The Galaxy S21 Ultra is a brand-new sort of worth proposal from Samsung. It’s not simply larger than the lower-end designs with a much better electronic camera, like in 2015’s Ultra. You’re likewise getting a far better screen, Wi-Fi 6E, S Pen assistance, and method more RAM. Whether you require those things is still up for argument, however if you desire them, the S21 Ultra is well worth the upgrade from the S20 Ultra or the $200 step-up from the S21+.
That’s generally due to the fact that the Ultra’s premium rate comes at less of a premium this year. Where in 2015’s cost put the S20 Ultra securely in the upper end of the stratosphere, the S21 Ultra begins at $1,199. You can max it out with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage for $1,380, $20 less than both in 2015’s entry-level S20 Ultra and a totally filled iPhone 12 Pro Max.
Update 3:15 PM: The Galaxy S21 Ultra is $200 off at Amazon today.
Even if it cost the like the S20 Ultra, the S21 Ultra would still be among the very best phones ever made, possibly one worth investing up of $1,700 on. However Samsung’s aggressive rates makes the S21 Ultra’s spec sheet a lot more appealing and shows that you can have all of it without really investing all of it.
The S21 Ultra has the very same style as the S21, which I reviewed last month, and it’s simply as outstanding. The electronic camera variety is no longer a round bump drifting in the leading left corner, however a far more subtle one that flawlessly extends from the sides of the phone. It’s still rather huge, however the brand-new positioning feels more well balanced than in the previous generation’s S20, and it does not run into my fingers as frequently. The matte back is classy and luscious and does an exceptional task at driving away finger prints.
The S21 Ultra is a huge phone, even it’s technically smaller sized than in 2015’s S20 (165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm vs 166.9 x 76 x 8.8 mm). It’s generally difficult to utilize with one hand, and at 6.8 inches still feels quite at the upper end of how huge of a phone individuals want to manage. The truth that it’s a tenth of an inch smaller sized than the S20 Ultra and the very same size as the Note 20 Ultra appears to recommend we will not see a 7-inch Galaxy phone anytime quickly, unless it folds.
Like the less expensive S21 phones, Samsung has actually eliminated a couple of functions from the S21 Ultra, specifically MST for utilizing Samsung Pay at terminals that do not support NFC, and the microSD card slot. The absence of expandable storage strikes especially hard, due to the fact that the S21 Ultra is implied to be the greatest of the high-end. I presume its target market would be inclined to utilize a microSD card. However alas, it’s gone.
Most convenient on the eyes
If you can manage the size and fixed storage, nevertheless, the S21 Ultra has the very best screen Samsung has actually ever made, which is no little task. It debuts a variety of brand-new functions for a Samsung display screen and sets the bar extremely high for the rest of its 2021 rivals, consisting of the next-generation iPhone Pro.
- It utilizes Samsung’s brand-new low-powered OLED display screen, which decreases energy intake approximately 16 percent.
- It’s the very first Samsung phone to support 120Hz at complete WQHD+ resolution.
- It’s the brightest display screen Samsung has actually ever made, topping 1,500 nits.
- It’s Samsung’s most effective adaptive refresh display screen, with a series of 10Hz to 120Hz.
So it’s not a stretch to state the Galaxy S21 Ultra has the very best display screen ever made. Obviously, that was likewise real of the S20 Ultra at the time, however the S21 Ultra seems like a real accomplishment in display screen innovation. The size will be a concern for lots of users, however Samsung has actually nonetheless provided an extremely excellent display screen.
Efficiency you anticipate
Together with the very best display screen you’re ever seen, you’re likewise getting the very best set of specifications ever put together in an Android phone:
- Processor: Snapdragon 888
- RAM: 12GB/16GB LPDDR5
- Storage: UFS 3.1 128GB/256GB/512GB
- Battery: 5,000 mAh
- Wireless: sub6 + mmWave 5G, Wi-Fi 6E
- Ultrawide band: Yes
That’s not rather across-the-board much better than the S21 and S21+, however it’s a significant enhancement. You’re getting somewhat faster speeds thanks to the additional RAM, however the S21 is currently crazy-fast, so it’s not something you’ll observe in daily usage. If you desire numbers, I have actually got numbers:
Geekbench 5 (Single/Multi)
S21 Ultra: 1118/3541
PCMark Work 2.0
S21 Ultra: 13525
3D Mark Wildlife
S21 Ultra: 5686
The marquee function is the UWB chip, which runs in a devoted area of the radio spectrum to make it possible for accurate place tracking. That’ll be available in useful when Samsung begins offering its SmartTag+ UWB-powered tracker later on this year.
The S21 Ultra’s 5,000 mAh battery is a powerhouse also, with definitely no problem making it through a day of heavy usage. Standards provided almost 11 hours, way longer than the S20 Ultra and generally any other Android phone I have actually ever utilized. Even with the 120Hz display screen switched on, I had no issue making it through a day and after that some. It remains in iPhone 12 area– you will not need to stress over the battery unless you’re downloading huge files over 5G for hours on end.
Likewise brand-new is the addition of the S Pen, which is an additional device– and it does not have a slot like the Note. I’m not exactly sure how huge the marketplace for it is, however if you have actually ever regreted about the failure to compose on your S phone, this will scratch that itch. It can’t do any of the expensive Bluetooth air gestures yet– you’ll require the S Pen Pro for that, which is releasing later on this year– however the amateur S Pen works completely well for taps and notes.
Up close even from far
While the Ultra surname can use to all elements of the phone, no place is it more apparent than with the electronic camera. Not just is the S21 Ultra’s electronic camera an enormous enhancement over the S21 and S21+, however it’s likewise a huge leap over in 2015’s already-capable rig:
Cam 1: 12MP Ultra Wide, f/2.2
Cam 2: 108MP Wide-angle, f/1.8
Cam 3: 48MP Telephoto (5X), f/3.5
Cam 4: DepthVision (time-of-flight)
Cam 1: 12MP Ultra Wide, f/2.2
Cam 2: 108MP Wide, f/1.8
Cam 3: Telephoto (3X) 10MP, f/2.4
Cam 4: Telephoto (10X) 10MP, f/4.9
The greatest enhancements over the S20 Ultra are with the telephoto lens and autofocus. The laser autofocus presented with the Note 20 is here so the S20’s focusing concerns are gone, that makes it a lot easier to rapidly point and shoot. Samsung enhanced the S20 after a number of updates, however it never ever felt as quickly as it should. The S21 does.
Similarly visible are the enhancements Samsung has actually made to zooming. Samsung made telephoto photography a huge offer with the S20, and it continues here with the addition of a 2nd telephoto lens. That makes it possible for extremely clear pictures at 10X zoom, two times as long as the iPhone 12 can shoot with digital zoom. Comparing the outcomes to any other phone isn’t even reasonable. If telephoto photography is your thing, there’s no factor to think about any other phone.
Samsung still lets you “Area Zoom” approximately 100X, and while it’s a little bit more steady and less loud than the S20, it’s still more of a celebration technique than a major function. It’s rather incredible that a phone can zoom all the method to 100X and still maintain some form of image quality, however you will not be utilizing it extremely frequently, if ever.
Where the additional telephoto lens genuinely shines is with pictures. Obviously, Samsung phones have actually had a picture mode considering that Selective Focus got here on the Galaxy S5, however it’s never ever been much better than on the S21 Ultra, with very crisp edges, tidy lines versus any background, and an enjoyable background blur.
In Other Places, the S21 Ultra takes exceptional pictures that are on a par with the very best in the field. My greatest criticism is that pictures tend to be a bit overexposed. No matter which of the 4 electronic cameras you choose to utilize, nevertheless, you’ll be snapping an excellent photo. Moving forward, Samsung requires to turn its attention to a much deeper level of processing, however it’s difficult to discover excessive fault with a telephoto electronic camera that’s this impressive.
Should you purchase the Galaxy S21 Ultra?
For the majority of purchasers, the Galaxy S21 Ultra will be excessive phone for excessive cash. Like the iPhone 12 Pro Max, it’s huge and heavy, and it will set you back a package of dough. If you’re the least bit mindful about what your invest, this isn’t the phone for you, and the $800 S21 is the method to go.
However if you have a larger budget plan, the S21 Ultra represents the very best– the very best of Samsung, the most effective telephoto electronic camera, and the very best of whatever Android needs to provide at any rate. It’s likewise $200 less expensive than the S20 Ultra, and the corners Samsung cut to arrive didn’t compromise excessive of what makes it an ultra-premium phone. While the microSD slot and MST may look like significant losses, the important things you’re getting more than offset it.