The S21 Ultra is the top-end smartphone in the Galaxy S lineup this year. The name seems to speak for itself, only the best and no compromises. We spent a couple of weeks with a smartphone and are now ready to tell if this is really so.
Why do you need
The S21 Ultra model is designed for tech enthusiasts, tech geeks and people who are used to taking everything in the maximum configuration without regard to cost. Especially for these users, Samsung has launched the ultra-flagship category since the previous generation. What can you say? Quite a long time has passed since the presentation of the S21 lineup, but so far the twenty-first Ultra has no visible competitors.
Speaking about the device as a whole, you need to understand that this is not just a set of top-end features and innovations. The Galaxy S21 Ultra is, first of all, part of the ultimate lifestyle for lovers of everything at once. The very moment when you don’t want to delve into all these hertz and megapixels. Often, when purchasing such smartphones, the corresponding type of buyers says “I want the best” and after that it remains only to decide on the color.
We visited the Galaxy S21 Ultra in the Silver Phantom color scheme. This is a visual solution for those who are tired of the usual monotonous coloring, but are not yet ready for the poisonous gradients from China. The colors play nicely in the sunlight, pleasing the eye with new shades depending on the viewing angle. Thus, the exterior of the smartphone will not bore the owner.
The S21 Ultra has a clear visual design code for this year’s flagship lineup. Samsung came up with an interesting solution with a camera unit that smoothly flows into the smartphone’s frame. By the way, the platform with lenses looks massive and with all its appearance hints that you should not worry about the possibilities of video and photography.
In general, the ultra-flagship looks impressive and there is no desire to hide it in a case, but this raises a dilemma. Firstly, the S21 Ultra follows all modern trends with a bulging camera that grazes the pocket and does not allow the smartphone to lie flat on the surface. Secondly, if you plan to use the S-Pen with the device, then you cannot do without a special case, since there is no place for it in the case.
The back of the case is made of Corning Gorilla Glass Victus. It is matte and fits very nicely in the palm of your hand. Tactilely, the S21 Ultra turned out to be very pleasant, so you literally don’t want to let go of it. This is also due in large part to the stainless steel frame, which is pleasantly cool in the palm of your hand.
Potential owners of the Galaxy S21 Ultra need to be aware that they will have to deal with a large device, so owners of compact palms are better off turning the smartphone in the store before buying. As Boris Razor says in “The Big Win”: “The severity is reliable.” Speaking of dimensions, the dimensions of the ultra-flagship are imperial: 165.1 × 75.6 × 8.9 mm, and the weight is 228 grams.
Let’s move on to the structural elements. At the top there are two microphones. Bottom: speaker grill, USB-C port and dual SIM slot. The second speaker is hidden under the screen, at the bottom of which is a fingerprint scanner. This sensor has increased in size and has become much more accurate compared to last year’s ultra.
Galaxy S21 Ultra is equipped with a royal screen. With prolonged use, the displays of smartphones from other manufacturers cause physical pain. If in numbers: 6.8 inches, resolution 1440×3200, aspect ratio 20: 9, Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 511 ppi, refresh rate up to 120 Hz and support for HDR10 +. And it protects all this splendor of Corning Gorilla Glass 7.
One of the main innovations – support for an adaptive screen refresh rate, which, depending on the content, varies from 10 to 120 Hz, has now appeared in the maximum resolution, and not only for FullHD +, as it was before. In my opinion, the S21 Ultra display is the best available on the mobile market. The picture is smooth, the color reproduction is juicy and at the same time, the viewing angles are large. Comparing the ultra-flagship with competing devices, we can say that Samsung equips its smartphones with some kind of exclusive screens, which, in my opinion, show better than my eyes can perceive.
In the Geekbench and AnTuTu benchmarks, the smartphone scores 1050 (3475) and 615 973 points, respectively. Needless to say, the top-end filling literally swallows all resource-intensive tasks. The hardest games run at maximum speed and behave stably during long gaming sessions. The Exynos 2100 is responsible for the speed and performance, the performance margin of which will be enough for at least the next few years, or even more.
Photo and video
The main camera module consists of five sensors that maximally cover all the necessary scenarios in terms of photo and video shooting. The system includes: the main sensor (108 MP, F1.5 and optical stabilization), ultra-wide (12 MP, F2.2), telephoto (10 MP, F2.4, optical stub and 3x optical zoom), telephoto lens (10 MP, F4.9, optical stub and 10x optical zoom), as well as a laser focus sensor.
While testing the ultra-flagship camera, the first thing I noticed was some crazy focal length. The smartphone can focus on objects that are located very close to the camera module. Thus, you can take quite decent macro shots. In general, this is a very interesting opportunity in the genres of subject photography, still life, as well as for food photography.
Autofocus works quickly and reliably in most scenarios. When it comes to shooting results, I got the impression that Samsung in the Galaxy S21 Ultra was trying to please everyone. Photos are obtained with the most natural color reproduction, good contrast and a very high level of detail. It also seemed to me that the images from the ultra-flagship camera look better on its own screen than on the displays of other devices. I will not deny that perhaps this is just my personal subjective perception.
An example of how the zoom works
In terms of video, the Galaxy S21 Ultra is in perfect order. For fans of high resolution, there is the possibility of shooting in 8K, but only at 30 FPS. My favorite is UHD 4K at 60 FPS. Such videos look as natural and smooth as possible. They have a wide dynamic range and a high level of detail in the shadows and highlights. The only drawback of shooting in this resolution is the weight of the video. On average, a minute of 4K 60 FPS video takes about 450 MB. Therefore, if you plan to make a lot of video recordings on the ultra-flagship, then immediately pay attention to the model with the maximum memory capacity, since it does not have a microSD card slot.
Sample 8K (resolution will be available later on supported devices)
Sample UHD 4K 60 FPS
The Galaxy S21 Ultra is powered by a 5000mAh battery. A battery of the same size was installed in its predecessor. Thanks to support for fast charging, you can fully charge the battery in an average of 55-60 minutes. But the power adapter will have to be purchased separately. These are modern realities, you know who to thank for such innovations.Let me remind you that the S21 Ultra is an uncompromising solution, so it was not without support for fast wireless and reverse charging, with which you can charge other gadgets, for example, the Galaxy Buds Pro headphones.
So, in everyday scenarios, the ultra-flagship works for almost two days without recharging. This is a significant increase in autonomy compared to last year’s model. It is worth noting that this indicator can significantly sink many hours of gaming sessions and shooting video in high resolution.
- Screen: 6.8 inches, 1440×3200 (20: 9), Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 511 ppi, Corning Gorilla Glass 7, HDR10 +, 120 Hz refresh rate
- CPU: Exynos 2100
- Memory: 12/16 GB (LPDDR5 RAM), 128/256/512 GB (UFS 3.1 ROM)
- Battery: 5000 mAh
- Protection: IP68
- Dimensions (edit): 165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm, 228 grams
For a reason, throughout the review, he called the Galaxy S21 Ultra “ultra-flagship”. In fact, at the moment it is beyond any competition, since there are still no similar solutions on the market without any compromises. For a short period of time of several weeks, the smartphone left an extremely positive impression, and no obvious shortcomings were identified. Perhaps only the massive size can be noted. The functional part is nicely complemented by support for the S Pen, but do not forget that for everyday use of the stylus, you will also have to purchase a case with a special compartment for it.
I repeat and remind you that the Galaxy S21 Ultra is a smartphone for those who are used to taking only the best from the world of technology. This is a bright and unusual device with a fresh design that will not waste its relevance for several years, so its purchase can be considered as a long-term prospect.
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