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Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus vs S21 Plus: The Older The Better?

author Luis Silva (February 2021 Updated: August 2021 - 6 min. reading time)

You'll spend more on the Galaxy S21 Plus, but it also is the better device of the two considering their specs.

The Galaxy S20 Plus features external storage.

What else sets them apart?

The Galaxy S20 Plus will also give you more RAM (12GB vs. 8GB).

Still, you'll have to decide for yourself as they achieved a pretty even score.

How much more will those additional features cost me?

If you're not considering going for a carrier subscription, it'll cost you around $250 more.

Is the Galaxy S20 Plus still worth getting in 2021?

You shouldn't ignore the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus at all, even in 2021. You can consider the Xiaomi Mi 11, but we should acknowledge this device, as it has good cameras, good battery life, excellent glass protection, tons of RAM, and 8K recordings.

Keep reading to learn more about what sets them apart, how they differ from their competition, and how other specialists evaluate them.

Check prices on Amazon Check prices on Amazon
Click here or scroll down to check prices on eBay, BestBuy, and Walmart.

I earn a small fee from qualifying purchases. It doesn't affect the price you pay nor my opinions.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus

CONTENTS

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Introduction

Last January, Samsung launched its Galaxy S21 Plus. The Galaxy S20 Plus, however, saw the light of day in March 2020.

Here you can look at the Galaxy S20 Plus and the Galaxy S21 Plus, compare each other's features, and decide which one is best for you. Let us delve into the finer details.

The weight of each section

For additional information regarding our smartphone comparisons, check this FAQ.

to check who their rivals are.

Price*
vs.
Device Galaxy S20 Plus Galaxy S21 Plus
Release Date 2020, March 2021, January 1y.
OS Updates 3 years 3 years 0y.
Security Updates 4 years 4 years 0y.

*Reference: 100: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

Which One Has The Best Performance?

Geekbench 5 scores the Galaxy S21 Plus 18% ahead of its sibling in the multi-core ranking. If you're a heavy gamer, think about this. If not, then it isn't a big deal.

We can label the Galaxy S20 Plus as a lower high-end and the Galaxy S21 Plus more like high-end.

PS: The Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 (with the Adreno 650 GPU) and the Exynos 990 (with the Mali-G77) are market-dependent. Click here for more info.

There's a performance increase of about 15% on the 865 for the Galaxy S20 Plus.

Performance*
vs.
Features Galaxy S20 Plus Galaxy S21 Plus
SoC Exynos 990 Exynos 2100
Graphics Mali-G77 MP11 Mali-G78 MP14
Geekbench 5 Score 2649
3113
464
OS Android 10 and OneUI Android 11 and OneUI
Tek-Score
6.4
7.2
0.8

*Reference: 100: Apple iPhone 12.

Which Phone Has The Best Display?

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus front transparent png Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus front transparent png

The Galaxy S20 Plus has the best screen, and it wins by a significant margin. But the Galaxy S21 Plus's glass is more resistant to shatter and scratches.

The Galaxy S21 Plus has one disadvantage over almost all of its competitors: Its low DPI display.

About these two, you should know that 89% of its rivals can play HDR content. Plus, all have an AMOLED screen, and 93% have an Always-On display.

Display Density (DPIs)*
vs.
Features Galaxy S20 Plus Galaxy S21 Plus
Size 6.7
6.7
0.0
Screen Type AMOLED AMOLED
Resolution (px) 1440x3200
1080x2400
-2016000
Refresh Rate 120hz 120hz 0
Dots per Inch 523.74
392.81
-130.94
Always-On-Display Yes Yes
Notch Hole Hole
Peak Brightness 797 nits
883 nits
86
HDR HDR10+ HDR10+
Sub Tek-Score
9.8
9.0
-0.9
Protection Corning Gorilla Glass 6 Corning Gorilla Glass Victus
Tek-Score
8.3
9.6
1.4

*Reference: 100: Sony Xperia 1 II.

Which Phone Has The Best Cameras?

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus back transparent png Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus back transparent png

You should note that the Galaxy S20 Plus is in the neighborhood of 40% above its adversaries from its price range. But you won't find a winner here.

About the Galaxy S20 Plus: This camera came out of DXOMARK's labs with a score of 123. And if you take into account its wide-angle lens, it can go up to 135** points. You can check their review if you click here.

Last (but not least), you'd probably like to know that all of its rivals can record videos in 4K or more and have an ultra-wide-angle lens, and 93% feature Optical Image Stabilization. Although only 15% of them feature a macro lens.

About the Galaxy S21 Plus: On DXOMARK's reviewing article, they gave this shooter 123 points. By adding its wide-angle lens, this score goes up to 137 points. You can click here to check it out.

Lastly, if you must know, just like the other device, all of its rivals can record videos in 4 or 8K and have an ultra-wide-angle lens, and 93% feature Optical Image Stabilization. That said, only 15% of them feature a macro lens.

If you prefer, we can grade these two as high-end.

If you love optical zoom like I do, you should consider other options like the OnePlus 8 Pro. Or just forget everything else because phones like the Galaxy S20 Ultra and the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra are a much better option.

**This score still needs improvement, especially with cameras with less than 40MP and no telephoto lens. They moved to a better camera test protocol, and I need more reviewed devices to fine-tune older scores.

Picture Quality*
vs.
Primary Camera Galaxy S20 Plus Galaxy S21 Plus
Megapixels 12
12
0
Aperture 1.8
1.8
0.0
Lens 26mm
26mm
0
Lens Type Wide-Angle Wide-Angle
Flash 1 1 0
HDR Yes Yes
OIS Yes Yes
Video 4320 4320 0
Score 135
137
2

*Reference: 100: Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra.

Extra Camera(s) Galaxy S20 Plus Galaxy S21 Plus vs.
Megapixels 64
64
0
Aperture 2.0
2.0
0.0
Lens - 29mm
Lens Type - Regular
Megapixels 12 12 0
Aperture 2.2 2.2 0.0
Lens 13mm 13mm 0
Lens Type Ultra-wide-Angle Ultra-wide-Angle
Megapixels 0.3 -
Lens Type Depth Sensor -
Score 12 14 2
Selfie Camera Galaxy S20 Plus Galaxy S21 Plus vs.
Megapixels 10
10
0
Aperture 2.2
2.2
0.0
Lens 26mm 26mm 0
Galaxy S20 Plus Galaxy S21 Plus vs.
Tek-Score
7.9
8.1
0.1

Who has the best frame?

It's a tie, so there is no wrong choice here.

The Galaxy S21 Plus is 12 g. (0.47 oz) heavier than its sibling, which sits at 188 g. (6.63 oz). But because screen size also matters, I've created an adapted score for a "weight to display size" ratio. The Galaxy S20 Plus got 5.9, showing it has an acceptable score for its screen size. Having said that, the Galaxy S21 Plus has 4.6, so nothing to state here.

The Galaxy S20 Plus truly is water-resistant. It can be submerged 1 to 3 meters deep, just like the Galaxy S21 Plus. Remember that it shouldn't be for over half an hour, and it's freshwater in standby mode only.

Looks*
vs.
Body Galaxy S20 Plus Galaxy S21 Plus
Size 161 x 73 x 7 mm
(5.68 x 2.58 x 0.25 in)
161 x 75 x 7 mm
(5.68 x 2.65 x 0.25 in)
2254
Weight 188 g. (6.63 oz)
200 g. (7.05 oz)
12
Build Front and back glass Front and back glass
Colors Cosmic Black, Cloud Blue, Cosmic Grey, Cloud White, and Aura Red Phantom Black, Phantom Violet, Phantom Silver, Phantom Red, Phantom Gold, and Phantom Pink
Screen To Body Ratio 92.21%
89.75%
-2.46
Disp.Size To Weight Score 5.9 4.6 -1.3
Looks 10.0/10
10.0/10
0.0
Waterproof IP68 IP68
Biometrics Under Display Fingerprint Under Display Fingerprint
Tek-Score
7.6
7.2
-0.4

*100% = 4+ colors + front and back glass + S2BR: 86+%.

Which has the best battery?

The Galaxy S20 Plus does have a battery capacity of 4500 mAh versus the 4800 mAh of the Galaxy S21 Plus. And according to GSMArena's tests, the Galaxy S21 Plus does have an advantage here.

Just be aware that the Galaxy S21 Plus also doesn't have many rivals at any given price range. Just check out our top 10 list of smartphones with the best battery life.

The Snapdragon 865 also has better battery efficiency (about 10% more screen-on-time) when you compare it to the Exynos 990.

Battery*
vs.
Features Galaxy S20 Plus Galaxy S21 Plus
Capacity (mAh) 4500 4800 300
1h Talk + 1h Web + 1h Video 82% left
84% left
2
1h Talk + 3h Web + 1h Video 66% left
70% left
4
1h Talk + 1h Web + 3h Video 70% left
74% left
4
Bat. To Phone Size Score 4.2 4.1 -0.1
Sub Tek-Score
7.3
7.6
0.3
Fast Charging 25w
25w
0
Wireless Charging 15w
15w
0
Reverse Charging 9w
4.5w
-4.5
Tek-Score
7.0
7.3
0.2

*Reference: 90: Samsung Galaxy A31.

Which has more storage?

It's a tie.

Storage*
vs.
Features Galaxy S20 Plus Galaxy S21 Plus
RAM (GB) 12GB
8GB
-4
Internal (GB) 128GB
128GB
0
Micro SD microSDXC (shared SIM slot) No
Tek-Score
7.5
6.0
-1.5

*Internal Storage + 256GB Memory Card (Max: 512GB).

Which is the most connectivity-friendly?

The Galaxy S21 Plus for sure, as it has 5G.

About the 3.5mm jack: Now may be the time to consider moving to wireless earbuds. You may go for an adapter as a last resort, but it really isn't the same. Luckily, you can still get it on other phones if you don't mind searching for them. The Galaxy S10 Plus or the Oppo Find X3 Lite can help you with that.

The Galaxy S20 Plus runs on LTE or (LTE and) 5G networks. This allows you to get a version of the Galaxy S20 Plus with 12GB of RAM.

Connectivity
vs.
Features Galaxy S20 Plus Galaxy S21 Plus
Network LTE (also available in 5G) 5G
Bluetooth 5.0
5.0
NFC Yes Yes
3.5mm jack No No
Tek-Score
3.6
4.6
1.0

Which is more affordable?

Here are the prices that we've come across recently:

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus

Reference: $749

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus

Reference: $999

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus

I earn a small fee from qualifying purchases. It doesn't affect the price you pay nor my opinions, but it will mean a lot if you click on one of these buttons before purchasing your next phone (or whatever else you end up buying). You'll be helping to take this to the next level.

Prices on eBay are in $US but Europe-based. You can click to check the prices in your country.

Prices marked with ! are from renewed/refurbished/carrier-locked phones (except eBay prices that, as a last resort, can be from bids or used devices).

How much of a "phone" can your money buy?
That's how much "score" you can get with $100 based on the global score that you'll see in the next section (higher is better).

Have you found better prices elsewhere? The formula is simple: score/price*100.

Value for money Galaxy S20 Plus Galaxy S21 Plus VS
Amazon - 1.00 -
eBay 1.22 1.25 0.02
Best Buy - 0.93 -
Walmart - - -

Also, don't forget to check the latest deals from these four stores, and the state of the art on mobile technology, if you don't want to overpay on your next smartphone.


Related articles:


Best smartphone deals


The Best Unbiased Smartphones For All Budgets


Smartphone Specs Statistics: The State Of The Art (Q1 2021)

So, what about that global score? We'll get there. But first, let's see where its rivals are. It's 7.0 for any of them.

Verdict: Does any of them really stand out?

If you're considering an upgrade, I think you can safely wait another year. Unless you got the Exynos 990 variant of the Galaxy S20 Plus and you really want to try something better.

Indeed the Exynos 2100 variant of the Galaxy S21 Plus doesn't seem to set us back that much, either on performance as well as on battery life. At least it has a performance increase of about 30% and it has better battery life, compared to the S20 Plus.

Just be conscious that if you do upgrade, you'll lose 4GB of RAM and the MicroSD card slot. Not to mention that, as I said before, the Galaxy S21 Plus has a screen resolution below the average for its price.

Pros Galaxy S20 Plus Galaxy S21 Plus
#1 Performance Performance
#2 AMOLED AMOLED
#3 Always-On-Display Always-On-Display
#4 Cameras Cameras
#5 Fast Charging Battery Life
#6 Wireless Charging Fast Charging
#7 MicroSD Slot Wireless Charging
#8 Glass Protection Glass Protection
Cons Galaxy S20 Plus Galaxy S21 Plus
#1 Weight MicroSD Slot
#2 3.5mm Jack Weight
#3 Price 3.5mm Jack
#4 Price
Relative Score*
vs.
Global Score Galaxy S20 Plus Galaxy S21 Plus
Gaming Score
7.7
7.6
-0.1
Tek-Score
7.32
7.47
0.15
Your Score

Scroll the sliders down below to get your own personalized score. Let's suppose you value performance and battery life, and you don't really care about anything else. Then, just set the "Performance" and the "Battery" sliders up to 5 (5+5=10), and then the other sliders down to 0. You'll know what's the best phone for you.

Performance 1.9
Display 1.7
Cameras 1.4
Frame 0.9
Battery 1.9
Storage 2.0
Connectivity 0.4
Total Should be 10 or as close as possible: 9.6

*Reference: 100: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

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About me

Hello!

My name is Luis Silva, and I have a degree in computer management. Ever since I was a teenager, I've loved everything to do with tech. Music, pictures, video editing, I've done it all! This site is a place for me to share some of the knowledge I have, as well as keep up-to-date with current trends. This is a wonderful place for tech-geeks and everyone else that just want to learn more about tech and smartphones in general.


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Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus Related Comparisons


Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus Related Comparisons

×

"Display size to phone weight" ratio explained

This indeed is a "display size to phone weight" ratio, but because every phone ended up somewhere between 0.0272 and 0.0421, I've amplified (adapted) those values so they would fit in a 0-10 scale. As of now, the best smartphone is the Samsung Galaxy A40, with 140g. (4.94 oz) for a 5.9 inch display. It got a score of 9.92. While the worse device is the iPhone 8 Plus, which weighs 202 g. (7.13 oz) and has a 5.5-inch display. It ended up with a score of 0.75.

Please, be aware that this score is subject to change if and when a new smartphone comes along that ends up being outside of this scale.

×

"Battery to device size" ratio explained

This score should give you an idea about the energy footprint of the devices you're considering. It reflects not only the hardware and the energy that it requires but also the amount of energy that the battery can deliver.

The major spenders on any device should be the display and the SoC. But everything from a notification led to its modems need to be optimized, or else, the OEM should simply include a bigger battery as a compensation. Unfortunately, it isn't always possible due to size limitations. But in the end, if a particular OEM can do a good job and give you excellent battery life on a small device, so should everyone else. That's why I've added a "battery to device size" ratio. But since the real scale went from 119 (for the Galaxy S10e, Snapdragon variant) and up to 164 (for the iPhone 7 Plus), I've decided to convert them so they would fit in a 0-10 scale, being 0 the worst device, (the iPhone 7 Plus) and 10 the one every OEM should look up to.

As an example, Apple did an excellent job on the iPhone 7. It has a score of 8. Despite having a small capacity, the hardware is well optimized, and it still gives you decent battery life considering its size. The iPhone 7 Plus, on the other hand, with those bezels shrinking its display size, clearly could've been the #1 in our top 10 list of best battery devices if Apple simply filled all that empty space with a bigger battery.

As a side note: I haven't included the dept of the devices in this formula because even if a device ended up being 1mm/0.03 inches thicker, it wouldn't matter that much to those who really value battery life.

Please, be aware that this score is subject to change if and when a new smartphone comes along that ends up being outside of this scale.

×

Rivals

As of now, these are the rivals that were considered for each of them. They may change every time its prices are updated.

These are the lowest prices found on Amazon, eBay, BestBuy, and Walmart.


 Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus 
  • ApplerivaliPhone 12
    $689
  • SonyrivalXperia 1
    $688
  • SonyrivalXperia 5
    $649
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 10+
    $565
  • ApplerivaliPhone X
    $579
  • ApplerivaliPhone 11
    $575
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 9
    $598
  • ApplerivaliPhone 11 Pro
    $684
  • ApplerivaliPhone XS Max
    $650
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10
    $499
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10 Plus
    $689
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10e SD
    $499
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10+ EX
    $689
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 EX
    $697
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 SD
    $535
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20+ SD
    $535
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10 SD
    $499
  • OnePlusrival7T Pro
    $503
  • HuaweirivalP30 Pro
    $599
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20
    $697
  • HuaweirivalP40
    $666
  • XiaomirivalMi 10 Pro
    $600
  • GooglerivalPixel 5
    $580
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S21 Plus
    $600
  • OnePlusrival8T
    $549
  • XiaomirivalMi 10
    $529
  • OpporivalReno4 Pro
    $594
  • SonyrivalXperia 1 II
    $650
  • XiaomirivalMi 11
    $698
  • OnePlusrival9
    $551
  • OpporivalFind X3 Lite
    $554

 Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus 
  • ApplerivaliPhone 12
    $689
  • SonyrivalXperia 1
    $688
  • SonyrivalXperia 5
    $649
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 10+
    $565
  • ApplerivaliPhone X
    $579
  • ApplerivaliPhone 11
    $575
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 9
    $598
  • ApplerivaliPhone 11 Pro
    $684
  • ApplerivaliPhone XS Max
    $650
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10
    $499
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10 Plus
    $689
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10e SD
    $499
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10+ EX
    $689
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 EX
    $697
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 SD
    $535
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20+ SD
    $535
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10 SD
    $499
  • OnePlusrival7T Pro
    $503
  • HuaweirivalP30 Pro
    $599
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20
    $697
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 Plus
    $600
  • HuaweirivalP40
    $666
  • XiaomirivalMi 10 Pro
    $600
  • GooglerivalPixel 5
    $580
  • OnePlusrival8T
    $549
  • XiaomirivalMi 10
    $529
  • OpporivalReno4 Pro
    $594
  • SonyrivalXperia 1 II
    $650
  • XiaomirivalMi 11
    $698
  • OnePlusrival9
    $551
  • OpporivalFind X3 Lite
    $554
×

Formula deviation

Since the guys at DxoMark don't review every camera out there, I've come up with a formula based on the ones that they do rate, so I could get an equivalent score for the ones they don't review. After testing it against these cameras, I got the deviation between that and their DxO score.

Device: DxOScore Deviation
Samsung Galaxy A50: 88 -1
Apple iPhone XR: 104 1
Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro: 108 -7
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro: 87 1
Sony Xperia 1: 99 -1
Sony Xperia 5: 101 1
Samsung Galaxy Note 8: 100 0
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus: 126 2
Apple iPhone 8 Plus: 96 -3
Xiaomi Pocophone F1: 92 -1
Apple iPhone 7 Plus: 90 -1
Apple iPhone X: 101 3
Apple iPhone 11: 112 -1
Samsung Galaxy Note 8: 100 0
Samsung Galaxy Note 9: 107 1
Apple iPhone XS Max: 110 -2
Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max: 124 1
Samsung Galaxy S10: 124 2
Apple iPhone XS: 110 -1
Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus: 120 -2
OnePlus 7 Pro: 122 0
OnePlus 7T Pro: 122 0
Huawei P30 Pro: 125 -1
Google Pixel 4: 117 0
Google Pixel 3: 103 0
Google Pixel 2: 100 0
Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus: 127 -2
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra: 132 2
OnePlus 6: 100 0
OnePlus 6T: 101 1
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus: 105 -1
Huawei Mate 20 Pro: 120 0
Xiaomi Mi 9: 115 0
Huawei Mate 30 Pro: 132 0
Huawei P40 Pro: 140 -1
Apple iPhone SE 2: 101 0
OnePlus 8 Pro: 126 0
Xiaomi Mi 8: 105 1
Samsung Galaxy A71: 89 1
Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro: 134 0

As you can see, most cameras sit between 1 and -1, while a few of them go up to 2 or -2. That means it's reasonable to assume other similar cameras that they don't review to, in the worst-case scenario, be anywhere from -2 to 2 points from the score that the formula gets.

For example: Given that the Pixel 4 got 117 points and that the Pixel 4 XL share the same year and camera specs, it's reasonable to expect a score of 117 too. But in reality, if they do review that camera, it may end up anywhere between 115 and 119.

Be aware that at DxO, they give a score based on their opinion, not based on any formula. That's why I think there's an odd difference of 6 points between the iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X. In theory, they should have the same camera.

I'm guessing that the Mi 9T Pro got a deviation of 7 points because they tested its Chinese variant (the K20 Pro).

Update: They just changed their protocol to include preview image evaluation and trustability. I'm keeping the old table (for now) for reference purposes, and I'll be adding a new one as soon as they review at least a couple of new mclass-range cameras.

You can expect the same (or a bit bigger) deviation for high-end cameras, but anything with a score below 100-110 should be taken with a grain of salt.

This is valid for all cameras tested with the previous protocol. For those that they dclassn't test, the deviation may be up to twice as much.

×

About GeekBench 5

This is just a quick note to let you know that, if, by any chance, the smartphone you're looking for isn't on the GeekBench site yet, you can check on GsmArena.com, as they also usually test smartphones with that benchmark tool.



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