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Samsung Galaxy A21s Review: A Underwhelming Mid-ranger

The Good

  • Premium look and feel
  • Good Main camera
  • Huge battery
  • Fast charging
  • One UI 2.0

The Bad

  • 720p TFT display
  • Poor performance
  • Expensive

Samsung launched it’s latest A-series phone in Nepal after the launch of M31 and M21. Samsung A21s was launched in July with the price tag of Rs. 24,999. Samsung’s A-series phones are supposed to be the premium versions of the M series.

I used this device for a week and I’ve plenty to say about its weaknesses and strengths. Keep in mind that, this is also the first Samsung device to use the Exynos 850 chipset.

Samsung Galaxy A21s Specifications

  • Body: 163.7 x 75.3 x 8.9 mm, 192 g, Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
  • Display: 6.5 inches PLS TFT, 720 x 1600 Resolution, 20:9 Aspect Ratio, 270 ppi
  • Chipset: Exynos 850 (8nm)
  • CPU: Octa-core (4×2.0 GHz Cortex-A55 & 4×2.0 GHz Cortex-A55)
  • GPU: Mali-G52
  • Memory: 32GB 3GB RAM, 64GB 4GB RAM, 64GB 6GB RAM, eMMC 5.1
  • OS: Android 10, One UI 2.0
  • Rear Camera: 48 MP, f/2.0, 26mm (Wide), 1/2.0″, 0.8µm, PDAF
    • 8 MP, f/2.2, 12mm (Ultrawide), 1/4.0″, 1.12µm
    • 2 MP, f/2.4, (macro)
    • 2 MP, f/2.4, (depth)
    • Video: [email protected]
  • Front Camera: 13 MP, f/2.2, (wide), 1/3.1″, 1.12µm
  • Battery: Non-removable Li-Po 5000 mAh battery, Fast charging 15W
  • USB: 2.0, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector, USB On-The-Go
  • Misc: Fingerprint (Rear-mounted), Accelerometer, Gyro, Proximity, Compass, 3.5mm Headphone jack
  • Colors: Black, White, Blue

Samsung Galaxy A21s Price in Nepal: Rs. 24,999 (4GB/64GB)

Samsung Galaxy A21s Review

Famiilar Design

  • 163.7 x 75.3 x 8.9 mm
  • 192 g
  • Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)

Samsung Galaxy A21s uses a plastic body and has a glossy finish on the rear. On the front, it has a TFT display with a water-drop notch.

The plastic build has a glossy finish and looks like glass at a first glance.

Samsung Galaxy A21s Design
Samsung Galaxy A21s Design

Its design is similar to what we got with the Samsung M21 and Samsung M31. However, it looks more premium and feels more premium as well.

The rear houses a quad-camera setup with a rectangle camera module alongside the oval-shaped fingerprint sensor. The sides curves into the frame and the edges are curved as well.

On the front, the side bezels are slim but there’s not much improvement to the bottom bezel. The buttons are on the right side whereas there’s a tray for two sims and one micro-sd.

On the bottom, we get a headphone jack, a USB Type C port, a mic, and a speaker. Whereas there’s another mic on the top.

The phone looks similar to M31 but its build and design feel more premium.

TFT Display

  • 6.5 inches PLS TFT
  • 720 x 1600 Resolution
  • 20:9 Aspect Ratio
  • 270 ppi
  • 60Hz panel

The Samsung Galaxy A21s has a 6.5 inch 720 x 1600 (HD+) PLS TFT display. It’s really weird that Samsung has opted to use an HD TFT panel on its more premium A series phone. The M21 has an FHD Super AMOLED panel and costs less than the A21s.

Samsung Galaxy A21s Display
Samsung Galaxy A21s Display

The brightness is fine and the colors are okay.  However, it doesn’t look sharp while watching videos on Youtube.

The display is disssapointing compared to the M21. You can use in under sunlight. If you want to take photos or view contents under hard sunlight, you will find it slightly difficult.

Also, you cannot choose between various color modes for display which you have can get on the M21 and M31. So, A21s is disappointing when it comes to the display.

ALSO READ: Realme C3 Long-term Review: Best Budget Phone For Gaming

Camera

  • Rear Camera: 48 MP, f/2.0, 26mm (Wide), 1/2.0″, 0.8µm, PDAF
    • 8 MP, f/2.2, 12mm (Ultrawide), 1/4.0″, 1.12µm
    • 2 MP, f/2.4, (macro)
    • 2 MP, f/2.4, (depth)
    • Video: [email protected]
  • Front Camera: 13 MP, f/2.2, (wide), 1/3.1″, 1.12µm

48MP Main Sensor

Samsung Galaxy A21 uses a 48MP main sensor. The sensor is the same one used on the M21.

Samsung Galaxy A21s Camera

Generally, the Samsung Galaxy A21s takes pleasing photos. The images have popping color, dynamic range is okay, and the photos have good detail with the normal 12MP mode.

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Samsung Galaxy A211’s binned 12MP images look sharp, and the image processing favors high contrast and saturation.

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Moving on to its 48MP images, they have a slightly more detail compared to 12MP images but they lack HDR. So, the images are less appealing in high dynamic range situations. Also, the 12MP images are a bit brighter than the 48MP images. Indoor images are okayish as well but they do have slight noise.

Low Light

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Samsung Galaxy A21s low light pictures are average at best. The photos look noisy and blurry. Also, the images have a bluish tint to it. But the main drawback is, it doesn’t have night mode to improve the quality.

Ultrawide Angle

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For the ultrawide angle camera, A21’s 8MP sensor does quite well. Though I would have liked a 12MP sensor, it’s 8MP sensor is pretty good during daylight.

The images look quite sharp but you will notice slight noise around the edges. Also, it does not perform as good as the main sensor when it gets dark. But that’s what happens in all of the phones.

Live Focus Mode

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Now, talking about the portrait photos, I’m satisfied.

The depth effect doesn’t look artificial and that’s what I most tend to give attention in portrait photos. Moving on, edge detection is quite good. But of course, it’s not perfect around challenging areas like hair. Also, some photos get underexposed in challenging situations.

Macro Photos

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Last but not least, it has a 2MP macro sensor which is only good for occasional social media. Since it’s only a 2MP sensor, you don’t get many details in the pictures. The photo might turn out good if there’s ample lighting but it’ll be rare.

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Now on to the front camera, It is inconsistent. You will get good results when there’s an ample amount of light. But, the photos tend to be underexposed in some situations and the details on the dark areas are lost. You can also capture live focus photos from the front camera but it’s only average.

Video

Samsung A21s supports up to 1080p video recording at 30fps. 4k videos are not supported which is weird because you can capture 4k footages on the M21.

It also doesn’t have a super steady feature at 1080p which is available on M21. So, A21s camera experience is not as good as the M21.

Performance

  • Exynos 850 (8nm)
  • Octa-core (4×2.0 GHz Cortex-A55 & 4×2.0 GHz Cortex-A55)
  • Mali-G52 GPU
  • 64GB ROM 4GB RAM

Samsung Galaxy A21s features an all-new chipset from Samsung; Exynos 850.

ALSO READ: Samsung Galaxy M31 Review: The Go-to Mid-range Smartphone

Exynos 850 is made in an 8nm process and has Octa-core (4×2.0 GHz Cortex-A55 & 4×2.0 GHz Cortex-A55) CPU along with Mali-G52 GPU. It’s a new processor but the results are disappointing.

Samsung Galaxy A21s Performance

Samsung Galaxy A21s feels sluggish even when using apps and jumping between multiple apps. There’s a slight stutter in animations when jumping between multiple applications. The animations are also not smooth and even scrolling through Instagram feels slow sometimes.

Regarding gaming, I tried PUBG and Asphalt 9 in the A21s. I played PUBG mobile in a smooth and low fps setting but the gameplay was not good. The game stutters and has frame drops. With Asphalt 9, I could feel slight stutter even on the menu screen. It is playable but there will be frame drops when there’s lots of animation on the screen.

I had a 3GB RAM variant for review period but the 4GB RAM variant is the only variant available in Nepal. And, I think the 4GB RAM variant will have better performance than this.

Security

In terms of unlocking options, you can use the fingerprint sensor or face unlock but I prefer the fingerprint sensor. It’s quick and reliable but it’s now as quick as the Chinese competitors.

If you prefer, you can use face unlock as well. Face unlock on the A21s is better than the M21 and M31.

Speaker

The speaker on the Samsung Galaxy A21s is just average. Sound quality is average as well, it feels thin and lacks dynamic sound profile

Battery and Charging

  • Non-removable Li-Po 5000 mAh battery, Fast charging 15W
  • USB 2.0, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector, USB On-The-Go

Without a doubt, Samsung M31’s 5000 mAh battery is its best feature. Sadly, It’s less than the M21’s 6000 mAh battery. But, I was getting 6-7 hours of average screen on time and I was still left with a 30% battery at the end of the day.

Samsung Galaxy A21s USB Charging

So, you can actually use Samsung A21s for almost 2 days under average usage. But, it’s charging is not impressive.

It takes 2 hours to go from 0 to 100. It would have been great if it had 20W or even 25W fast charging.

Software

  • Android 10, One UI 2.0

Samsung Galaxy M31 runs on One UI Core 2.0 on top of Android 10. I will say that One UI is one of the good UI out there. Personally, I like the Oxygen Os and I will say One UI is the 2nd best after it.

Samsung Galaxy A21s Software

There are some extra bloatwares like Yandex search in this device which i did not find in the likes of Samsung M21 and M31. And, there are other apps from Yandex like Yandex Mail and Yandex Zen.

Else, it’s the same experience as the M21 and M31. I really like the new battery usage interface and the revamped device care interface.

Conclusion

Samsung Galaxy A21s is a disappointing phone from Samsung. Clearly, it should have been better than the M21 but it’s far worse than the M21. And, there are some obvious reasons. It doesn’t have an AMOLED display, it only has an HD display, and the new Exynos 850 chipset doesn’t have good performance.

Its main camera sensor is decent and the battery life is quite good. But except that the Galaxy A21s feels very underwhelming even against Samsun’s own Samsung M21.

I was expecting this phone to be priced below Rs. 20,000. It does feel expensive at Rs. 24,999 and for that price, there are lots of alternatives like Redmi Note 9, Samsung M21, and even Realme 6i.

I hope you like our review of Samsung Galaxy A21s. If you have any questions regarding this device, then drop it in the comments below. I will try my best to answer each of them.

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