With anti-china sentiments on the rise, there is a good opportunity for Samsung to once again consolidate its position in the affordable smartphone segment. The South Korean manufacturer has been actively flooding new affordable A and M series options for both online and offline markets since the lockdown eased, many of which overlap when you consider different available variants.

One of the newly launched phones is the Galaxy A21s, which is the first phone to debut with Samsung’s own Exynos 850 octa-core chipset and is perhaps meant to retail at offline stores. Before we are ready without Galaxy A21s review, here are our first impressions 

Samsung Galaxy A21s India price and specifications

Product Samsung Galaxy A21s
Display 6.5-inch, HD+ (720 X 1600), TFT LCD 
Processor2.0 GHz octa-core Exynos 850  
RAM4GB/ 6GB
Storage64GB/ 128GB, Dedicated card slot (512GB)
SoftwareAndroid 10 (One UI 2.0)
Dimension163.7 x 75.3 x 8.9 mm
Rear camera48MP (primary) + 8MP (ultra-wide) + 2MP (macro) + 2MP (Depth)
Front camera13MP
OthersUSB Type-C port, Audio jack
Color optionsBlack, White, and Blue
Price4 + 64GB – Rs. 16,999
6 + 128GB – Rs. 18,999

Samsung Galaxy A21s Review: Box Contents

Samsung does not bundle a protective case, pre-installed scratch guard, or headphones in the Galaxy A21s box. Box contents include:

  • Handset
  • 15W Charging adapter
  • USB Type-C cable
  • SIM ejector tool and Documentation

Samsung Galaxy A21s Review: Design and Display

The Galaxy A21s flaunts a ‘glasstic’ back – which is marketing lingo cramming ‘glass’ and ‘plastic’ into a portmanteau. Anyways, with rectangular camera array and ergonomic curves in the right places, this is the premium of the designs that Samsung reserves for its mid-range and upper-tier A-series phones.

We’d say it looks and feels so much better than other M-series options available in and around the same price range. The display has a punch-hole notch on the top left corner and there is a capacitive rear-mounted fingerprint sensor (that works better than in-display optical fingerprint readers on affordable Samsung phones).

Charging port is USB Type-C and Samsung isn’t skimping on the audio jack or the dedicated card slot. This isn’t a particularly light phone (192 grams), but then again, considering the 5000mAh battery that resides within, the heft is pretty reasonable. 

Unfortunately, an AMOLED screen didn’t make the cut. The Galaxy A21s has a rather pedestrian 6.5-inch PLS TFT LCD panel with HD+ resolution and blueish whites. Colors are still punchy and blacks are deeps. Perhaps people who pick it up from offline retail shelves won’t mind the lack of sharpness as much.

On a positive note, the screen gets bright enough for comfortable outdoor usage and the Galaxy A21S supports HD streaming across apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime (In fact, Prime Videos streams full HD content).

Also Read: Samsung Galaxy A31 Review

Samsung Galaxy A21s Review: Performance and Software

This is the first time Samsung debuts its Exynos 850 on a phone. This is an 8nm process based mid-range chipset with 8 Cortex-A55 cores, all with a max clock frequency of 2.0GHz. The chipset integrates ARM Mali-G52 GPU and the base variant in India comes with 4GB RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage. 

Going by the specifications and benchmark scores, this is a moderately powerful SoC that falls a tad short of what Chinese competition offers in the same price range. PUBG runs at HD-High by default and it runs fine at these maximum settings. We haven’t had much of an issue in day-to-day usage, but we will need to test the A21s some more before we can pass on our final verdict with regards to performance. 

The software is One UI 2.0, a skin that we quite like and adore. Samsung adds a number of third-party apps and games to the software, but users can uninstall the ones they do not need. Even most Samsung extras like browser and Notes app can be easily removed. Features like Samsung Pay that we usually make the cut for A-series phones are missing.

Also Read: Realme X3 SuperZoom Review

Samsung Galaxy A21s Review: Camera Expectations

There are four cameras on the rear – 48MP primary camera, 8MP ultra-wide angle shooter, 2MP depth sensor, and 2MP macro camera – and a 13MP selfie camera upfront. 

The benefits of work Samsung has put into perfecting its image processing algorithms for high-end phones get passed on to the Galaxy A21s as well, and the daylight shots we took from the primary camera turned out above average considering the price. 

We’d still refrain from passing our camera verdict, but things look good. Here are a few camera samples for your perusal. 

Samsung Galaxy A21 Review: Battery

Samsung Galaxy A21 has an assuring 5000mAh battery, one that supports 15W adaptive fast charging. In our first week, we could easily manage 2 days on a single charge with light to moderate usage. The charging speed is a tad slow by current standards.

Samsung Galaxy A21s First Impressions

The Galaxy A21s is a very familiar Samsung affordable phone. The design, software and branding remain its biggest strength. The battery is adequate and we didn’t face any issues with day-to-day performance.

We did expect an AMOLED panel for the asking price but come to think of it, all other Android phone makers are now refraining from adding AMOLED panels to their affordable and even mid-range phones. Post the COVID-19 disruption and recent GST hike, the affordable phone market (under Rs. 20k) is going through radical changes and compared to the last generation devices, the Galaxy A21s may seem a tad overpriced.

We will still need to test performance and camera some more before we decide whether or not we can recommend Galaxy A21s and to whom. We will be back with our full review soon. Meanwhile, you may ask Galaxy A21s related questions in the comments below.

Samsung Galaxy A21 FAQ

Does Samsung Galaxy A21s support Wi-Fi Calling and Dual VoLTE?

Yes, Wi-Fi calling and dual VoLTE are supported. 

Does Samsung Galaxy A21s has AMOLED display?

No, this one has an LCD display. 

Does Samsung Galaxy A21s support HD Stream on Netflix and Amazon Prime?

Yes, we were able to stream Full HD content on Netflix and Prime Videos. 

What is the SAR value of Samsung Galaxy A21s? 

Head SAR for Galaxy A21s is 0.813 W/Kg.

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