Last year, South Korean electronics manufacturer Samsung launched the Galaxy M series to acquire Chinese smartphone manufacturers such as Xiaomi, Realme and Vivo. Because the space for smartphone technology is changing quite rapidly – the universal smartphone no longer works, especially in the budget and mid-range segment – and has learned from the experience of its colleagues, Samsung has rapidly launched new models in the M-series.
While some of the new models introduced on the market introduced new technologies, others were merely modified versions of older models. The recently introduced Galaxy M21 seems to belong to the latest type – the Galaxy M30, which was launched at the end of last year under the new brand name Galaxy M30.
As a successor to the Galaxy M20, the Samsung Galaxy M21 is equipped with an Amoled display, a 48-megapixel multi-optical rear view camera and a fast, high-capacity rechargeable battery. There seems to be something for everyone on the phone, but how does it work in real life? Well, let’s see:
Like the other M-Series smartphones, the Galaxy M21 has a polycarbonate casing that covers the entire back and body. It doesn’t look very nice compared to glass phones, but the plastic housing seems to be quite strong and durable. The color gradient may have increased the design of the phone a little, otherwise it’s boring. In addition, the glossy nature of the plastic makes the phone’s body vulnerable to fingerprints. It’s easy to get dirty, which is not necessary if you don’t like back lining.
The overall design of the phone is strictly minimal, with no memorable elements, edges or curves. This cannot be considered a good thing in the segment it serves, where design seems to be one of the most important factors.
The Galaxy M21 has a 6.4-inch FullHD+ Amoled display that extends to a 19.5:9 aspect ratio. The screen has a good brightness to remain readable in case of strong outdoor light. It produces vibrant colors and has satisfactory viewing angles. Thanks to the Amoled panel, the screen has a deep black level and the overall contrast is also good. The screen is protected by Gorilla 3 glass, which offers good resistance to scratches and accidental stains. The phone comes with a Widevine L1 certificate that allows it to carry high-definition multimedia content available on OTT (Over-the-Top) platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Videos, etc.
The Galaxy M21 has a triple camera sensor on the back, which is equipped with a 48 megapixel primary sensor with an aperture of f/2.0, an 8 megapixel ultra-wide sensor with an aperture of f/2.2 and a 5 megapixel depth sensor for portraits. On the front of the phone there is a U-shaped cavity in which a 20 megapixel camera with an f/2.2 aperture can be placed.
Apart from the technical aspects, all cameras are decent, if not the best in their class. The simple 48-megapixel sensor on the back is very suitable for daylight conditions. It takes good pictures with a satisfactory level of detail and dynamic range. The color reproduction is good, but the pictures are rich and unnatural. An ultra-wide sensor enlarges the field of view and captures more information in a single image. However, it does not compensate for the canon effect, which is perceptible and makes the edges of the photos softer.
The Samsung Galaxy M21 has a special night mode for shooting in low light. However, its usefulness is only limited by the primary sensor. There is a portrait mode called Live Focus that works on both the front and rear camera.
The front camera is very suitable for self-determination and group work. It works perfectly in daylight, but stutters in low light. The front camera also serves as face recognition to unlock the phone; it works perfectly in bright light, but fails in low light.
In terms of videography, the Galaxy M21 makes it possible to make video recordings up to 4K with the rear view camera. The front camera is suitable for FullHD. 60 frames per second is not supported in any of the available formats. Fortunately, the video is recorded with a primary or extra large sensor. However, you cannot switch from one camera to another during video recording.
The Galaxy M21 runs on an Exynos 9611 chip with 6GB RAM and 128GB internal memory. The phone comes with the Samsung OneUI 2.0 operating system, which is based on Google Android 10.
For entry-level to mid-range smartphones, the Galaxy M21 offers decent or even best-in-class performance. He effortlessly masters daily tasks and feels comfortable in routine work. However, it shows some delays and inconsistencies in testing for CPU and graphics-intensive tasks, such as recording long videos and games such as PUBG and Asphalt 9 : Legends.
The OneUI 2.0 phone (user interface) is stylish and focuses on general user-friendliness. The native support of the night mode (dark theme) is easy to integrate with the Amoled phone screen. It’s fast, intuitive and works better in one hand than any other Android operating system. However, the brilliant user interface is overshadowed by the amount of inflated software pre-installed, making the overall user experience difficult. Fortunately, there is no advertising, not even of a pre-installed backup.
The device is powered by a 6000 mAh battery, which is enough to last two days or more. Although the phone supports fast charging (15 W), it takes more than three hours to charge the battery from zero to 100%. Recharging time is not the fastest, but the enormous capacity of the battery compensates for this.
With a price of 13,199 rupees, the Galaxy M21 is one of Samsung’s most affordable smartphones. It does not jeopardize the precedent of the Galaxy M-series. It may not have a better design or quality of construction, but the clear and brilliant display is pleasant to use and the device is versatile, with good additional features. In addition, the performance has remained the same and the user interface of the OneUI 2.0 phone is one of the best iterations of the Android operating system in this segment.
The Galaxy M21 may experience some difficulties with the acquisition of Xiaomi, Realme and Vivo smartphones in the same segment. But it’s a good option if you’re looking for a powerful smartphone on the market that doesn’t belong to Xiaomi or Realme or any other Chinese brand.