Samsung, the Korean smartphone maker, has recently launched yet another smartphone in the affordable buying segment, in addition to its already hit Samsung Galaxy ‘M’ series. It is the Samsung Galaxy M21, which apart from being budget-friendly, brings lots of functions, all under one roof. Amongst all, the battery is brilliant, which can provide a couple of days of usage. It also has enough storage, an immersive display, a pleasing set of camera and a terrific processing unit. Although to ship at this price, Samsung has smartly cut back on the camera specifications.
Samsung Galaxy M21 looks nearly the same as Galaxy M31 which was recently launched in February or even the earlier Galaxy M30S. There are a lot of specifications in common as well between the Samsung Galaxy M21 and the Samsung Galaxy M31, which is slightly expensive. All of these phones are notably light, even after holding large 6000mah batteries under the hood. For customers who prioritize long-lasting batteries, this will be a definite advantage.
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In our Samsung Galaxy M21 review, we evaluate it along with the clashing Samsung smartphones as well as different alternatives from the competitors, Realme and Xiaomi. Hopefully, this will assist you in deciding whether or not to buy the Samsung Galaxy M21.
Prices in India, Variants, Availability
The Galaxy M21 4GB RAM + 64GB storage base variant is priced at Rs 12,999. The price of 6 GB RAM + 128 GB storage variant is not yet confirmed. The smartphone will be available in Blue and Black colour options. You can purchase the Galaxy M21 from Amazon or Samsung’s Official website.
The box contents in the Samsung Galaxy M21 is more or less the same as seen on any other Samsung Galaxy M series smartphone.
- The phone itself
- A USB Type-C 15W charger
- SIM ejector tool
- User Manual
There is no trace of any transparent case, pre-installed screen protector, or earphones in the box.
Specs at a glance
Before we talk more about the Galaxy M21 and its in-depth review, let’s have a quick look at the key specifications. Here is the list of what the Galaxy M21 is offering in just Rs.12,999:
- Display: 6.4-inch, AMOLED, 2340 x 1080 (FHD+)
- Chipset: Exynos 9611, Mali G72 GPU
- RAM & ROM: 4GB/64GB, 6GB/128GB
- Software: ONE UI 2.0, Android 10
- Rear cameras: 48.0 MP + 8.0 MP + 5.0 MP
- Selfie camera: 20MP
- Battery: 6000 mAh Battery
- Weight: 188g
- Dimensions: 159.0 x 75.1 x 8.9
With key specs discussed, let’s jump right into the review of the Galaxy M21.
Design and Build
The design of the Samsung Galaxy M21 is very simple and old-school as we have previously seen in many Samsung devices. It packs the same old plastic body with polycarbonate finish. Even though the device is sleek and light-weight, it does not feel premium in hands. There is a fancy triple camera module aligned vertically on the left side of the rear panel and a fingerprint sensor placed in the centre.
On the front, there is a large 6.4-inch sAMOLED display with very little minimal bezels around the chin and a teardrop notch which houses the 20MP selfie camera.
Around the bottom edge, there is a dedicated SIM card slot with two nano sims and an expandable memory card, a USB type-c charging port, and a 3.5-mm audio jack which we find missing in many devices these days.
The Galaxy M21 sports a large 6.4-inch Super AMOLED Full HD+ Infinity-U display which is a USP in terms of the display as we don’t get to see an AMOLED display in any of the rivals like Xiaomi or Realme in this budget segment. The regular notch is not present but a water-drop notch is there and the screen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. There are visible bezels around the corner and a thin chin as well but that does not spoil the viewing experience at all.
The display is bright enough even in hard sunlight and with a screen ratio greater than 91% the viewing experience is totally enhanced. The colours on the display popout as vivid and natural so the complete vibe is improved. There is Widevine L1 support on the display to allow for HD content streaming on all the entertainment apps.
If we talk about the performance, the Galaxy M21 can’t quite suit up to the latest smartphones by Realme and Xiaomi. The Samsung Galaxy M21 features octa-core Exynos 9611 processor based on a 10nm chipset. It is supported by a Mali G-72 GPU and LPDDR4X RAM which results in a great performance for the price. The Exynos processor doesn’t feel as fast as you will expect it to be, however, it is sufficient for day-to-day usage and adequate for regular multitasking on the device. It is a mid-range segment smartphone if we talk about gaming and there is not much to boast about. The regular games like PubG are playable, but the overall performance isn’t as smooth even on the default settings.
The M21 starts at 4GB + 64GB storage option and there’s a 6GB + 128GB variant as well which is yet to be announced.
Samsung Galaxy M21 runs on OneUI 2.0 software based on Android 10, which serves a large benefit over the Realme UI and MIUI, but this is a subjective matter and your choices would possibly fluctuate.
There is no sign of bloatware and the user interface is as clean as it could be for the user. There are a number of system features in the software and the UI is nicely laid out.
Samsung Galaxy M21 has a rectangular triple camera setup on the rear aligned vertically. The primary rear lens is a 48MP shooter which can take great shots. There is a 5MP depth sensor and an 8MP ultra-wide lens with 123-degree field of view. In sunlight hours, the Galaxy M21 shoots excellent and nicely detailed pictures. The camera app has a built-in HDR mode, Pro mode, Night mode and panorama mode. The Galaxy M21, even though it has a dedicated night mode, the camera struggles to focus in night mode.
The rear camera is also capable of recording videos in UHD 2160p at 30fps. There is an additional feature in the camera app called Super-steady mode for video stabilisation which we really appreciate.
The water-drop notch on the front packs a 20 MP front camera powered by AI which supports a Face unlock option as well. Portrait shots also turned out better than predicted but we feel that the pictures were much better in the Samsung Galaxy M31.
Also read: Top Camera Smartphones
Samsung Galaxy M21 has a major focus on the battery capacity, which is a whopping 6000 mAh. It can last easily for longer than a day with a power-efficient chipset on board. It can be suitable for users who need a better battery backup for their daily work and multi-tasking. With the 15W fast charger provided in the box along with a Type-C cable, the charging speed is good to go, if not speedy. You’d nonetheless need more than around 2 hours to fully recharge the battery.
Audio, Connectivity, Biometrics
The audio output via the bottom-firing speaker is fairly loud and the exceptional is above common. Similar, for the audio output via headphones from the 3.5m audio jack.
For the security, the fingerprint scanner placed at the back performs the job well, quick and accurate most of the times. There is also a Fast Face Unlock option provided, in which you can feel a slight delay in unlocking.
Galaxy M21 connectivity options include the basic network options of 3g, dual 4g VOLTE, along with wifi, FM Radio, Bluetooth v5.0, and USB Type-C v2. It features GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS for online navigation purposes.
Pros & Cons
- Relatively lighter than other ace rivals
- AMOLED display and HD streaming support
- Massive 6000 mAh battery
- Dedicated card slot
- Fast biometric unlock
- Compromised camera quality
- Mediocre gaming
- Charging isn’t fast enough
For starters, the Samsung Galaxy M21 offers almost the equal revel as seen in the Samsung Galaxy M31. Still, the latter justifies its slightly higher price with better low-light digital camera performance and better selfie camera as well. The Galaxy M21 could just as nicely be called the 4GB RAM variant of the already launched Galaxy M31.
Of route, the newly launched smartphones by the competitors, Realme 6 series and Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 Pro series, have more powerful chipsets, faster-charging speeds, but Samsung still makes space in the market for the brand name it has. The Samsung Galaxy M21 can surely stand well for the overall camera performance, for being slimmer and lighter, for having larger battery life, and, if you ask us, it has an extra subtle software which can be a blessing for the user who wishes to opt for a clean user interface.