Best daily deals

Affiliate links on Android Authority may earn us a commission. Learn more.

Samsung Galaxy S24 vs Samsung Galaxy S21: Should you upgrade?

The older phones are still capable, but there are solid upgrades here.
By
January 18, 2024
Samsung Galaxy S24
MSRP: $799.99
Check price
Positives
AI smarts
Slimmer bezels
Gorilla Glass Victus 2
2,600 nits display
Capable and reliable
UFS 4.0
Negatives
Minimal hardware upgrade from S23
Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus
MSRP: $999.99
Check price
Positives
Bright, sharp 1440p display
Excellent update commitment
All-day battery life
Solid cameras
Handy Galaxy AI features
Negatives
Galaxy AI barely works without the cloud
Camera still struggles with motion
Relatively expensive but no titanium frame like S24 Ultra
AI features only guaranteed to be free through 2025
Samsung Galaxy S21
MSRP: $329.99
Check price
Positives
Fair price
Great design
Solid camera system
Powerful processor
Negatives
No in-box charger
Mediocre fast charging
No expandable storage
Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus
MSRP: $999.00
Check price
Positives
Gorgeous 120Hz AMOLED display Excellent performance Crazy zoom feature Beautiful design
Negatives
Bulky and unwieldy No microSD slot or included charger Inconsistent camera

Samsung Galaxy S24 vs Galaxy S21: At a glance

  • The Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus has a higher resolution display than the S21 Plus.
  • The Galaxy S24 Plus supports faster charging.
  • Samsung promises seven years of major OS upgrades and security updates with the Galaxy S24 series.
  • The Galaxy S24 and Galaxy S24 Plus have a better camera system.
  • The Galaxy S24 and Galaxy S24 Plus are more powerful.
  • All four smartphones come with an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance.

Samsung Galaxy S24 vs Galaxy S21: Specs

Samsung Galaxy S24Samsung Galaxy S24 PlusSamsung Galaxy S21Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus
Display
Samsung Galaxy S24
6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED
FHD+ (2,340 x 1,080)
120Hz adaptive refresh rate
Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus
6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED
QHD+ (3,120 x 1,440)
120Hz adaptive refresh rate
Samsung Galaxy S21
6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED
FHD+ (2,400 x 1,080)
120Hz refresh rate
Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus
6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED
FHD+ (2,400 x 1,080)
120Hz refresh rate
Processor
Samsung Galaxy S24
US: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy
Global: Samsung Exynos 2400
Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus
US: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy
Global: Samsung Exynos 2400
Samsung Galaxy S21
US: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
Global: Samsung Exynos 2100
Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus
US: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
Global: Samsung Exynos 2100
RAM
Samsung Galaxy S24
8GB
Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus
12GB
Samsung Galaxy S21
8GB
Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus
8GB
Storage
Samsung Galaxy S24
128GB or 256GB
No expandable storage
Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus
256GB or 512GB
No expandable storage
Samsung Galaxy S21
128GB or 256GB
No expandable storage
Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus
128GB or 256GB
No expandable storage
Battery and charging
Samsung Galaxy S24
4,000mAh battery
25W wired charging
15W wireless charging
Reverse wireless charging
Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus
4,900mAh battery
45W wired charging
15W wireless charging
Reverse wireless charging
Samsung Galaxy S21
4,000mAh battery
25W wired charging
15W wireless charging
Reverse wireless charging
Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus
4,800mAh battery
25W wired charging
15W wireless charging
Reverse wireless charging
Cameras
Samsung Galaxy S24
Rear:
- 50MP main
ƒ/1.8 aperture, OIS
- 12MP ultrawide
ƒ/2.2 aperture
- 10MP telephoto
ƒ/2.4 aperture, 3x optical zoom

Front:
- 12MP
ƒ/2.2 aperture
Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus
Rear:
- 50MP main
ƒ/1.8 aperture, OIS
- 12MP ultrawide
ƒ/2.2 aperture
- 10MP telephoto
ƒ/2.4 aperture, 3x optical zoom

Front:
- 12MP
ƒ/2.2 aperture
Samsung Galaxy S21
Rear:
- 12MP main
ƒ/1.8 aperture, OIS
- 64MP telephoto
ƒ/2.0 aperture, 1.1x optical zoom, 3x hybrid zoom
- 12MP ultrawide
ƒ/2.2 aperture

Front:
- 10MP, ƒ/2.2 aperture
Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus
Rear:
- 12MP main
ƒ/1.8 aperture, OIS
- 64MP telephoto
ƒ/2.0 aperture, 1.1x optical zoom, 3x hybrid zoom
- 12MP ultrawide
ƒ/2.2 aperture

Front:
- 10MP, ƒ/2.2 aperture
Security
Samsung Galaxy S24
In-display fingerprint, face unlock
Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus
In-display fingerprint, face unlock
Samsung Galaxy S21
In-display fingerprint, face unlock
Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus
In-display fingerprint, face unlock
Water resistance
Samsung Galaxy S24
IP68
Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus
IP68
Samsung Galaxy S21
IP68
Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus
IP68
Connectivity
Samsung Galaxy S24
Wi-Fi 6E
Bluetooth 5.3
NFC support
Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus
Wi-Fi 6E
Bluetooth 5.3
NFC support
Samsung Galaxy S21
Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.0
NFC support
Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus
Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.0
NFC support
Software
Samsung Galaxy S24
One UI 6.1
Android 14
Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus
One UI 6.1
Android 14
Samsung Galaxy S21
Android 11
Upgradeable to Android 14 (One UI 6)
Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus
Android 11
Upgradeable to Android 14 (One UI 6)
Dimensions and weight
Samsung Galaxy S24
147.0 x 70.6 x 7.6mm
167g
Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus
158.5 x 75.9 x 7.7mm
196g
Samsung Galaxy S21
151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9mm
169g
Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus
161.5 x 75.6 x 7.8mm
200g

Samsung Galaxy S24 vs  Galaxy S21: Price and availability

Samsung Galaxy S24

  • 8GB/128GB: $799.99
  • 8GB/256GB: $859.99

Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus

  • 12GB/256GB: $999.99
  • 12GB/512GB: $1,119.99
  • Samsung Galaxy S21: Launched at $799.99
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus: Launched at $999.99

The Samsung Galaxy S24 and Galaxy S24 Plus were announced on January 17, 2024, and are currently available for pre-order. If you plan to get either of these phones, now is a great time to do so, with Samsung’s pre-order offers, including $100 of Samsung store credit, a free storage upgrade, and enhanced trade-in deals. Once the devices go on general sale on January 31, the Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus will be priced starting at $799 and $999, respectively.

The standard and Plus model starting prices remain unchanged, with the S21 and S21 Plus launching at $799 and $999, respectively, three years ago. However, the Galaxy S21 series smartphones are no longer on sale, but you can find used and refurbished models from third-party sellers on Amazon and other online stores, with prices around the $500 or $250 mark for a refurbished S21 Plus and standard S21.

See price at Samsung
Samsung Galaxy S24
Samsung Galaxy S24
Slimmer than ever
Victus 2 glass
Bright display
See price at Samsung
Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus
Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus
Bright, sharp 1440p display
Excellent update commitment
Handy Galaxy AI features
See price at Amazon
Samsung Galaxy S21
30%off
Samsung Galaxy S21
Fair price
Great design
Solid camera system
Powerful processor
See price at Amazon
Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus
Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus
Powerful 5nm processor
Eye-catching new design
Excellent battery life

Samsung Galaxy S24 vs Galaxy S21: Should you upgrade?

The Galaxy S24 isn’t as big of an upgrade over the Galaxy S21 as you’d expect, even though the latter is three years old at this point. Yes, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 is a much faster processor, but the Snapdragon 888 is still capable enough. Most other hardware features, from the battery and charging speeds to RAM, storage, and dust and water resistance, remain the same.

The S24 does get a solid camera upgrade, though, with its 50MP primary camera, 10MP telephoto lens, and 12MP ultrawide shooter, and made even better with Galaxy AI’s camera features, which includes Samsung’s take on Magic Editor. But the Galaxy S21, with its 12MP main camera, 64 telephoto lens, and 12MP ultrawide, was one of the best of its time and remains excellent, even if it won’t have all the software bells and whistles of the new smartphones.

It’s on the software side where the majority of the changes are. One UI 6.1, based on Android 14, brings Galaxy AI and interesting features like live translation, transcription services, chat assistance, webpage summarization, and more. Samsung’s software commitment to the Galaxy S24 series is also impressive, with seven years of major OS and security updates. On the other hand, the Galaxy S21 has another year of OS updates and a couple of years of security updates remaining.

Ultimately, unless you want to get your hands on the latest and greatest, or there’s a great trade-in deal, you could hold on to the Galaxy S21 for another year or so.

The story on the Plus side of things is completely different, though. While with previous iterations, the Galaxy S Plus was essentially the standard version with a larger display and battery, the Galaxy S24 Plus is a much better attempt at bridging the gap between the standard S24 and S24 Ultra.

The Galaxy S24 Plus is closer to the S24 Ultra than ever before and is a huge upgrade over its predecessors

The Galaxy S24 Plus has a higher-resolution QHD+ display, faster 45W wired charging, and 12GB of RAM, compared to the S21 Plus’ FHD+ screen, 25W charging, and 8GB of RAM. That’s aside from the expected upgrades to the processor, better camera system, the slew of new AI-driven software and camera features, and the significant software update commitment.

It’s still okay to hold on to the Galaxy S21 Plus if you’re happy with it. But if you’re looking for a true upgrade, you get one when jumping from the S21 Plus to the Galaxy S24 Plus.

Will you upgrade from the Galaxy S21 to the S24?

315 votes

FAQs

Yes, the Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21 Plus, Galaxy S24, and Galaxy S24 Plus come with an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance.

No, neither the Galaxy S21 nor the Galaxy S24 feature expandable storage via a microSD card slot.

No, the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S24 don’t have headphone jacks.

Yes, all Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S24 series smartphones support 5G.

Yes, the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S24 can be charged wirelessly. You get 15W wireless charging with compatible fast chargers, and 10W charging with regular Qi chargers.