If you’re all caught up on the latest Samsung Galaxy S21 news, you should know most of the basics. I have to say that I’m pretty impressed with the Galaxy S21 and S21 Plus this year. I think Samsung’s done an incredible job with the design of the phone with the updated camera module that melds into the metal side frame. It’s not a huge change or anything dramatic, but it’s enough to keep the design interesting and gives Samsung’s new phones a distinct look.
But I think the main thing that’s gonna catch most people’s attention is the pricing this year. I don’t think any of us were expecting Samsung to come out with a new flagship lineup that’s $200 cheaper across the board. Samsung deserves a lot of credit for this and I think it’ll have a massive impact on smartphone pricing throughout the year.
That being said, the Galaxy S21 and S21 Plus are far from perfect. While our coverage of the new Galaxy S21 devices has highlighted the phones in a positive light, I thought I’d point out 5 reasons why you may not want to buy either of these two phones.
1. Downgraded Displays
The first item on the list is a big one and that’s the display Samsung chose to use on both phones. To cut down on material costs, these are the first flagship Galaxy S devices to feature FHD+ resolution AMOLED panels since the Galaxy S5 was introduced in 2014. Over the past few years, Samsung has also been steadily reducing the curve on the edges of its displays and this year has moved back to a fully flat display, noticeably increasing the bezels around the edges.
Personally, I don’t have any issues with either of these changes since I set my resolution of the S20 last year to FHD+ so that I could take advantage of the 120Hz refresh rate and I definitely prefer flat displays over those with curved edges, but there are quite a few Samsung fans who can’t get enough of Samsung’s Quad HD+ display panels and love the curved edges due to the increased screen-to-body ratio.
2. Less RAM
Both the Galaxy S21 and the Plus come with 8GB of RAM this year. To some, that may sound perfectly reasonable, but if you purchased one of last year’s Galaxy S20 devices you currently have a phone with 12GB of RAM inside.
Like the reduction to the display quality, this change was needed to save you that $200 on the purchase price. While 12GB of RAM truly set the Galaxy S20 devices apart from the competition last year, 8GB of RAM should still deliver a great user experience. You just won’t be able to keep a dozen apps in memory at once.
3. Say goodbye to expandable storage
We all knew this day would come eventually, but I was hoping we still have a few more generations of Galaxy S smartphones ahead of us before it did. None of the Galaxy S21 devices feature support for expandable storage. All you get is 128GB of storage on the base model, but you can pay more to upgrade to 256GB.
If you use Google Photos or another cloud service to back up your photos and videos, you should be just fine, but your phone’s internal storage can fill up quite quickly if you turn on 4K video capture.
Having microSD expandable storage was one of those last remaining features that allowed Samsung’s flagship devices to stand out from the competition. If this change is a deal-breaker for you, you may have to downgrade to a mid-range device to retain that feature in 2021.
4. Bring your own charger
Samsung should get some flack for mocking Apple for not including a charger with its 2020 iPhone lineup and then following in their footsteps just a few months later.
That’s right, just like the iPhone, the new Galaxy S21 lineup doesn’t come with a charging brick in the box. Samsung didn’t make quite as big of a deal about, but you’ll need to use an old charging brick from a previous device or pick up a new one, especially if you want to take advantage of the phone’s fast charging capabilities.
At least Samsung did the right thing by offering the phone at a cheaper price this year, so you technically should have some extra cash to spend on a changer. Also, if you pre-order the phone, Samsung will throw in $100 to $1500 in Samsung store credit so you can buy a wall charger, wireless charger and a case or two for the phone at no extra cost.
Personally, I think the choice to remove the charging brick is a good one since the majority of smartphone users already have a box full of them. NOt only does it allow the retail boxes of the phones to be smaller, kneading to less material being used and reducing emissions and transportation costs for the phone since they’re shipped from the other side of the planet, but it also reduces the number of chargers that will eventually make their way into landfills.
5. Second-tier camera experience
For years, when buying a Samsung Galaxy S smartphone, you were always treated to the best camera experience Samsung had to offer. That all changed last year with the introduction of the Galaxy S20 Ultra. Even if you pay $1,000 for the Galaxy S21, you still get the same camera experience as the regular S21 with two 12MP sensors for the main and ultrawide cameras, a 64MP telephoto camera paired with a 3x zoom lens, and a 10MP front-facing camera.
If you want the best smartphone camera Samsung has to offer, you’ll have to shell out $1300 for the Galaxy S21 Ultra which swaps in a 108MP sensor for the main camera 9-to-1 Pixel binning, and has two 10MP zoom camera with 3x and 10x zoom. All five cameras on the Ultra, including the 40MP front-facing camera, are also capable of capturing 4k video at 60fps, allowing you to seamlessly switch between them while recording a single clip.
Now, that’s not to say that the regular Galaxy S21 devices will have a sub-par camera experience. I honestly think their cameras will be quite good and am planning a handful of camera comparisons to see how well they stand up against the competition. But they’ll definitely be one step below the best of what Samsung has to offer.
Now that I’ve pointed out the major flaws with the new Galaxy S21 lineup, I’m curious to know what you think of the new smartphones. Will you be holding out for a different 2021 flagship smartphone or will you be sticking with the device you’re currently using for another year?
Personally, I don’t think any of the drawbacks I listed are a dealbreaker on their own, but they certainly do add up if they are major features that guide your purchasing decision. As for me? I’ve pre-ordered the Samsung Galaxy S21. The phone is far from perfect, but I simply can’t say no to that price and the new design that Samsung has rolled out this year.