Samsung Galaxy S21 – Should you buy it?

We have been using the Samsung Galaxy S21 for the past couple days and this is our overall experience with the latest flagship that Samsung is bringing to the table this year, they’ve released it a couple of weeks earlier but they usually drop it sometime around February.

The biggest thing to like about this device is the price point and that’s what Samsung really tried to hammer home but is it right for you and should you prefer this over a refurbished Samsung S20. Let’s get right into it.

Price in Australia

The base model of the S21 lineup starts at $1,249 AUD so it’s cheaper than last year but on the flip side to that, you’re actually giving up quite a lot like a Full HD display instead of the QHD one and expandable storage.

It offers quite a lot in terms of camera, the latest processor and an all-day battery life with exceptional performance but you can buy a refurbished S20 at a much cheaper price. The Samsung S20 price in Australia starts from $799 AUD at Phonebot, which makes it a far better option. Read more to find out why.

Build Quality

The build quality is premium and that’s one of the key differences between the S21 and the S21 Plus, the ultra which is their premium high-end flagship that’s on a class on its own.

Last year, the only main difference between the standard S20 and the plus model was the size. This year around, it’s still a size difference (6.2 versus the 6.7) but we’re also losing the actual material. This year Samsung has switched from the premium glass to polycarbonate plastic. Some people will be let down by this and may feel like it’s a downgrade.

In reality, we don’t think that’s a big deal because most people rock a case on their phone to protect it. The phones feel premium in the hands and we feel Samsung has nailed the design and build quality this year. The S20 from last year takes the award for build quality.


Samsung makes some of the best screens in the industry and the screen on the S21 is pretty much edge to edge.

The only small little cutout you’ve got is for the front-facing camera. The biggest caveat though is that they have dropped the resolution to 1080p so this is the first time a Samsung flagship phone doesn’t have a 1440p display.

While the base model of the S20 rocks a Quad HD display. It’s a Dynamic Amoled 2x display which is HDR10+ certified, goes all the way up to 1300 nits of brightness and can support up to 120Hz refresh rate. It now has an adaptive refresh rate so it’ll switch actively between 48 to 120 hertz depending on what you’re doing. The screen is steller and the performance is extraordinary.

The display is smooth and everything is fluid thanks to the 120Hz refresh rate. While we love the display on the latest flagship, we have got to give this one the S20 because of the higher resolution.


The S21 lineup has the latest Flagship processor so that’s one of the key upgrades, it’s got the new Snapdragon 888 or the Exynos 2100 chipset (depending on the market) and 8GB of ram.

There are tons of other phones with either 12 and some with even 16 gigs of ram but the performance on the S21 is near flawless. There’s no stutter or lag in playing the most graphic-intensive games, it absolutely crushes the competition and One UI has just gotten so much better.

The smaller form factor is easier to hold in one hand and couple that with the 4,000 milliamp-hour battery, it will easily last you the entire day. The S20 on the other hand is powered by the Snapdragon 865 or the Exynos 990 chipset, and it’s no slouch when it comes to performance.

The performance is amazing and we’re sure you won’t be able to tell a difference between the two devices when it comes to performance.


One of the key features that we love about the lineup is the camera. This year we get updated sensors so it’s got a triple camera setup but if you want the quad you’ll have to go up to the ultra.

We’ve got a 12-megapixel main camera, 12 megapixels ultrawide and a 64-megapixel telephoto lens that can get all the way up to the 30 times space zoom. If you want the 100x zoom you’ll have to go up to the ultra and we have to give Samsung huge props because they’ve really improved the stability, performance and the autofocusing of that zoom lens.

They are very capable devices with good dynamic range and the colours are on point for a Samsung phone.

We’re still able to shoot in 8k video which we think is super impressive and the results are absolutely stellar. They’ve got some cool features like director mode, you’re able to shoot across all different focal ranges at the same time and that’s amazing. Overall that was our experience with the Samsung S21.

No more Card Slot

You are now stuck with only two options 128 or 256GB, as sadly there is no more microSD card slot so no more expandable storage and many people will consider this a con.

But for most users, 128 or the 256GB option is plenty enough as that is quite a bit of storage. The previous year Samsung flagship has expandable storage and supports MicroSD cards.

Worth the Upgrade? 

Honestly, if you’ve got the S20 from last year, we’d still hold on to that. If you’re in the market for a new phone, we recommend going for a refurbished S20 as it has got it all, it will save you money and you’d get a higher resolution screen, glass back along with expandable storage.

If you have the funds saved for it and must have the latest flagship, go for it, for everybody else, we recommend the Samsung S20.

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