The S21 may have just launched, but that doesn’t mean the S10 should be left behind in the dust. Despite its older-sounding name, the S10 boasts many of the specs and features we expect to see in a good smartphone today at a temptingly low price.
So, should you go for the latest and greatest Galaxy device, or is it worth saving and opting for the older model? We’ve compared the two phones to help you decide whether to buy the Galaxy S21 or the Galaxy S10 in 2021.
Samsung Galaxy S21 vs Samsung Galaxy S10 – Design
The S21 is slightly larger than the S10 with dimensions of 71.2 x 151.7 x 7.9mm to the S10’s 70.4 x 149.9 x 7.8mm. The S21 is also a bit heavier, weighing 172g to the S10’s 157g.
The most obvious design difference is the vertical camera module in the upper left corner of the phone. Samsung abandoned the horizontal layout found on the S10 with the launch of the S20, and has only gone on to make the lenses more defined with its latest launch with the new Contour Cut Camera.
Both the S21 and the S10 include a water resistance rating of up to IP68 and Ultrasonic Fingerprint sign-in.
The S21 is available in Phantom Violet, Phantom Grey, Phantom Pink and Phantom White colours, while the S10 came in Prism White, Prism Black, Prism Green and Prism Blue.
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Samsung Galaxy S21 vs Samsung Galaxy S10 – Display
The Galaxy S21 features a 6.2-inch edge-to-edge Dynamic AMOLED 2X Infinity-O display.
The S21 display also boasts a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate that can automatically adjust based on whether you’re scrolling through social media or streaming content on your phone for a smooth experience.
The display also includes Samsung’s new Eye Comfort Shield to automatically adjust blue light based on the time of day, the content being viewed and when you go to bed.
The S10, on the other hand, has a 6.1-inch Dynamic AMOLED Quad HD+ display with HDR support. The display was actually one of our favourite aspects of the S10, offering bright, well-calibrated colours and good contrast for streaming HDR-ready content on Netflix and YouTube. The only downside is that, with it only having a 60Hz panel, we find it does feel a little slow to use by today’s flagship standards.
Samsung Galaxy S21 vs Samsung Galaxy S10 – Camera
The S21 boasts a triple lens AI camera, made up of an ultra-wide 12MP lens, a wide 12MP lens and a 64MP telephoto lens. There’s also a 10MP selfie camera on the front.
Along with the return of Portrait Mode and 30x Space Zoom, Samsung has also delivered plenty of updates to its camera software with this release.
Samsung’s Super Steady video stabilisation can now record at up to 60fps and Video Snap has been given an update, allowing users to take clearer images from 8K recordings. The new Director’s View feature lets you view and select your best shots, while Vlogger View invites you to record video with front and rear cameras at the same time. You can use Live Thumbnails to change angles, zoom or go wide and Single Take to capture stills and video with one tap. There’s also a new multiple mic recording capability that lets you use your Galaxy Buds Pro as a mic while filming.
The S10 also packs three rear cameras – a wide 12MP lens, an ultra-wide 16MP lens and a 12MP telephoto lens with optical zoom at 2x and digital zoom at 10x. Like the S21, the S10 features a 10MP front camera.
The camera was another feature we loved on the 2019 Galaxy phone, offering improved reliable autofocus and white balance, along with improved exposure over its predecessor, the S9. Until we test the S21 we can’t comment on picture quality, but given our experience testing last year’s newer S20, which has a similar setup, we have high hopes for it.
Samsung Galaxy S21 vs Samsung Galaxy S10 – Specs
One big advantage the S21 has over the regular S10 is 5G. The next-gen connectivity offers significantly faster speeds than the 4G in the S10, making it well worth the upgrade if you spend a lot of time streaming video or cloud gaming – though you may want to consider the S10 5G, too.
The S21 is powered by the Exynos 2100 in the UK. Samsung claims the chip is the latest and most advanced yet in a Galaxy smartphone, offering greater speed, energy efficiency and more advanced computing capabilities to support 5G and AI.
The S10 comes with the slightly older Exynos 9820, which we found more than capable of running games and apps from the Google Play store with no issues. This includes more graphically heavy games such as PUBG and loading RAW images into Lightroom.
The S21 comes in 8GB/128GB and 8GB/256GB variants, while the S10 is available with 8GB/128GB or 8GB/512GB.
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Samsung Galaxy S21 vs Samsung Galaxy S10 – Battery
The S21 packs a 4,000mAh battery, while the S10 has a slightly smaller 3,400mAh battery. We found the 3,400mAh in the S10 to be good, but watching media on the phone was draining.
Like the S10, the S21 supports wireless charging and Wireless PowerShare. The S21 also supports Super Fast Charging.
Samsung Galaxy S21 vs Samsung Galaxy S10 – Price
Perhaps the most obvious benefit to opting for the 2019 model is its lower price.
To get your hands on the S21 at launch, you’ll need to pay £769 for the 128GB model or £819 for the 256GB model.
That’s more than you’d pay for the £669 128GB S10 right now on Samsung’s website, and significantly more than the discounted £499 512GB model at Argos, which offers twice the storage for £320 less than the 256GB S21.
Samsung Galaxy S21 vs Samsung Galaxy S10 – Early verdict
The Galaxy S21 offers plenty of upgrades to make it worth your while if you’re looking for the latest and greatest Galaxy handset (without paying out for the more powerful Ultra, of course).
That said, the S10 remains a great phone with a bright screen and impressive camera capabilities. If you are looking to save on the your next upgrade, this is a great time to take advantage of the discounts.