Samsung’s new ‘everything phone is S21 Ultra’s new Galaxy S21, with more cameras, better specs, and even S Pen compatibility, to substitute the highly regarded Note 20 Ultra. If you’re concerned about the end of the Note series, try the S21 Ultra.
Samsung’s smartphone excess vision for 2021 is as follows: Five cameras, including a 108MP sensor, two telephoto cameras, 100x zoom, and 40MP selfies, as well as 5G, all-day battery life, and up to 16GB of RAM, are all packed inside this Android phone has a 6.8-inch 120Hz Quad HD display and state of the art in-screen fingerprint sensor with a 1.7x large surface area than last year’s phone.
This phone, along with the Samsung Galaxy S21 and Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus, it’s the first new smartphone we tested in 2021, and it sets the bar high – far higher than last year’s problematic “Ultra” phone. Samsung has retooled its primary camera with lasers – yes, lasers – to fix the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s focusing issues, as well as upgraded the specs to handle the demands of processing those enormous 108MP photographs, 40MP selfies, and 8K video without a hitch.
The photos are sharp, the dynamic range is remarkable, and Samsung’s ‘tripod lock’ software function ensures that the 30x and 100x zoom levels prevent the subjects from jumping around in the viewfinder. Although the 100x zoom is confined to being a great party trick owing to blurry photos, 30x is tolerable in the right light. It’s much simpler to pull off the 100x ‘Space Zoom’ today.
More than any other smartphone camera, the S21 Ultra’s 10x and 3x optical zoom capabilities captured the shots we wanted every time. The side-by-side tests with the iPhone 12 Pro Max, which has a maximum optical zoom of 2.5x, support the claim.
In some low-light situations, Apple’s primary camera produces clearer shots, but Samsung’s night mode has improved enough to narrow the gap after sunset or while you’re shooting away indoors – and its default camera app is packed with features and is easier to use than Apple’s.
Only two-thirds of the story is on photography and speed. With a softly curved edge-to-edge display, smaller rear camera bump, and mesmerizing matte Phantom Dark color option that’s like a black hole pulling in your sight, this is a tale of design beauty and performance beast (other colors are available). It’s difficult to look away. The Galaxy S21 Ultra is Samsung’s most beautiful phone to date.
The overhauled look and better performance haven’t resulted in a price hike over last year’s S20 Ultra — in fact, Samsung has made this phone substantially less expensive. Granted, we thought the previous Ultra phone was costly, and the S21 Ultra is still a pricey, as it costs more than the iPhone 12 Pro Max – but Samsung gives you a little more for the additional money: a bigger, brighter, and more powerful curved screen, stylus compatibility, and 10x optical camera zoom (vs. 2.5x on the iPhone), which Apple has yet to include on any iPhone.
Samsung may, therefore, offer greater value for your money, depending on your preferences.
What’s the catch, exactly? Earlier, we said that the S21 Ultra is Samsung’s vision of excess, but you’ll have to let go of everything that doesn’t fit into the company’s vision. Say goodbye to MST ( Samsung Pay’s way of using credit card machines even if they aren’t able to read NFC) and the microSD card slot for additional storage. You won’t find a charger in the package, though; Samsung, like Apple, cites e-waste as the rationale for removing the power brick.
Price and release date for the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
- The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra was scheduled to be released on January 29, 2021.
- The phone costs $1,199 / £1,149 / AU$1,849
- If you need more than 128GB of storage, you’ll have to pay more.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra was released on January 29, 2021, and is currently available for purchase in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. The formal announcement and release date were made on January 14, which is a month sooner than we’re used to for the company’s flagship smartphone. In 2021, Samsung was defying the trend.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra is also significantly less expensive than the S20 Ultra at launch, albeit it will still be expensive. A variant with 128GB of internal storage and 12GB of RAM starts at $1,199 / £1,149 / AU$1,849 for the base model.
Keep in mind that there is no microSD card slot for additional storage, so if you plan on shooting a lot of 4K 60fps or 8K 24fps video, you should consider the 256GB or 512GB storage options, the latter of which also increases the RAM to 16GB.
Is it all a little too much for you? The Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 Plus don’t have ‘Space Zoom,’ S Pen support, or 108MP/40MP photographs, but they do have 3x optical zoom and a sleek design.
Display And Design
- The phone has a large 6.8-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate.
- Contour Cut has been shown to be divisive yet has a unique look.
- A diverse variety of color options.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra is a beautiful smartphone, so much so that we didn’t bother with a case when testing it. Yes, it was risky, but the matte Phantom Black finish on our review device, which had few seams, helped to minimize the camera bump and fingerprint smudges.
Aside from the deep, Vantablack-like Phantom Black, there’s also a Phantom Silver color on the market, and Samsung’s own online store has three more options: Phantom Titanium, Phantom Navy, and Phantom Brown.
Whatever color you select, the matte surface is a huge improvement over last year’s S20 series, which had a reflecting gloss that looked cheap and plasticky.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra and S21 Plus have a satin Gorilla Glass back, but the Galaxy S21 comes with a polycarbonate (read: plastic) back that is less smooth. Average customers would only be able to notice the difference when compared side-by-side.
The S21 Ultra is big where it needs to be and little where you don’t want to see it. The 6.8-inch display is an example of this as it stretches the hand, yet the curved edge-to-edge screen removes the bezel, and the 40-megapixel front camera is hidden behind a small punch-hole that’s easy to forget about after a few minutes of video watching.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra’s display is the first (among smartphones) to offer a smooth 120Hz refresh rate while at the same time maintaining a pixel-dense Quad HD display. The S20 series, as well as the Note 20 Ultra, required you to select between the 120Hz/60Hz or the Quad HD/Full HD. However, the new S21 and S21 Plus are locked at Full HD+ by default, with 120Hz enabled.
Is it really time for the long-awaited conclusion? Sure, it’s the best of both worlds, but with a panel this big, you won’t notice much of a difference between the 1080p resolution and Quad HD, and Quad HD will drain your battery faster.
VR headsets spurred the need for greater resolutions in smartphones, as the pixels were so close to your eyes that you could see a “screen door effect” at lesser resolutions. However, Samsung, just like the rest of the mobile industry, appears to have put a stop to all phone-based VR projects.
This is Samsung’s best screen for a variety of reasons. Because of the curved display and general narrowness of Samsung’s smartphone, we found the 6.8-inch body is easier to grasp than the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max. The curved edges on the S21 Ultra are not as noticeable as on previous Samsung smartphones. This ensures fewer accidental presses.
We also made sure to test out the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s screen brightness outdoors, and it automatically increases to an extremely bright 1,500 nits when needed. Other phones with AMOLED screens, such as the S21 and S21 Plus, have a maximum brightness of 1,200 nits, making them helpful in direct sunlight.
The Galaxy S21 series utilize Samsung’s new in-screen fingerprint reader, which uses Qualcomm’s ultrasonic technology. This invisible biometric pad has a 1.7x greater surface, and we found that it is more forgiving when it comes to frequently errant thumb placement. This is a comfort considering that face unlock is worthless at a time when we’re frequently disguised behind masks.
Compatibility with the S Pen
- The first smartphone in Samsung’s S series to support a stylus.
- Like the Galaxy Note series, it doesn’t fit inside the phone.
- Samsung S Pen is compatible with a number of styluses.
Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra is the company’s first non-Note phone to support the S Pen stylus, and it’s a trend we enjoy. However, things are a little different here: the phone doesn’t come with an S Pen, and even if you buy one separately, there’s no way to embed the pen into the phone’s body.
A folio cover is available that accommodates a newly designed S Pen that is somewhat bigger and more pleasant to handle than the version that tucks into the body of Galaxy Note phones. You’ll want a Galaxy S21 Ultra case for more than just protection because it perfectly slips into the case’s inner spine and feels secure there. It’s unclear what you’re expected to do with the stylus if you don’t buy the folio cover.
We were able to scribble small notes and access all of the Air Command settings, which include a number of features that can be accessed without touching the phone’s screen. Though any old Note stylus will work with your phone, we liked how the new S Pen is bigger and easier to hold than the toothpick-sized Note S Pen.
The Bluetooth shortcuts for triggering the camera and other applications were missing from the new S Pen we tested ahead of launch. You could customize operations and remotely command the Galaxy Note 20. When the even more special S Pen Pro edition releases later this year, we might be able to go full Harry Potter in front of our smartphone once more, although specifics on its added features are scant.
We fully anticipate seeing the Note 21 Ultra in the next six to seven months, despite all of the buzz surrounding the arrival of an S Pen on an S phone (six if it comes early and seven if Samsung sticks to its usual August time frame). Although recent speculations imply that Samsung may discontinue the Note series, there is still a desire for that phone — and for the ability to embed the pen into the device.
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