Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus: Features | Specifications | Pricing
Samsung’s mid-range 2021 flagship phone combines some serious camera zoom and a powerful processor.
Power, storage and battery
|Launch price (RRP)||$0|
The Samsung Galaxy S21+ is named pretty appropriately. Take the essential recipe of the Galaxy S21 and upsize it a touch in screen size and battery terms, and hey presto – one Galaxy S21+!
That means that it’s a better choice for folks who might find the smaller screen on the Galaxy S21 too confining, as well as anyone who can’t or won’t meet the steeper asking price of the series flagship, the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
- 6.7-inch 120Hz Dynamic AMOLED display
- "Phantom" colour range
- Contour Cut camera bump
Like the Galaxy S21, Samsung hasn't entirely reinvented its design language for the Samsung Galaxy S21+, which runs with a 6.7-inch dynamic AMOLED display and centrally mounted hole punch style front selfie camera.
There's no side or rear fingerprint sensor, instead relying on an ultrasonic fingerprint reader located under the front glass of the handset itself. The 6.7-inch display on the Samsung Galaxy S21+ has an FHD+ resolution panel with support for up to 120Hz display rates, a feature that Samsung debuted with last year's Samsung Galaxy S20 handsets.
Like the Samsung Galaxy S21, you can get the Galaxy S21+ in a range of colour choices, all of which have a "phantom" prefix. We're pretty sure that they're not in fact ghosts who walks, although it is notable that the new colour this year is "Phantom Violet", joined by "Phantom Black" and "Phantom Silver" at Samsung's retail partners. It's saving a few hues for itself, so if you want the "Phantom Gold" or "Phantom Red" models, they'll sell in Australia directly through Samsung only.
Samsung has also taken some design ideas from the Galaxy S20 FE and its flatter camera bump for the Samsung Galaxy S21+. It features a contour cut bump that rolls around the side of the phone, which is a big improvement over 2020's Galaxy S20 phones and their chunky camera arrays.
- Triple lenses for wide, ultrawide and telephoto shooting
- 30x Space Zoom with Zoom Lock
- Improved Single Take
It's not uncommon for the slightly larger member of a premium phone family to up the quality of its camera lenses, but that's not the route that Samsung's gone for with the Galaxy S21+. It features the same triple lens array as the smaller Samsung Galaxy S21, with a primary wide 12MP sensor, secondary ultrawide 12MP sensor and single 64MP telephoto lens.
As always the numbers don't tell the whole story about camera quality, and we'll definitely have to wait until we can put the Galaxy S21+ through its paces to see how it compares in the real world. Samsung promises a range of new goodies for the Galaxy S21+, including 8K 60fps video shooting, a "director" view that shows you all the lenses firing at once so you can precisely frame your scene and an upgraded version of its "Single Take" feature.
Single Take was a brand new feature for 2020 Samsung handsets, which fired off all the rear lenses at once and presented you with a selection of shots taken over time to pick from. In 2021, Single Take 2 will offer more customisation, including the ability to select a shooting time of up to 15 seconds for your mix of still and video shots.
The 64MP telephoto lens is equipped with a higher megapixel count to enable the next generation of Samsung's "Space Zoom" technology. "Space Zoom" is still a daft marketing name for what equates to a hybrid 30x combination optical and digital zoom feature.
Samsung's new feature in this respect is an AI-based "Zoom Lock" feature that Samsung claims can enhance stabilisation when at the longest zoom distances. That was definitely an issue for 2020's Space Zoom-capable Samsung phones, but again we'll have to wait until we can run it through more dedicated testing to get a full idea of how well it works.
- Exynos or Qualcomm processors
- 8GB RAM with 128GB or 256GB of storage
- 5G ready
- UWB support
- Knox Security and Samsung DeX on board
According to Samsung's released specifications for the Galaxy S21+, it ships with a 5nm processor that's not being specifically named. This is something that Samsung has done for years to somewhat obfuscate the fact that it typically ships two different variants of its Galaxy S and Galaxy Note phones.
Internationally we're expecting the processor to be on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 platform, but locally it's more likely to be a Samsung Exynos 2100 instead. Typically we've seen slightly slower performance out of Samsung's Exynos models, but slightly better battery life on previously released handsets.
Either way, the Galaxy S21+ will ship with Android 11 and 8GB of RAM on board, as well as either 128GB or 256GB of onboard storage. The Galaxy S21+ is 5G capable – you'd very much expect every phone at this price point in 2021 to be 5G ready as a matter of course – and will ship with Samsung's preinstalled applications, including support for its DeX desktop software and its Knox security package.
The one point of difference that the Galaxy S21+ has over its smaller sibling is the inclusion of Ultra Wideband (UWB) support. UWB is a relatively new standard for IoT devices that could give the S21+ some functionality for smart home devices and connectivity over the regular S21 – but again that depends on implementation.
- 4800mAh battery
- Wired or wireless charging
- No included charger in the box
The Galaxy S21+ has the distinction of actually seeing a year-on-year battery storage upgrade relative to its predecessor. While the Galaxy S21 has the same capacity as 2020's Galaxy S20, the S21+ has a 4800mAh battery, some 300mAh more than last year's Galaxy S20+.
That's a nice addition, but there's also an omission in power terms for this year's Samsung Galaxy S series phones. Like Apple before it, Samsung has opted to skip out on including a power adaptor in the box, citing environmental issues. That's a position with some merit, but it does rely on you having an available charger for the Galaxy S21+, as well as putting the responsibility for using a safe and properly built charger back onto consumers. As always, it's not worth risking your safety with a low-quality cheap charger.
Recharging the Galaxy S21+ will thus rely rather more strongly on the output of the plug you use, although you can also opt for wireless Qi charging. If the Galaxy S21+ is fully charged, you can also use it to charge other Qi-compliant devices using Samsung's Wireless Powershare function.
Samsung's phones haven't been world beaters in the battery stakes in our tests for a while now, but we're keen to see what the Galaxy S21+ can do in a comparative sense. Stay tuned for our full review.
- An upgrade over the S21 if you need the larger display
Samsung's Galaxy S series phones have typically delivered very good value for Samsung fans, but the placement of the Galaxy S21+ between the absolutely premium Galaxy S21 Ultra and smaller and cheaper Galaxy S21 puts it in an interesting position.
We'll have to wait until we've had a chance to fully test it, but its core market is likely to be those who don't want the smaller display and battery
Ordinarily, the cheapest model of a given flagship range is the one that's the least exciting. After all, the best features are reserved for the pricier and larger models with longer suffixes.
However, in 2021 with Samsung already having shown it can deliver an all-in great handset by way of the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE, there's a lot of scope for the Galaxy S21 to impress. It matches the camera specs of the Galaxy S21+, could meet the needs of phone users who want a smaller handset and costs less to boot.
Stay tuned for our full review.
Pricing and availability
PriceThe Samsung Galaxy S21+ goes on pre-order in Australia from 15 January 2021, before hitting retail availability on 29 January 2021.
Where to buy
The baseline model has 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, priced at $1,549. There's also an upgraded storage model with 256GB of storage for $1,649.
You can also order the phone on a plan:
Power, storage and battery
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