Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Full Review – Price, and More
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is new ‘everything phone’ with more cameras, beefier specs, and even S Pen compatibility to eclipse the very likable Note 20 Ultra. If you’re shocked about rumors of the end of Note series, try the S21 Ultra.
Samsung’s vision of smartphone extra for 2021: five cameras ran by a 108MP sensor, two telephoto cameras, 100x zoom, and 40MP selfies, plus 5G, all-day battery lifetime, and up to 16GB of RAM.
All crowded into an Android phone with a 6.8-inch 120Hz Quad HD show and a promoted in-screen fingerprint device that has a 1.7x larger surface area than the one on last year’s phone.
Table of Contents
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Price and Release Date
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra publication date is Friday, January 29, with preorders still obtainable in the US, UK, and Australia.
The launch occasion was January 14, meaning that both the official statement and the release date are a month earlier than we used for its flagship smartphone. Samsung is jumping tendencies in 2021.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra price is also particularly lower than the S20 Ultra at launch, though it’s still going to price you a lot. Its price starts at $1,199 / £1,149 / AU$1,849 for a form with 128GB of internal storage and 12GB of RAM.
Keep in awareness that there’s no microSD card slot for elastic storage, so if you’re keen on taking lots of 4K 60fps or 8K 24fps video. You may need to look into the 256GB or 512GB storage sizes – and the latter of those sizes also knocks up the RAM to 16GB.
Is it all too ironic for you? The Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 + don’t tout ‘Space Zoom,’ S Pen support, or 108MP/40MP photos, but you do get the 3x optical zoom and slick design at a far lower price.
These are the finest Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra deals today.
Design and Display of Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
Large phone with an excellent 6.8-inch display and 120Hz refresh rate;
Contour Cut camera has proven discordant but looks unique;
A whole variety of color selections.
It is one gorgeous-looking smartphone – so much so that we didn’t trouble to put a circumstance on it during testing. Risky, yes, but our review device’s finish – a matte Phantom Black with few seams – helped minimalize the camera bump and fingerprints blotches.
Primary Two Colors of the Galaxy S21 Ultra
In addition to the bottomless, Vantablack-like Phantom Black color, there’s also a Phantom Silver color on sale ubiquitously. Samsung’s online store offers three options: Phantom Titanium, Phantom Navy and Phantom Brown.
Whatever color you choose, each’s matte finish is a significant improvement over last year’s S20 series, which had a reflective sheen that observed a little plasticky and inexpensive.
Together the Galaxy S21 Ultra and S21 Plus have a level Gorilla Glass back, while the Galaxy S21 is stuck with a polycarbonate (read: plastic) ago that feels less smooth to the drop. The individual in a side by side comparison would regular consumers be able to tell the difference.
We’ve been finding the S21 Ultra significant where it needs to be while minimizing everything you don’t want to see. For example, its large display gives a hand at 6.8 inches.
Yet, the curved edge-to-edge screen means that the bezel is almost non-existent and that the 40MP front camera hides behind a tiny punch-hole that’s easy to ignore after a few minutes of watching a video.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra screen is Samsung’s primary (among smartphones) capable of running at a smooth 120Hz refresh degree while in a pixel-packing Quad HD resolve.
The whole S20 series and Note 20 Ultra required you to select between 120Hz/60Hz and Quad HD/Full HD, while the new S21 and S21 Plus fix at Full HD+, with 120Hz allowed by evasion.
S Pen Compatibility of Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
First in Samsung’s S series to effort with style;
It doesn’t fit private the phone, like the Galaxy Note series;
Well-matched with a diversity of stylus as well as Samsung S Pen.
Samsung’s primary non-Note phone is companionable with its S Pen stylus, and it’s a tendency we like seeing. However, things work a bit otherwise here: there’s no S Pen involved with the phone and, even when you make a separate purchase, there’s no way to embed the stylus into the phone’s body.
There’s a folio case that grips a newly designed S Pen that’s slightly more extensive and more comfortable to have than the version that tucks inside the frame of Galaxy Note phones.
It neatly holes into the case’s internal spine and feels safe there, so you’ll want a Galaxy S21 Ultra case for more than defense.
Exactly what you’re hypothetical to do with the stylus without buying this folio case is indistinct.
We were talented in jotting down quick notes and bringing up all of the Air Command options, including various structures you can use without touching the phone’s screen.
Though you can usage any old Note stylus with your phone, we valued that the new S Pen is larger and more comfortable to grasp than the toothpick-sized Note S Pen.
Missing from the new S Pen we verified ahead of the launch were the Bluetooth shortcuts for triggering the camera and other apps. You could customize actions and remotely knowledge the Galaxy Note 20 like a conjurer with a wand.
The Camera of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
A compelling camera with a 108MP primary sensor;
The quad-camera also includes two 10MP telephoto revolvers and 12MP ultra-wide;
40MP selfie camera offers strong presentation too.
Ready for your extreme close-up? The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, with its five cameras and 100x zoom variety, excites this time around, even if grainy ‘Space Zoom’ photos continue to not meet our quality verge for readily posting to our Instagram books.
It’s the 3x, 10x, and, infrequently in well-lit circumstances, 30x photo zooms that nail the gunshot with breathtaking clarity. What assistances most at the 30x (and 100x) varieties are the new tripod lock feature, which stops the viewfinder image from jump around, something that could be jarring when zooming in that tightly on the S20 Ultra.
After a second, the S21 Ultra camera fixes onto a subject that it outlines in yellow on the small zoomed-out corner reticule, and the shakiness magically dials down.
1. Ultra-Wide Camera
Going all the means from the ultra-wide camera at 0.6x to the digitally zoomed-in 30x with practical photos each stage of the course is how Samsung stands apart from Apple and its cameras on the iPhone 12 Pro Max (covered at 2.5x optical / 12x digital).
And Google’s Pixel 5 (no telephoto). No one (but Huawei) is doing zoom on a smartphone like this in 2021, and your Apple phone-owning networks will have telephoto jealousy.
Yes, having two telephoto cameras does seem flat ridiculous, but they offer different perspectives: 3x and 10x, all without going digital and hybrid in between.
The zoom functionality on both is optical, though Samsung’s camera software frequently has its attention.
We’ve found it can overwrite your decision and pick which camera gets used (likely based on their different apertures and the lighting in your environment).
So it may take ‘zoomed-in’ photos with the primary sensor and then crop to simulate that zoom.
It’s a bit unpredictable, but most of the shots turn out okay. All you take to do is press the shutter button.
Our previous favorite telephoto camera from Samsung, on the Note 20 Ultra, had a 5x optical zoom and 50x digital zoom. So the 10x optical zoom on the S21 Ultra gets you closer to those far-off subjects, while the 3x optical is handy for pulling it back a little bit without digital distortion.
2. 10x Optical Telephoto Camera of a Moving Subject
Year-over-year, the most significant improvement is the 108MP primary camera, which debuted in the S20 Ultra but a dog with autofocus issues at launch.
Fix S21 Ultra, the addition laser-assisted phase detection autofocus, was absent S20 Ultra (Note 20 Ultra have).
Finally, you’re going to be able to do justice to the extra detail from those 108MP shots and 40MP selfies, which makes a post-snap crop easier. Otherwise, without cropping, you won’t see a giant difference on Twitter and Instagram.
We noticed that the Galaxy S21 Ultra camera offers improved dynamic range in outdoor photos (see photos with a bright sky and darker buildings) over its predecessors.
Samsung now provides 12-bit raw files for greater flexibility when editing. The iPhone 12 Pro series still wins out for many non-zoomed photos, mainly indoor and nighttime shots, but Samsung and its more finely tuned night mode (it doesn’t merely bump up the exposure) help close the gap.
All Galaxy S21 series phones now record video at 4K at 60fps from all cameras, and 8K at 24fps returns. But it’s the new Director’s View mode that caught our eye this year: you can capture video with both the front and back cameras simultaneously.
Vloggers and other content creators will relish that they can record their reaction shots, which they can splice in alongside their main footage.
Director’s View is a neat idea that you don’t get on most phones (the iPhone 12 series requires a third-party app to pull this off). It joins last year’s video-focused additions, like zoom-in microphones for better capturing the subject you’re zooming into, and an improved Single Take mode for recording video and taking photos at the same time.
Specs and Performance of Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
Sports Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 in the US, Exynos 2100 elsewhere
It starts with 12GB of RAM, but one option includes 16GB.
Low storage options with no microSD support
1. Samsung S21 Ultra Specs
Sizes: 165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9 millimeter
Display size: 6.8-inch
Resolution: QHD (3200 x 1440)
Refresh Rate: 120Hz
Pixel Density: 515ppi
Chipset: Snapdragon 888 / Exynos 2100
RAM: 12GB / 16GB
Storage: 128GB / 256GB / 512GB
Rear cameras: 108MP + 10MP + 10MP + 12MP
Front camera: 40MP
The Galaxy S21 series is quicker for two reasons: it marks the entrance of brand-new chipsets, and the software has been efficient just a bit, with the ever-evolving OneUI 3.0 interface tied into Android 11.
All three S21 phones’ emotion is one of two quick chipsets: either Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 (US) or Samsung’s own Exynos 2100 (just around everywhere else).
While we haven’t made in-depth side-by-side comparisons yet (not-so-subtle: yes, we’ll be updating our reviews when we’ve done so), both seem very snappy, even if the Geekbench 5 scores we’ve gotten don’t quite measure up. It is why we shy away from benchmarking phones in such granular detail.
What you’ll want to pay care to more are the internal storage sizes. Many people turn off because the S21 series doesn’t contain a microSD card slot for expandable storage, and, honestly, we’re with you on that.
The inclusion of microSD slots always made it easier for us to endorse Samsung over Apple when things were neck-and-neck, as you could go for the smaller storing size and upgrade later. Not anymore.
The base-level 128GB of internal storage with 12GB of RAM might not be enough for everyone.
You’ll want to also pay for the version with 256GB of storage and 12GB of RAM or max out at 256GB of storage with 16GB of RAM.
The RAM won’t make a significant difference in a phone, but you’ll notice if you run out of storage space.
You’ll need to have an impression of how much space you need in advance of buying the S21 Ultra – and that’s something that Samsung fans rarely have to think about, as microSD cards were continuously an excellent fallback plan.
Battery Life of Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
A full day of usage from a full charge of the 5,000mAh battery
Battery life is inferior when in 120Hz and QHD mode.
There’s no charger in the case with the S21 Ultra.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra battery lifetime was stable during our routine testing, amounting to a full day and change.
But we tanked the battery much more quickly when we pushed that 120Hz screen refresh rate to the max cranked up the resolution to Quad HD.
Its 5,000mAh battery competitions the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra capacity, and you’re successful in getting all-day battery life if you stick with Samsung’s default settings. The resolve is set to 1080p out of the box (again, most users won’t notice a big difference between Full HD and Quad HD).
You won’t become a charger with the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, and Samsung is gambling that you have an ancient one on hand or that you’ll buy one at a new discounted price.
Included is a USB-C-to-USB cable, but you’ll need one of the newer fast mounts for this phone to quickly charge it at 25W (Samsung phones since the S10 5G had a 25W charger in the box).
You can also fast wirelessly charge at up to 15W and reverse wirelessly charge those Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro or anything that Qi-charges.