The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G is the corporate’s most premium smartphone but, with a robust deal with cameras. Identical to the Galaxy S20 Ultra (Assessment), this new mannequin boasts of 100X “area zoom” and 8K video recording, however with an improved capturing expertise and even higher picture high quality.
We have already talked concerning the design and most important specs of the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G in our latest first impressions article, so for this overview, we’ll dive straight into the cameras and system efficiency first. In the event you’re critical about images or capturing video, then you have to be within the Galaxy S21 Ultra, which is probably the most able to the three Galaxy S21 fashions. Nevertheless, is the worth justified? Let’s discover out.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G value and variants
Earlier than we start, let’s shortly go over the variants of the Galaxy S21 Ultra which are obtainable in India. In different nations, Samsung has diminished the launch costs of the Galaxy S21 collection, nevertheless attributable to taxes and forex charge fluctuations in India, the costs have gone up a bit in comparison with final yr’s fashions. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G begins at Rs. 1,05,999 for 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, and there is a second choice priced at Rs. 1,16,999 which has 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage.
It is expensive for positive, however nonetheless prices lower than what Apple is charging for its iPhone 12 Pro collection. The bottom variant of the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G looks like it must be the extra widespread mannequin of the 2, however needless to say there isn’t a microSD card slot for storage enlargement this time, so should you suppose you may be capturing lots of 8K video, you may wish to take into account the upper storage variant as a substitute.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G cameras
Whereas the camera capabilities of the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G stay largely much like these of its predecessor, Samsung has reworked the implementation, particularly of the telephoto cameras. There is a new-generation 108-megapixel major camera which does nona-pixel binning, combining info from 9 pixels into one, for extra detailed 12-megapixel photographs.
There is a 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera and two telephoto cameras. The latter each have 10-megapixel sensors, however with several types of optical zoom lenses. One has a 3X optical zoom, whereas the opposite is able to 10X, with a periscope-style lens. There is no point out of hybrid zoom this time, nevertheless there’s nonetheless some AI processing being utilized at increased magnification ranges.
Samsung continues to market House Zoom, which on the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G, goes all the best way to 100X. At such a excessive magnification, it might probably get very tough to border pictures accurately. particularly should you’re capturing handheld, which we skilled with the Galaxy S20 Ultra. That is the place the brand new Zoom Lock function is available in. If you transcend 20X magnification, you get a bit preview window within the viewfinder that can assist you discover your topic higher. In the event you maintain the body regular sufficient for one and a half seconds or faucet the preview field, the camera will lock focus in your topic and keep on with it (the preview field turns yellow to substantiate this), making it a lot simpler to get a correctly framed shot.
The brand new telephoto lenses together with this zoom lock function implies that zoomed-in pictures look higher and are barely simpler to seize. The camera app affords the identical arduous stops at 3X, 4X, 10X, 30X, and 100X, or you should use the slider to choose the precise zoom degree you want. The Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G will use digital zoom between 1X and 3X, earlier than it switches to the primary telephoto camera, after which once more between 3X and 10X when it switches to the second telephoto camera. Picture high quality is noticeably sharper on the native optical zoom ranges, in comparison with any degree in between. At 100X, picture high quality is relatively a lot weaker however AI processing does assist in getting usable pictures.
In low gentle, most smartphones ditch their telephoto cameras and simply use the first camera with digital zoom due to their extra beneficial apertures, however the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G will nonetheless use its telephoto cameras as a lot as potential regardless of their slim apertures. The outcomes are predictably poorer, however should you use them with Night time mode, the outcomes are surprisingly good. In such circumstances, the zoom vary is restricted to 10X and the phone sticks to the 3X telephoto camera even at that degree, because the 10X camera has a really slim f/4.9 aperture. I managed to get superb pictures from the telephoto camera at night time.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G may seize native 108-megapixel photos utilizing its most important camera, permitting you to amplify and crop round your topic later, which in idea has the identical impact as zooming in. Nevertheless, I observed that the picture high quality is not the perfect, and also you’re higher off utilizing the telephoto cameras. This goes for pictures taken in daylight in addition to low gentle.
Pixel-binned 12-megapixel photographs taken with the primary camera in good gentle regarded glorious. Dynamic vary was good, there was loads of element, and colors regarded pure. Autofocus was fast and exact due to the laser AF sensor, like we noticed on the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. In the event you go too near your topic, the camera’s ‘focus enhancer’ kicks in, switching to the ultra-wide angle camera for a super-macro shot. I discovered this annoying because it tends to activate even should you aren’t too near your topic and the picture high quality is a bit weaker in comparison with what the primary camera can seize. Fortunately, a bit toggle icon within the viewfinder allows you to swap it off instantly.
Shut-ups look nice, with wealthy particulars and colors. Samsung’s Dwell Focus mode is now merely referred to as Portrait and affords the identical bokeh patterns to select from as earlier than. The ultra-wide camera can be competent with regards to capturing landscapes, with an identical color tone as the primary camera. In low gentle, the first and ultra-wide cameras proceed to impress even with out Night time mode, nevertheless you possibly can count on higher uncovered photos when utilizing Night time mode.
There is a new video capturing mode referred to as Director’s View, which affords dwell previews of what the ultra-wide, most important, and 3X telephoto camera can seize whilst you’re recording, so you understand what to anticipate earlier than switching. You may as well allow a dwell feed from the selfie camera, with a split-screen or picture-in-picture window, which Samsung calls ‘Vloggers view.’ I personally did not discover a lot use for this capturing mode, nevertheless it could possibly be helpful for some people. The remainder of the capturing modes are much like what we noticed final yr, together with Single Take, Portrait Video, Tremendous Sluggish-mo, and so on.
Samsung has made some adjustments to the video recording capabilities of the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G, however they’re nonetheless not as intensive as I might have favored. Now you can shoot 4K 60fps video with any of the cameras, one thing that Apple launched with the iPhone 11 Pro. Nevertheless, you can not swap between cameras on the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G as soon as recording has begun, which is a bit limiting. For this, you may have to shoot at 4K 30fps.
Samsung remains to be hyping 8K video recording, which is now stabilised, nevertheless it additionally closely crops the body. Video high quality is nice in daylight, however may be very grainy in low gentle. There is no restrict on the recording size. The large disappointment for me although is that 8K video remains to be restricted to 24fps, like on the Galaxy S20 collection. Video high quality general is superb, with sharp element, good stabilisation, and pure colors in footage shot within the daylight. Movies shot in poor lighting, even with the 3X telephoto camera, have been additionally spectacular.
General, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G has a mighty spectacular set of rear cameras, and all of them have vital roles to play, not like telephones with devoted depth or macro cameras. The selfie camera can be equally competent right here. It has a 40-megapixel sensor and captures binned 10-megapixel photographs by default. It has autofocus, and might shoot 4K 60fps stabilised movies. Picture high quality in daylight and low gentle, particularly with Night time mode, is superb.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G efficiency and battery life
Apart from glorious camera efficiency, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra can be a true-blue flagship with cutting-edge parts. The Indian model is powered by Samsung’s Exynos 2100 5G SoC, which has similarities to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 SoC by way of fabrication course of and the categories and variety of ARM CPU cores used. The 12GB RAM variant that I had for overview posted robust benchmark numbers. It scored 5,70,453 factors in AnTuTu, and 960 and 2,995 factors respectively in Geekbench’s single-core and multi-core exams. These numbers are nonetheless behind what Apple’s A14 Bionic within the iPhone 12 collection can produce, however actually, you would be arduous pressed to inform any distinction between these telephones with common use.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G simply ran graphically intensive video games resembling Name of Responsibility: Cell and Asphalt 9: Legends on the QHD+ decision. Gameplay was clean with strong framerates. The higher half of the steel body did warmth up in a short time when gaming, which you’ll really feel should you use this phone with out a case. In actual fact, this heating was noticeable even when utilizing the camera app. The phone by no means obtained uncomfortably scorching for me, and neither did this appear to throttle efficiency, however your mileage might range.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra additionally absolutely helps Samsung’s S Pen, which is offered as an adjunct. I could not check this since Samsung did not ship it together with the phone, however I think about that the expertise must be much like utilizing the most recent Galaxy Note collection telephones. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra additionally helps Wi-Fi 6E and has an Ultra Extensive Band (UWB) chip, which ought to enable the phone for use as a digital key to unlock your automobile (when suitable fashions are launched).
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G doubles up as a superb device for media consumption. The 6.8-inch AMOLED display will get extremely shiny, and colors look wealthy and punchy. The QHD+ decision affords superb sharpness, which is helpful when studying textual content. The largest new function, as I discussed in my first impressions piece, is that you should use the 120Hz refresh charge on the native decision. It is also adaptive, which implies when no contact enter is detected, or should you’re watching a video, the refresh charge routinely scales right down to 60Hz. Samsung says it might probably go down all the best way to 10Hz to avoid wasting energy, however I wasn’t in a position to check this declare.
Movies basically look nice on the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G’s display. Watching darkish scenes in films is not an issue because the AMOLED panel can obtain spectacular black ranges. Audio from the stereo audio system can be superb due to the Dolby Atmos enhancement. You get high-fidelity audio playback with assist for the DSD 64/128 and 32-bit PCM codecs over a wired headset.
Different flagship options embody an IP68 score for mud and water resistance, Samsung Pay by way of NFC and MST, and an entire lot of sensors together with a new-generation ultrasonic fingerprint sensor. Samsung claims that is about 1.7X bigger than the earlier mannequin, and in my expertise, it labored very effectively. All that is wanted is a fast faucet for profitable authentication. Face recognition is supported too, and can be dependable.
I discovered battery life to be fairly strong. The 5,000mAh battery capability is similar as what the Galaxy S20 Ultra had, and simply lasts for greater than a full day of heavy to medium utilization. With lighter use, I used to be in a position to lengthen the battery life to a bit greater than a day and a half. This was with the display set to QHD+ and the 120Hz adaptive refresh charge enabled. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G lasted for 15 hours and 37 minutes in our HD video loop check, with the display on the default decision (full-HD+).
The Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G helps quick charging however solely at as much as 25W, with a suitable USB PowerDelivery (PD) Sort-C adapter. That is one thing you may have to purchase individually, both from Samsung or a 3rd get together vendor, since you do not get an influence adapter within the field anymore. In actual fact, you get solely a USB Sort-C cable and the SIM eject software.
I attempted charging the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G with a 27W Motorola adapter and OnePlus’ 65W adapter which ships with the 8T, and in each circumstances, I used to be in a position to get a couple of 70 % cost in a single hour. You possibly can inform that the phone is charging quickly as a “tremendous quick charging” message seems on the lockscreen. This phone may wirelessly quick cost with a suitable charger, and reverse wireless charging can be potential.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G software program
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G runs OneUI 3.1, and it labored easily with no actual trace of lag or slow-downs within the week that I needed to overview this phone. That is the most recent model of Samsung’s customized pores and skin, and is predicated on Android 11. It seems and feels slick. Acquainted Samsung gestures and shortcuts such because the Edge Panel are all current, which ought to make present Samsung customers really feel proper at dwelling. In contrast to the iPhone 12 Pro Max, you can also make higher use of the massive display by opening two apps in split-screen. Samsung DeX is current, which I discovered tremendous helpful for transferring recordsdata from my laptop computer to the phone and vice versa, wirelessly.
I did get some spam notifications from the Samsung Store app after I first started utilizing the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G, regardless of unchecking all of the bins to not obtain advertising info, however this stopped after a day or two. Nevertheless, what I did not count on to see have been third-party adverts in a few of Samsung’s personal apps resembling Climate and Recreation Launcher. These are static adverts and are not actually intrusive, however you actually should not must see them on such an costly smartphone. In the event you open the climate app or Recreation Launcher, they’re proper there on the high.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G ergonomics
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G packs in lots of options, however all of this comes on the slight price of ergonomics. It is a huge phone by any definition, and actually, it is even a bit thicker and heavier than the Galaxy S20 Ultra. It is also fairly top-heavy, and you’ll really feel this imbalance, even with two-handed utilization. I am not complaining an excessive amount of, although, since coming from the iPhone 12 Pro Max, I discover it a bit extra comfy for one handed use due to the rounded sides.
The brand new design makes the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G look method higher than earlier fashions. Samsung’s new contour-cut design for the camera module is exclusive, and manages to masks the camera bulge fairly effectively. You additionally get premium supplies throughout, with Corning Gorilla Glass Victus for the back and front, and a steel body.
For a very long time, Samsung’s Galaxy S flagships in any given era have been primarily differentiated by display and battery dimension, with the ‘plus’ fashions benefiting extra. This modified final yr when Samsung launched a 3rd ‘Ultra’ mannequin with a deal with cameras. This yr, Samsung is attempting to create a good bigger hole between its fashions. The Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G continues to be the hero product, however the Galaxy S21+ 5G and Galaxy S21 5G now have lower-resolution (full-HD+) shows, and the latter even ditches the glass again for plastic. Samsung did one thing comparable with the Galaxy Note 20 collection final yr, with the Ultra mannequin getting a premium therapy, whereas the usual mannequin needed to dwell with massive compromises.
We’re but to overview the Galaxy S21 5G and Galaxy S21+ 5G, so I will reserve my judgement for them until we do, nevertheless it’s clear that Samsung needs to push customers who need probably the most premium expertise in the direction of the Ultra mannequin, even when they do not care that a lot about cameras.
Samsung has bumped up the costs of all its Galaxy S telephones this yr, however the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G, particularly, remains to be well worth the premium in my view. It affords higher worth than the iPhone 12 Pro Max (Assessment), is equally highly effective, and has the most effective telephoto camera implementations available in the market. Add to that the wonderful construct high quality, nice display, robust battery life, and productiveness options resembling S Pen assist, and that is simply the perfect Samsung flagship thus far.
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