The Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G is here, and you could say less is more
At first glance, even the box it arrives in is minimalist.
Only the essentials are included – the phone, a USB-C to USB-C charging cable, a SIM card key, and a few slim manuals and warranty cards.
You'll have to get the charger separately if you need it (for RM129). However, Samsung's move to exclude the charger doesn't come as a surprise, as more brands are looking to lower their carbon footprint.
Do note that the Galaxy S21+ 5G comes with a USB-C to USB-C cable, not your regular USB-C to USB-A cable. Be careful NOT to use a USB-C charger meant specifically for charging devices like laptops.
Another thing to note is that the phone doesn't come with a headphone jack, and doesn't include a pair of headphones. You'll need to get a converter if you want to use your own headphones, but Samsung seems keen on getting users to try out their Galaxy Buds Live or Galaxy Buds Pro.
When it comes down to the phone, though, it is a thing of beauty
The new Galaxy S21+ 5G comes in four colours – Phantom Violet, Phantom Black, Phantom Silver, or Phantom Pink.
I thought I chose the most subdued option with Phantom Silver, but it turned out to look really gorgeous because of the beautiful reflected hues on the metal back casing. Thanks to the material used, it also helps reduce those annoying fingerprint marks.
The phone itself feels sleek and premium, but may be too big for those with small hands. Nevertheless, the metal casing makes the phone feel sturdy, while the Gorilla Glass Victus is the toughest glass Samsung has ever used on a phone, providing great protection.
To test out how strong the Galaxy S21+ 5G is, I did a drop test...
...onto a piece of sugar paper and several stacked pillows.
Safe to say no Galaxy S21+ 5G phones were harmed in the process.
One thing that caught my attention was how smooth the display is
The Galaxy S21+ 5G features a 6.7-inch display with up to 120Hz refresh rate. This makes scrolling through social media and websites insanely smooth and seamless.
But the main reason for the hype behind the Galaxy S21+ 5G is definitely its camera, which is powerful and packed with features
Samsung did a great job with their contour cut camera design. Unlike previous phones that had awkward camera bumps jutting out, this new design blends the camera with the outer frame. Overall, the design looks cleaner, more sophisticated, and just makes sense.
The Galaxy S21+ 5G features a 12MP ultra wide camera, a 12MP wide-angle camera, and a 64MP telephoto camera. It also has a 10MP selfie camera.
Using the normal camera mode, you can achieve up to 30x zoom. The phone also has a Zoom Lock function that helps you stabilise when zooming in.
Besides that, there is a special distinction between the normal camera mode and the 64MP camera mode. The 64MP camera mode lets you capture the smallest details, so you can crop your picture multiple times and still get super clear photos.
Here's a look at a shot taken with the normal camera mode. It is already impressive considering the amount of detail retained while zooming.
But take a look at this 64MP shot taken with the Galaxy S21+ 5G.
The leaves on the tree still look so clearly defined, even though it's all the way across the street. For photo enthusiasts, you can also save your picture in .raw format for more editing capabilities.
Apart from that, the flagship smartphone has tonnes of other camera features to offer, including Single Take, Night Mode, 8K video recording, and more. But we will explore all of these features in an upcoming in-depth review of the Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G.
If there's one thing to nitpick about the Galaxy S21+ 5G, it would be the overall user experience and difficulty in navigating the UI
The Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G is a powerful phone, but first-time Samsung users may take a while to getting used to the device. I had to Google to figure out a few simple functions like adjusting the brightness in quick settings and how to restart the phone. Thankfully, there are lots of helpful websites with tips on how to use the Galaxy S21+ 5G and all its functions.
How to adjust brightness in quick settings:
When you swipe down from the top, your phone displays a few quick setting options like WiFi, Bluetooth, and flight mode. However, you'll need to swipe down again to reveal more settings like brightness.
Restarting phone using side key:
You can set the side key to be a shortcut button to open your camera. But doing so disables the default function of turning off or restarting your phone. Basically, you can only set your side key to do one thing.
So, how is the Galaxy S21+ 5G different from S21 5G or S21 Ultra 5G?
The Galaxy S21 5G has similar features to the S21+ 5G, and is RM600 cheaper, but has a plastic back casing instead of a sturdy metal back casing.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G, on the other hand, has a 108MP main camera, more RAM, more internal storage, as well as support for the Samsung S Pen stylus. However, you'll have to fork out a whopping RM1,000 more for this device.
At RM4,299, the Galaxy S21+ 5G is the perfect middle ground if you're looking for a high performance smartphone, but don't really require all the bells and whistles.
So, is it worth the price?
The phone itself definitely feels high-end and fitting of the price tag. However, it's only worth it if you plan on exploring and using all the features. Photography enthusiasts will love all the impressive camera functions on this phone, and I'll do an in-depth review of it soon. But if you're just looking for a normal phone for everyday use, you should be able to find a cheaper phone that works well enough.
You can pre-order the all-new Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G from Samsung Experience Stores, Samsung Authorised Partners, and Samsung Malaysia’s Online Store