regulars will recognize a contrast that is a little more extensive than necessary, but which allows details to be accentuated, especially in night mode. The brand is continuing its momentum, also improving its AI on scene recognition, and simplifying its general interface. The Single Take mode is also back in a very pleasant revised and corrected version.

Regarding video shooting, the terminals allow 8K capture at 24 fps. A promising possibility, but which requires optimal conditions to meet our expectations. In 4K and 60 fps, on the other hand, the rendering is easier to access. Rather practical, there is also the possibility of filming in slow motion up to 960 fps in 1080p. It is also possible to pause the video directly during the shooting, a feature that Samsung is currently the only manufacturer to offer.

Multimedia

Samsung Galaxy S21Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus
Headphone jackYes 3.5 mmLightning
LoudspeakerYesYes
Audio FeaturesDolby AtmosDolby Atmos
FM RadioNoNo

Sound side, the rendering is unsurprisingly a little less brilliant. Samsung offers stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos support throughout its S21 range. What to listen to music at moderate volume, or watch a movie in your bed. For the rest, we recommend that you invest in a speaker worthy of the name. As on the majority of smartphones released after 2019, there is no 3.5 jack, Samsung preferring to bet on its Bluetooth headphones. For French users, smartphones comply with the law, and always carry a pair of AKG USB-C wired headphones. Nothing fancy, but always useful when needed.

Battery Life

Samsung Galaxy S21Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus
Capacity4000 mAh4800 mAh
TypeLi-ionLi-ion
Quick ChargingYesYes
Wireless ChargingYesYes
User ReplaceableNoNo

Regarding its battery life, the Samsung Galaxy S21 has a 4000 mAh battery, while the S21 + is granted a slight increase, with 4800 mAh. For the two iterations of the range, the autonomy is more than adequate and allows use all day, even intensive. In either case, we appreciate the presence of 25W wired fast charging (which requires a charger unit not included in the box), compatibility with fast wireless charging, and Powershare.

Connectivity

Samsung Galaxy S21Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus
SIMDual SIM, GSM+GSMDual SIM, GSM+GSM
Network Support5G, 4G, 3G, 2G5G, 4G, 3G, 2G
Bluetoothv5.1v5.1
Water ResistanceYesNo
WifiWi-Fi 802.11, a/ac/b/g/n/n 5GHzWi-Fi 802.11, a/ac/b/g/n/n 5GHz
GPSYes with A-GPS, GlonassYes with A-GPS, Glonass
NFCYesYes
SensorsAccelerometer, Barometer, Gyro sensor, Geomagnetic sensor, Hall sensor, Proximity sensor, Ambient Light SensorAccelerometer, Barometer, Gyro sensor, Geomagnetic sensor, Hall sensor, Proximity sensor, Ambient Light Sensor

Conclusion!

If the Samsung Galaxy S21 and S21 + logically do not surpass the S21 Ultra model, they are nonetheless excellent premium smartphones, true flagships of the Korean brand. Despite the absence of the Snapdragon 888, the Exynos 2100 seems to have managed to catch up, and definitely does not have to be ashamed of the competition. In all areas, the S21 borders on perfection. At that price, we expected no less.

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