Samsung Galaxy M21 design
Samsung has used plastic in the new Galaxy M21 to keep the cost down. The back panel of the Galaxy M21 is made of plastic and has a glossy finish. It catches fingerprints very easily. The Samsung box doesn’t come with a case or cover, so you’ll have to wipe it down until you buy a case for it yourself.
The Samsung Galaxy M21 is an upgrade to the Galaxy M20, but it looks like the Galaxy M30s, which was launched in mid-2019. However, it does not come in many attractive colors. Instead, the company has launched it only in Blue and Black colors.
The Galaxy M21 flaunts a larger display, measuring 6.4-inches in size, and slim bezels on the top and sides. Although its chin is quite thick. There is a waterdrop notch at the top center and a small earpiece just above it. If you have big hands, you can comfortably reach your thumb all the way to the top, otherwise you’ll have to adjust the phone a bit. However, this phone is not as big as the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max, which we reviewed recently.
It’s also a bit of a problem to reach the volume buttons, as they’re set up quite a bit unlike our likes. However, the power button and rear-mounted fingerprint scanner are well placed. The thickness of Galaxy M21 is 8.9 mm. Surprisingly, the device does not feel too heavy in the hand as both the sides are curved. It comes with a weight of 188 grams, which is much lighter than the Redmi Note 9 Pro.
Samsung has given a USB Type-C port in this phone, which is set at the bottom of the smartphone. The company gives a 15 watt charger in the box. The 3.5mm headphone jack in the smartphone is also set down along with the microphone and speaker.
Samsung Galaxy M21 specifications and software
The Galaxy M21 comes with a 6.4-inch AMOLED display with full-HD+ resolution. It is not very common to find an AMOLED panel at this price point, but Samsung is constantly changing that perception with its Galaxy M series. This panel is vivid and viewing angles are also very good in it. It also performs well in sunlight.
Samsung has chosen the Exynos 9611 chipset for the smartphone. It is an octa-core processor with four ARM Cortex-A73 cores and four Cortex-A53 cores. It comes with Mali-G72 graphics unit. Galaxy M21 has been introduced in two variants, one is 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage and the other is 6 GB RAM and 128 GB storage. For this review, we had the base variant, which costs Rs 12,699 on Amazon and Rs 13,199 offline and on Samsung’s website. Similarly, the top-end model costs Rs 14,999 on Amazon and Rs 15,499 elsewhere.
The Galaxy M21 is a dual-SIM device and has two nano-SIM slots. It also has a dedicated microSD card slot for expanding storage. There is support for dual 4G VoLTE, Bluetooth 5, dual-band Wi-Fi and four satellite navigation systems. It comes equipped with a 6,000mAh battery.
Galaxy M21 runs One UI 2.0 based on Android 10. It was still running the February security patch, which is a bit out of date as of today. The UI is similar to the Galaxy M31 that we reviewed earlier this year. We found some bloatware pre-installed on the device, including Amazon Shopping, Netflix, Prime Video, Helo and Dailyhunt. We found that Hello and Dailyhunt send spam notifications, so we recommend uninstalling them if you don’t use them. We also noticed notifications from the stock My Galaxy app throughout the day.
This phone gets an always-on display mode, and is available for Dolby Atmos earphones and Bluetooth headsets. You also have the option of switching to gesture-based navigation instead of the traditional three-button layout. Other Android 10 features include a dark mode, which takes full advantage of the Super AMOLED panel included on the Galaxy M21. Samsung has also added a Game Booster feature that can block notifications and provide quick shortcuts to your favorite apps.
Samsung Galaxy M21 performance
Samsung’s own Exynos 9611 processor is a capable processor and can handle basic apps comfortably without any signs of slowing down. However, we did notice that heavy apps take a while to load. Multitasking was smooth and we were able to switch between multiple apps without any hassle.
The fingerprint scanner on the back of the device makes unlocking the device quick and accurate as well. Similarly, face detection also plays its job well. The AMOLED display is the best part of the Galaxy M21 and we enjoyed watching videos on this smartphone. We found the speaker to be a bit small, which dampened the content experience a bit.
We also tried playing PUBG Mobile on the Galaxy M21. The game ran on high settings with the graphics set to HD and the frame rate set to high. We did notice some lag in the gameplay, which forced us to reduce the quality of the graphics. After playing the game for 15 minutes, we noticed that the device was a bit hot, and the battery dropped by 3 percent.
The battery life of Galaxy M21 is excellent. Thanks to the large 6,000mAh battery included, the phone gave a backup of two days with regular use of the phone. The device managed to last 21 hours and 48 minutes in our HD video loop test, but the phone’s brightness drops when the battery drops below a certain level. Apart from this, the big battery takes two hours to charge. Using the included 15W charger in the box, the device charged to 21 percent in 30 minutes and to 42 percent in an hour.
Samsung Galaxy M21 cameras
Triple rear camera setup has been given in Samsung Galaxy M21. The primary camera comes with a 48-megapixel sensor with F/2.0 aperture. Its second camera is an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens with F / 2.2 aperture and the third camera is an 8-megapixel depth sensor. Camera UI is easy to use. It has a scene optimizer, which can detect where the camera is pointing and set the camera’s settings accordingly. Apart from the regular photo and video modes, it also includes features like Live Focus, Pro, Night, Food, Super Slo-mo and more.
The Samsung Galaxy M21 is quick to lock focus and meter light, but the scene optimizer isn’t as fast. In photo mode, the Galaxy M21 captures 12-megapixel shots by default. In broad daylight, we found the camera performance to be decent and the Galaxy M21 managed to capture decent detail in photos. Although it would have been better if the output had a little more sharpness.
The wide-angle camera has a low resolution, which is clearly felt in photographs. It does not capture the same detail as the primary sensor in the photo. It captures a very large area, but like most smartphones, distortion is visible in the pictures taken with it.
Camera performance in low light is not as good as we have seen in some other phones in this price range. The Galaxy M21 managed to keep the noise under control, but the output had a watercolor effect. The quality degrades further if you use the wide-angle camera in low light. The Night Mode on the Galaxy M21 helps to deliver slightly better output, but the phone cuts the frame slightly to reduce shake.
Selfie taken in daylight came with good detail. The camera UI gives you a cropped view by default, but you also have the option to change it to a wide frame. The selfie camera takes 12-megapixel photos by default, but if you change the aspect ratio, you can take photos at full 20-megapixel resolution as well. In low light, there was no noise in selfies, but grains were visible when zoomed in.
Samsung Galaxy M21 looks like Galaxy M30S. It shares many important specifications with the older device. The big difference here is Android 10 and a high resolution selfie camera, but because Galaxy M30s (Review) Recently got the One UI 2.0 update, so its selfie camera is better than before. Surprisingly, Samsung has priced the Galaxy M21 lower than the Galaxy M30. The low price of the Galaxy M21 and a better chance of getting the Android 11 update takes it a step further than the Galaxy M30s.
However, the Galaxy M21 itself is just an average device at this price point. realme 6 (review) and Redmi Note 9 Pro Competitors like (Review) offer much more impressive performance and better cameras and are sold for roughly the same price.