Test of the Samsung Galaxy S21: Small smartphone, Large Seduction, Samsung Galaxy S21 test: Taste it is adopting – Cnet France

Test of the Samsung Galaxy S21: Taste it is to adopt it

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Test of the Samsung Galaxy S21: Small Smartphone, Large Seduction

Marketed from 859 euros, the Samsung Galaxy S21 is the main competitor of the iPhone 12. Compact (6.2 inch), this device is likely to become the reference Android smartphone in 2021.

01net’s opinion.com

Samsung Galaxy S21

  • + Compact and successful design
  • + One of the best screens on the market
  • + Very complete characteristics
  • – Too average autonomy
  • – No evolution of the camera module
  • – Returns (Full HD, no micro SD …)

Writing note

Note published on 03/01/2021

Technical sheet

Samsung Galaxy S21

System Android 11
Processor Samsung Exynos 2100
Size (diagonal) 6.2 “
Screen resolution 424 pp

See the full file

As in 2020, Samsung is launching three new high -end smartphones this year. In addition to a ultra galaxy S21 to impress fans of new technologies (marketed from 1259 euros), the Korean brand offers Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21+, two high -end smartphones a little more “affordable” (859 and 1059 euros). The logic would like these devices to have a colossal success in 2021 and occupy the top of the most sold mobile ranking for many months.

For ten days, 01net.com tested the little Galaxy S21. To reach a price of 859 euros lower than that of the iPhone 12 (909 euros), Samsung made some hardware concessions. Are they really embarrassing ?

Plastic is magic

When Samsung announced its Galaxy S21, we have particularly criticized its choice to replace the glass from previous models with plastic. To lower its production costs, the Korean brand has indeed decided to reserve the glass for its two most expensive devices. An amazing choice, especially at 859 euros.

Back of the S21

After several days with the device, we finally think that this choice is rather wise. If we can blame Samsung his “radinery”, we must admit that plastic has good. More difficult to break and lighter (172 grams), it makes us more serene when we use the Galaxy S21.
In addition, Samsung brilliantly succeeds in imitating the appearance of glass. It is almost impossible to realize that this device is made of plastic. Even the reflections are properly replicated. In short, we validate the design of the Galaxy S21. The “Phantom purple” color of our test copy is really very pretty and allows the smartphone’s camera module, covered with pink gold, to pull out of the game.

A pleasant compact format

Facing the iPhone 12 Mini, the Galaxy S21 is a large smartphone. Faced with the rest of the market, including the iPhone 12, the new Samsung smartphone seduces by its compactness. Its 6.2 inch edge screen can be easily usable with one hand and should be suitable for all pockets. It is rare enough to be underlined.

Samsung S21 fingerprint sensor

Only downside, the edges of the Galaxy S21 screen are not completely symmetrical. Very fine at the top, left and right, they are a little more unsightly at the bottom of the screen. Apple and Google, with their star devices, manage to offer total symmetry.

One of the best screen

Covered with a new Gorilla Glass Victus very resistant glass, the Galaxy S21 screen is one of the best on the market. It depends on an OLED panel capable of an adaptive cooling rate. This means that its screen can oscillate intelligently between 48 Hz and 120 Hz depending on the content displayed on the screen, in order to preserve the autonomy of the smartphone.
Please note, the Galaxy S21 does not use a new generation LTPO screen like the Ultra S21 (the latter is able to go down to 11 Hz). It is satisfied with a classic LTPS slab, like all other smartphones.

The S21 OLED screen is of quality

True to its habits, Samsung offers one of the best screens on the market with this smartphone. According to the measurements of our laboratory, the maximum brightness of the Galaxy S21 is 861 cd/m 2 (with a peak at 965 cd/m 2 thanks to a boost mode) while the loyalty of its colors is satisfactory if you choose The natural display mode (Delta E = 3.41, Delta E by default = 5.76).
However, these performances are in line with what Samsung already offered last year (864 CD/m 2 on the S20). In other words, Samsung did not try to make progress between 2020 and 2021. Only the screen of the S21 Ultra (1010 CD/M 2) benefits from a significant improvement.

Finally, let’s talk about the definition of the screen. For several years, Samsung has been offering quad HD+ (1440 per 3200 pixels) on its high -end devices. This year, the brand regresses and adopts a Full HD+ definition (1080 per 2400).
Given the size of the S21, this difference is not visible to the eye. On the other hand, we can be upset by this type of turn backwards. Samsung loses its prestige and gives the impression to its users that they must pay more to be entitled to the real high -end.

comparison of the format with the S21+

Equipment always at the top ..

Equipped with the same Exynos 2100 processor as the Galaxy S21 Ultra, Samsung’s small smartphone delivers very satisfactory performance. If it is beaten by smartphones equipped with a Snapdragon 888 or an Apple A14 Bionic, the Galaxy S21 is a tough device that never seems to experience slowdowns. Its 8 GB of RAM also makes it possible to run several applications simultaneously without constraints.

From one year to the next, Samsung has really made progress with its processors (even if, you will see it, autonomy is not really better this year).

Camera module thickness

It is difficult to say evil of the equipment of the Galaxy S21. Compatible 5G, Wi-Fi 6, NFC (with the support of public transport cards), capable of turning into a mini-computer thanks to the Dex mode, the Samsung smartphone offers a rare wealth for a smartphone. Its ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, now a little wider than on previous generations, is also one of the fastest on the market.
Located under the screen, it even works with a wet finger. However, we would have liked his recognition zone to be even wider. It will be, we hope, for next year !

The S21 resists water and dust

Finally, on the software side, the Galaxy S21 runs under one UI 3.1. This Samsung overlay based on Android 11 is undoubtedly the most complete on the market, which makes us really like this smartphone. The brand promises four years of security updates and two major Android updates.

… but some regressions

In addition to the abandonment of the Quad HD+ screen and the use of plastic instead of glass, Samsung has decided to put aside the micro SD port and the 45 W ultra-fast recharge this year. It’s a shame, the Korean brand is satisfied more and more of the essential without trying to outdo itself. We do not really recognize her and, faced with the increasingly tough Chinese competition, it is difficult to understand why Samsung is not trying to fight.

As if that were not enough, we do not understand the choices of the Korean brand to reserve certain functions for S21 Ultra and S21+. For example, the Galaxy S21 does not have a UWB chip (Ultra Wide Band), which may prevent it from connecting to many accessories in the future. The LTPO screen, the S-PEN stylus support and the 6th Wi-Fi compatibility are also reserved for the Ultra model … In short, the Galaxy S21 is more and more a high-end “First Prix” smartphone.

The SIM drawer of the S21

Too average autonomy

Last year, the Galaxy S20 was one of the least enduring smartphones on the market. This year, Samsung is doing a little better … but remains far behind the high -end competition.

01NET versatile versatile.com, the Galaxy S21 resisted 11:31 (against 10:27 am for its predecessor in 60 Hz and 8:09 am in 120 Hz). In video streaming (10:20 am) and in communication (24:44), its performance is hardly better. Samsung is once again content with average autonomy, which is felt use.
We had to recharge the Galaxy S21 each evening to make sure not to fall in the harbor the next day. How to explain such a delay ? Samsung undoubtedly pays the average optimization of its processor and the use of a small battery of 4000 mAh. On the Galaxy S21 Ultra (5000 mAh), autonomy is already much more satisfactory … without dethroning the best.

The USB port

Finally, with regard to recharging, know that the Galaxy S21 is not delivered with a charger (there are still headphones in the box). Samsung follows Apple’s footsteps and claims to be green in turn. If you do not have a Type-C USB charger at home, Samsung markets a 25 W adapter on its site (29.90 euros). It then takes 1 hour and 9 minutes to recharge a Galaxy S21.

Photo: we take the same and start again

Finally, on the back of the Galaxy S21, Samsung was not really bothered. The brand bet everything on its ultra galaxy S21 and is content to recycle the triple camera module of the Galaxy S20 with its smartphone at 859 euros. On the back of the device there is a 12 Mpix sensor dedicated to the ultra-angle (13 mm equivalent, f/2.2), a main 12 Mpix sensor (26 mm equivalent, f/1.8) and … an “alternative” sensor of 64 Mpix (29 mm equivalent, f/2.0). The latter, who is not really a telephoto lens, is used to zoom in and record in 8k.

Once again, Samsung therefore takes the brushes with an incomprehensible technical sheet. Rather than offering a real optical zoom in its smartphone, the brand prefers to opt for a large definition sensor capable of filming in 8K and focusing on a digital zoom in the image of 64 Mpix. This proposal, which we criticized last year, was not copied by any manufacturer. Generally, when no Chinese brand is inspired by you, it’s pretty bad sign.

Grand-angle photo Grand Angle S21 Grand Angle plate Low light photo

Fortunately, Samsung’s cameras are still so excellent. Day and night, the 12 Mpix main sensor of the Galaxy S21 offers remarkable mastery. His images are really of a great quality.

For its part, the digital zoom of the 64 Mpix sensor is satisfactory but does not equal the correctness of a real telephoto lens. We would have really preferred a real X3 zoom on this device, especially since the opportunities to film in 8K are rare.

In ultra-large-angle mode

Finally, the ultra-wide angle camera of the Galaxy S21 is satisfactory, but not incredible. To compete with the best (like Huawei), Samsung must increase the size of its sensor. In the meantime, it helps out and allows you to record fun memories. By the way, the application Camera de Samsung is still so complete. The new production mode, which allows you to preview the view of the three cameras at the same time, is a nice addition.

Technical sheet

Samsung Galaxy S21

System Android 11
Processor Samsung Exynos 2100
Size (diagonal) 6.2 “
Screen resolution 424 pp

See the full file

  • + Compact and successful design
  • + One of the best screens on the market
  • + Very complete characteristics
  • – Too average autonomy
  • – No evolution of the camera module
  • – Returns (Full HD, no micro SD …)

The verdict of the test

Samsung Galaxy S21

Once again, Samsung offers an excellent smartphone. Compact, with a formidable and very efficient screen, the Galaxy S21 offers a summary of what is best in the world of mobile.
However, one cannot help but think that Samsung is satisfied a little too often from the minimum. The autonomy of the mobile, its triple camera module without evolution and the withdrawal of some flagship functions (micro SD, quad HD+, glass back) proves that Korean thinks that it no longer needs to be the best for convince you to choose your products.
At 859 euros (128 GB) or 909 euros (256 GB), it seems risky. Fortunately, mobile can count on many other qualities and should still meet success.

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Test of the Samsung Galaxy S21: Taste it is to adopt it

Test of the Samsung Galaxy S21: Tasting it is to adopt it

He does not embark the eccentricities of Galaxy S21 Ultra and does not have an XXL screen like the S21 Plus. Samsung has also revised its price down, which is rare enough to be underlined, especially after several years of increase.

It is now necessary to count 859 euros for the 8 GB/128 GB version Against 909 euros for the Galaxy S20 when it was launched. This remains a significant amount, but this decline quite well reflects the intentions of the South Korean manufacturer which are to make some high-end models more accessible, we think for example of Galaxy S20 Fe.

A design that gains in subtlety

Sometimes it is enough small changes to transform the image of a product and the Galaxy S21 is the perfect illustration. Samsung has not deeply seen the design of its high -end and yet the result is much more convincing than for the S20.

The device gives off a real feeling of exclusivity, the adjustments are excellent, the polished chassis is of the most beautiful effect, as for the integration of the photo module, it brings this touch of originality which was sorely lacking in its predecessor.

The border marries the photo sensor

The matt finish is also very successful, it avoids fingerprints and limits micro-scratches. The presence of a plastic back on a smartphone at more than 800 euros could worry, but the result is ultimately convincing, without forgetting either that plastic is more resistant in the event of a fall. And that also does not prevent having resistance IP68 against water and dust.

A convincing matt finish

With dimensions of 151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9 mm, The Galaxy S21 is a relatively compact smartphone, curved borders facilitate handling. We can simply regret the positioning of the volume button which is a little high which forces the small hands to a gymnastics to adjust the sound.

The lower part groups the USB-C port, the main speaker as well as the drawer for SIM in nano format. Small disappointment, The microSD card location that allows you to extend the memory has passed through the hatch. We must now be satisfied with the basic capacity, but Samsung has at least had the decency to limit the price increase to 50 euros between the 128 GB and 256 GB versions.

The lower border includes the speaker, the USB-C port and the double SIM drawer

The owner’s tour ends with the front side which is fully occupied by a 6.2 -inch flat slab. The front camera comes to accommodate in a small punch, while the lower part hides a second generation ultrasonic fingerprint reader which is much more efficient and rapid than that of the Galaxy S20, It’s a real leap forward !

An impeccable screen

Samsung undoubtedly offers the best screens on the market, and this is confirmed once again on the Galaxy S21. It is equipped with a slab of 6.2 inches Dynamic Amoled with a definition of 1,080 x 2,400 pixels (421 ppp) and a rate of adaptive refreshment of 120 Hz.

The colors are vibrant, the contrast almost infinite and the readability outside is very good. By the way, we appreciate that the brightness descends very low, it brings real visual comfort after dark.

Unlike the ultra galaxy s21 which benefits from a WQHD+definition, the Classic S21 must be satisfied with FHD+, But it is in no way embarrassing. No pixel is visible to the eye, even by sticking your head on the screen. Regarding the accuracy of colors, go to the phone settings to select the mode you prefer, ” lively or natural », You can in the same place adjust the white balance (RGB).

The other strong point of this screen is obviously its 120 Hz refresh rate which brings an amazing fluidity to the interface. Samsung also offers a mode ” Visual comfort protection “, It adjusts the colors of the screen according to the time of day. It’s pretty practical and it reduces eye fatigue. We also find the settings for “dark” mode.

Interface: Classic Samsung

That it seems far the time to Touch, The previous user interface developed by Samsung. ONEUI 3 overlay.1 with Android 11 is much more relevant, even if there are some demons of yesteryear. Example: the two applications to access the photos (that of Samsung and that of Google) or the presence of the Play Store and the Galaxy Store, which is confusing.

There is always an incalculable number of features, but they operate more intuitively and are ordered. The whole is quite intuitive, even if a novice will encounter more difficulty than with a device under iOS.

If you like to personalize your phone you will be delighted, between the different themes, the widgets, the wallpapers, the icons and even the elements of the Always on Display mode. You can modify everything and put to your liking.

A audio part that does not stand out

Most high -end smartphones offer stereo sound with A double speaker, The Galaxy S21 is no exception. The main speaker is located on the lower border while the second is just above the screen, it is also practically invisible.


The main speaker of the Galaxy S21

The result is average, do not expect to animate an evening with your smartphone… They are however perfect to listen to podcasts or watch videos and films. It is neither the best nor the less good in this area.

Since the Galaxy S21 does not have a 3.5 mm jack audio output, You must choose, use the USB-C port or wireless headphones. The phone is compatible Bluetooth 5.0 and supports AAC, SBC, APTX and LDAC formats.

Convincing performances

The Galaxy S21 is equipped with a Exynos 2100 processor. He succeeds the exynos 990 of the Galaxy S20 whose reputation is not very brilliant. Samsung has opted for an octa-core architecture with a 5 nm engraving and a tri-cluster configuration, that is to say with a main heart clocked at 2.9 GHz for performance, three cores Cortex-A78 to 2 , 8 GHz and four additional cores in Cortex-A55 at 2.2 GHz.

Technical characteristics of the Exynos 2100 SOC:

  • CPU: 2.9 GHz Single-Core (Cortex X1) + 2.8 GHz Tri-core (Cortex-A78) + 2.2 GHz Quad-Core (Cortex-A55)
  • GPU: Mali-G78 MP14
  • Engraving: 5 nm
  • Connectivity: 5G SUB-6GHZ
  • RAM: 8 192 MB

According to Samsung, the exynos 2100 is 19% more efficient in single-core and 33% in multi-core than the exynos 990 that it replaces, but what really ?

Benchmark tests are reassuring, he obtained scores of 5,910 and 5,775 on 3D Mark With the Wild Life test against an average of 5,556 for the S21 (S888) and only 4,270 for the S20 (Exynos 990).

The observation is the same on PC Mark with a score of 13,251 against 12,945 for the S21 (S888) and 9,926 for the S20 (Exynos 990).

PC Mark: Exynos 2100 and SD888 have similar performances

However, it is less convincing on geekbench 5 with 827 in single and 3,357 in multi-core. We end up with results similar to the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro released last year with a Snapdragon 865.

Galaxy S21 result on geekbench

Budding gamers do not have any fear to have. They will be able to launch all the titles available on the Google Play Store and adjust the graphics in the max without fear a FPS fall.

PUBG turns like a clock on the Galaxy S21

Autonomy: mention “can do better”

The classic Galaxy S21 must deal with a 4,000 mAh battery, A capacity much lower than that of the S21 Ultra (5,000 mAh), which suggests a lower autonomy. On the other hand, its screen is also smaller and therefore less energy -consuming ..

The result is just average with a day of use when the refresh frequency is in 120 Hz. You can win a few additional minutes by opting for the 60 Hz and deactivating 5G, without forgetting either that Samsung offers a whole range of tools to optimize the endurance of the device:

  • Energy saving mode: deactivates AOD, limits the speed of the processor, reduces brightness, cuts 5G.
  • Daily auto optimization: optimizes the phone when the screen is off or is not in use.
  • Adaptive energy saving: it automatically activates energy saving mode according to your use habits.
  • Wi-Fi energy saving: reduces battery consumption by analyzing traffic.

He held 8:57 minutes at the “Life Work battery” endurance test of PC Mark which is a little worse than the Xiaomi Mi 11 with 9:06 minutes.

The Galaxy S21 is compatible with 25 W fast recharging, it recovers 30% autonomy in 15 minutes and refuel in about 1 hour. Note that the charging block is not delivered with the phone, it will therefore be necessary either to buy it separately or to use that of an old phone. There is only the USB-C to USB-C cable in the box.

Photo: The winning combination ?

Samsung could have “played small arm” and just integrate second -row sensors, randomly a tof and a macro. A common practice that makes it possible to differentiate several devices from the same range and thus direct you to the best equipped model … But rather than doing this, the Korean offers a good diversity with a main objective of 12 Mp coupled with a stabilized optics From 26 mm opening to f/1.8, an ultra-angle of 12 Mp (28 mm; f/2.2) and finally a telephoto of 64 MP (13 mm; f/2.0).

Samsung’s expertise in the field of photo is undeniable. The 12 MP main sensor provides precise images with a good level of detail. The result is even more convincing with the 64 MP sensor. The high definition makes it possible to offer clear images, but the autofocus is less effective, we can even say that it is slow. The colors are also a little too saturated on the 64 Mp, we move away from the real rendering.

We will prefer to use the 12 Mp sensor with its phase detection autofocus for everyday photos, especially with moving subjects.

In low light condition, the observation is final. The 12 Mp sensor is well drawn up, it is well helped by the night mode which automatically adjusts the shutter speed to bring more light.

Main objective – 12 MP with night mode

Samsung uses the 64 Mp sensor to zoom inside the image, so it is a digital zoom and not a real optical zoom as on the ultra s21.

The ultra-wide-angle sensor is very convincing with a good definition even on the edges of the image.

We find at the front a 10 megapixel camera which captures shots with a good dive. The return of faces is natural, which is quite rare on a Samsung smartphone. We are rather used to an important digital treatment. You can always adjust this from the application settings (smoothing the skin, refining the cheeks, etc.). The management of the portrait mode is pretty good, even if there are some errors in the complex areas to be treated, around hair for example.

Front camera with Portrait mode

The video part is not to be outdone with the possibility of filming in full HD, 4K at 60 fps or 8k at 24 fps. Samsung always offers its “super stability” mode which works very well. We regret, however, that it is just available in Full HD. Video enthusiasts will be able to give their heart to the presence of many modes:

On the competition side ?

The competitors are not missing in this segment. First there is the new Xiaomi Mi 11 and its Snapdragon 888 processor. With a starting price set at 799 euros, It is a little more accessible than the Galaxy S21. The iPhone 12 at 909 euros can also be considered, there is no shortage of qualities.

Conclusion

The Galaxy S21 corrects most of the defects in its predecessor Starting with its price which loses a few euros. The design brings a little freshness and the performance is convincing. The main regret comes from autonomy, which is not surprising between 5G and the 120 Hz screen. If you are looking for a premium smartphone of reasonable size, you can go there with your eyes closed.

Samsung Galaxy S21 test: undeniable qualities

Writing note: 4 out of 5

After the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, it is the turn of the Samsung Galaxy S21, a 6.2 -inch model, to venture down to our measures.

Presentation

After the Galaxy S21 Ultra, it is the turn of the basic model, the Galaxy S21, to invite itself into our test laboratory. This very high-end model presents itself in a more Passe-Partout format. It has an OLED screen of 6.2 inch 120 Hz, an exynos chip engraved in 5 nm, a 4000 mAh battery or a triple back camera. Samsung takes advantage of his standard bearer to display his know-how: 8K video capture, fingerprint reader under the screen, designer worked and IP68 certification, to which are added many software functions.

This Samsung Galaxy S21 is launched in France from € 859 in its version offering 128 GB of storage and 8 GB of RAM. Count 909 € for 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage.

Writing note: 5 out of 5

Ergonomics and design

The design of the Samsung mobiles is rarely unanimous in the editorial staff, but the aesthetic bias of the brand seems to be seduced this time. This thanks to a photo block integrated into the carcass and which extends the right edge. It’s pretty pretty and well thought out, even if it does not prevent you from unbalanced the phone laid flat on a corner of the table.

The brand does not put this time on glass this time, since this shell is made of a plastic compound, but the slices remain well in aluminum. The weight is thus limited to 169 grams, for dimensions of 151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9 mm.

At the front, the slab is completely flat, which differs from the ultra model which offers curved edges. The screen occupies a large part of the facade, and the front camera is housed in a notch in punch format.

The lower slice has a speaker grid, the USB-C port (3.2), as well as a location to accommodate 2 SIM cards in nano format. Samsung has decided to do without a microSD location on its new high -end devices. Internal memory capacity is therefore final.

Audio

The S21 therefore does not have a mini-jack 3.5 mm or adapter socket in the box, but wired headphones (USB-C) are supplied with European models.

As with the ultra model, the S21 benefits from good quality speakers. The power reserve is good, and audio printing is rich. It’s very nice to watch a clip from your smartphone, for example.

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Writing note: 5 out of 5

Screen

The slab of this S21 is excellent, as was that of the ultra S21 spent under our probes a few weeks earlier. Recall that the terminal has a 6.2 inch FHD+ screen (1080 x 2400 pixels), offering an adaptive cooling rate to 120 Hz, and which occupies 87.2 % of the front front.

Before taking advantage of this excellent screen, we will have to do the traditional little tour in the settings and opt for the “natural” mode which allows you to benefit from the best rendering. The medium delta e noted is thus 2 and the color temperature is 6746 kelvins, almost at the level of the video standard (6500 k). OLED slab obliges, the rate of contrast is almost infinite and the time of remanence nonexistent.

Writing note: 5 out of 5

The maximum brightness reaches 862 cd/m², which is excellent, but already far from the 999 CD/m² of the S21 Ultra. The use of day is in all excellent, despite a window subject to reflections (reflectance measured at 49.4 %). The minimum brightness is measured at 1.7 cd/m², which is comfortable in the darkness. Finally, the touch delay is only 36 ms.

Writing note: 4 out of 5

Performance

As mentioned during the test of the Galaxy S21 Ultra, we were first perplexed concerning the performance of the Exynos 2100; The house fleas from Samsung had trouble holding the dragee high to Qualcomm. However, this new exynos has operated without pale, being both excellent in its management of the RAM and installing the mobile among the best smartphones to play.

Samsung does not change the formula with its Galaxy S21, which is based on the same combo. The Exynos 2100 chip operates on the brand’s European smartphones, therefore associated with a Mali-G78 MP14 GPU and 8 GB of RAM (against 12 GB for Ultra). With this change menu, he obtains almost the same results as his elder on our test protocol. Multitage management is excellent with an index of 97, which makes it one of the most fluid mobiles on the market. The performances in play are climbing at 112, for an average image flow at 63 I/S in front of gourmet software. These different measures allow mobile to obtain a global index of 104.

This places the Galaxy S21 among the best smartphones of the moment, obviously. We have also decrypted in depth the performance offered by the Exynos 2100 against the different high-end chips present in Android smartphones in the article below:

News: smartphone / mobile phone
Lab – Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra: the excellent performance of the Exynos 2100 chip

With its new Exynos 2100 chip, the Galaxy S21 Ultra offers excellent performance. Better still, Samsung finally seems avo.

Our performance tests are carried out with aim, the application developed by the company Smartvis.

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Writing note: 4 out of 5

Photo

The S21 takes on a material very different from that of the S21 Ultra. This time it is based on a main 12 Mpx (f/1.8, 26 mm) sensor and not on a 108 MP. What is sold as a telephoto lens on the S21 is a 64 MP sensor with 29 mm optics, but capable of making a 3X optical zoom. On the ultra model, this is a standard 70 mm lens. On the other hand, the ultra-wide-angle module is similar on the two models: 12 Mpx, F/2.2, 13 mm.

Main module Ultra Grand Angle Telephoto
12 megapixels 12 megapixels 64 megapixels
F/1.8 F/2 F/2.2
eq. 26 mm eq. 13 mm eq. 29 mm

Main module: Grand Angle (12 Mpx, F/1.8, 26 mm)

The main sensor of this mobile therefore captures 12 MP images – which is by default the case also on the ultra model. The images are pleasant as a whole, with a beautiful level of details in the center, but the corners of the image are a little less clear. We would have liked greater homogeneity of image, so that the S21 competes with the best mobiles on the market. Which is not quite the case, even if the S21 convinces.

At night, we generally appreciate the shots from the S21, which benefit from good management of the brightness and the color. The shots are natural. However, this is where the 12 Mpx sensor does less well than a 48 Mpx sensor that would work by default in 12 MP with pixel-binning : the level of detail is correct, but the S21 will have trouble claiming to compete with other premium models on the market.

64 mpx mode

It is therefore possible to opt for 64 MP mode, by selecting the image format “4: 3 64”. But we then witness a switch to the telephoto lens module and its 29 mm focal length. It’s subtle, but observing well, we notice the slight resizing and the change of lens. This mode is in any case particularly effective, with a level of detail greatly improved in the center as in the image corners. Beware, however, of the overexposure of the clichés.

It is however less convincing at night, and we understand it partly by this change of focal length a little disturbing. Because by passing on the 29 mm lens, we lose the opening f/1.8 to go to f/2. Suddenly, the image obtained in 64 MP is no more convincing than the 12 MP version.

Telephoto (64 MPX, F/2, 29 mm)

The dice are therefore a little pipped for this telephoto lens, which makes a 3X zoom (16 Mpx) from a 29 mm focal length and a 64 MP sensor. Moreover, the results are quite average, with a certain lack of sharpness compared to the other terminal sensors.

At night, we are dangerously close to pixel porridge.

Ultra Grand Angle (12 Mpx, F/2.2, 13 mm)

We are witnessing a strange phenomenon on this ultra-angle objective. The correction of the geometric deformation is activated by default. This is a bit of images compared to the preview of the photo application, so you have to be careful. In addition, this correction is not frankly well done: the deformation is more problematic than the simple effect fish-eye of the ultra-wide-angle lens. We hope that this will be corrected through an update.

The quality, especially by day, is otherwise quite convincing in terms of details. This is above all the case in the center where the colored balls are correctly restored. On the edges, the texture drools a little, but we notice that the colors are always present.

At night on the other hand, the ultra-angle of this mobile is hardly better than competition. There are even premium models (the Huawei P40 Pro) whose UGA is particularly convincing at night.

Front module, portrait and video mode

The Galaxy S21 also does not have the same photo equipment as its elder at the front. There is a 10 Mpx module instead of the S21 Ultra 40 megapixel model. Despite this change, the selfies seem detailed and very well managed in terms of brightness and white balance. The portrait mode is also good, with a clean and precise cutting, without too many failures.

For the video, Samsung has undoubtedly put the package, and does not get along with the S21. It is possible to film in 8k to 24 i/s, as well as in 4K to 60 i/s with the Grand-Angle and Ultra Grand-Angle Modules. The brand announces an improved super steady mode, but not available in UHD. Let us also recall that the single Take mode is more reactive thanks to the exynos 2100, or a “director” mode appears on the S21, allowing to film using a rear module at the same time as the front module of the smartphone.

Writing note: 3 out of 5

Autonomy

The classic model is obviously less well equipped than the ultra model which can count on 5000 mAh. Here, the accumulator is 4000 mAh, which leaves less hope on the side of autonomy, especially since Samsung is clearly not the manufacturer who best manages to optimize the energy consumption of its devices. Under our smartvis protocol, the Galaxy S21 will have held for 13 h 27 min in adaptive mode 120 Hz, which is quite disappointing.

For recharging, and as on the ultra S21, Samsung retains a power of 25 W. It will be recalled that the South Korean firm has decided not to offer a load block with its new smartphones, and that it will therefore be necessary either to buy it separately or to enjoy a block already possessed. Only the USB-C to USB-C cable and a pair of headphones are supplied with the terminal. In short, it takes 64 minutes to recharge the entire battery.

Our battery tests are automated by target, the application developed by the company Smartvis.
The results obtained with target come from measurements made in real conditions of use (calls, SMS, videos, application launch, web navigation, etc.).

Writing note: 4 out of 5

Sustainability

Our sustainability score makes it possible to determine the lasting aspect of the smartphone as much for the consumer as for the environment. It is based on the repairability index, sustainability criteria (protection index, standard connectors, warranty duration and updates. ) and an assessment of CSR policies (corporate social responsibility). You will find all the details of the analysis in our article presenting the sustainability score.