Samsung Galaxy S21 review

The Samsung Galaxy S21 5G is a sensible, great looking, but ultimately familiar smartphone

Samsung Galaxy S21
(Image: © Basil Kronfli/Digital Camera World)

Digital Camera World Verdict

A reliable upgrade for Galaxy S10 owners, the Samsung Galaxy S21 is a very good smartphone, and a decent camera phone at $799 / £769, however, it’s too similar to its predecessor and last year’s Galaxy S20 FE to warrant an upgrade from either of those. For anyone who wants cutting edge Samsung smartphone features, the S21 Ultra or Note 20 Ultra are the obvious choices, however, if you like your phones thin, light, and darn good looking, then you could do a lot worse than the S21.


  • +

    Lower launch price than S20

  • +

    UI packed with features

  • +

    Improved night photography


  • -

    No optical zoom

  • -

    No AF on ultrawide

  • -

    Low on innovation

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The Samsung Galaxy S21 takes the reigns from last year’s S20, the entry-level flagship of the series, which later spawned the S20 FE, an affordable alternative crammed with top-tier Samsung features. With both the S20 and S20 FE still holding their own in 2021, do we really need a new Samsung Galaxy though?

The Galaxy S21 is smaller than the S20 FE, and it’s also a better-looking package, especially in the violet and gold version we reviewed. Style is important, so that makes a good case for the phone. That said, a glance at the specs, and it fast becomes clear, there’s very little in it between the two phones.

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Basil Kronfli

Basil Kronfli is a freelance technology journalist, consultant, and content creator. He trained in graphic design and started his career at Canon Europe before moving into journalism. Basil is also experienced in video production, independently running the YouTube channel TechEdit, and during his time at Future, he worked alongside the Digital Camera World team as a senior video producer.