Test: Samsung Galaxy A21s – Affordable or Just Cheap?

Test: Samsung Galaxy A21s - Affordable or Just Cheap?

Galaxy A21s is Samsung’s cheapest smartphone right now. Therefore, I thought it would be interesting to see what you actually get in the smartphone way for about SEK 1,700.

The reason why I chose to write a short test about this particular phone, which was launched just over a year ago, is that I needed a simpler Android telephone to use for various guides and other texts. A choice that after a bit of research fell on just A21s.

Even though it costs far below Samsung flagship phones are A21s one of the best-selling Samsungphones at the moment. Something that undoubtedly gets a lot out of the price tag. But probably also the fact that, at least on paper, you get quite a lot for your money. That’s it then Samsung Galaxy A21s something to have?

A slimmed-down top model, for better or worse

Galaxy A21s is in short a slower and technically inferior variant of Samsung faster and more expensive phones. The processor is a bit dull, the cameras are not as sharp and the screen is far from as good. But does it really do that much then? Especially when the difference in price between A21s and for example S21 + (which is one of the more expensive Samsung phones) is approximately SEK 10,000?

The answer, of course, lies in what you are actually looking for. If you want a super-sharp screen, the best possible cameras and a total flow in all menu systems, you will with one hundred percent certainty be very disappointed in A21s. However, the above plays less of a role and you want to be able to use Bank ID, take a few cards here and there (with still okay quality), play some games, use Facebook / Instagram / Snapchat and make calls can A21s very well be a really good choice of phone.

Samsung Galaxy A21s - Review - Test
In terms of appearance, the Galaxy A21s have been endowed with the same design line as Samsung’s more expensive phones. Something that makes it not feel as cheap as it is, by comparison.

Design-wise impresses after all A21s then the one who said reminds Samsung more expensive phones. The choice of material is good and even if everything is plastic, it is still sensible plastic. The build quality is also approved and compared to cheaper phones a few years ago, it is almost day and night. Should I notice something, it is that the joint between the back piece (which can not be removed) and the phone itself is somewhat sharp (as in that it feels like you should cut yourself on it). Especially when you hold the phone horizontally. The glossy finish, especially on the back, also loves fingerprints.

The phone is available in three different colors. Black, white and blue. Of which I tested the black variant, which interestingly also shines in a clear blue shade.

Large screen and sensible battery

The first thing that strikes me at A21s is that you actually get a lot of screen space for the money. Specifically, well-sized 6.5 inches (Galaxy S21 + has in comparison a 6.7-inch screen). However, the resolution, ie how sharp everything actually becomes on the screen, leaves a lot to be desired. With 1600 x 720 pixels spread over a fairly large area, the result is a bit fuzzy (as opposed to sharp). It is by no means an extremely low resolution. But enough to still be able to see a difference compared to, for example, the thousand kroner more expensive Galaxy A41.

Galaxy A21s - Pretty big and oblong phone
As the A21s is a relatively large phone, you get, physically, quite a lot of mobile for the money.

The battery i A21s is, just like the screen, well-sized with its 5000 mAh. This translates to an actual talk time of almost 40 hours as well as an active use (eg video playback) just below the 20-hour stretch. A really good result! As a nice bonus, the phone also supports fast charging (15W) and comes with a wall charger that fixes just that.

The phone is powered by an 8-core processor (Exynos 850) where all cores operate in 2 GHz speed. The internal memory is in the standard version 3 GB large. The phone is also available in variants with both 4- and 6 GB internal memory. However, they are relatively uncommon, at least in Sweden where it seems to be the model with 3 GB internal memory sold in most places.

Samsung Galaxy a21s - Apps - Overview
If you have used a Samsung phone before, you will immediately recognize yourself in the layout.

I would say that the combination of processor, internal memory and screen size is after all an okay one. The phone has relatively happily started everything I tried to run, but it is noticeable that the processor has to work quite hard to keep up. Something that results in some chopping and “lag” both in menus, during regular web browsing and in games. On the whole, the user experience of the phone is still approved. Yeah Al that sounds pretty crap to me, Looks like BT aint for me either. But for the price, it is difficult to complain too much when in principle everything still works without any real problems.

Okay camera, but not in a bad light

Galaxy A21s do not have just one or two cameras. It actually has five pieces. Four of these are located on the back and consist of the main camera with 48 MP (megapixel) resolution, a 8 MP ultra-wide-angle camera, a 2 MP macro camera, and a 2 MP camera intended for depth detection (for example, helps to “blur” the background in photos if desired).

Samsung Galaxy A21s - Cameras - Back
The four cameras on the back of the A21s actually work quite well together. The small box in the middle of the phone is a fingerprint reader, which can be used to unlock the phone.

Overall, the photo experience is okay for the price. Images and movies are sharp and have relatively good contrast. At least as long as the light is enough. For darker situations and then especially indoors, the pictures will be like this. But as I said, you can not expect too much considering the price range, where the cameras can still be considered to perform well.

Galaxy A21s - Image - Example - Macro
The images from the Galaxy A21’s camera are perfectly okay and will actually be both sharp and rich in contrast as long as the light is good. Indoors, on the other hand, the images quickly take on a more greyish tone.

The fifth camera (selfie camera) has a resolution of 13 MP and works for simpler selfies, but certainly no more. Compared to the rear main camera, pictures and movies taken with the front camera get a much more watered-down and gray appearance. Then I personally really do not like the location of the front camera that was allowed to settle directly under the screen at the top of one corner of the phone. It somehow feels in the way all the time. The fact that a slightly discolored field of a few millimeters is also created around the lens itself does not contribute to any further positive experience.

Samsung Galaxy A21s - Selfie Camera - Shadow
It’s a little tricky to get it in the picture. But the camera lens behind the screen creates a slight discoloration in everything that is displayed right around it. Against a white background, this looks a bit like a small (slightly annoying) shadow.

You certainly get a little used to the placement after a while of use. But a solution similar to the criticized “flärpen” from iPhone camp would probably have been a better option here. One thing the front camera does well, however, is the face recognition which (if you want) is used to unlock the phone. This works well and reacts surprisingly quickly for the price range.

Do not forget the memory

Apart from a slightly weak processor, the biggest disadvantage of the phone is without a doubt that, with today’s app and picture/movie sizes, the almost pathetically small storage memory of 32 GB. Now A21s admittedly support for micro SDcards of up to 512 GB, but it will also be an extra cost in this context.

As I said, the phone is available in two additional variants where both internal memory and storage memory are upgraded. 4 GB internal memory and 64 GB storage for approximately SEK 2,300 and 6 GB internal memory and 128 GB storage for just over SEK 3,000. However, none of these models seem to be officially available in Sweden.

Apart from all the minor flaws, I would say that after all Samsung Galaxy A21s is an okay budget mobile for you who do not need the very latest but still want a useful phone. Something you really can not say about all phones. It is also nice that the phone supports the latest Androidversion (at the time of writing version 11). Something that makes it relatively future-proof even though it has a year on its neck.

Should you want to go up something in price my next recommendation is within Samsungcamp Galaxy A52 which is better in all respects compared to A21s. But then it also costs almost two thousand kroner more.

For full transparency: The phone tested in this text was purchased by myself for the purpose of being used for other guides and texts on the site. All opinions in the text are my own and the text is in no way sponsored or paid for by Samsung or any related party.

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