Samsung has presented this Thursday the new Galaxy S21 family. And, as on previous occasions, it is made up of three different models: S21, S21 Plus and S21 Ultra. They all have several points in common, but, in turn, target different market segments.
On the occasion of its launch, I have had the opportunity to test the three new models for about an hour. To get to know them in depth, obviously, it would take much more time. However, those few minutes with the new products have left in my mind a series of sensations and reflections that, honestly, I think are worth commenting on.
A step back in price that makes it attractive
Let’s start with one of the controversial points. The Galaxy S21 and S21 Plus incorporate, unlike their predecessors, Full HD + displays. This, technically, is an indisputable step backwards. However, after spending a few minutes with these phones, you realize that, most likely, most people who buy this phone will probably not notice the difference. And the clearest example we have in phones like the iPhone 11, the iPhone XR or the OnePlus 8.
What people probably do value is the price drop. The 128GB Galaxy S21 costs 849 euros, which is a discount of 60 euros compared to the cheaper Galaxy S20. But in this equation we must include one more variable: 5G. The cheapest Galaxy S21 comes standard with 5G connectivity, while last year it was necessary to pay 1009 euros for the Galaxy S20 5G. If we take into account this nuance, the reduction compared to last year’s model is even greater: 160 euros.
The step back in resolution, however, It is not the only thing that has facilitated this price reduction. The inclusion of a flat screen has also helped make both models cheaper. The difference, in this case, is that many consumers prefer this type of panel over curved ones, so, in reality, it could not be described as a step back from a technical point of view.
How about the new design of the Galaxy S21 family?
Samsung has decided to give prominence in the promotional materials to the violet version of the new Galaxy S21. However, the one that caught my attention the most during the hour I was with them was the black version of the Galaxy S21 Ultra. The matte finish in that dark tone, added to Samsung’s new design line, gives it a super attractive aesthetic.
The new design, by the way, it’s a bit of originality in the ocean of monotony that the industry has become. The way in which the photographic module joins the side edges is to say the least peculiar and, in addition, it allows you to easily differentiate a Galaxy S21 from any other competing smartphone. This is essential to create a brand image.
And what about the polycarbonate back of the Galaxy S21? Many of you will ask. Well honestly the difference is less than you might imagine. And the reason is the matte coating that Samsung has applied over the entire Galaxy S21 line, which makes everything more homogeneous despite using different materials. Obviously, I prefer the finish of the S21 Plus or the S21 Ultra. But I must admit that, to the touch, the differences between one and the other are much smaller than I expected.
The only two things I have missed from an aesthetic point of view are, on the one hand, the symmetry of the frames surrounding the screen –The lower one is still slightly thicker than the upper one–. And, on the other hand, the material with which the side frame of the Galaxy S21 Ultra is built. It is metallic, yes, but resorting to steel – as Apple has done for several years – would have been great.
About the S-Pen. Samsung’s stylus is coming to the Galaxy S family for the first time. The fact that it is optional seems like a success to me, since it does not increase the price of the device unnecessarily and neither does it influence the internal structure of the device – which usually translates into smaller batteries. Of course: the case that accompanies the S-Pen is a bit cumbersome.
No optical telephoto lens on the S21 and S21 Plus. Samsung speaks of a three-fold zoom in both models, but in reality it is a hybrid zoom that relies more on digital than on optical, since the focal length of the lens does not exceed 30 mm. This does not happen on the S21 Ultra.
The Exynos is more promising than ever. For the last few years, the Exynos variant was the “bad” one for the Galaxy. This year, the story may be different. Although, to verify it, it will be necessary to spend more time with the new device.
Having two telephoto lenses points to be a blast. If you like photography, it is very likely that you will fall in love with having two telephoto lenses (3X and 10X) on the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Their quality is something that I have not yet been able to put to the test. But the idea of having this capacity in your pocket promises to be super interesting.
The article After an hour with the Galaxy S21, I think that Samsung has made the right decisions was published in Explica.co.