Samsung has unveiled the top-end smartphones of the Galaxy S21 series. We managed to get acquainted with the flagship model of the series. Let’s see how practical is a fresh design? Does the screen got better, and what about the cameras? We share our first impressions of the new Samsung S21 Ultra 5G.
Looks better in real life than in photos
Even before the official presentation, the Samsung S21 Ultra was criticized for its camera design. However, this is the case when you need to hold the phone in your hands and conclude. Photos and renders do not convey the design sense at all. In reality, this flagship looks great, and the bizarre arrangement of cameras is considered systematic. Of course, the camera cluster itself sticks out, and the device staggers to the table. But it has become the norm for a long time and can be easily cured with a protective cover.
While the Galaxy S21 series shares a similar look and feel, the Ultra feels solid. The device is large and heavy, but it reveals pleasant feelings: you’re holding a real thing in your hands. Holders with large palms will control the smartphone with one hand, but using two is still more comfortable.
Another argument in favor of the validity and premium quality of the Galaxy S21 Ultra – the gadget is available in only two colors: Black and Silver. And no bright colors like young models. Unlike the previous generation devices, the new flagship received a frosted glass back panel. It practically does not shine in the light and does not collect prints. It can be said that the metal frame is brighter than the rear glass.
Is the screen the best again?
The Galaxy S21 Ultra features a 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X sensor with Quad HD + resolution and a refresh rate that dynamically changes from 10 Hz to 120 Hz. Also, Samsung claims a record brightness of 1500 nits. Certainly, special publications will conduct laboratory tests, and such display would be called the best in the industry.
The screen is definitely of high quality. It is very bright and contrasting. In a room with a lot of light sources, the unit’s maximum brightness seems even higher. You quickly get accustomed to a frequency of 120 Hz, and you notice the difference from 60 Hz in direct comparison. Everything scrolls super smoothly, the display responds to touch without delay.
An equally interesting feature of the Galaxy S21 Ultra screen is support for the proprietary S Pen. It is convenient to take handwritten notes, edit photos and videos, make screenshots of different sizes, control the camera remotely, and so on.
It is important to note that the smartphone does not have an S Pen connector like the Galaxy Note devices. Instead, the manufacturer offers branded cases with stylus mounts. True, they increase body size, especially in width, making it uncomfortable to use the device with one hand.
Can you shoot another Galaxy on camera?
The Galaxy S21 Ultra has the most advanced camera set in the Samsung flagship. There is 108-megapixel main module with a new sensor, 12-megapixel wide, and a pair of 10-megapixel telephoto lenses are responsible for 3 or 10x optical zoom. It also supports all kinds of modes, including night preset, optical and electronic stabilization, shooting in HDR with 12-bit color depth. It is the first smartphone from a brand capable of shooting in 4K and 60 fps with any camera.
The photo opportunities of the device pleased, and in some moments even surprised. For example, we tried to capture people in front of huge glowing lights. One might expect that it would turn out to be either an overexposed screen or too dark faces. But when you hover the camera, the device literally thought for a second and immediately produced a balanced photo in terms of light. In the final shot, both the characters and the background behind them turned out great.
Close-up photography deserves special attention. When using a zoom, this is enough to point the camera at the object and keep the camera motionless for a few seconds – after that, the image will automatically freeze and allow you to take a blur-free photo. Everything also works at a maximum of 100x zoom. When the smartphone is moved, only the picture on the screen is left behind – obviously, the software feature of such stabilization is affected.
When choosing the 10x zoom, the deterioration in image quality is not noticeable at all. At 30x zoom, the display looks great. In the case of 100x zoom, the picture has already collapsed into pixels, but hardly anyone will use this mode to take breathtaking pictures. To understand the effect of zoom, let’s be clear: at 1x, a person can be seen completely, and at 100x, only his ear is visible.
What about performance?
In the US market, the Galaxy S21 Ultra comes with Snapdragon 888 processor, built with a 5nm Qualcomm X60 modem, a 6th generation AI engine, and the manufacturer promises a 35% faster image processor. We have not yet tested games, but the interface and pre-installed applications take flight, especially when you turn on 120Hz. However, you don’t expect anything else from the flagship.
Battery life is not yet measured, however, a 5000 mAh battery with a 5-nm chipset inspires hope for energy efficiency. Also, last year’s S20 Ultra has the same battery which shows a very good runtime between charges.
As a result of the first look, the Samsung S21 Ultra made a good impression. Among the obvious drawbacks, one can only single out the high price – starting from $1,199.99 on Amazon.com and Bhphotovideo.com; and large dimensions of the case.
On the other hand, the screen is really luxurious and comfortable to work with. The cameras impressed us a lot, we want to shoot everything and everyone as soon as possible. Most of the questions so far have been about performance, so we will try to complete all necessary tests as soon as possible and share our findings in a full Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review.