Opinion

I love the Galaxy S21+, and I’m not sure why (it’s probably the flat screen)

For me, choosing the largest and most top-end model in every Galaxy S lineup has been a no-brainer ever since Samsung got rid of the one-size-fits-all philosophy for its mainstream flagships (which was with the Galaxy S6 series back in 2015). That’s because having the largest screen and battery capacity possible has always been important for me, and since last year, choosing the top-end model has also meant having access to groundbreaking zoom capabilities.

This year was no different: The Galaxy S21 Ultra instantly became my favorite when Samsung announced the Galaxy S21 series in late January, especially since it’s the only model among the three S21 devices that actually offers you meaningful upgrades over last year’s Galaxy S20 smartphones. However, after using both the Galaxy S21 Ultra and the Galaxy S21+ in recent months, I have realized that I like using the Galaxy S21+ more, and I’m not really sure why.

I know for certain that it’s not the camera experience: The Galaxy S21+’s single zoom camera doesn’t hold a candle to the dual zoom lenses on the Galaxy S21 Ultra. I know it’s not the battery life, which, while surprisingly consistent every day of the week, is not as amazing as what I get on the Ultra model. And the rest of the spec sheet on the S21+ is pretty similar to that of the Galaxy S21 Ultra, so I’m unable to pinpoint the exact reason why I feel like I should keep using the former.

The screen might have something to do with it, though. First, I love that it’s flat. I guess not having curves on the display just feels fresh after years of curved displays on Samsung’s flagship phones, plus it doesn’t have the issue of accidental touches that plagues Samsung’s recent flagships with curved screens. The screen’s size also feels a tad more balanced despite being only 0.1 inches smaller than that of the Ultra model, and the phone’s lower weight makes it feel less cumbersome to use.

And despite the lower weight, the only thing you really miss out on compared to the S21 Ultra are the two zoom cameras. That’s a major disadvantage for sure, but it’s not like the Galaxy S21 and S21+ aren’t pretty good up till 10x magnification. Apart from that, you get almost everything you get on the S21 Ultra, including excellent performance (though the camera app on these phones is surprisingly laggy for me), all-day battery life, the latest software features, adaptive refresh rate tech, and the usual stuff like stereo speakers and IP68 water resistance.

Of course, it remains to be seen if the Galaxy S21+ will feel so great a few months later when the Galaxy S21 FE makes an appearance. If the Galaxy S20 FE is anything to go by, Samsung will not strip too many important features from the original Galaxy S21 trio while offering the package at a compelling price. But, for now, I’m going to continue using the Galaxy S21+ while the Galaxy S21 Ultra sits in my desk drawer, which is something I never expected to say when these phones were first launched.

Galaxy S21 review | Galaxy S21+ review | Galaxy S21 Ultra review

  • Model: SM-G996B
  • Dimensions: Bar: 161.5 x 75.6 x 7.8 mm
  • Display: 6.7 inch / 170.18 mm Dynamic AMOLED 2X
  • CPU: Exynos 2100
  • Camera: 12MP
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