Date: 30 July 21, 06:37 AM
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 Samsung Galaxy S21



scuzzy


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I've been fairly happy with my Pixel 4a despite its shortcomings, but for the little I paid I can't complain. The phone has done well and I like that it's pocketable. I do miss wireless charging, but it's not a show stopper. Regardless, I just upgraded my phone, as well as my wife's Galaxy S20 FE, with the new Samsung Galaxy S21 5G ($799.99 base model with 6.2" flat screen). I got dark gray for me, and purple for her.

The only reason for upgrading is because T-Mobile is running a promotion that's too hard to pass up. Both my phone and my wife's were eligible for a trade-in of $800 each toward an S21. Keep in mind that I only paid $350 for my Pixel 4a, and $550 for my wife's S20 FE.

I had to finance both phones for the full amount ($799.99 each) over a 24-month period. However, T-Mobile will credit the full payment each month as long as we remain in good standing. I paid shipping and taxes up front, but otherwise the phones will not cost us an additional cent.

I didn't want a phone longer than 6 inches, and the S21 comes in at 5.97 inches. Just about everything is an upgrade from my Pixel 4a; processor and RAM, 5G connectivity, battery, screen brightness & refresh rate, Gorilla Victus glass, wireless charging, IP68 dust/water resistance, and more. In my wife's case, upgrades are minor and the S21 has a slightly smaller screen. The S20 FE is a big phone, so she's happy to move to something smaller.

The orders went out today and they should arrive within the next week. I have 30 days to send in the old phones.

Bill


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That's quite a deal. Good luck!
Fractal Design R5 | Asus  Z170 Pro | Intel i5 6600k | 16 GB G.Skill Ripjaws  DDR4 2133 | Seasonic 650w PSU | eVGA GTX 550 TI | Samsung 960 M2 500 GB | Samsung 850 EVO 500 GB | ASUS Burner | Windows 7 64-bit

scuzzy


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I ordered a UAG Monarch case in Mallard. While pricey at $60, I'm a big fan of Urban Armor Gear cases. The Monarch is their premium line and should meet my needs on the Harley.

I considered the $40 Plasma series in Ice (my previous UAG favorite), but UAG changed the design to where the edges were brought down almost level with the screen surface. I get that it makes swiping the screen easier, but I'm far more concerned with protection. I also read some reviews that the Plasma series (and closely related Pathfinder) have a design flaw in which the phone does not lay flat due to the camera bump.

We'll see how the Monarch works out, but it looks like the better solution for me.

scuzzy


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I received the new S21 yesterday, and I'm happy to report that we're off to a great start. I have the phone set up to about 95% of my liking, with only a few tweaks left to do. I'm being extra careful in handling the phone, since I'm not expecting the new case to arrive until Monday.

The screen on the S21 is noticeably nicer than on my Pixel 4a, and the added girth has so far not been an issue. That could change once the case is installed, but it's not likely to be anything drastic. Oh, one of the first things I did was to go into the phone's app settings to disable picture-in-picture for Google Maps. I have no idea why Google insists on having that on by default, as it's completely useless and incredibly aggravating.

The Pixel 4a's stock Android is fine for most things, but I must admit that the new Samsung UI 3.1 interface is well thought out. Everything is smooth and easy, even with Nova Launcher installed. I really like the text size settings options, and I easily found something that works great for my needs. Stock Android forced me choose between "just a bit too small" and "just a bit too big." Kudos to Samsung for getting it right.

The sound seems quite acceptable, but I have not had an opportunity to try the speakerphone. I'll report back once I do. Ringtone and alarm volumes are great, with smooth transitions in volume options. Stock Android again forced me to choose between "too loud" and "not quite loud enough."

On the S21 I once again have speed dial. That was not an option with stock Android, which required installing a different phone app as a work-around. I know not everyone is interested in speed dial, but it would still be nice if the option was available by default. Thankfully Samsung continues to support it.

I am spoiled with fingerprint readers, and I'm amazed with how well the under-display, ultrasonic reader works. It has so far been flawless and easy to use. I also did not realize just how much I missed having wireless charging; it is definitely convenient. I'm sure the phone isn't perfect, but so far I'm very happy with my upgrade.

scuzzy


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I spent over an hour on the phone with my sister today, and I'm proud to say that the speakerphone on my new S21 did not disappoint. The conversation went very well for both of us, and the loudness and clarity were more than sufficient. It was definitely a big step above the Pixel 4a.

Bill


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Sounds great (not intended) and I am glad it's working for you!
Fractal Design R5 | Asus  Z170 Pro | Intel i5 6600k | 16 GB G.Skill Ripjaws  DDR4 2133 | Seasonic 650w PSU | eVGA GTX 550 TI | Samsung 960 M2 500 GB | Samsung 850 EVO 500 GB | ASUS Burner | Windows 7 64-bit

scuzzy


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The new UAG case arrived today, 2 days ahead of schedule. The phone looks a little beefy in the case, but it remains manageable and I can now confidently hold the phone. Half the battle of preventing damage is to keep the phone from accidentally slipping out of one's hands. This case feels like it will do well in that area.

The side buttons are easy to find without looking and are easy to activate. The phone easily glides in and out of my back jean's pocket, and it mounts solidly on my Harley's phone mount. Due to the design on the back of the case, it wobbles a bit side-to-side when placed on its back. It's a little disappointing, but it's nothing serious. Both the screen and the camera array are well protected. The mallard blue trim looks black when viewed at an angle in low light, but overall I think I have a winner.

scuzzy


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Update: The Galaxy S21 has been a rousing success for my needs. While it's a little larger than the Pixel 4a, it's still very manageable and the extra screen real-estate has been a blessing so far. The screen is also brighter than the 4a, which along with the IP68 water resistance will pay off on the Harley.

This is probably the best trade I've made in years.

Bill


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Good to hear.
Fractal Design R5 | Asus  Z170 Pro | Intel i5 6600k | 16 GB G.Skill Ripjaws  DDR4 2133 | Seasonic 650w PSU | eVGA GTX 550 TI | Samsung 960 M2 500 GB | Samsung 850 EVO 500 GB | ASUS Burner | Windows 7 64-bit

scuzzy


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While the Galaxy S21 has been great, my experience with T-Mobile was unfortunately not without issues. A small amount of the blame goes to Google and their miserable inability to give their phones a model name that makes sense, but the majority goes to the rep who did not pay attention to detail.

I'll keep it short and to the point... When I went to the local T-Mo store, I was clear that I was trading in a Pixel 4a, and NOT the Pixel 4a 5G. The rep instead keyed in that I was trading in a 4a 5G, and I didn't realize the mistake until I got home. I immediately called the store and was told that as long as the serial number was correct, it didn't matter. I visited the store the next day for confirmation, and they called T-Mo customer service. I again got the same answer.

A few days later I mailed in the trade-in, convinced that it was going to be a problem. Yesterday I got the confirmation from T-Mo that the phone I sent in was not what I said it was. They reduced its value by $153 (from $250 to $97) and told me I was at risk of not getting any promotion credits. In other words, I would be responsible for the full cost of the new S21.

I spent nearly an hour on hold yesterday, followed by half an hour with T-Mo's customer service. The rep assured me that the problem is resolved and that I will receive a confirmation email in 2 to 3 days. I was again told not to worry. Meantime, my account continues to show that there's a problem with my trade-in.

We'll see where this goes.

Bill


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Well that's terrible, I really hope this goes the way it should. This would be, as I recall, the first major T-Mo error (fill in a stronger word).
Fractal Design R5 | Asus  Z170 Pro | Intel i5 6600k | 16 GB G.Skill Ripjaws  DDR4 2133 | Seasonic 650w PSU | eVGA GTX 550 TI | Samsung 960 M2 500 GB | Samsung 850 EVO 500 GB | ASUS Burner | Windows 7 64-bit

scuzzy


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The problem didn't originate with T-Mobile, necessarily. It was a dumb-ass rep at my local store who didn't pay attention to detail, followed by the store personnel's lack of desire to fix things before they became a problem; which, by the way, remains a problem.

I'm headed back to the store again this afternoon to speak to the manager. I know I can't sue T-Mobile for this (arbitration is my only option), but I can take the local store to small claims if I can't get this resolved.

scuzzy


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I went to my local T-Mo store and contacted the manager, who was attentive to the problem. He looked at my account, and verified the information. He further verified that my Pixel 4a was in fact eligible as a trade-in for the S21 free upgrade promotion.

The manager further confirmed that this error put me $153 in the hole, through no fault of my own. He credited $100 to my T-Mobile account today, and will credit the remaining $53 a month from now. Apparently he is unable to credit an account by more than $100 in a given 30-day period. The manager also further confirmed that my promotion credits for the remaining balance are valid and that my account is properly being credited.

As far as I'm concerned, this resolves the issue... assuming all goes as planned. I'll report back if anything changes.