Smartphones with the “Ultra” designation of South Korean Samsung are often the absolute pinnacle of the company’s mobile (non-folding) technology. Following this pattern, the Galaxy S21 Ultra – the third Ultra smartphone after the S20 and Note 20 – is equipped with the best that mobile technology has to offer.
The price is around 1300 €, which is high for most consumers but ideal for those looking for only the best and can afford it.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra is yet another in a long line of truly great Samsung smartphones. The screen measures 6.8 inches diagonally, which practically surrounds the territory of a tablet.
However, sizeable Android smartphones are common now, so Samsung’s job is not just to make a powerful phone, but mainly one that is done well. Mission accomplished: the S21 Ultra looks great and adapts perfectly to the hands. It is much more comfortable to hold than the iPhone 12 Pro Max because it is slightly narrower and has curved corners.
The main change in Samsung’s design on this smartphone was to combine the metal parts on the sides with the camera set on the rear.
There is no denying that this is a huge and relatively heavy device. But Samsung also has a lot of experience in making gigantic smartphones and has applied everything it has learned in the S21 Ultra. For example, contrary to the current trend, the screen is still slightly curved on the sides, but this makes the device easier to hold.
The company is also proud of its new “ghost black” finish tangled in the Gorilla Glass Victus on the back of the device. It is actually very black and repels fingerprints well.
Specifications and performance
Usually, when Samsung presents a new high-end smartphone, its representatives talk a lot about the technology and the quality of its gigantic screen. In the S21 Ultra, the company simply pointed out that it supports an adaptive refresh rate of up to 120 Hz in its native resolution of 3200 x 1440 and did not talk about anything else.
We assume that Samsung said nothing because it already knew that this is the best smartphone screen currently available. The choice of standard color balance in the S21 Ultra is somewhat intense, but there is a ‘Natural’ option and even the ability to adjust the ‘Vivid’ option according to the user’s preference. It can also achieve up to 1,500 nits of maximum brightness in HDR video.
Internally, the S21 line is the first set of smartphones on the market with Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 888 processor. Samsung claims that it is using the extra features of this chip to improve image processing and add the variable refresh rate (ranging from 10 Hz to 120 Hz) at full resolution. The device also supports Wi-Fi 6E and both types of 5G. The chip doesn’t benchmark as perfectly as the iPhone’s A14 Bionic, but on single-core brands it easily outperforms other Android smartphones with the older 865 chip.
The performance of the Galaxy S21 Ultra is fantastic and also features improvements in battery efficiency. With moderate use, the battery of this smartphone can handle without problems for a couple of days.
It has 128 GB of standard storage. The 256 GB option costs just about € 50 more, while the 512 GB (which also has 16 GB of RAM instead of 12) costs about € 150 more.
Considering the storage you need on this smartphone is important, because, unlike previous S series devices, there is no slot for a microSD card in the S21 Ultra. For those who like to make 8K videos and 108 megapixel photos, you need more than 128 GB of storage, at least.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra is also the first smartphone in the S series to receive support for Samsung’s S Pen, although it is sold separately.
Noteworthy is also Qualcomm’s new fingerprint sensor on the screen. It’s bigger and faster, and that means that just the user just taps quickly to unlock the smartphone without having to look at the display too much. As we unlock our phones very often, even small changes make a big difference in reducing the feeling of friction.
The camera system of the Galaxy S21 Ultra, with five lenses, is one of the best on any Android smartphone and is extremely competitive with the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
The fifth hole on the back of the smartphone is for the laser auto focus sensor, which has been added to help with some of the focus problems on the main sensor. This main 108-megapixel sensor is also a second-generation sensor, capable of 12-bit color and featuring what Samsung says is a new process for converting 108-megapixel photos into standard 12-megapixel images.
The focus is fast and accurate, the focal plane looks bigger, there is no noticeable shutter lag, and most of all, the photos look better on the S21 Ultra than on other high-end Samsung smartphones.
Compared to the latest iPhone, the S21 Ultra’s cameras aim to make things a little brighter and colors a little more intense, while Apple seems to let shadows be shadows without worrying about it. However, the S21 Ultra offers better sharpness and detail.
Where the S21 Ultra really shines is in the zoom. It has two telephoto lenses and both are useful. The proper 3x optical zoom makes a big difference and Samsung uses data from multiple lenses up to 10x. The company also has its ingenious ‘Space Zoom’ that works up to 100x.
As for the videos, this smartphone continues to dazzle. The Galaxy S21 Ultra does a very good job with dynamic range and real-time exposure adjustment while the user moves the camera around in a scene. Stabilization has also been improved.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra runs Samsung’s One UI 3.1 based on Android 11. One UI 3.0 brought a number of new features, such as support for bubble notifications, quick access to widgets, more precise volume control and the introduction of Samsung Free . Update 3.1 adds a number of minor adjustments, such as background video calls, Director’s View on video and the ability to record from the front and rear camera at the same time.
On the home screen on the left, Samsung offers the option of using Google Discover or Samsung Free. Samsung Free is a new service much like the old Bixby house, offering many of Samsung’s free applications and services, such as Pluto TV. In some variants of the S21 Ultra, Samsung has also started to use many Google applications as standard, such as Google Messages for SMSs.
Overall, the One UI is distinctly the face of Samsung. The company has managed to consolidate a specific style in its interface since the introduction of One UI with the Galaxy S10 series, and it remains instantly recognizable. Most UI elements are rounded, which complements the curves on Galaxy S series devices.
Verdict: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
The biggest rivals of the Galaxy S21 Ultra are the iPhone 12 series smartphones. Apple’s A14 Bionic processor still outperforms the Snapdragon 888 in benchmarks, but in use in the real world, the user will probably not notice much difference in performance between the two devices. The Galaxy S21 Ultra has twice as much RAM, but Apple’s excellent RAM management on iOS is likely to make the difference, once again, not noticeable.
When it comes to features, the Galaxy S21 Ultra offers a much more versatile range of cameras. While the iPhone 12 Pro Max offers a wide, main and 2.5x telephoto sensor with 12 MP, the Samsung smartphone comes equipped with a wide 108 MP standard, 3x optical telephoto, 10x optical telephoto and a guided focus system by laser. In terms of sheer range and versatility, Samsung outperforms almost everyone on the camera hardware market, except perhaps Huawei’s P40 Pro Plus.
The smartphone most similar to the S21 Ultra is the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. The devices are quite similar, offering large 120 Hz screens, super versatile camera systems and luxurious designs. The S21 Ultra outperforms the Note 20 Ultra in speed and camera versatility, offering Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 888 compared to the 865 Plus and a 10x optical zoom camera compared to the Note 20 Ultra’s 5x camera. But the Note has expansion for microSD card and the smart S Pen, which can still be attractive to many consumers.
Costing around 1300 €, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is not a cheap device. But considering the specs and the excellent features, it’s worth every penny.
Want to read GSMNigeria more news? See Related Posts below
Want to read GSMNigeria more news? See Related Posts below