System Performance

Following our more in-depth review of the SoCs powering the S21 family, today we’re focusing more on the general system performance and user experience. In many instances, this aspect of a device is defined by the software making good use of the available hardware capabilities more than the actual hardware itself.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Web Browsing 2.0 PCMark Work 2.0 - Writing 2.0 PCMark Work 2.0 - Photo Editing 2.0 PCMark Work 2.0 - Data Manipulation PCMark Work 2.0 - Performance

In the PCMark results, both the Exynos and Snapdragon S21 Ultras showcase massively impressive results. While the Snapdragon 888 variant of the S21 isn’t all that much of a massive upgrade compared to the Snapdragon 865 powered S20 series phones, the new Exynos 2100 S21’s are very much leaving its predecessors far behind.

WebXPRT 3 - OS WebView

Speedometer 2.0 - OS WebView

JetStream 2 - OS Webview

The web-browsing tests are showcasing similar results, with the Snapdragon S21’s showcasing smaller generational boosts, while the Exynos S21 sees massive performance uplifts.

General Performance - Outstanding

In general, the performance of the new Galaxy S21 series this year is nothing short of outstanding. In terms of software optimisations and general responsiveness of the devices, they’re practically perfect, and essentially the way the phones now behave is as optimal as can be achieved whilst still remaining reasonable with every-day power efficiency.

While the 120Hz mode last year came at a great cost in power efficiency, and I even personally opted to use 60Hz in everyday usage because of that, the new adaptive refresh rate displays on the S21 series, particularly the superior implementation on the S21 Ultra, means that most people will be able to enjoy this highly user-experience augmenting feature without any major drawbacks this year.

Introduction & Design GPU Performance
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  • eastcoast_pete - Tuesday, February 23, 2021 - link

    While I haven't used it on an S20/21 or Ultra, maybe the Open Camera app will give you more control over the camera selection and exposure?
    Andrei, I know you (have to) test any Smartphone's camera with the manufacturer's own software, but I often wonder if Open Camera or a similar 3rd party software isn't better at using a given device's hardware capabilities? Might be worth an article down the road.
  • Sharma_Ji - Tuesday, February 23, 2021 - link

    Obviously not
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Tuesday, February 23, 2021 - link

    You can do that, minimal focus distance is about 20cm, but the quality really isn't great.
  • Kangal - Wednesday, February 24, 2021 - link

    " I think what Samsung should do in the future is create four models of the S series, three being the same as the current line-up but renaming the Ultra to Ultra+ ”

    ...urgh, no thanks!
    Why can't we drop those monikers, don't have different variants, drop all these storage options, have only flagships, clean up the lineup like: Samsung 22-S, Samsung 22-M, Samsung 22-L, Samsung 22-XL.

  • Sharma_Ji - Tuesday, February 23, 2021 - link

    It might be true for an actual camera, but you can go much closer and nearer to subject if you use ultrawide on a smartphone camera compared to telephoto.
  • FunBunny2 - Wednesday, February 24, 2021 - link

    "or the flowers are trampled"

    not to mention distorted into a guppy's mouth.
  • CrazyElf - Monday, February 22, 2021 - link

    I really like the direction Samsung is taking with updates too. 4 years of security and 3 years of Android updates.

    I feel like overall, although the devices have some flaws (no SD Card, IR Blaster, and MST are the big ones), the S21 Ultra represents as step in the right direction.

    The 100x zoom is still a gimmick, but the 3x and 10x cameras are decent. I bought the 512 GB and so far it's been pretty good. With these updates, I'd be more willing to consider Samsung over the competition, unless of course they step up their game.
  • Psyside - Monday, February 22, 2021 - link

    1. The 100 x is not gimmick, but it should not be used for photos, but to orient into into the enviorment or to locate very distant objects.

    2. The larest feb 15+ updates made the zoom and the overall quality of the zoom shots much better

    3. The 10x zoom shotsof exynos version in this review are cropped main/3x sensor shots,not f/4.9
  • sonny73n - Tuesday, February 23, 2021 - link

    Who cares about BS "security" updates. All you'll get is more spywares from the ad company and your government.
  • Tunnah - Monday, February 22, 2021 - link

    Got a double paragraph:

    The camera island on the S21 is brilliant in its design. Much like on the S21 Ultra, this is an aluminium cover that protects individual recessed glass elements for the three main camera modules. Samsung harmonised the camera design between the S21 and S21+ by dropping the ToF sensor from the latter in comparison to the S20+ - which is fine by me as frankly I never really used it even though it was my daily driver for the past year.

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