Samsung Galaxy M21: budget smartphone with excellent battery life

The Samsung Galaxy M21 is an affordable smartphone with one of the largest batteries at the moment. How many days does the battery last and how does the device perform in other areas? You can read it in this Samsung Galaxy M21 review.

Samsung Galaxy M21

MSRP € 229,-

Colors black and blue

OS Android 10 (OneUI shell)

Screen 6.5 inch OLED (2340 x 1080) 60Hz

Processor 2.3GHz octa-core (Samsung Exynos 9 Octa 9611)

RAM 4GB

Storage 64 GB (expandable)

Battery 6,000 mAh

Camera 48, 8 and 5 megapixels (rear), 20 megapixels (front)

Connectivity 4G (LTE), Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 5, NFC, GPS

Format 15.9 x 7.5 x 0.9 cm

Weight 188 grams

Website www.samsung.com/nl 8.5 Score 85

  • Pros
  • Software (support)
  • Complete and solid hardware
  • Good oled screen
  • Exceptional battery life
  • Negatives
  • Intrusive advertising in software
  • Fingerprint scanner placement

The Galaxy M21 has a suggested retail price of 229 euros and is available in blue and black – tested by me.

Design and screen

The housing of the Galaxy M21 is made of plastic and feels solid. A fingerprint scanner is placed on the back that works accurately and quickly. In my opinion, the scanner could have been a little lower. What strikes me is the relatively low weight of the smartphone: 188 grams. This is special because the device has a huge and therefore heavy 6000 mAh battery, something you do not notice on the outside. The phone is no heavier than competing models with a smaller battery.

The screen also stands out. Samsung puts an OLED display in the Galaxy M21, which shows nicer colors and is more energy-efficient than an LCD panel. Most comparable smartphones have a (cheaper) LCD screen. The screen of the Galaxy M21 is simply beautiful and looks sharp due to the full-HD resolution.

Hardware

Although the Galaxy M21 is competitively priced, the device has all the hardware you need. Think of a smooth processor and 4 GB of RAM for smooth performance, and 64 GB (expandable) storage space for your apps, photos and other media. On the back are two cameras (normal and wide-angle), combined with a depth sensor to blur the background if desired. This works fine. The primary and wide-angle camera shoot good photos and videos in sufficient (day) light, although you sometimes have to focus manually. In the dark, the photo quality noticeably deteriorates. A logical compromise if you ask me.

Below you see two photo series with the normal camera on the left and the wider wide-angle lens on the right.

Samsung Galaxy M21 battery life

The spearhead of the Galaxy M21 is its 6000 mAh battery; much larger than usual (3500 – 4500 mAh) for this type of device. The Samsung smartphone therefore lasts longer on a battery charge. As a fairly intensive user I could effortlessly go two days ahead. If you take it easier, you will be able to go three to five days ahead. Charging is done fairly quickly via the 15 Watt USB-C plug.

Software

Samsung supplies the Galaxy M21 with Android 10 and puts its OneUI shell over it. It is fine and contains useful functions such as a one-handed mode. The Galaxy M21 will receive security and version updates until spring 2022, meaning it will receive Android 11 and presumably also Android 12. That is average in this price range and good enough in my opinion. A drawback of the OneUI shell is that Samsung strongly imposes its own (free) services and also pre-installs apps from partners such as Microsoft, Spotify and Facebook. Some of the apps are not removable and therefore pure advertising.

Conclusion: Buy Samsung Galaxy M21?

The Samsung Galaxy M21 is an affordable smartphone with complete specifications, a good update policy and a battery life that the competition can't match. If you are looking for an Android device under 250 euros, the Galaxy M21 is a very good buy. Interesting alternatives are the Xiaomi Redmi 9, Motorola Moto G8 Power and Galaxy M31. The latter smartphone is very similar to the M21, but has an extra camera and more RAM for better performance.

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