Samsung has officially released the latest smartphones in the Galaxy S lineup. The Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21 Plus, and Galaxy S21 Ultra were announced at the Samsung Unpacked event that took place during CES 2021, and all three models are available for sale as of January 29, 2021.
Overall, the Galaxy S21 lineup arrived as one would expect — as a nice update to the Galaxy S20 lineup. Keep reading to learn more about the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus, and about how the specs compare to the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 Ultra. Of course, we’ll also be taking a look to see how the Galaxy S21 Plus compares to the Galaxy S20 Plus.
Table of contents:
- Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus: Specs and Features
- Galaxy S21 Plus Performance
- Galaxy S21 Plus Display
- Galaxy S21 Plus Camera
- Galaxy S21 Plus Battery Life
- Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus: Look and Feel
- How much does the Samsung Galaxy S21 lineup cost?
- Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus vs. Galaxy S20 Plus
This overview focuses on the Galaxy S21 Plus, however, you can also read our Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 Ultra overviews if you are trying to decide which of the three models may be your next smartphone.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus sits in the middle of the Galaxy S21 lineup. The Galaxy S21 serves as the base model, and the Ultra-model is aimed at those who want all of the bells and whistles. If you’re looking to get a Galaxy S21 smartphone with the highest resolution display, or a periscope zoom camera lens, or with internal storage higher than 256GB — the Galaxy S21 Ultra is the one you want. However, outside of those few specific reasons, the Galaxy S21 Plus is likely the best option.
You can review the specs for each of the three Galaxy S21 models in the chart below or review details for all of the Galaxy S smartphones in our Buyer’s Guide.
|Samsung Galaxy S21||Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus||Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra|
|Processor||8-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 888||8-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 888||8-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 888|
|Display Resolution||2400 x 1080, 421 ppi||2400 x 1080, 394 ppi||3200 x 1440, 515 ppi|
|Display Technology||Dynamic AMOLED 2x Infinity-O display||Dynamic AMOLED 2x Infinity-O display||Dynamic AMOLED 2x Infinity-O display|
|Display Refresh Rate||48-120 Hz||48-120 Hz||10-120 Hz|
|Rear-Cameras||Wide-angle: 12MP, f/1.8, 26mm|
Ultra-wide: 12MP, f/2.2, 13mm
Telephoto: 64MP, f/2.0, 29mm
|Wide-angle: 12MP, f/1.8, 26mm|
Ultra-wide: 12MP, f/2.2, 13mm
Telephoto: 64MP, f/2.0, 29mm
|Wide-angle: 108MP, f/1.8, 26mm|
Ultra-wide: 12MP, f/2.2, 13mm
Telephoto: 10MP, f/2.4, 70mm
Periscope Zoom: 10MP, f/4.9, 240mm
|Front Selfie Camera||10MP, f/2.2, 26mm||10MP, f/2.2, 26mm||40MP, f/2.2, 26mm|
|Storage||128GB, 256GB||128GB, 256GB||128GB, 256GB, 512GB|
|RAM||8GB||8GB||8GB or 12GB|
|Battery||4,000 mAh||4,800 mAh||5,000 mAh|
|Dimensions||71.2 (W) x 151.7 (H) x 7.9 (D) – mm||75.6 (W) x 161.5 (H) x 7.8 (D) – mm||75.6 (W) x 165.1 (H) x 8.9 (D) – mm|
|Weight||171 grams||202 grams||229 grams|
|Water & Dust Resistance||IP68||IP68||IP68|
|Release Date||January 29, 2021||January 29, 2021||January 29, 2021|
|Original Retail (MSRP) Price||Starting at $799||Starting at $999||Starting at $1,199|
If you’re buying a flagship smartphone, you’re going to expect top-notch performance, which is what you will get with the Galaxy S21 Plus. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus is powered by the latest Qualcomm processor, the 8-Core Snapdragon 888. The Galaxy S21 also has 8GB of RAM, which helps to ensure smooth multitasking. In comparison, last year’s Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus was running the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor with 8GB of RAM.
The new Snapdragon 888 processor in the Galaxy S21 Plus touts 20% faster CPU performance and 35% faster GPU performance as compared to the Snapdragon 865. The Snapdragon 888 is also energy efficient, which should help to keep from draining your battery quite as fast.
The Galaxy S21 Plus display is 6.7 inches. This means the display size is 0.5-inches larger than the base model Galaxy S21 and 0.1-inches smaller than the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Of course, all three Galaxy S21 models use a Dynamic AMOLED 2x Infinity-O display.
The Galaxy S21 Plus display has a resolution of 2400 x 1080, a PPI of 394, and it is HDR10+ certified. Looking back a year, to the Galaxy S20 Plus, this model had a 6.7-inch display with a resolution of 3200 x 1440. Essentially, this means the Galaxy S21 Plus display is smaller and has a lower resolution as compared to the Galaxy S20 Plus.
But on the flip side, the Galaxy S21 Plus display has some neat features. The display refresh rate varies from 48 to 120Hz. A 120Hz refresh rate means scrolling is going to be super smooth. The display refresh rate adjusts automatically on the Galaxy S21 Plus, and that will cut down on some of the battery drains that are typically associated with using a high 120Hz refresh rate.
The Galaxy S21 Plus display also has Eye Comfort Shield and was awarded the Eye Care Certification. The Eye Comfort Shield feature means the display automatically adjusts and reduces the blue light. The bottom line here is that the Galaxy S21 Plus display is going to be better on your battery, and easier on your eyes.
Some people want a crazy good selfie camera on the front of their smartphone, and some want to be able to capture high-quality photos using the rear camera array. Some even want the best of both worlds with top-notch front and rear cameras. If you care about the quality of your photos, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus is certainly a model you should consider.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus has a 12MP wide (f/1.8, 26mm) 12MP ultra-wide (f/2.2, 13mm), and 64MP (f/2.0, 29mm) telephoto camera array on the back, and a 10MP (f/2.2, 26mm) selfie camera on the front.
In comparison, the Galaxy S20 Plus rear camera setup is similar. Each of these models has the 12MP wide, 12MP ultra-wide, and 64MP telephoto, and they all share the same aperture. The big difference between the S20 Plus and S21 Plus rear camera is the DepthVision Camera, which was on the S20 Plus, and isn’t on the S21 Plus.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus camera offers several improvements and new features.
- 8K Video and 8K Video Snap: The S21 Plus allows you to capture 8K video, and also pull images, at up to 33MP, from the 8K videos you record.
- Director’s View: This feature lets you capture video from the front and rear camera at the same time. You will be able to record your subject on the rear camera, and at the same time, record your own commentary using the front-facing camera.
- Single Take: This is an AI (artificial intelligence) feature that allows you to tap the shutter button one time and get a variety of photos and videos (up to 15 seconds in length).
- Portrait Mode: This is another AI-based feature, and with Portrait Mode, the AI analyzes faces, natural lighting, angles, and directions, all in an effort to deliver the highest quality portrait.
- Space Zoom: The Space Zoom on the Galaxy S21 Plus is a 30x digital zoom. This feature will allow you to zoom in and keep the details. Space Zoom also has Zoom Lock, which helps to keep your subject centered when you zoom in.
Battery life is generally an important factor when choosing your smartphone. You want the biggest possible battery, with the longest possible battery life, and the fastest possible charging. At the risk of saying Samsung delivers each of these with the Galaxy S21 Plus — they do come close.
The Galaxy S21 Plus has a 4,800 mAh battery, and it is capable of providing fast wireless charging and fast wired charging. The wireless charging is up to 15W, and the wired charging is up to 25W. The Galaxy S21 Plus also supports reverse wireless charging at 4.5W. The reverse wireless charging means you can charge other devices, such as wireless earbuds, using the battery in your phone.
The Galaxy S21 Plus is available in three color options, which make up the Phantom color series. The colors include Phantom Violet, Phantom Black, and Phantom Silver. You can also choose from two additional colors if you order from Samsung. The Samsung exclusives include Phantom Gold and Phantom Red.
The Galaxy S21 Plus also has the premium build quality you would expect from a flagship smartphone. Samsung has the Galaxy S21 Plus equipped with premium-quality glass backs and uses Corning Gorilla Glass Victus to protect the display from scratches and other damage. The Infinity-O style display also means slim bezels all around the edges, and a hole-punch style front-facing camera. Samsung also included a new design-related feature called Contour Cut Camera Housing, which helps to blend the camera into the side frame of the smartphone.
The retail price for the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus is $999 for the 128GB model and $1,049 for the 256GB model. The amount of storage you’ll need will depend on your specific uses. For example, if you plan on downloading lots of music or videos for local playback, or plan to take advantage of the 8K video recording, you may want to consider the 256GB model. However, 128GB should be sufficient for most people. That said, even at $999, the Galaxy S21 Plus shouldn’t be considered a low-priced or cheap phone.
One way to help cut this cost is by selling your current phone. You can sell your current phone in the Swappa marketplace, and you can even see what your phone is worth before creating a listing.
As noted earlier, the Galaxy S21 Plus is one of three smartphones in the Galaxy S21 lineup. The base model Galaxy S21 is priced at $799.99 for the 128GB model and $849.99 for the 256GB model, and the Galaxy S21 Ultra is $1,199 for the 128GB model, $1,249.99 for the 256GB model and $1,379.99 for the 512GB model.
You may find yourself drawn in by the new Galaxy S21 Plus, but going with a newish Galaxy S20 Plus is a great way to save money. And, while there are some improvements that are specific to the Galaxy S21 Plus — the Galaxy S20 Plus remains a very capable smartphone.
Features of the Galaxy S20 Plus include support for sub6 and mmWave 5G, a 6.7-inch (3200 x 1440) display, Snapdragon 865 processor, 8GB of RAM, up to 512GB of internal storage, microSD card slot, 4,500 mAh battery, 10MP selfie camera, and a 12MP wide, 12MP ultra-wide, 64MP telephoto, and 10MP DepthVision camera setup on the back.
Regardless of whether you have decided to go with the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus, or the Galaxy S21 or Galaxy S21 Ultra — you can rest assured knowing that you will find the best prices in the Swappa marketplace. Along with being able to save money (read: keep more of your hard-earned money in your bank account), the Swappa marketplace is also safe, secure, and easy to use.
- Swappa has a support team that is available 24/7/365.
- Swappa has a team of moderators that reviews listings.
- Swappa uses PayPal for payments to help keep buyers and sellers protected.
- Swappa also works hard to make sure you will not have to deal with any jerks.
If you’re planning to buy a Galaxy S21, S21 Plus, or S21 Ultra and aren’t quite ready to tap the “Buy Now” button just yet — you should tap the “Subscribe” button instead. Here on Swappa, you will find a Subscribe button on the device category pages that sets you up with an email alert so you will be notified of all new listings for that particular model.
Otherwise, if you’re ready to grab your newish Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus right now you can tap the pricing widget below.