Samsung Galaxy S21 & S21 Ultra hands-on review

Reviews
mobtkr24 April 2021Last Update : 1 year ago
Samsung Galaxy S21 & S21 Ultra hands-on review

Introduction

The Samsung S lineup has evolved a lot in the last few years and moved from two flagship models to three, but without a doubt the most significant change is the ultimate Galaxy S flagship – the Ultra. And we can say that this year’s Ultra does not compromise, unlike its predecessor, which, although it was a good phone, lacked some key features and played catch-up with the competition. However, the Galaxy Ultra S21 5G does not have that problem. It controls absolutely every box and has a few unique features that can persuade you to buy one despite the relatively high price. Which by the way is € 100 lower than last year, so there’s your first reason.

A quick look at the specification sheet suggests a significant upgrade in the camera department, as the device has not one but two telephoto lenses. One offers a shifting 10x optical zoom while the other delivers a more flexible 3x optical zoom.

The primary sensor is also not overlooked, which is a second generation 108MP sensor with 9-in-1 pixel nona-binning. In addition, the Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel can now go up to 120Hz with a resolution of 1440p +. It is also lighter and supports an adaptive refresh rate ranging from 10Hz to 120Hz, just like the Note20 Ultra.

Overview of Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G:

  • Body: 165.1×75.6×8.9mm, 227g; Glass front (Gorilla Glass Victus), glass bag (Gorilla Glass), aluminum frame; IP68 dust / water repellent (up to 1.5 m in 30 minutes), Stylus support.
  • Screen: 6.80 “Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 120Hz, HDR10 +, 1500 nit (peak), 1440x3200px resolution, 20: 9 aspect ratio, 515ppi; Always on display.
  • Chipset: Exynos 2100 (5 nm) – International, Qualcomm SM8350 Snapdragon 888 (5 nm) – USA / China: Octa-core (1×2.9 GHz Cortex-X1 & 3×2.80 GHz Cortex-A78 & 4×2.2 GHz Cortex-A55) – International, Octa-core (1×2.84 GHz Kryo 680 & 3×2.42 GHz Kryo 680 & 4×180 GHz Kryo 680 – USA / China; Mali-G78 MP14 – International, Adreno 660 – USA / China.
  • Memory: 128 GB 12 GB RAM, 256 GB 12 GB RAM, 512 GB 16 GB RAM; UFS 3.1 ,.
  • OS / software: Android 11, a user interface 3.1.
  • Rear camera: Wide (head): 108 MP, f / 1.8, 26 mm, 1 / 1.33 “, 0.8 ,m, PDAF, Laser AF, OIS; Telephoto: 10 MP, f / 4.9, 240 mm, 1 / 3.24 “, 1.22 µm, dual pixel PDAF, OIS, 10x optical zoom; Telephoto: 10 MP, f / 2.4, 70 mm, 1 / 3.24 “, 1.22 µm, dual pixel PDAF, OIS, 3x optical zoom; Ultra wide angle: 12 MP, f / 2.2, 13 mm, 1 / 2.55 “, 1.4 µm, dual pixel PDAF, Super Steady video.
  • Front camera: 40 MP, f / 2.2, 26 mm (wide), 1 / 2.8 “, 0.7 ,m, PDAF.
  • Video recording: Rear camera: 8K @ 24fps, 4K @ 30 / 60fps, 1080p @ 30/60 / 240fps, 720p @ 960fps, HDR10 +, stereo sound recording, gyro-EIS; Front camera: 4K @ 30/60 fps, 1080p @ 30 fps.
  • Battery: 5000mAh; Fast charging 25W, USB Power Delivery 3.0, fast Qi / PMA wireless charging 15W, reverse wireless charging 4.5W.
  • Various: Fingerprint reader (during display, ultrasound); NFC; FM radio (Snapdragon model only; depending on market / operator); Samsung DeX, Samsung Wireless DeX (desktop experience support), Samsung Pay (Visa, MasterCard certified), Ultra Wideband (UWB) support.

Unfortunately, we can not say the same for the Vanilla Galaxy S21 5G. There are a few noticeable downgrades in terms of build quality, screen and exclusion of the microSD card. The screen is no longer 1440p + and caps at 1080p, while the back of the device is plastic. We saw a similar move from Samsung when it released the vanilla Galaxy Note20. And while these downgrades were introduced, no upgrades were made either except for the chipset of course. We just hope that the lower resolution screen will positively affect the battery life as it was not great before.

Overview of Samsung Galaxy S21 5G:

  • Body: 151.7×71.2×7.9mm, 169g; Glass front (Gorilla Glass Victus), plastic back, aluminum frame; IP68 dust / water repellent (up to 1.5 m in 30 minutes).
  • Screen: 6.20 “Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 120Hz, HDR10 +, 1300 nit (peak), 1080x2400px resolution, 20: 9 aspect ratio, 421ppi; Always on display.
  • Chipset: Exynos 2100 (5 nm) – International, Qualcomm SM8350 Snapdragon 888 (5 nm) – USA / China: Octa-core (1×2.9 GHz Cortex-X1 & 3×2.80 GHz Cortex-A78 & 4×2.2 GHz Cortex-A55) – International, Octa-core (1×2.84 GHz Kryo 680 & 3×2.42 GHz Kryo 680 & 4×180 GHz Kryo 680 – USA / China; Mali-G78 MP14 – International, Adreno 660 – USA / China.
  • Memory: 128 GB 8 GB RAM, 256 GB 8 GB RAM; UFS 3.X.
  • OS / software: Android 11, a user interface 3.1.
  • Rear camera: Wide (head): 12 MP, f / 1.8, 26 mm, 1 / 1.76 “, 1.8 ,m, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS; Telephoto: 64 MP, f / 2.0, 29 mm, 1 / 1.72 “, 0.8 ,m, PDAF, OIS, 1.1x optical zoom, 3x hybrid zoom; Ultra wide angle: 12 MP, f / 2.2, 13 mm, 120 °, 1 / 2.55 “1.4 µm, super stable video.
  • Front camera: 10 MP, f / 2.2, 26 mm (wide), 1 / 3.24 “, 1.22 µm, Dual Pixel PDAF.
  • Video recording: Rear camera: 8K @ 24fps, 4K @ 30 / 60fps, 1080p @ 30/60 / 240fps, 720p @ 960fps, HDR10 +, stereo sound recording, gyro-EIS; Front camera: 4K @ 30/60 fps, 1080p @ 30 fps.
  • Battery: 4000mAh; Fast charging 25W, USB Power Delivery 3.0, fast Qi / PMA wireless charging 15W, reverse wireless charging 4.5W.
  • Various: Fingerprint reader (during display, ultrasound); NFC; FM radio (Snapdragon model only; depending on market / operator); Samsung DeX, Samsung Wireless DeX (desktop experience support), Samsung Pay (Visa, MasterCard certified).

To compensate for these changes, the Samsung Galaxy S21 lowered the price. This one costs € 50 less than its predecessor, and after a few months it could easily fit into the “affordable flagship” category. But until then, let’s take a closer look at how the two Galaxy S21s look and feel at first glance.

Samsung Galaxy S21 & S21 Ultra practical review
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