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Samsung Galaxy S21 Review: 5 Business Features We Love

The CRN Test Center finds a number of business-friendly features on the S21 including wireless connectivity to the DeX desktop, secure file-sharing capabilities and new camera features that are ideal for businesses.

Unlike Samsung’s Galaxy Note series, the Galaxy S smartphone series is not as keenly focused on professionals. Or at least, it wasn’t in the past.

With the launch of the Galaxy S21 this year, Samsung has included a whole lot for businesspeople and professionals to like.

[Related: Apple iPhone 12 Vs. Samsung Galaxy S21: Head-To-Head]

The CRN Test Center has been trying out the Samsung Galaxy S21, the base model in the new series that features a vivid 6.2-inch OLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate (which we continue to enjoy for its smoother usage experience).

We think the redesigned camera housing on the back of the phone is a nice touch -- and of course, the 5G capabilities continue to have a lot to offer workers that are seeking a more-secure connectivity option on the road than public Wi-Fi.

But it’s some of the unique features for businesses on the S21 that really caught our eye.

What follows is our review of the five best business features on Samsung’s Galaxy S21, which has a starting price of $799.99. (Notably, that’s down from the Galaxy S20’s starting price of $999.)

Wireless DeX

With the debut of the Galaxy S21, Samsung’s vision is finally becoming a reality for DeX--a feature that lets you pull up an Android desktop powered by your phone. This is because now, you can pull up the DeX desktop on a PC wirelessly (pictured above), making the whole prospect far more convenient and in harmony with how workers expect things to work in 2021.

DeX has been continually simplified, year after year, since it was first introduced using a separate dock with the Galaxy S8 in 2017. Now, as long as a PC has downloaded the DeX software and is on the same wireless network, you can easily run a DeX desktop off of the Galaxy S21.

The vision for DeX has always been that workers could leave their laptop behind and just carry a Galaxy device while out on the road -- and simply connect to a PC or display while on site as needed. We were impressed with how well the wireless DeX on the Galaxy S21 worked, suggesting that a greater number of businesses might now adopt this approach (once workers are more frequently on the road, at least).

While on the DeX desktop, users can get their own experience separate from the host PC, with web browsing and other applications available. Users can also drag and drop files and photos between the PC and DeX, which could suit some business use cases that involve a lot of photo or file sharing.

All in all, this was the first time we found DeX to be a truly compelling experience, and one that could start to meet a wider number of business needs.

Private Share

Speaking of sharing documents and photos, Samsung has also introduced a new solution for secure sharing on the Galaxy S21--Private Share. While it’s at least in part aimed at privacy-minded consumers, the new Private Share feature could also be useful for businesses that are sharing sensitive data internally or externally.

Along with encryption of the shared files, Private Share also lets you set permissions for the files as well as setting an expiration date. Another option is to just provide read-only access for the file. All of these measures could help businesses to more securely share documents--though for now, Private Share is only available for transferring files between Galaxy phones (which must be running at least Android P). Still, the feature could be useful at the very least for sharing data within an organization with a fleet of Samsung Galaxy phones.

Link to Windows

Another Galaxy S21 feature that business users should appreciate is “Link to Windows,” which lets you use a lot of the functionality of the phone on a Windows PC without leaving the screen.

This could be a productivity booster (and sanity saver) because it lets you check notifications, send and receive text messages and take calls on the PC. Link to Windows is also yet another way to copy photos -- and also to use Android apps on your PC.

We found Link to Windows to be easy to set up, and think it ultimately holds the potential to enable the “continuity between mobile and PC” that Samsung is aiming for.

Enterprise Edition

For the Galaxy S21, Samsung has also launched a special model geared specifically toward business users. The Enterprise Edition model of the Galaxy S21 is being offered in the U.S. with no added costs to business customers.

The Enterprise Edition includes a year of free access to the Knox Suite, which provides tools for mobile enrollment, setup and endpoint management. Additionally, the Enterprise Edition offers a tiered product life cycle for five-year security maintenance release support. While this option is less of a draw for individual users, it should help to make IT administrators’ lives easier.

Director’s View

Users of the Galaxy S21 may be more interested in one of the new camera features. This is especially the case for professionals that work in the field. With the new Director’s View feature, the Galaxy S21 camera allows users to capture video simultaneously from both the front and rear cameras.

Options for the video feeds include picture-in-picture--with the ability to move the tile with one of the feeds around on the screen--something we think is very cool and handy. The other Director’s View option is for a split screen video, with one feed taking up the top half of the display and the other video feed taking up the bottom.

Anyone needing to give a virtual tour or show what’s happening in the field while including narration could benefit from Director’s View -- just one of the numerous ways the Galaxy S21 could prove to be an essential tool for businesses.

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