Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review

The Galaxy S21 Ultra is the most powerful Android phone that has two zoom lenses, an impressive display, and a long-lasting battery. Its S Pen is just an added benefit

For

Dynamic 6.8-inch AMOLED display

Dual Telephoto lenses

S Pen support

Fantastic battery life

Against

Pricey

There is no microSD or charger.

A little heavy

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is the top Android phone that you can purchase at the moment. It comes with all the features you’d want in a smartphone unless you prefer smaller models.

At $1,199 — 100 dollars more expensive than iPhone 12 Pro Max -the S21 Ultra comes with a dynamic 6.8-inch display with two telephoto lenses that provide insane zooming power. In addition, S21 Ultra S21 Ultra supports the S Pen which is the first for Samsung’s Galaxy S series.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra specs

Display Size:6.8 inches MOLED (3200 1400) 10 to 120Hz

CPU: Snapdragon 888

RAM: 12GB, 16GB

Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB

Cameras in the rear:108MP wide (f/1.8) 12MP ultrawide (f/2.2) 10MP Telephoto (3x zoom f/2.4) 10, 10MP Telephoto (10x zoom ), f/4.9) Laser AF Sensor

The front camera is40MP (f/2.2)

Video:8K 30 fps/4K 60 fps

Battery:5,000 mAh

The battery life is11 minutes and 25 hours (60Hz) 10, 07 (adaptive)

Wireless:5G, Wi-Fi 6E, UWB

Format:6.5 x 2.97 x 0.35 inches

The weight is8.08 ounces

The Galaxy S21 Ultra comes in a more sleek design and provides more performance thanks to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 chip. It’s also different from the regular Galaxy S21, you don’t need to make the same number of trade-offs. It comes with a superior camera with 108 MP and an aluminum back (instead of plastic) and more RAM and a better-quality display.

The most secure unlocked Android phones The S21 Ultra ranks

Which one should you get? Galaxy S21 vs Galaxy S21 Ultra

Galaxy S21 Ultra vs iPhone 12 Pro Max The winner is… who is the victor…

As you’ll read the following Galaxy S21 Ultra review, there are some drawbacks that aren’t worth it, such as the absence of a charging port in the box. However, overall, it’s one of the top phones you can get for the money willing to spend a bit more and also one of the top Android phones in general.

Note: Editor’s note: we named our favorite with the Tom’s Guide Awards 2021 for the category of phones. Galaxy S21 Ultra Galaxy S21 Ultra won the top design award for phones as well as two highly commended awards.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review cheat sheet

The vibrant display on Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra delivers a smooth 120Hz refresh rate as well as the most vibrant WQHD resolution at same. It’s also incredibly vibrant and vivid to be sure.

The two Telephoto lenses (3x as well as 10x optical zoom) bring you close to your subject and the latest Zoom Lock feature keeps things more stable with the space-based Digital Zoom.

It’s nice to have the S Pen support is nice to have, however you need to buy the stylus as well as a case to keep it separate.

With a price of $1,199, the S21 Ultra isn’t cheap, but it’s still $200 cheaper than its predecessor the S20 Ultra. It’s not equipped with the charger included inside the box or an SD card slot for microSD cards.

The bigger fingerprint sensor is welcomed and makes S21 Ultra S21 Ultra easier to unlock.

Its 11.5-hour battery lifespan is great for a phone with 5G.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra release date and price

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is currently available and you can purchase the phone as a carrier or unlocked version of the handset.

The Ultra costs $1,199 and comes with the capacity of 12GB RAM as well as 128GB storage. You can upgrade the storage capacity to 256GB, and upgrade to a model that has 16GB of RAM, and a capacity of 512GB. The 256GB model will cost you $1,249, which is essentially an additional $50 and $1,379 for the Galaxy S21 Ultra with 512GB of storage.

U.K In the U.K., the Galaxy S21 Ultra starts at just PS1,149 for the 12-GB RAM model and 128GB storage capacity as the base model. The price increases to PS1,199 for a 256GB model and then goes up to PS1,329 for a model with 16GB and 512GB of internal storage.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review Colors and design

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is a phone that is a monolith. Yes, the contour-cut camera’s design blends camera bump with the back of the glass however, it’s still an enormous device that you’ll need to hold using two hands. It was voted the best-made phone in the Tom’s Guide Awards 2021 for phones.

With its 0.35-inch display as well as a weight of 8.08 pounds it is the S21 Ultra is thicker and heavier than the iPhone 12 Pro Max. The screen is slightly curled in contrast to the flat normal Galaxy S21, but not too much of a nuisance. I have never accidentally tapped anything on the screen as I did with the last year’s Ultra.

Galaxy S21 Ultra Galaxy S21 Ultra comes in only two colors available that are available from the carriers Phantom Black and Phantom Silver. I would probably go with black due to the slimming effects. Samsung.com offers the exclusive S21 Ultra colors, though it’s not limited to Phantom Navy, Phantom Titanium, and Phantom Brown. Best Buy has an exclusive Navy Blue colorway, also.

One of my most loved features includes one of my favorite design upgrades is a 1.7x bigger fingerprint scanner. It makes it simpler to unlock your phone, and I noticed this to be true for the S21 Ultra didn’t ask me to push the sensor again as did previous phones.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review: Display

Its 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED display that comes with Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra is simply one of the most beautiful displays on a smartphone. It’s bright and vibrant and doesn’t force you to choose between the best resolution or most high-refresh rate, like its predecessor.

You’ll be captivated when you watch videos on this phone. Colors are vivid as ever, with the viewing angles being great and wide while watching videos on Netflix.

However, the Ultra beats the iPhone by delivering high-speed refresh rates. You not only get extremely smooth scrolling and gaming You also get the 120Hz refresh rate and quad-HD resolution in the same package. This means you don’t need to decide between the highest resolution or the highest rate of a refresh.

Its S21 Ultra is also smart enough to automatically adjust up the rate of refresh all low to just 10Hz in order to reduce power consumption.

Another plus is that the display of the S21 Ultra is simple to read in the outdoors as it has the ability to reach an optimum brightness of 1500 nits. Our tests showed that it was found that the S21 Ultra averaged 821 nits which is more than the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s 654 nits.

The S21 Ultra’s display was bright during our lab tests and produced 81.4 percent of the complex DCI-P3 color range in comparison to 84.8 percent on the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

The colors on the iPhone were a little more precise, with its screen having the Delta-E score of 0.07 which is compared with 0.35 in Galaxy S21 Ultra. Galaxy S21 Ultra.

Samsung claims that it’s the S21 Ultra has a 3 million:1 contrast ratio. That is 50% more than its predecessor, the S20 Ultra. Additionally, there’s the Eye Comfort Shield feature that’s specifically designed to help reduce fatigue in the eyes by reducing blue light.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review: Cameras

The cameras are where it is that the Galaxy S21 Ultra stands out the most from its predecessors, the S21 Plus and S21 Plus. It has a main 108MP wide sensor as well as an Ultra-wide 12MP camera, which is further enhanced with laser-based autofocus.

Space Zoom Space Zoom is so good it is safe to keep out of improper hands. #GalaxyS21Ultra pic.twitter.com/ONJPWtdUZYJanuary 15, 2021

Learn more about

The Galaxy S21 Ultra will make you feel like a spy when you zoom into. In contrast to its iPhone 12 Pro Max is restricted to 2.5x optical zoom The S21 Ultra packs two telephoto lenses that are 10x and 3x optical zoom.

I was awed by how close I was to this sign on the highway. When zoomed to 100x, the picture can start to shake, but the latest Zoom Lock feature can help you take a steadier picture simply by pressing.

The main camera with 108MP can take 12-bit HDR photos that have 64 times the color depth and triple the dynamic range as the S20 Ultra. In addition, there’s a 12-bit RAW option available within Pro mode.

I tried the camera in a nearby market to take a picture of fruit, and the red peppers I saw in the background appeared fresh and tasty. It’s possible to see an incredible quantity of details when zooming into it. In contrast, an phone 12 Pro Max’s photo is even more vivid.

It’s the Galaxy S21 Ultra is also an excellent companion while you’re out in the open. Take this shot of massive trees that I shot in an adjacent park. It’s easy to see fine details in the bark and the camera does a fantastic job of capturing the cloud silhouetted against blue skies when balancing all the shadows in the background. I prefer the image of the S21 Ultra in this instance to its counterpart, the iPhone 12 Pro Max, but it’s similar.

Samsung states that it has enhanced the Portrait mode of the S21 using AI to help distinguish subjects from the background. Samsung’s S21 Ultra delivers a great image quality with bokeh. I find my skin color to be warmer when using my iPhone 12 pro-Max, but the overall S21 image looks fantastic.

Its Galaxy S21 Ultra also performs very well in low-light conditions thanks to a more efficient Bright Night sensor and 12MP Nona-binning technology to reduce noise reduction. In this image, you can see more rocks and bushes in the foreground of the image of the S21 Ultra in comparison with the iPhone 12 Pro Max. iPhone 12 Pro Max, however, the iPhone’s colors appear more natural.

The iPhone 12 Pro Max pulls ahead in this picture of a golden retriever. The S21 Ultra’s picture is too bright and is a little washed-out, whereas his fur is more natural and beautiful when using the iPhone.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review: Video

In terms of video, The Galaxy S21 Ultra can record 8K video at up to 30 frames per second and all of its cameras are able to record 4K videos at up to 60 fps. The most exciting video upgrade is Director’s view.

The new vlogger mode allows you to use the cameras on the front and back to simultaneously record video. You can also view live thumbnails for each camera while you’re recording and you can also make a quick phone call should you’d like to switch between the two cameras.

Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra’s video looks amazing. When I swam through an aqueduct with the S21 Ultra, it delivered high-quality footage. The dark blue waters as well as the cloudy dock, and puffy clouds were in crystal-clear clarity.

Yes, you can move around when you shoot. With the Super Steady setting on the S21 Ultra engaged, I recorded smooth footage even when I walked up the hill.

If you’re looking to capture photos and stills simultaneously using the single-take 2.0 feature of the S21 Ultra is pretty fun. It was able to record my attempt to reverse layup in slow motion, and also select a decent photo on the top leap. But the music Samsung selects for the auto-generated video clips is cheesy.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review: Performance

The Galaxy S21 Ultra is one of the first smartphones powered using Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 processor, which can be paired with 16GB or 12GB of RAM.

This is a quick Android phone. This S21 Ultra didn’t flinch as I took on multiple enemies in Grimvalor with stunning console-quality graphics.

The flagship is backed by my experiences with incredible benchmark scores. In Geekbench 5, the S21 Ultra recorded 3,440 on the multi-core test as well as 1,123 for single-core tests. This is behind that of the iPhone 12 Pro Max, which scored 1,600 and 4,100, but it’s still one of the highest scores we’ve seen on an Android phone.

The S21 Ultra also fared well in benchmarks like the 3DMark Wild Life graphics benchmark and clocked 34 fps. In comparison, the iPhone 12 Pro Max averaged 54 frames per second.

When we tested our video editing tests with our Adobe Premiere Rush app, the Galaxy S21 Ultra took 1 minute and 2 seconds to convert the video from 4K to 1080p. This is faster than the Note 20 Ultra’s 1:16 however it’s still a long way further than those on the iPhone 12, Pro Max’s time of 28 seconds.

But, despite having an array of storage options with S21 Ultra S21 Ultra — 128 or 256GB – — Samsung has eliminated the microSD card slot. Therefore, you aren’t able to expand the storage.

Galaxy S21 Ultra test The battery life and charging

If you’re in search of a smartphone that lasts all day long, this is yours. When we ran our web surfing test of battery life over 5G the S21 Ultra’s 5,000 mAh capacity lasted eleven hours and twenty-five minutes. This beats that of the Apple 12 Pro Max’s time of 10:53 and puts the Ultra on our top phone battery life charts.

Be aware that this is when you have the 60Hz display standard activated. You’ll notice less battery power with an adaptive mode (up to 120Hz) activated. In this mode, we recorded the battery last for 10-hours and seven mins.

The most frustrating thing is that you won’t receive chargers inside the box. Sure, it’s the right choice but if you’ve never purchased a smartphone in the past couple of years and do not include USB-C, it’ll bring more cash out of your wallet.

Utilizing a charger of 25 watts, using a 25-watt charger, S21 Ultra reached 56% in just 30 minutes and 31% in just 15 minutes.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review: S Pen

The first time that a Galaxy S device supports the S Pen, the S21 Ultra allows this to happen thanks to the Wacom digitizer that is built inside the device. This S Pen, which is available as an option allows you to sketch, draw and make notes just like you would use Galaxy Note 20 and the Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra. It is also useful for signing documents quickly.

Keep in mind you’ll need to remember that S Pen is sold separately as well, and you’ll have to purchase an S Pen-compatible case if need to carry the stylus while on the move even when not in use. Samsung offers the Silicone Cover with S Pen included for $69.99.

I played with this case and it added bulk to my already heavy phones. This case’s S Pen functionality worked pretty well and you can also enjoy features such as a Screen Off memo for quickly taking notes. But, since Bluetooth isn’t integrated it isn’t possible to make use of the pen as a remote control, as you could use Samsung’s Note 20 Ultra. This means you can’t move tracks with a single click or play slideshows.

Samsung is developing a new stylus. It’s called the S Pen Pro ships later this year, with an undetermined cost, and will come with Bluetooth connectivity.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review 5G, Wi-Fi 6E and UWB

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra supports the most recent wireless standards, including 5G. This device’s Qualcomm X60 modem in this phone is capable of carrying aggregate, which will bring faster speeds to the peak as well as deliver higher power efficiency.
The performance was fairly solid at my end of the woods with T-Mobile. I could see download speeds that exceeded 160 Mbps. It’s not great, however, I was surprised that the iPhone 12 Pro Max mustered just 100 Mbps in the same spot when I put the identical SIM card into that phone.

Additionally that, Galaxy S21 Ultra Galaxy S21 Ultra is one of the first smartphones that support Wi-Fi 6E. It’s a new standard that provides speedier speeds and higher bandwidth when connected to the right wireless router.

The S21 Ultra has UWB (ultra-wideband) which lets you transfer files to others UWB devices, including Galaxy S21 Plus. Galaxy S21 Plus. You can also make use of this handset as a virtual keypad to select 2022 vehicles.

If you’re constantly losing items as I then you should look into Samsung’s latest Galaxy SmartTags. It can be used along with SmartThings Find app to track every item that you own, from keys to purses. It is also possible to make use of SmartThings Find to locate other Samsung devices. SmartThings Find an app to locate other Samsung devices, like tablets, phones, smartwatches, and headphones.

Galaxy S21 Ultra vs. Galaxy S21 vs Galaxy S21 Plus

There is a whole article devoted to Galaxy S21 vs Galaxy S21 Plus and Galaxy S21 Ultra, as there are numerous distinctions. However, here are the main points to be aware of. Galaxy S21 Ultra Galaxy S21 Ultra has the largest resolution main camera (108MP against 64MP for S21 plus) as well as the highest-quality zooms (100x instead of 30x) and also the sharpest display (QHD instead of 1080p).

The display of the Ultra is also more lively since it has the ability to be set from 120Hz all right down to 10Hz in contrast, the screens on the standard S21 as well as the S21 Plus can be reduced to 48Hz. This can help save battery time. Also, the S21 Ultra has the largest battery with 5,000 mAh. as compared to S21 (4,000 mAh) and S21 Plus (4,800 mAh).

The S21 Ultra is the one with the highest RAM with 12GB and 16GB, whereas both the S21 Plus and S21 Plus are able to manage with 8GB. The only difference is that this S21 Ultra has a 512GB storage capacity. Check out our complete Samsung Galaxy S21 review for more information.

Galaxy S21 Ultra vs. iPhone 12 Pro Max

The most formidable rival for Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra is the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Apple’s flagship phone offers faster performance thanks to the A14 Bionic chip as well as an extremely durable Ceramic Shield front display that’s built to last longer. This version of the iPhone 12 Pro Max is also lighter and thinner.

However, this Galaxy S21 Ultra has plenty of advantages over the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Samsung’s phone has more flexible cameras (especially with regard to zooming) as well as a 120Hz display as well as an on-screen fingerprint reader and a longer battery lifespan. I’d say it’s worth the $100 extra over Apple’s flagship.

For more, see our in-depth Galaxy S21 Ultra vs iPhone 12 Pro Max face-off.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs. Galaxy Z Fold 3

Samsung’s folding phones are available. Samsung’s Galaxy Z fold 3 is here. Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the latest kid in the market from Samsung that showcases the company’s capabilities in display technology as well as hardware design. This Fold 3 is a big powerful, robust phone that Samsung intends to take over the legendary Galaxy Note line (RIP).

Its Z Fold 3 also has S Pen support like the S21 Ultra, though it has smaller cameras. Photographers who like Samsung phones are likely to stick to Samsung’s S21 Ultra this year.

We’re launching our Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs. Galaxy S21 Ultra face-off update is currently in development and we’ll test these two smartphones against one another to see which is the best choice for you. If you’re sick of the design of your old phone and want something new, consider it’s possible that the Galaxy Z Fold 3 (or even Galaxy Z Flip 3) is worth considering -with the knowledge that it’s rather expensive.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review: Verdict

Samsung has almost perfected the large-screen smartphone with its Galaxy S21 Ultra. The screen is among the best and the cameras are better and you can make it a Galaxy Note if you want to.

Personally, I view this S Pen support as more than a benefit due to the additional cost.

There are a few issues I don’t love regarding this top-of-the-line. It’s quite large weighty, as is the absence of a charging port and microSD card slot both make me feel. While it’s true that the S21 Ultra is fast, it’s still not quite as fast as that of the iPhone 12 Pro Max. But, the Samsung phone is more durable on battery and allows you to do much more using its camera.

If you’re looking to find the top model of Android phones then the S21 Ultra is it. However, it does have to contend with the OnePlus 9 Pro, which is a great phone. OnePlus 9 Pro for the title of the ultimate Android phone.

Further: Galaxy S21 Plus vs. Galaxy S21 Ultra: Which one is the best for you?

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 Vs. Galaxy S21 Ultra: Which Samsung phone will be the ultimate phone?

How can I change the Bixby button on the Samsung Galaxy S21?

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor-in-chief for Tom’s Guide and has covered technology for more than 20 years. In addition to managing the direction of Tom’s Guide, Mark specializes in covering everything mobile and has examined dozens of phones and other devices. He has also spoken at major industry events and has appeared frequently on TV discussing the current technology. Mark was the editor-in-chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has been featured within Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.

 

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