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


View All Comments

  • trajan - Wednesday, February 24, 2021 - link

    Any thoughts on existing or upcoming phones the size of the base S21, but with flagship specs?

    As someone who strongly prefers the smaller size of the S21, I'm annoyed that I need to compromise on this generation of phones. Either I get top specs but have to deal with the larger size that I don't like, or I have to go smaller and take a real hit. I've tried holding phones the size of the S21+/Ultra and its just not comfortable. I guess I have small hands (oh no).
  • flyingpants265 - Friday, February 26, 2021 - link

    Yeah exactly, oh no. All the phones on the market are crap, but you're complaining that your hands are too small.. Reply
  • Edwardmcardle - Friday, February 26, 2021 - link

    Is there any noticable difference in radio reception between snapdragon and exynos? I had the exynos version and both wifi and 4g were worse compared to my 7 pro side by side. Reply
  • darkich - Saturday, February 27, 2021 - link

    Extremely well done camera comparison. Amazing work.
    Are those flares on HDR section normal? Looks like you forgot to clean the lenses.
    This little detail(cleaning the camera lens) can make a really major difference.
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Wednesday, March 3, 2021 - link

    They are cleaned, those are just results of the camera optics. Reply
  • Steven Choi 4321 - Tuesday, March 2, 2021 - link

    Again, it is not the hardware. It is about the operating system. Android is 100 times hard to learn for the normal public like me. Reply
  • Rude Russy - Tuesday, March 9, 2021 - link

    What are you talking about? its as simple as IOS. I guess you just must be really stupid? Reply
  • redchar - Tuesday, March 2, 2021 - link

    Great review, as always!

    Though I got to say, regardless of review quality, the galaxy S phones just aren't good anymore.
    It's sad, they used to be the go-to phones, but between samsung removing hardware/firmware abilities and google doing the same for android, phones really plateaued. Haven't had a reason to have faster hardware in years since google's trying their hardest to prevent interesting software from even running that would need the speed. I'd say battery life would be interesting since the s21 and other phones have bigger batteries than previous gens, but android bloat keeps defeating advancements in batteries.

    Shoutout to the xperia 1 ii though. at&t forced me to buy a new phone from a very small subset due to their whitelisting of VoLTE devices, and the xperia was the only one I saw which: Has a headphone jack, has an sd card, can be bootloader unlocked without having to reverse engineer anything, has various custom roms, doesnt ship with the SAF nightmare that is android 11, and is still a new phone covered by carriers. It's not quite as great as the oneplus 5 i had before, and costs quite a bit more, but if telcos are going to force upgrades, it's slim pickings for an actual flagship these days.
  • markiz - Monday, March 8, 2021 - link

    "The flat display and the lower resolution do however feel very conventional, and not-quite flagship like."

    Ah, I see, so you are responsible for the plague :)
  • Edwardmcardle - Friday, April 9, 2021 - link

    Did you notice any difference in other areas of the chip? WiFi, GSM / 4G, AI etc? Reply

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