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Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Battery review: Good efficiency

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Battery review: Good efficiency

Coming to market in January 2021, the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)’s launch price puts it into the Premium ($600-$799) segment. Like its Exynos twin, it comes with a number of attractive features, including a triple-camera setup. Our team of battery experts recently put it through our DXOMARK testing protocol; what follows is a summary of the results.

Key specifications:

  • Battery capacity: 4000 mAh
  • 25W (charger not included)
  • 6.2-inch, 1080 x 2400, 120 Hz OLED display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G (5 nm) chipset
  • Tested RAM / storage combination: 8 GB + 128 GB

About DXOMARK Battery tests: For scoring and analysis in our smartphone battery reviews, DXOMARK engineers perform a variety of objective tests over a week-long period both indoors and outdoors. This article highlights the most important results of our testing. (See our introductory and how we test articles for more details about our smartphone Battery protocol.)

Test summary

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Battery review: Good efficiency 1Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Battery review: Good efficiency 2

69

battery

Pros

  • Good efficiency both during charge up and when in use
  • Charger has very low residual power drain both during trickle charging and when phone is not connected
  • Wireless charging is convenient

Cons

  • Below-average charging speed
  • Above-average battery drain when screen is off in idle, music streaming and calls

The Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) racks up an above-average overall score in its segment, beating its Exynos sibling and doing largely better than the two competitor devices in this review, the Apple iPhone 12 mini and the Google Pixel 5, due primarily to better performance in our autonomy tests. The table below shows the battery capacity, charger, display type and resolution, and processor specifications for the Snapdragon version of the S21 5G and for the Apple and Google devices.

 Samsung Galaxy S21 (Snapdragon)

Apple iPhone 12 miniGoogle Pixel 5
Battery capacity (mAh)

4000

22274080
Charger

25W

20W18W
Wireless charging

15W

12W

12W

Display type, max Hz

OLEDOLED

OLED

Display resolution

1080 x 24001080 x 2340

1080 x 2340

Chipset

Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5GA14 Bionic

Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 5G

Autonomy (55)

How long a battery charge lasts depends not only on battery capacity, but also other aspects of the phone’s hardware and software. The DXOMARK Battery autonomy score is composed of three performance sub-scores: (1) Stationary, (2) On the go, and (3) Calibrated use cases. Each sub-score comprises the results of a comprehensive range of tests for measuring autonomy in all kinds of real-life scenarios.

Light Usage

71h

Light

Active: 2h30/day

Moderate Usage

50h

Moderate

Active: 4h/day

Intense Usage

31h

Intense

Active: 7h/day

Among its competitors, the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) puts in a good performance, with a score that is above average for its segment, but just under the average for the entire Battery protocol database.

In terms of linearity, the battery percentage indicator on the Samsung S21 5G (Snapdragon) is very accurate and reliable.

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Battery review: Good efficiency 4

Stationary

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)

57

104

Vivo Y72 5G

Best: Vivo Y72 5G (104)

A robot housed in a Faraday cage performs a set of touch-based user actions during what we call our “typical usage scenario” (TUS) — making calls, video streaming, etc. — 4 hours of active use over the course of a 16-hour period, plus 8 hours of “sleep.” The robot repeats this set of actions every day until the device runs out of power. 

In our TUS tests, the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) lasts more than 56 hours, which is both above average for its segment and longer than its rivals, with the Apple iPhone12 mini coming in at 43 hours 22 minutes and the Google Pixel 5 lasting for 47 hours 30 minutes. However, the Samsung’s results are around four hours less than the average for all tested devices in our database.

Typical Usage Scenario discharge curves

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Battery review: Good efficiency 5

On the go

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)

55

96

Samsung Galaxy M51

Best: Samsung Galaxy M51 (96)

Using a smartphone on the go takes a toll on autonomy because of extra “hidden” demands, such as the continuous signaling associated with cellphone network selection, for example. DXOMARK Battery experts take the phone outside and perform a precisely defined set of activities while following the same three-hour travel itinerary for each device.

The Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)’s performance is very close to that of its rivals except for calling, where it did noticeably better than the Apple and Google devices (though only around the average for other devices in its price range).

Estimated autonomy for on the go use cases (full charge)

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Battery review: Good efficiency 6

Calibrated

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)

58

100

Samsung Galaxy M51

Best: Samsung Galaxy M51 (100)

For this series of tests, the smartphone returns to the Faraday cage and our robots repeatedly perform actions linked to one specific use case (such as gaming, video streaming, etc.) at a time. Starting from an 80% charge, all devices are tested until they have expended at least 5% of their battery power.

Both the Samsung and Google devices beat the Apple iPhone12 mini across the board, and while the Samsung takes the lead in 4G streaming and gaming tests, the Google Pixel 5 is ahead of the Samsung for 3G calling and video playback.

Estimated autonomy for calibrated use cases (full charge)

Charging (73)

The DXOMARK Battery charging score is composed of two sub-scores, Full charge and Quick boost. Full charge tests assess the reliability of the battery power gauge; measure how long it takes to charge a battery from 0% to 80% capacity and from 80% to 100%; and measure how long and how much power the battery takes to go from an indicated 100% to an actual full charge. With the phone at different charge levels (20%, 40%, 60%, 80%), Quick boost tests measure the amount of charge the battery receives after being plugged in for 5 minutes. 

Wired

Wired

Wireless

Wireless

Power consumption and battery level during full charge

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Battery review: Good efficiency 7

Full charge

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)

78

106

OnePlus 9

Best: OnePlus 9 (106)

The Samsung Galaxy S21 5G went from 0 to an 80% in 48 minutes 34 seconds, which is better than its rivals, but it needed more than 45 minutes to charge from 80% to full capacity. Our engineers note that its charger never reached its maximum power of 25W.

While it takes the Snapdragon version of the S21 5G one hour longer to achieve a 100% charge via wireless charging, it is still a convenient option.

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Battery review: Good efficiency 8

Quick boost

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)

67

108

Oppo Reno6 5G

Best: Oppo Reno6 5G (108)

The Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) provides more than two hours of autonomy when charged at 20%, 40%, 60%, and 80%, beating both the Apple and Google devices for longevity following a 5-minute charge. Even so, the Samsung’s performance is below average for its segment.

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)Apple iPhone 12 miniGoogle Pixel 5
Autonomy boost (hh:mm)20%2:382:432:16
40%2:452:312:16
60%2:091:531:46
80%1:571:201:13
Percentage boost20%7.4 %9.5 %6.9 %
40%7.7 %8.8 %6.9 %
60%6 %6.6 %5.4 %
80%5.5 %4.7 %3.7 %
Energy consumed20%1466 mWh1205 mWh1654 mWh
40%1528 mWh1119 mWh1656 mWh
60%1195 mWh838 mWh1294 mWh
80%1088 mWh591 mWh894 mWh

Efficiency (89)

Our Efficiency score comprises two sub-scores, Charge up and Discharge. Charge up is the efficiency of a full charge (how much energy is drained from the wall outlet vs the energy capacity of the battery, as well as the efficiency of the charger and its residual consumption). Discharge is how much current the smartphone drains from the battery when in use (the ratio of battery capacity to autonomy). Better autonomy with a smaller battery means better efficiency.

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Battery review: Good efficiency 9

Charge up

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)

78

84

OnePlus 9

Best: OnePlus 9 (84)

Compared to its rivals, the S21 5G (Snapdragon) charging system is well designed, providing better charge and adapter efficiency, and better management of residual power drain.

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Battery review: Good efficiency 10

Discharge

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)

90

121

Apple iPhone 13

Best: Apple iPhone 13 (121)

The Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) had good efficiency in all screen-on tests (gaming, video streaming, video playback), though the iPhone 12 mini is much more efficient, and can last almost as long with a much smaller 2227 mAh battery.

Conclusion

The Samsung S21 5G (Snapdragon) achieves decent autonomy overall, but it would have been nice to pair that with faster charging, which is quite common at this price range.

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Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Audio review: Strong on artifacts

Good photos outdoors and indoors

In 2020, Vivo released the X60 Pro, driven by an Exynos chip, in China. In April of this year, the X60 Pro went global, but this time, it was equipped with the Snapdragon 870 5G chipset. The X60 Pro is one of the brand’s flagships, just downstream from the X60 Pro Plus, with features like a 6.56 inch AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate, a four-camera array, and a fast-charging 4200 mAh (TYP) battery. Vivo’s website does not mention the X60 Pro’s audio specifications, but it has one speaker that is bottom right-side firing.

Audio specifications include:

  • One speaker (bottom right-side firing)
  • No headphone jack

About DXOMARK Audio tests: For scoring and analysis in our smartphone audio reviews, DXOMARK engineers perform a variety of objective tests and undertake more than 20 hours of perceptual evaluation under controlled lab conditions. This article highlights the most important results of our testing. Note that we evaluate both Playback and Recording using only the device’s built-in hardware and default apps. (For more details about our Playback protocol, click here; for more details about our Recording protocol, click here.)

Test summary

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Audio review: Strong on artifacts 11
Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Audio review: Strong on artifacts 12

47

audio

Playback

Pros

  • Our engineers noted few artifacts overall
  • At low volume, attack is accurate
  • Considering there’s only one speaker, volume is good.
  • The minimum volume is adequate

Cons

  • Low- and high-end extension are sorely lacking
  • Timbre is tinny and midrange-focused
  • Because it’s a mono device, it doesn’t do well in the spatial attribute

Recording

Cons

  • Dark and muffled tonal balances in all use cases
  • Strong noise reduction algorithm stifles signals in selfie video
  • Noticeable artifacts in all use cases, especially in selfie video
  • Wideness is very narrow for recordings with rear cameras.

With an overall score of 47, the Vivo X60 Pro earned six points less than its similarly priced brand sibling, the Vivo X51 5G, another one-speaker device, which scored a 53. These are among the lowest scores in our database ranking for smartphone audio performance.

In Playback testing, the X60 Pro was below average in most attributes, but shined in at least one. The one-speaker design was a hindrance for the most part. In timbre, the X60 Pro was very midrange focused with little low- or high-end extension.  Its dynamics performance was somewhat better, with adequate attack except at low volume. The spatial attribute was a particular low point, in part because of the one-speaker design. Volume and artifacts gave the overall score a boost, with decent and excellent scores respectively.

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Audio review: Strong on artifacts 14

The Vivo X60 Pro had high marks for artifacts in playback, and a decent score for volume in recording.

As a recording device, the Vivo X60 Pro did not fare much better. On the plus side the X60 Pro scored well in the volume attribute, with good loudness. In other regards, it rarely was on target, with its noise reduction algorithm, on by default, driving down scores across several attributes, including timbre and dynamics. Artifacts were observable in all use cases, and again, that overly aggressive noise reduction algorithm was largely the culprit.

Sub-scores explained

The DXOMARK Audio overall score of 47 for the Vivo X60 Pro is derived from its Playback and Recording scores and their respective sub-scores. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at these audio quality sub-scores and explain what they mean for the user.

Playback

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Audio review: Strong on artifacts 15

Timbre

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)

47

82

Black Shark 4 Pro

Best: Black Shark 4 Pro (82)

Timbre tests measure how well a phone reproduces sound across the audible tonal range and takes into account bass, midrange, treble, tonal balance, and volume dependency.

The Vivo X60 Pro is well below average in the key attribute of timbre. Very midrange focused, the performance of the device severely lacks high-end extension. Tonal balance sounds tinny; the single speaker design is a handicap when trying to produce a full and rich timbre. In the chart below, you can see the nose dive taken by the Vivo devices at the high-end, while all three comparison devices are missing low-end.

As for the midrange, it’s not consistent. With high mids missing, it sounds muffled. It’s not surprising that bass is not a strong suit for the X60 Pro because the low-end is almost non existent.  All these shortcomings are exaggerated at soft volume as the pronounced absence of clarity impairs the tonal balance.

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Audio review: Strong on artifacts 16

Dynamics

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)

53

81

Black Shark 4 Pro

Best: Black Shark 4 Pro (81)

DXOMARK’s dynamics tests measure how well a device reproduces the energy level of a sound source, and how precisely it reproduces bass frequencies.

The Vivo X60 Pro delivers an adequate dynamics performance considering its one-speaker design. Attack is on the mark, except at soft volume, when the rendering of transients is very limited. The absence of bass and low-end undermines the bass precision.
Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Audio review: Strong on artifacts 17
Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Audio review: Strong on artifacts 18

Bass attack is on target, but sustain is nonexistent. Punch is weak, especially at soft volume. At maximum volume, the performance is impaired by compression.

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Audio review: Strong on artifacts 19

Spatial

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)

23

82

Black Shark 4 Pro

Best: Black Shark 4 Pro (82)

The sub-attributes for perceptual spatial tests include localizability, balance, distance, and wideness.

As of this writing, the 23 earned by the X60 Pro for the spatial attribute is a new low in our database rankings. As expected with a one-speaker device, the score for wideness was zero, because by its nature it’s a mono device. The blurry tonal balance muddles localizability. The human ear relies on the higher frequences to locate sounds. Here, with little high end to work with, that becomes problematic.

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Audio review: Strong on artifacts 20

The Vivo X60 Pro has only one speaker, which meant its score for wideness was zero.

Balance is slightly shifted to the top right where the only speaker is firing. Distance is unnatural because of inconsistent midrange; voices seem to be coming from behind a thick veil.

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Audio review: Strong on artifacts 21

Volume

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)

68

79

Black Shark 4 Pro

Best: Black Shark 4 Pro (79)

Volume tests measure both the overall loudness a device is able to reproduce and how smoothly volume increases and decreases based on user input.

Here the X60 Pro earned some positive marks, with a solid performance in the volume attribute. The maximum volume achieved by the X60 Pro is on the mark, and the minimum volume is comprehensible, although it might be difficult to listen to high dynamic content, such as classical music, at this level.

Here are the results of the objective measurements we carried out in our laboratories, using recordings of both hip-hop and classical music played at the maximum user volume step:

Hip-HopClassical
Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)74.5 dBA70.9 dBA
Vivo X51 5G71.3 dBA70.4 dBA
Samsung Galaxy A52 5G72 dBA68.3 dBA
Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Audio review: Strong on artifacts 22

Artifacts

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)

93

96

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

Best: Samsung Galaxy A52 5G (96)

Artifacts tests measure how much source audio is distorted when played back through a device’s speakers. Distortion can occur both because of sound processing in the device and because of the quality of the speakers.

Here is the one attribute where the Vivo X60 Pro truly shines, coming just three points shy of the top score to date among all smartphones, the 96 achieved by the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G. Our engineers observed few artifacts overall, although they noted some compression at maximum volume. There was some bass distortion when the device was playing synthetic signals (not something that would affect the average consumer). Gamers take note: The X60 Pro is easy to occlude due to single speaker design.

Recording

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Audio review: Strong on artifacts 15

Timbre

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)

54

88

Asus Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders

Best: Asus Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders (88)

As a recording device, the Vivo X60 Pro captures below average timbre. In daily life recordings, the tonal balance produced by the device is dark and muffled with a strong lack of treble and high midrange, especially with loud background noise, as in the urban scenario. Performance is even worse in selfie video where the intrusive noise reduction setting is enabled by default.  Overly oppressive, this algorithm strongly impairs overall sound quality.

In our home use case, a quieter environment, the device’s recordings are less altered by that noise cancelling algorithm and sound slightly more natural. For recordings at high SPL, the electronic music concert use case, timbre shows the same shortcomings: dark tonal balance, lack of clarity, and an absence of high-end extension. Bass presence is good but quite boomy, especially with strong low-end content like electronic music.

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Audio review: Strong on artifacts 16

Dynamics

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)

48

78

OnePlus 8

Best: OnePlus 8 (78)

The Vivo X60 Pro earned one of the lowest scores in our database rankings for recording dynamics. When using the rear cameras to record video, the Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) is correct overall, but the envelope is not accurate because of compression and dark tonal balance, which throws off the sharpness of plosives and the intelligibility of voices.

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Audio review: Strong on artifacts 25
Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Audio review: Strong on artifacts 26

In selfie video, overly strong noise canceling destroys the envelope. Noise reduction crushes the entire signal, including useful information. Background is heavily attenuated, but voices are not very intelligible, impairing the SNR. SNR performance is better in the home use case because the application of noise reduction is less extreme and voices are more intelligible.

string(3) “277”
array(3)
[“Samsung Galaxy A52 5G”]=>
string(61) “resources/Vivo/X60Pro/SamsungGalaxyA525G_MicrophoneTimbre.m4a”
[“Vivo X51 5G”]=>
string(52) “resources/Vivo/X60Pro/VivoX515G_MicrophoneTimbre.m4a”
[“Vivo X60 Pro”]=>
string(53) “resources/Vivo/X60Pro/VivoX60Pro_MicrophoneTimbre.m4a”

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Audio review: Strong on artifacts 27

The dynamics performance of the Vivo X60 Pro improves slightly when using the memo app.

When using the memo app to record, the envelope performance is slightly better, but dynamics performance is still below average. For recordings at high-SPL, the envelope is correct, but it’s impaired by compression, especially on loud bass hits.

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Audio review: Strong on artifacts 19

Spatial

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)

33

78

Black Shark 4 Pro

Best: Black Shark 4 Pro (78)

As with the spatial performance in playback, the Vivo X60 Pro struggles mightily. When recording video with the rear cameras, wideness is very limited, and localizability is not precise; that’s because of a narrow audio scene and a strong absence of clarity.

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Audio review: Strong on artifacts 29

Wideness is limited when recording video with the rear cameras.

With the overall sound being very dark and muffled, distance perception is not realistic. In selfie video, wideness is even more narrow, almost mono. Excessive noise reduction, a consistent bugaboo with this device, strongly hinders distance and localizability. In the meeting use case, the device does a better job of capturing the wideness of the audio scene, elevating the spatial performance.

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Audio review: Strong on artifacts 21

Volume

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)

67

89

Xiaomi Mi 10S

Best: Xiaomi Mi 10S (89)

Volume performance in recording is a bright spot for the Vivo device. It achieves good loudness overall, though it’s slightly better in selfie video than with the rear cameras. Recording at the maximum level without distortion is correct.

Here are our test results, measured in LUFS (Loudness Unit Full Scale). As a reference, we expect loudness levels to be above -24 LUFS for recorded content:

MeetingLife VideoSelfie VideoMemo
Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)-25.5 LUFS-19.1 LUFS-19.7 LUFS-20.3 LUFS
Vivo X51 5G-29.2 LUFS-24.1 LUFS-20.5 LUFS-23.7 LUFS
Samsung Galaxy A52 5G-26.1 LUFS-22.3 LUFS-20.8 LUFS-21.5 LUFS
Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Audio review: Strong on artifacts 22

Artifacts

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)

57

90

Asus Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders

Best: Asus Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders (90)

The X60 Pro hits an average score for the recording artifacts attributes. On daily life recordings with loud background noise, some distortion is noticeable on loud sounds like shouting voices. In selfie video, heavy noise reduction (again an issue) induces temporal and spectral artifacts like gating, compression, strange resonances, and hissing.

Our engineers observed fewer artifacts in use cases where the background is quieter. For recordings at high SPL, some compression and bass distortion are noticeable as well as some distortion on sharp loud sounds. The noise reduction algorithm also affects the performance in selfie video. You can check for artifacts yourself in this sample recording:

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Audio review: Strong on artifacts 32

Background

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)

14

58

Apple iPhone XS Max

Best: Apple iPhone XS Max (58)

The background attribute is another weak point for the Vivo device. In all use cases, the tonal balance of the background is very dark and unnatural. In selfie video, noise reduction strongly impairs the performance — background is barely audible.

Conclusion

The Vivo X60 Pro starts off with a distinct disadvantage because of its one-speaker design, and many of its shortcomings stem from that starting point. Overly aggressive noise cancellation in recording is also problematic. One bright spot is its stellar showing in the playback artifacts attribute, which ranks among the best among the devices we’ve tested.

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Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option

The Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) is the global release of this device and differs from the China-only Exynos version not only in the chipset but also in the photography specifications, with only a single tele-lens included on the Snapdragon model versus two teles on the model for the Chinese market.

The handset features the Snapdragon 870 chipset with 12 GB RAM and 256 GB storage, runs Android 11, and boasts a 4200 mAh battery with 33W flash charging. The display is a large 6.56-inch FHD+ AMOLED with a 120 Hz refresh rate.

Aside from dropping the second tele-lens, the camera is the same as in the Exynos version. Co-engineered with Zeiss, the primary camera is built around a 48 MP Quad Bayer sensor (12 MP output) with a f/1.48-aperture lens. Both zoom cameras utilize 13 MP sensors, with a f/2.56-aperture lens on the tele and a f/2.2-aperture lens on the ultra-wide.

Let’s see how the device performed in our DXOMARK Camera tests.

Key camera specifications:

  • Primary: 48 MP 1/2.0-inch sensor with 0.8µm pixels, 26 mm-equivalent f/1.5-aperture lens, PDAF, OIS
  • Ultra-wide: 13 MP sensor, 120° field of view, 16 mm-equivalent f/2.2-aperture lens
  • Tele: 13 MP 1/2.8-inch sensor with 0.8µm pixels, 50 mm-equivalent f/2.5 lens (2x optical), PDAF
  • Video: 2160p at 30 fps, 1080p at 30/60 fps (1080p at 30 fps tested)

About DXOMARK Camera tests: For scoring and analysis in our smartphone camera reviews, DXOMARK engineers capture and evaluate over 3000 test images and more than 2.5 hours of video both in controlled lab environments and in natural indoor and outdoor scenes, using the camera’s default settings. This article is designed to highlight the most important results of our testing. For more information about the DXOMARK Camera test protocol, click here. More details on how we score smartphone cameras are available here.

Test summary

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 33
Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 34

120

camera

Pros

  • Wide dynamic range in all photos
  • Good detail in all photos
  • Generally accurate photo and video autofocus
  • High detail in outdoor ultra-wide photos
  • Accurate target exposure in outdoor and indoor videos
  • Pleasant color in most videos
  • Well-controlled noise in most videos

Cons

  • Exposure instabilities, especially in outdoor photos
  • Inaccurate exposure and color rendering on deep skin tones in photos
  • Visible noise in low-light photos
  • Low detail in most tele photos and all videos
  • Limited dynamic range in videos
  • White balance instabilities in low-light videos
  • Hue shift artifacts visible in many videos

With an overall score of 120, the Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) secures a position in the upper ranks of the Premium segment (devices priced between $600 – $799). You you can expect similar global image quality as the Google Pixel 5 and Xiaomi Mi 11 (both at 120), and the Vivo is only a couple of points shy of the top-ranked Premium Apple iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini smartphones at 122.

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 36
The Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) captures accurate target exposure with wide dynamic range and pleasant color. Detail is also well preserved while keeping noise to a minimum, and good depth of field ensures both subjects are in sharp focus.

The Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) also manages to improve on the score we recorded for the Exynos version by two points, thanks to slightly enhanced autofocus performance. Otherwise image quality is very similar between the two, and perhaps somewhat surprisingly, the Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) is just as good for long-range zoom shots despite not having a 5x tele-lens.

The Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) also beats the score of the Oppo Find X3 Neo by 5 points primarily due to better overall exposure, with wide dynamic range and vivid color rendering. The Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) is close pverall to the performance of Xiaomi’s Mi 11; however, the Xiaomi device offers an improved texture-to-noise tradeoff, rendering more detailed images with less noise compared to the Vivo.

Below you can find a detailed analysis and image samples for all Photo, Zoom, and Video sub-attributes, as well as comparisons with two of the Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)’s competitors, the Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G (Exynos) and the Xiaomi Mi 11.

Photo

The Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) achieves a Photo score of 127. In this section, we take a closer look at each sub-attribute and compare image quality against competitors.

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 37

Exposure and Contrast

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)

101

111

Huawei P50 Pro

Best: Huawei P50 Pro (111)

In these tests we analyze target exposure, contrast, and dynamic range, including repeatability across a series of images. Tests are undertaken in a wide range of light conditions, including backlit scenes and low light down to 1 lux. The score is derived from a number of objective measurements in the lab and perceptual analysis of real-life images.

These samples show the Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)’s exposure performance in a high-contrast scene.

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 38

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon), wide dynamic range with good shadow and highlight detail

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 39
Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G (Exynos), less dynamic range with some highlight clipping
Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 40

Xiaomi Mi 11, limited dynamic range with significant highlight clipping

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 41

Color

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)

100

106

Huawei P50 Pro

Best: Huawei P50 Pro (106)

In these tests we analyze color rendering, skin tones, white balance, and color shading, including repeatability across a series of images. The score is derived from a number of objective measurements in the lab and perceptual analysis of real-life images.

These samples show the Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)’s color performance in an outdoor setting.

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 42

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon), accurate white balance and pleasant color rendering

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 43

Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G (Exynos), accurate white balance with slightly dull color rendering

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 44

Xiaomi Mi 11, accurate white balance and pleasant color rendering

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 45

Autofocus

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)

97

109

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

Best: Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max (109)

In these tests we analyze autofocus accuracy and shooting time, including repeatability, in the lab. We test focus failures, depth of field, and tracking of moving subjects using perceptual analysis of real-life images.

This graph shows the Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)’s autofocus performance in the lab, handheld at a light level of 20 lux and a brightness range of 7 EV.

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 46
In challenging simulated lighting conditions the Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) is often sharper, but levels of acutance (sharpness) are more inconsistent between shots and autofocusing speeds are slower.
Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 47

Texture

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)

95

111

Xiaomi Mi 11

Best: Xiaomi Mi 11 (111)

In these tests we analyze texture on faces and objects, including objects in motion, in a range of light conditions, using several lab test setups and perceptual analysis of real-life images.

These samples show the Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)’s texture performance in the lab.

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon), handheld at 300 lux

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 49

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon), crop: good detail rendering

Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G (Exynos), handheld at 300 lux

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 51

Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G, crop: good detail rendering

Xiaomi Mi 11, handheld at 300 lux

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 53

Xiaomi Mi 11, crop: excellent detail

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 54

Noise

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)

70

99

Huawei P50 Pro

Best: Huawei P50 Pro (99)

In these tests we analyze noise on faces and objects, including objects in motion, in a range of light conditions, using several lab test setups and perceptual analysis of real-life images.

These samples show the Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)’s noise performance in low light.

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon), low-light scene

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 56

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon), crop: visible noise

Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G (Exynos), low-light scene

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 58

Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G (Exynos), crop: very visible noise

Xiaomi Mi 11, low-light scene

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 60

Xiaomi Mi 11, crop: well-controlled noise

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 61

Bokeh

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)

65

80

Huawei P50 Pro

Best: Huawei P50 Pro (80)

For these tests we switch to the camera’s bokeh or portrait mode and analyze depth estimation, bokeh shape, blur gradient, and repeatability, as well as all other general image quality attributes mentioned above. The score is derived from perceptual analysis of real-life images.

These samples show the Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)’s bokeh simulation tested in the lab.

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon), bokeh mode

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 63

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon), crop: nicely contrasted and circular spotlights

Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G (Exynos), bokeh mode

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 65

Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G (Exynos), crop: nicely contrasted and circular spotlights

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 67

Xiaomi Mi 11, crop: disappointing spotlights

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 68

Night

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)

56

82

Huawei Mate 40 Pro+

Best: Huawei Mate 40 Pro+ (82)

In these tests we shoot a selection of images in pitch-black darkness as well as with city lights in the background providing some illumination. We shoot sample images with the camera at default settings in both flash-auto and flash-off modes. We analyze all image quality attributes but we pay particular attention to exposure, autofocus, and color. We do not test night modes that have to be activated manually.

These samples show the Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)’s night performance in flash-off mode.

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 69

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon), flash-off: good target exposure with wide dynamic range

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 70

Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G (Exynos), flash-off: good target exposure with limited dynamic range

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 71

Xiaomi Mi 11, flash-off: good target exposure with wide dynamic range

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 72

Artifacts

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)

63

75

Google Pixel 4

Best: Google Pixel 4 (75)

In these tests we check images for optical artifacts such as vignetting, flare, lens softness in the corners, distortion, and chromatic aberrations, as well as for processing artifacts such as ghosting and fusion errors, hue shift, and ringing.

This sample shows color fringing artifacts in a high-contrast image.

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon), artifacts

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 74

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon), crop: color fringing, fusion artifacts on the face

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 75

Preview

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)

47

77

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

Best: Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max (77)

In these tests we analyze the image quality of the preview image and the differences between preview images and captured images, particularly in terms of exposure, dynamic range, and bokeh effect. We also check the smoothness of the field-of-view changes in the preview image when zooming with both buttons or when using the pinch-zoom gesture.

These samples show the differences in the Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)’s bokeh rendering between the preview and the final image when in portrait mode.

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 76

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon), preview: bokeh simulation is only partially visible in portrait mode

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 77

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon), capture: bokeh simulation is rendered in the final image

Zoom

The Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) achieves a Zoom score of 72. The Zoom score includes the tele and wide sub-scores. In this section, we take a closer look at how these sub-scores were achieved and compare zoom image quality against the competitors.

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 78

Wide

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)

42

57

Huawei P50 Pro

Best: Huawei P50 Pro (57)

In these tests we analyze the performance of the ultra-wide camera at several focal lengths from 12 to 20 mm. We look at all image quality attributes, but we pay particular attention to such artifacts as chromatic aberrations, lens softness, and distortion.

These samples show the performance of the Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)’s ultra-wide camera under low-light conditions.

Vivo X50 Pro 5G (Snapdragon), ultra-wide

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 80

Vivo X50 Pro 5G (Snapdragon), crop: fine details are lost but noise is well-controlled.

Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G (Exynos), ultra-wide with a greater field of view

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 82

Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G (Exynos), crop: good detail with a little more noise

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 84

Xiaomi Mi 11, crop: fine details are lost and noise is slightly visible.

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 85

Tele

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)

92

140

Huawei P50 Pro

Best: Huawei P50 Pro (140)

In these tests we analyze all image quality attributes at focal lengths from approximately 40 to 300 mm, paying particular attention to texture and detail. The score is derived from a number of objective measurements in the lab and perceptual analysis of real-life images.

These samples show the Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)’s tele performance in the lab at 100 lux using a close-range zoom setting.

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon), close-range zoom, 100 lux

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 87

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon), crop: good detail

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Exynos), close-range zoom, 100 lux

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 89

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Exynos), crop: lower detail

Xiaomi Mi 11, close-range zoom, 100 lux

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 91

Xiaomi Mi 11, crop: lower detail

Video

In our Video tests we analyze the same image quality attributes as for still images, such as exposure, color, texture, and noise, but we also include such temporal aspects as speed, smoothness and stability of exposure, white balance, and autofocus transitions.

NOTE: The sample video clips in this section are best viewed at the highest resolution available. 

The Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) achieves a Video score of 100. A device’s overall Video score is derived from its performance and results across a range of attributes in the same way as the Photo score. In this section, we take a closer look at these sub-scores and compare video image quality against competitors.

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 37

Exposure and Contrast

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)

97

103

Huawei P50 Pro

Best: Huawei P50 Pro (103)

These sample clips show the Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)’s video exposure performance in outdoor lighting conditions.

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon), stable target exposure

Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G (Exynos), stable target exposure

Xiaomi Mi 11, exposure instabilities in the sky

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 41

Color

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)

97

105

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra

Best: Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra (105)

These sample clips show the Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)’s video color in low-light conditions.

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon), white balance instabilities

Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G (Exynos), more stable white balance

Xiaomi Mi 11, more stable white balance

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 45

Autofocus

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)

88

108

Huawei P50 Pro

Best: Huawei P50 Pro (108)

These sample clips show the Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)’s video autofocus tracking performance in outdoor conditions.

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon), autofocus instabilities

Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G (Exynos), generally accurate autofocus

Xiaomi Mi 11, autofocus instabilities

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 47

Texture

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)

53

97

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra

Best: Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra (97)

This graph shows the Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)’s video texture measurements in the lab.

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 96

The level of video detail is low in all lighting conditions in 1080p mode on the Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon). 4K footage from the Xiaomi Mi 11 is generally excellent and a notable improvement on 4K video captured on the Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G (Exynos). The Vivo X60 Pro (Exynos) captures 4K footage as well.

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 54

Noise

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)

96

105

Huawei Mate 40 Pro

Best: Huawei Mate 40 Pro (105)

These video stills show the Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)’s video noise performance in an indoor scene.

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon), indoor video still (1080p)

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 99

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon), crop: well-controlled noise

Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G (Exynos), indoor video still (4K)

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 101

Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G (Exynos), crop: very visible noise

Xiaomi Mi 11, indoor video still (4K)

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 103

Xiaomi Mi 11, crop: well-controlled noise

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 72

Artifacts

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)

79

94

Oppo Find X2 Pro

Best: Oppo Find X2 Pro (94)

For video artifacts, we check for the same kinds of artifacts mentioned in the Photo section, along with such video-specific artifacts as frame rate variation in different light conditions, judder effect, and moving artifacts (artifacts such as aliasing, color quantization, and flare can often be more intrusive when moving than in a still image).

This video still shows ringing and hue shift artifacts.

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon), video artifacts

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 106

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon), crop: ringing and hue shifts are visible

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: Solid Premium option 107

Stabilization

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)

95

102

Huawei P50 Pro

Best: Huawei P50 Pro (102)

In these tests we analyze residual motion when handholding the camera during recording, as well as when walking and running with the camera. We also look for stabilization artifacts such as jello effect, sharpness differences between frames, and frame shift (abrupt changes of framing).

These sample clips shows the Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)’s video stabilization performance under 1000 lux lighting in the lab.

Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon), effective stabilization

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Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders (designed by Asus) Audio review: A class-leading recording device

Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders (designed by Asus) Audio review: A class-leading recording device

In March 2021, Qualcomm launched the Snapdragon Insiders community, designed for the famous chipset’s enthusiasts, with news, tips, forums, masterclasses, access to experts, and even backstage access to events. If quite mysterious at that time, the U.S.-based company’s agenda becomes clearer today with the release of a special-edition smartphone.

The Smartphone for Snapdragons Insiders, which was designed, manufactured, and sold by Asus, is fittingly powered by the Snapdragon 888 chipset, and features three rear cameras (main, ultra-wide, and telephoto) along with a 6.78-inch, HDR10 and HDR10+ certified AMOLED display. In terms of audio, the phone is equipped with two speakers for stereo playback, four HDR microphones with a dynamic range of 114 dB, and comes with a pair of earbuds manufactured by the top-end company Master & Dynamic.

Audio specifications include:

  • Dual stereo speakers (top front-firing and bottom side-firing)
  • Multiple Snapdragon Sound Technology playback profiles (music, videos, games, and voice enhancements).
  • aptX compatible
  • Master & Dynamic earbuds included

About DXOMARK Audio tests: For scoring and analysis in our smartphone audio reviews, DXOMARK engineers perform a variety of objective tests and undertake more than 20 hours of perceptual evaluation under controlled lab conditions. This article highlights the most important results of our testing. Note that we evaluate both Playback and Recording using only the device’s built-in hardware and default apps. (For more details about our Playback protocol, click here; for more details about our Recording protocol, click here.)

Test summary

Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders (designed by Asus) Audio review: A class-leading recording device 108
Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders, designed by Asus

Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders (designed by Asus) Audio review: A class-leading recording device 109

77

audio

Playback

Cons

  • At maximum volume, tonal balance is somewhat harsh and lacks low-end extension.
  • Bass distortions and overshoots present at maximum volume.
  • At soft volumes, timbre lacks brightness and is slightly muffled.

Recording

Pros

  • Great recording performance overall
  • Excellent performance in loud environments with clean tone and no artifacts
  • Good spatial restitution in life and selfie videos

Cons

  • Voices sound hollow in life video recordings due to lack of low midrange.
  • Background sounds slightly dark.

The Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders’ overall score of 77 places it among the best-scoring phones we have tested to date. Besting the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro by one point, this device secures the fourth position in our Audio ranking protocol.

The device achieved the highest Audio Recording score so far at 81 points. Selfie videos, life videos, concerts, meetings, and memos — the phone racked up outstanding scores across all our use cases, attesting to its suitability for any recording situation. Those results reflect the microphones’ masterful performance in every single sub-category, from Timbre to Background, including Dynamics, Spatial, Volume, and Artifacts. Only two minor drawbacks were noted by our engineers, namely a slight lack of low midrange in life videos which makes voices sound a bit hollow, and a darker tonal balance for background recordings.

While the phone’s playback performance isn’t as stellar as its recording’s, it is still well above average. Sound played through the stereo speakers exhibits deep low-end extension, consistent midrange, and well-defined treble, impactful dynamics, very good volume characteristics, and impressive spatial attributes. That all said, at maximum volume, tonal balance becomes harsh, low-end is less extended, bass distortions and overshoots appear, and slight compression can be noticed. Also note that tonal balance can sound slightly muffled at soft volumes.

Sub-scores explained

The DXOMARK Audio overall score of 77 for the Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders is derived from its Playback and Recording scores and their respective sub-scores. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at these audio quality sub-scores and explain what they mean for the user.

Playback

Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders (designed by Asus) Audio review: A class-leading recording device 111

Timbre

Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders

70

82

Black Shark 4 Pro

Best: Black Shark 4 Pro (82)

Timbre tests measure how well a phone reproduces sound across the audible tonal range and takes into account bass, midrange, treble, tonal balance, and volume dependency.

As illustrated by its sub-score of 70, the Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders turns in a great playback timbre performance thanks to consistent midrange, good low-end extension, strong bass, and accurate treble. However, the overall tonal balance sounds somewhat muffled at soft volumes, and becomes harsher at maximum volume.

In terms of use cases, the phone’s frequency response is particularly suited for watching movies, and listening to hip hop or pop rock. On the other hand, classical music suffers from a slight lack of low mids. As for orientation, it fares better in landscape mode, especially when it comes to bass reproduction.

Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders (designed by Asus) Audio review: A class-leading recording device 112

Dynamics

Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders

72

81

Black Shark 4 Pro

Best: Black Shark 4 Pro (81)

DXOMARK’s dynamics tests measure how well a device reproduces the energy level of a sound source, and how precisely it reproduces bass frequencies.

Audio played back on the phone’s speakers features great dynamics. Attack is very sharp, bass is precise thanks to the low-end’s depth and presence, and sounds are punchy from quiet to loud volumes. That said, at maximum volume, bass precision is impaired by distortions and overshoots, and punch is hindered by the overall harshness of the tonal balance, as well as by occasional compression.

Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders (designed by Asus) Audio review: A class-leading recording device 113

Spatial

Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders

78

82

Black Shark 4 Pro

Best: Black Shark 4 Pro (82)

The sub-attributes for perceptual spatial tests include localizability, balance, distance, and wideness.

Reproduction of the audio’s spatial attributes is another of the phone’s strong suits: the sound field exhibits an impressive wideness, sound sources are precisely localizable, and distance rendering is highly realistic thanks to midrange consistency. The balance between left and right channels is good, albeit slightly off-centered when it comes to voices.

Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders (designed by Asus) Audio review: A class-leading recording device 114

The sound field from the Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders designed by Asus exhibits an impressive wideness,

The phone’s spatial attributes suit all use cases, with a special knack for pop-rock, hip hop, and games. Note that it also fares very well in inverted landscape mode.

Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders (designed by Asus) Audio review: A class-leading recording device 115

Volume

Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders

66

79

Black Shark 4 Pro

Best: Black Shark 4 Pro (79)

Volume tests measure both the overall loudness a device is able to reproduce and how smoothly volume increases and decreases based on user input.

Volume steps are remarkably consistent and numerous, which allows the user to finely adjust the listening level. What’s more, the maximum volume is satisfactory, and minimum volume is adequately tuned for keeping dynamic content such as classical music and movies fully intelligible.

Hip-HopClassical
Asus Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders72 dBA68.2 dBA
Xiaomi Mi 10S74.7 dBA72 dBA
Black Shark 4 Pro74.5 dBA69.5 dBA
Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders (designed by Asus) Audio review: A class-leading recording device 116

Artifacts

Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders

76

96

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

Best: Samsung Galaxy A52 5G (96)

Artifacts tests measure how much source audio is distorted when played back through a device’s speakers. Distortion can occur both because of sound processing in the device and because of the quality of the speakers.

At nominal volume, the phone does a fairly good job of controlling sonic artifacts, whether spectral, temporal, or noise-related. However, at maximum volume, occasional distortions are noticeable, along with compression and noise. Spectral artifacts can also be perceived on synthetic signals.

Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders (designed by Asus) Audio review: A class-leading recording device 117

At maximum volume, a little compression…

Recording

Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders (designed by Asus) Audio review: A class-leading recording device 111

Timbre

Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders

88

Highest Score

As illustrated by its category-leading sub-score of 88, the microphones offer excellent tonal fidelity. As shown in the graph below, compared to its top-ranking competitors, the Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders produces even slightly stronger bass, more midrange, and boosted treble.

Tonal balance is impressive across all use cases (even when recording in loud environments), with precise high-ends, very consistent midrange, and deep low-end. In memo recordings, our tests revealed a fuller tonal balance, with richer low midrange. That said, note that voices tend to sound nasal and hollow in life videos due to a slight lack of midrange.

Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders (designed by Asus) Audio review: A class-leading recording device 119
Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders (designed by Asus) Audio review: A class-leading recording device 120
Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders (designed by Asus) Audio review: A class-leading recording device 112

Dynamics

Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders

74

78

OnePlus 8

Best: OnePlus 8 (78)

Audio recorded with the Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders has great dynamic characteristics. To begin with, the signal-to-noise ratio is very good (per the 114 dB dynamic range microphones!), with adequately attenuated background noise leaving room for speech intelligibility. Further, the sound envelope is realistic and accurate, thanks to razor-sharp transients.

Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders (designed by Asus) Audio review: A class-leading recording device 122
Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders (designed by Asus) Audio review: A class-leading recording device 123
Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders (designed by Asus) Audio review: A class-leading recording device 113

Spatial

Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders

76

78

Black Shark 4 Pro

Best: Black Shark 4 Pro (78)

With a sub-score of 76, the phone’s spatial performance for recorded audio comes very close to the best we’ve measured so far (78). Among all use cases, life videos exhibit the best attributes thanks to great wideness, very precise localizability for target-sources, and highly realistic distance rendering. In selfie videos, localizability, albeit very good, is slightly impaired by noise reduction. Distance is also somewhat less realistic due to a small lack of midrange presence.

Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders (designed by Asus) Audio review: A class-leading recording device 125

The Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders in a meeting scenario.

Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders (designed by Asus) Audio review: A class-leading recording device 115

Volume

Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders

85

89

Xiaomi Mi 10S

Best: Xiaomi Mi 10S (89)

Recording loudness is excellent across all use cases, and particularly for life video recordings. Maximum recordable volume without distortions is excellent, allowing for good-quality recordings in loud environments, such as a concert. Here are our test results, measured in LUFS (Loudness Unit Full Scale). As a reference, we expect loudness levels to be above -24 LUFS for recorded content:

MeetingLife VideoSelfie VideoMemo
Asus Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders-23.8 LUFS-19 LUFS-18 LUFS-17.7 LUFS
Xiaomi Mi 10S-23.6 LUFS-17.7 LUFS-16.4 LUFS-17.4 LUFS
Black Shark 4 Pro-27.6 LUFS-20.8 LUFS-18.8 LUFS-20.8 LUFS
Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders (designed by Asus) Audio review: A class-leading recording device 127
Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders (designed by Asus) Audio review: A class-leading recording device 128
Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders (designed by Asus) Audio review: A class-leading recording device 116

Artifacts

Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders

90

Highest Score

Here is another area where the Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders produces class-leading results. Very few sonic artifacts are noticeable, regardless of the use case or the listening volume. The only minor flaw is a slight gating effect impairing background capture in outdoor scenarios.

Here’s a sample recording, illustrating the phone’s ability to keep sonic artifacts to a minimum:

Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders (designed by Asus) Audio review: A class-leading recording device 130

Background

Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders

50

58

Apple iPhone XS Max

Best: Apple iPhone XS Max (58)

Considering all previous results, it comes as no surprise that the phone’s background restitution is very good. However, in life videos, it is impaired by the slight lack of midrange, and a subtle high-mid resonance. Overall, it also lacks a bit of brightness, which can make it sound slightly canny and dark.

Conclusion

The Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders establishes itself as a fierce competitor in the audio arena. If it certainly is well suited for playback — whether for watching movies, playing games or listening to music —, it is the best recording device we’ve measured to date. It thus makes an excellent choice for recording any type of content, in all kinds of scenarios, from a vocal memo all the way to a live, loud, bassy concert.

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Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) Display review: Near-twin of Exynos version

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) Display review: Near-twin of Exynos version

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) has been selling in the U.S. and China (and a few other places) since January 2021 and is the near-identical twin of the S21 Ultra (Exynos) version sold in other parts of the world. Both share the same high-end specs, including the same quad-camera setup and stylus support; the only difference in hardware between the two versions is in the processors they use: the U.S./China-oriented model relies on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset, while Samsung uses its own Exynos 2100 in the model sold elsewhere. Because of their close similarities in performance, this review will mostly focus on the very few differences between the two versions in our comprehensive Display protocol testing. (For more complete performance results, please refer to our Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Exynos) review.)

Key display specifications:

  • AMOLED 2x screen with Corning Gorilla Glass Victus
  • Size: 6.8 inches (89.8% screen-to-body ratio)
  • Dimensions: 165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm (6.5 x 2.98 x 0.35 inches)
  • Resolution: 1440 x 3200 pixels
  • Aspect ratio: 20:9, ~515 ppi
  • Refresh rate: 120 Hz

About DXOMARK Display tests: For scoring and analysis in our smartphone and other display reviews, DXOMARK engineers perform a variety of objective and perceptual tests under controlled lab and real-life conditions. This article highlights the most important results of our testing. Note that we evaluate display attributes using only the device’s built-in display hardware and its still image (gallery) and video apps at their default settings. (For in-depth information about how we evaluate smartphone and other displays, check out our articles, “How DXOMARK tests display quality” and “A closer look at DXOMARK Display testing.”)

Test summary

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) Display review: Near-twin of Exynos version 131Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon)

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) Display review: Near-twin of Exynos version 132

91

display

Pros

  • Well-balanced brightness and accurate colors lead to a satisfying experience when watching HD10 videos.
  • Well-adapted luminance levels and high maximum brightness mean very good readability in most conditions.
  • The device has great smoothness when web browsing and in the gallery app.
  • The device manages frame drops well when watching videos.

Cons

  • Color faithfulness deteriorates under very bright outdoor conditions, particularly under sunlight.
  • The device is inaccurate when zooming in the gallery app and does not correctly detect touches along its edges when playing video games.
  • Still image colors are generally too saturated.
  • Slightly dazzling in dark ambient conditions, and the BLF does not filter out enough blue light under any lighting condition.

With almost entirely identical scores across all attributes, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) joins its Exynos twin in joint first place (as of this writing) in our DXOMARK Display rankings.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) Display review: Near-twin of Exynos version 134

Readability

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon)

74

Highest Score

Achieving an excellent score of 74, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) is currently in a three-way tie for first with Exynos version and the TCL 10 Pro. It has good readability at its default settings; however, the both S21 Ultra devices are somewhat dazzling in low-light conditions, which may make viewing a bit uncomfortable for some users.

Indoors, the device’s brightness ensures that most content is easily readable, but darker tones lack detail. Despite its high luminance outdoors, the S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) lacks readability, especially for darker content. The Snapdragon-powered smartphone adapts smoothly to light transitions but the rendering changes abruptly when moving from sunlight to shade. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) loses brightness when viewed in angle. As you can see in the array below, the Exynos version (second from left) is noticeably brighter:

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) Display review: Near-twin of Exynos version 135

Brightness at a 45° angle, from left to right: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon), Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Exynos), Apple iPhone 12 Pro, Vivo X51 5G

Photo credit: DXOMARK; for illustration only

Brightness vs Angle comparison

The objective measurements in the graph above confirm the perceptual results between the two Samsung devices.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) Display review: Near-twin of Exynos version 136

Color

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon)

82

89

TCL 20 Pro 5G

Best: TCL 20 Pro 5G (89)

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) shows oversaturated colors along with some slight pink casts on most contents. In bright sunlight, colors are strongly oversaturated and color nuances disappear, leading to inaccurate rendering:

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) Display review: Near-twin of Exynos version 137

Color rendering in direct sunlight, from left to right: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon), Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Exynos), Apple iPhone 12 Pro, Vivo X51 5G

Photo credit: DXOMARK; for illustration only

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) Display review: Near-twin of Exynos version 138

Video

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon)

90

Highest Score

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) has the same score as the Exynos version. Both devices offer excellent levels of brightness and color fidelity when watching HDR10 content. As for differences between the two models, as shown in the illustrative photo array below, the Exynos version’s rendering is just slightly more vivid and closer to the reference image rendering than the Snapdragon’s.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) Display review: Near-twin of Exynos version 139

Video color, from left to right: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon), Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Exynos), Apple iPhone 12 Pro, Vivo X51 5G

Photo credit: DXOMARK; for illustration only

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) Display review: Near-twin of Exynos version 140

Motion

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon)

77

87

Huawei P40 Pro

Best: Huawei P40 Pro (87)

At 77 points apiece, both versions of the S21 Ultra 5G trail behind the class-leading Huawei P40 Pro at 87, with both showing some frame duplications and regular stuttering while playing video games, along with some hesitation in playback reactivity when rewinding or fast-forwarding videos.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) Display review: Near-twin of Exynos version 141

Touch

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon)

55

83

OnePlus 9 Pro

Best: OnePlus 9 Pro (83)

The Samsung devices’ lackluster results for motion are far overshadowed by their disappointing performance for touch, as both showed inaccuracies when using with fingers (though good with the S Pen stylus). Further, although they were very smooth in the gallery app and when web browsing, there was a perceptible lack of fluidity when gaming.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) Display review: Near-twin of Exynos version 142

Artifacts

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon)

79

84

LG Wing

Best: LG Wing (84)

Artifacts is the only category in which the two S21 Ultra 5G models earned different scores, with the Snapdragon version bettering the Exynos by one point.

Both devices have problems with ghost touches in landscape mode, and noticeable flicker in dark ambient viewing conditions.

That all said, the Snapdragon version of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G handles aliasing somewhat better than its Exynos twin, although neither device’s rendering would win it any plaudits from the gaming community:

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) Display review: Near-twin of Exynos version 143

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon), aliasing closeup

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) Display review: Near-twin of Exynos version 144

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Exynos), aliasing closeup

Conclusion

The Snapdragon and Exynos versions of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G are very similar, though the Snapdragon shows slightly better performance in handling artifacts. Overall, both show the same strengths and weaknesses: because of touch performance and aliasing, for example, neither model would be the first choice for serious gamers, but otherwise these latest Samsung twins come with a great display, especially for watching videos. (For more complete performance results, see our Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Exynos) review.)

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Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review

Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review

Samsung’s Galaxy S21+ 5G is the middle seat of the company’s current high-end S21 series, squeezed between the slightly smaller S21 5G and the top-of-the-line S21 Ultra 5G. It sports a 120 Hz, 6.7-inch AMOLED screen, slightly larger than its sibling S21, but with the same resolution (2400 x 1080), and has a centered hole punch for the selfie camera. Here we are testing the US and China version, powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 chipset, as opposed to the Exynos version available in the rest of the world. Both have 8 GB memory with either 128 GB or 256 GB storage.

There are three cameras on the back, with specs that exactly mirror the smaller S21. The primary camera has a 12 MP coupled with a 26 mm-equivalent optically stabilized lens. The ultra-wide offers 12 MP and has a 13 mm-equivalent lens. The tele camera used a wide-angle lens (29 mm-equivalent) but uses a 64 MP sensor, which gets binned down to 12 MP output.

The Galaxy S21+ 5G shoots video at up to 8K resolution at 24 fps; however, just like on the S21 Ultra and the standard S21 we used 4K and 60 fps for testing. Lower resolutions and higher frame rates are also available for recording in slow motion.

Key camera specifications:

  • Primary: 12 MP 1/1.76-inch sensor with 1.8 μm pixels, 26 mm-equivalent f/1.8 lens, dual-pixel PDAF, OIS
  • Ultra-wide: 12 MP sensor with 1.4μm pixels, 13 mm-equivalent f/2.2 lens
  • Tele: 64 MP 1/1.72-inch sensor with 0.8μm pixels, 29 mm-equivalent f/2.0 lens
  • LED flash
  • 8K at 24 fps, 4K at 60 fps (tested), HDR10+

Achieving an overall score of 119, the Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G (Snapdragon) captures almost identical image quality to the more diminutive S21 5G (Snapdragon); no surprise as the two models share the same camera hardware. We couldn’t get a cigarette paper between them in our analysis, so if you want to save a few bucks and can live with a smaller screen and lower capacity battery, the standard S21 5G (Snapdragon) is just as good for photography.

Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review 145

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon), neutral white balance and pleasant color rendering

Given the almost identical results, we are posting only this short article for the Galaxy S21+ 5G (Snapdragon). For a full set of sample images and measurements as well as a complete analysis, please click on the link below and read the full review of the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon).

Go to the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review

Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review 146
Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G (Snapdragon)

Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review 147

119

camera

Pros

  • Neutral white balance and pleasant color rendering in most photos and videos
  • Accurate target exposure in most photos
  • High detail in outdoor and indoor photos and videos
  • Pleasant bokeh photos with mainly accurate depth estimation
  • Very wide field of view on ultra-wide shots
  • Effective stabilization on walking videos
  • Good white balance and color rendering on indoor and outdoor videos
  • Accurate autofocus on most videos

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Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) Selfie review: Excellent texture and autofocus

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) Selfie review: Excellent texture and autofocus

Featuring the latest high-end Snapdragon 888 chipset, the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) is the variant of Samsung’s 2021 flagship available in the US and China. Processor aside, other hardware specs are identical with the Exynos version that’s on sale in the rest of the world, including a 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED display with 3200 x 1440 resolution and flexible frame rates up to 120 Hz. Both versions offer S-Pen stylus support and a rear camera with wide, ultra-wide and two tele-lens modules.

The front-facing selfie camera isn’t quite as sophisticated, but it still has a few neat tricks up its sleeve. The single 40 MP Quad Bayer sensor pixel bins down to a 10 MP output when multiple faces are detected, but the device will automatically zoom in on single-person selfies to ensure they fill the frame. This digital zoom solution results in a lower resolution 6.5 MP final output. The f/2.2-aperture 80˚ field of view lens offers Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF), which still isn’t very common on selfie cameras, and can help ensure faces at different distances retain good detail.

In video mode the front camera offers high resolution 4K capture at either 30 fps or 60 fps. Read on to see how the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) performs under the DXOMARK Selfie test protocol.

Key front camera specifications:

  • 40 MP sensor with 0.7µm pixel size (10MP 1.4µm)
  • 80˚ field of view lens with f/2.2-aperture
  • PDAF autofocus
  • Fixed focus
  • 4K video at 30/60fps (30fps tested)

About DXOMARK Selfie tests: For scoring and analysis in our smartphone front camera reviews, DXOMARK engineers capture and evaluate over 1500 test images and more than 2 hours of video both in controlled lab environments and in natural indoor and outdoor scenes, using the camera’s default settings. This article is designed to highlight the most important results of our testing. For more information about the DXOMARK Selfie test protocol, click here. 

Test summary

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) Selfie review: Excellent texture and autofocus 149
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon)

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) Selfie review: Excellent texture and autofocus 150

99

selfie

Pros

  • Accurate and stable white balance in most photos and videos
  • Wide dynamic range in HDR photos and videos
  • Pleasant skin tone rendering in most photos and videos
  • Well-preserved detail in indoor and outdoor photos and videos
  • Generally accurate autofocus in videos with wide depth of field in photos

Cons

  • Visible noise in all photos
  • Face exposure occasionally low in some photos and videos
  • Abrupt blur gradient in bokeh photos
  • Low detail in low light videos
  • Visible lens shading in flash photos
  • Jello and residual motion visible in walking videos

With a DXOMARK Selfie overall score of 99, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) just makes the top ten in our selfie camera rankings, a point behind last year’s Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G (Exynos) on 100.

A Photo sub score of 104 for the S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) also matches the result achieved by all variants of the S20 and Note20 Ultra, and is only a few points behind our current top device for selfies – the Huawei Mate 40 Pro on 110.

The S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) drops down the rankings a little for front camera video however. Its Video score of 91 is 4 points behind the S20 and Note20 Ultra’s on 95 and a couple of points away from key competitors such as the iPhone 12 Pro and Google Pixel 5.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) Selfie review: Excellent texture and autofocus 152

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) selfie images capture accurate white balance with pleasant skin tone rendering, fairly extended dynamic range on HDR scenes, and wide depth of field ensures faces at different distances from the camera retain good detail.

In our analysis, photos from the front camera produce accurate white balance with natural-looking skin tones in most cases, and dynamic range is fairly wide in high contrast scenes. Texture rendering is also excellent, with fine facial details very well preserved, although at the expense of some luminance noise, which is visible in all images.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon), outdoor scene

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) Selfie review: Excellent texture and autofocus 154

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon), crop; excellent detail with some noise

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Exynos), outdoor scene

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) Selfie review: Excellent texture and autofocus 156

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Exynos), crop; good detail with some noise

Apple iPhone 12 Pro, outdoor scene

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) Selfie review: Excellent texture and autofocus 158

Apple iPhone 12 Pro, crop; slightly lower detail with some noise

There are some other minor drawbacks with perhaps the most obvious being the slightly low target exposures in some conditions. You can see in the example below, that while the S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) retains good highlight detail in the clouds and sky on this backlit selfie, the subject’s face is exposed better on the Apple iPhone 12 Pro and S21 Ultra 5G (Exynos) examples. Micro contrast is often better on the Snapdragon version, however, which renders slightly more natural-looking results in HDR scenes compared to the Exynos equivalent.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) Selfie review: Excellent texture and autofocus 159

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon), backlit HDR scene

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) Selfie review: Excellent texture and autofocus 160

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Exynos), backlit HDR scene

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) Selfie review: Excellent texture and autofocus 161

Apple iPhone 12 Pro, backlit HDR scene

Accurate and reliable autofocus ensures the target face is always in sharp focus, and we observed no serious failures during our analysis. Texture rendering is generally very good too. Particularly in outdoor and indoor selfies, the level of fine detail in faces is high and similar to results from the Exynos version. As mentioned, depth of field is also fairly extended generally, but when single faces are very close to the camera at around 30cm, the level of background detail isn’t quite as good as devices like the iPhone 12 Pro.

Other areas for improvement include luminance noise, which is visible in all S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) selfies, and more ringing artifacts are noticeable on the Snapdragon version compared with the Exynos. When using the device’s screen flash in very dark conditions, strong lens shading produces dark corners. Flash results are comparable to the Exynos version, however, and both devices provide accurate exposure on faces towards the center of the frame, with nice skin tone rendering, to ensure the subject is well represented.

In portrait mode, bokeh shots from the front camera are very comparable between the Snapdragon and Exynos versions. Very slight improvements to depth estimation were noted by our testers, but the same abrupt changes in the gradient between the sharp and blurred areas remain evident.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) Selfie review: Excellent texture and autofocus 162

The simulated bokeh effect in portrait mode is effective, with the Snapdragon version producing similar results to the Exynos. Slight depth estimation artifacts are visible, however, and the blur gradient transition is a little more abrupt than we see on the best front cameras for bokeh.

Tested at 4K/30 frames per second, front camera video on the S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) displays similar strengths and weaknesses to its stills performance. Video exposure is good, with generally wide dynamic range doing a good job of preserving highlight detail, although low target exposures on faces in bright conditions remain evident and slight exposure instabilities do occur.

Details are well preserved in most videos too, and although things get a little softer in low light conditions you won’t have too many complaints. Noise is also managed a little better is videos compared to stills. Under indoor and low light conditions a little temporal noise is evident, but its fine grain structure ensures is far from offensive and outdoor videos are rendered fairly clean.

The accurate white balance and pleasant skin tones we noted with stills continues, with particularly good color rendering on outdoor and indoor videos from the S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon). Autofocus performance is accurate and stable in outdoor videos too. It’s not quite as good in indoor or low light conditions; where occasional instabilities and out-of-focus movies were observed, and depth of field in videos isn’t quite as extended as we saw in the S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon)’s stills. Artifacts such as color quantization, flare and anamorphosis are sometimes visible too, and some jello and residual motion effects persist in video captured while walking.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) outdoor video

Conclusion

Boasting an automatic digital zoom for single-person selfies with a wider field of view for group shots, as well as an autofocus lens, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) offers the kind of well spec’d front camera you would expect from a top-end flagship.

Results for both photos and video are good, and for the most part the device delivers wide dynamic range, nice color, high detail and accurate autofocus across front camera stills and videos. There’s no noticeable improvement over the S20 models, while the results between the Exynos version, as well as key competitors including Apple and Google flagships, are comparable. Despite some minor drawbacks, including low-face exposures in bright backlit conditions, visible noise, and abrupt blur transitions in bokeh shots, most users will be content with selfies from the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon).

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Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage

Samsung’s Galaxy S21 5G is the least expensive of the company’s current high-end S21 series. Here we examine the version based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 chipset, which is sold in the US and China (we’ve previously reviewed the global version, powered by Samsung’s own Exynos chip).

The Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) features a 120 Hz 6.2-inch AMOLED screen with a hole punch for the selfie camera. It has 8 GB of memory with either 128 or 256 GB of storage. There are three cameras on the back; the main wide and ultra-wide modules have 12 MP sensors. The tele camera starts quite wide (76˚ field of view) but uses its 64 MP sensor to retain detail while zooming in, with the output binned down to 12 MP.

Read on to find out how the S21 5G (Snapdragon) performs in our DXOMARK Camera tests.

Key camera specifications:

  • Primary: 12 MP 1/1.76″ sensor, 1.8μm pixels, f/1.8 lens with 79˚ field of view, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS
  • Ultra-wide:12 MP sensor, 1.4μm pixels, 120˚ field of view, f/2.2 lens
  • Tele: 64 MP 1/1.72-inch sensor, 0.8μm pixels, 76˚ field of view, f/2.0 lens
  • LED flash
  • 8K at 24 fps, 4K at 60 fps (tested), HDR10+

About DXOMARK Camera tests: For scoring and analysis in our smartphone camera reviews, DXOMARK engineers capture and evaluate over 3000 test images and more than 2.5 hours of video both in controlled lab environments and in natural indoor and outdoor scenes, using the camera’s default settings. This article is designed to highlight the most important results of our testing. For more information about the DXOMARK Camera test protocol, click here. More details on how we score smartphone cameras are available here.

Test summary

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 163
Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 164

119

camera

Pros

  • Fairly neutral white balance and accurate color rendering in stills and video
  • Stills exposure accurate in bright to moderate light
  • Detail is high in stills and video in bright to moderate light
  • Mostly accurate depth estimation in portrait mode, natural blur effect
  • Ultra-wide field of view very wide
  • Stabilization works well when walking
  • Video autofocus usually accurate

Cons

  • Autofocus failures and instability in photo mode
  • Luminance and chroma noise often visible in stills
  • Limited dynamic range in backlit portrait scenes
  • Hue shift, color quantization, flare, color fringing, aliasing, moiré, ringing artifacts (especially in videos)
  • Poor image quality at medium and long zoom ratios, low detail and visible noise
  • Noise usually visible in videos in moderate to low light

With an overall score of 119, the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) falls a bit short of the top-ranked phones in our database but is competitive with devices in the Premium ($600-799) price segment. Apple’s iPhone 12 outscores it by just a few points (122), while the global (Exynos) version of the S21 comes in a few points lower (116).

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 166

The Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) has particularly accurate white balance, with nicely rendered colors under a variety of conditions.

The Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) main camera captures generally pleasing photos under most conditions. Color is particularly accurate. Its photo score of 124 is not bad for its price class but there are devices that outscore it, such as the iPhone 12 (132). Issues with autofocus reliability, noise, and limited dynamic range hold the score down.

The Zoom composite score of 73 is respectable, though it’s far from the best-scoring phones in our ranking: wide performance is very good, but the tele end of the zoom is less impressive. The video score of 101 is acceptable but a bit a lackluster compared to the better performers in its class (such as the iPhone 12, which scores 112) .

The Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) is broadly competitive with other phones in its price category and delivers generally satisfying imaging performance, but it doesn’t push the limits of what a phone in its class can do.

Below you can find detailed analyses and image samples for all Photo, Zoom, and Video sub-attributes, along with comparisons with one of the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)’s competitors, the Apple iPhone 12, and with the international version Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Exynos).

Photo

The Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) achieves a Photo score of 124. In this section, we take a closer look at each sub-attribute and compare image quality against competitors.

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 167

Exposure and Contrast

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)

83

109

Huawei Mate 40 Pro+

Best: Huawei Mate 40 Pro+ (109)

In these tests we analyze target exposure, contrast, and dynamic range, including repeatability across a series of images. Tests are undertaken in a wide range of light conditions, including backlit scenes and low light down to 1 lux. The score is derived from a number of objective measurements in the lab and perceptual analysis of real-life images.

These samples show the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)’s exposure performance in backlit conditions compared to the competition.

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 168
Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon), highlight clipping
Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 169

Apple iPhone 12, highlight and shadow clipping

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 170

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Exynos), highlight clipping

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 171

Color

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)

102

105

Huawei Mate 40 Pro+

Best: Huawei Mate 40 Pro+ (105)

In these tests we analyze color rendering, skin tones, white balance, and color shading, including repeatability across a series of images. The score is derived from a number of objective measurements in the lab and perceptual analysis of real-life images.

These samples show the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)’s color performance in outdoor light compared to the competition.

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 172

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon), accurate white balance, pleasant skin tones

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 173

Apple iPhone 12, slightly less saturated color

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 174

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Exynos), accurate white balance, pleasant skin tones

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 175

Autofocus

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)

90

109

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

Best: Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max (109)

In these tests we analyze autofocus accuracy and shooting time, including repeatability, in the lab. We test focus failures, depth of field, and tracking of moving subjects using perceptual analysis of real-life images.

This graph shows autofocus performance of the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) in outdoor 1000 lux light compared to two competitors.

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 176
AF speed and accuracy at 1000 lux, 2 EV brightness range: Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) is slower than comparison phones.
Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 177

Texture

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)

95

111

Xiaomi Mi 11

Best: Xiaomi Mi 11 (111)

In these tests we analyze texture on faces and objects, including objects in motion, in a range of light conditions, using several lab test setups and perceptual analysis of real-life images.

These samples show the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)’s texture performance in outdoor light compared to the competition.

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 179

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon), crop: good detail

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 181

Apple iPhone 12, crop: good detail

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Exynos)

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 183

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Exynos), crop: good detail

This graph shows the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)’s texture measurements in the lab.

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 184

Texture comparison: good texture across all light levels

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 185

Noise

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)

71

99

Huawei P40 Pro

Best: Huawei P40 Pro (99)

In these tests we analyze noise on faces and objects, including objects in motion, in a range of light conditions, using several lab test setups and perceptual analysis of real-life images.

These samples show the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)’s noise performance in low light compared to the competition.

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon), low light

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 187

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon), crop: good detail

Apple iPhone 12, low light

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 189

Apple iPhone 12, crop: good detail

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Exynos), low light

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 191

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Exynos), crop: good detail

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 192

Bokeh

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)

70

75

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra

Best: Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra (75)

For these tests we switch to the camera’s bokeh or portrait mode and analyze depth estimation, bokeh shape, blur gradient, and repeatability, as well as all other general image quality attributes mentioned above. The score is derived from perceptual analysis of real-life images.

These samples show the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)’s bokeh simulation in daylight compared to the competition.

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 193

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon), good subject separation, natural blur

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 194

Apple iPhone 12, more depth-sensing errors, less natural blur, green color cast

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 195

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Exynos), good subject separation, natural blur

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 196

Night

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)

59

82

Huawei Mate 40 Pro+

Best: Huawei Mate 40 Pro+ (82)

In these tests we shoot a selection of images in pitch-black darkness as well as with city lights in the background providing some illumination. We shoot sample images with the camera at default settings in both flash-auto and flash-off modes. We analyze all image quality attributes but we pay particular attention to exposure, autofocus, and color. We do not test night modes that have to be activated manually.

These samples show the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)’s night performance in flash-auto mode compared to the competition.

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 197
Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon), flash-auto: unnatural skin tone with flash
Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 198

Apple iPhone 12, flash-auto: good exposure, natural color

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 199

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Exynos), flash-auto: good target exposure, better skin tone

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 200

Artifacts

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)

63

75

Google Pixel 4

Best: Google Pixel 4 (75)

In these tests we check images for optical artifacts such as vignetting, flare, lens softness in the corner, distortion, and chromatic aberrations, as well as for processing artifacts such as ghosting and fusion errors, hue shift, and ringing.

This sample shows hue shift, color fringing, aliasing, and maze and moiré artifacts.

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon), artifacts

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 202

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon), crop: hue shift, color fringing

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 203

Preview

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)

60

77

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

Best: Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max (77)

In these tests we analyze the image quality of the preview image and the differences between preview images and captured images, particularly in terms of exposure, dynamic range, and bokeh effect. We also check the smoothness of the field-of-view changes in the preview image when zooming with both buttons or when using the pinch-zoom gesture.

These samples show the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)’s preview performance in portrait mode.

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 204

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon), preview: clipped highlights

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 205

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon), final image: greater dynamic range than in preview

Zoom

The Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) achieves a Zoom score of 73. The Zoom score includes the tele and wide sub-scores. In this section, we take a closer look at how these sub-scores were achieved and compare zoom image quality against competitors.

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 206

Wide

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)

46

54

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra

Best: Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra (54)

In these tests we analyze the performance of the ultra-wide camera at several focal lengths from 12 to 20 mm. We look at all image quality attributes, but we pay particular attention to such artifacts as chromatic aberrations, lens softness, and distortion.

These samples show the performance of the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)’s ultra-wide camera in outdoor conditions compared to the competition.

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 207

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon), ultra-wide: very wide field of view

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 208

Apple iPhone 12, ultra-wide: very wide field of view

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 209

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Exynos), ultra-wide: very wide field of view

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 210

Tele

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)

91

133

Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra

Best: Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra (133)

In these tests we analyze all image quality attributes at focal lengths from approximately 40 to 300 mm, paying particular attention to texture and detail. The score is derived from a number of objective measurements in the lab and perceptual analysis of real-life images.

These samples show the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)’s and its competitors’ tele performance outdoors at a 90 mm-equivalent zoom setting.

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon), 90 mm zoom

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 212

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon), crop: reduced detail

Apple iPhone 12, 90 mm zoom

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 214

Apple iPhone 12, crop: very low detail, underexposure

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Exynos), 90 mm zoom

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 216

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Exynos), crop: better detail

Video

The Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) achieves a Video score of 101. A device’s overall Video score is derived from its performance and results across a range of attributes in the same way as the Photo score. In this section, we take a closer look at these sub-scores and compare video quality against competitors.

In our Video tests we analyze the same image quality attributes as for still images, such as white balance and color rendering, but we also include such temporal aspects as speed, and smoothness and stability of exposure, and autofocus.

NOTE: The sample video clips in this section are best viewed at 4K resolution. 

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 167

Exposure and Contrast

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)

90

103

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra

Best: Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra (103)

These video stills show the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)’s video exposure characteristics in low light compared to the competition.

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 218

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon), video still, underexposure in low light

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 219

Apple iPhone 12, video still, better exposure in low light

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 220

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Exynos), video still, underexposure in low light

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 171

Color

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)

95

105

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra

Best: Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra (105)

These video stills show the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)’s video color in indoor light.

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon), some visible white balance instabilities.

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Exynos), good white balance.

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 175

Autofocus

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)

89

105

Huawei Mate 40 Pro

Best: Huawei Mate 40 Pro (105)

These sample clips show the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)’s video autofocus performance in low light.

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon), slower autofocus, better stabilization

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Exynos), some visible “jello” effect

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 177

Texture

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)

70

97

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra

Best: Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra (97)

These video stills show the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)’s video texture in indoor light compared to the competition.

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon), video still

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 225

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon), crop: good detail

Apple iPhone 12, video still

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 227

Apple iPhone 12, crop: good detail

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Exynos), video still

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 229

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Exynos), crop: good detail

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 185

Noise

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)

69

105

Huawei Mate 40 Pro

Best: Huawei Mate 40 Pro (105)

These sample clips show the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)’s video noise performance in indoor light.

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon), visible noise but good detail

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Exynos), more noise, less detail

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 200

Artifacts

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)

76

94

Oppo Find X2 Pro

Best: Oppo Find X2 Pro (94)

For video artifacts, we check for the same kinds of artifacts mentioned in the Photo section, along with such video-specific artifacts as frame rate variation in different light conditions, judder effect, and moving artifacts (artifacts such as aliasing, color quantization, and flare can often be more intrusive when moving than in a still image).

This video still shows ringing artifacts.

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon), video still

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 233

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon), crop: ringing

 

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Camera review: A slight Qualcomm advantage 234

Stabilization

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)

98

102

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra

Best: Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra (102)

In these tests we analyze residual motion when handholding the camera during recording, as well as when walking and running with the camera. We also look for stabilization artifacts such as jello effect, sharpness differences between frames, and frame shift (abrupt changes of framing).

These sample clips show the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)’s video stabilization in laboratory conditions.

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon), efficient static stabilization

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Exynos), less effective stabilization

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Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) Audio review

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Exynos) Audio review

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) is Samsung’s S-series flagship for the Chinese and North American markets. The device is built around Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line Snapdragon 888 chipset instead of the Exynos variant used in most regions, but otherwise tech specs are largely identical, including the specs of the audio components.

Audio specifications include:

  • Two AKG speakers (one top side-firing and one bottom side-firing)
  • Surround sound with Dolby Atmos technology (Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus included)
  • Zoom-in recording using three microphones
  • Dual Audio (user can connect two Bluetooth devices for simultaneous playback)

With the two devices sharing the same audio specs, one would expect the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) test results and scores to be identical to those of the Exynos version. We have confirmed this by putting the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) through the complete DXOMARK Audio test protocol.

Given the identical results, we are posting only this short article for the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G  Ultra (Snapdragon). For the full set of measurements and the complete analysis, please click on the link below and read the full review of the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Exynos).

Go to the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Exynos) Audio review

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) Audio review 235
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon)

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon) Audio review 236

70

audio

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Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Audio review

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Exynos) Audio review

The Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) is Samsung’s S-series base model for the Chinese and North American markets. The device is built around Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line Snapdragon 888 chipset instead of the Exynos variant used in most other regions, but otherwise tech specs are largely identical.

Audio specs are identical across all models in the S21 series, including the S21+ and S21 Ultra models.

Audio specifications include:

  • Two AKG speakers (one top side-firing and one bottom side-firing)
  • Surround sound with Dolby Atmos technology (Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus included)
  • Zoom-in recording using three microphones
  • Dual Audio (user can connect two Bluetooth devices for simultaneous playback)

With all S21 models sharing the same audio specs, one would expect the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) test results and scores to be identical to those of the Galaxy S21 Ultra (Exynos) we tested previously. We have confirmed this by putting the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) through the complete DXOMARK Audio test protocol.

Given the identical results, we are posting only this short article for the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon). For the full set of measurements and the complete analysis, please click on the link below and read the full review of the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Exynos).

Go to the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Exynos) Audio review

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Audio review 238
Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Audio review 239

70

audio

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