In the smartphone industry, the word ‘flagship’ has been tossed around quite a bit and has lost its sense and importance as a result. For the uninitiated, a flagship is a smartphone without compromise that gets the best features money can buy. The Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G, Samsung’s latest smartphone, is a flagship in the true sense of the term. It’s huge, it has under the hood loads of horsepower and a camera setup that can click amazing pictures in a number of different scenarios. What’s the catch, then? Well, Samsung needs prospective buyers to shell out for the phone upwards of Rs one lac, and the S21 Ultra 5G leaves very little room for error for that amount.
In addition, the company has removed important package accessories from the retail packaging of the S21 Ultra, including a case, a pair of earbuds and a wall charger, following in Apple’s footsteps. This draws even more attention to the sticker price of the smartphone, as the S21 Ultra has been priced lower than the S20 Ultra launched last year everywhere around the globe. However, in India, compared to last year’s edition, the company has launched the phone at a higher starting price.
Build and Design:-
Let’s begin by addressing the elephant in the room; the bump of the camera. Although early leaked renders pointed out that it was potentially an ugly thing, I have to admit, seeing it, actually, you realized it’s not that bad. Sure, it won’t lie flat when you place the phone down on the table. When you put this phone in a case, it is bothersome but easy to repair. And yes, you would like to put it in a scenario. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra can use Victus glass from Corning’s Gorilla Glass and it may be tough, but glass is glass and if dropped, it will break. What does not help this is that the phone is so smooth to the touch that an effort has been made to get a solid, non-slip grip. This year Samsung has stopped bundling cases with their premium smartphones, so you’re better off buying one. In its construction, the device, though slightly slippery, is 100 percent premium. The camera bump, given how it blends into the picture, is also quite elegantly built. The volume and power buttons on the right frame while the left frame is totally blank, implying no more Bixby keys, as far as usability goes.
The smartphones of Samsung, flagship or otherwise, appear to have some of the finest screens. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra takes that to another level. With a Dynamic AMOLED 6.8-inch panel with a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate. The cool thing here is that when you have a static picture on the screen, the display will dynamically adjust its refresh rate to as low as 10Hz, ramping up instantly to 120Hz when you scroll, etc. Actually, it is very smooth and powerful as well, and yes, it works with the display set to QHD+ resolution.
Additionally, for the best HDR viewing experience, the screen is also HDR10+ certified and goes all the way up to 1500nits of peak brightness. Two colour modes are provided by the phone; natural and vibrant. In order to be color correct, natural makes the display less saturated and warmer, while vibrant improves the saturation, giving you colors that pop. The S21 Ultra also comes with a slight curve, while the smaller S21 and S21+ get a flat display, but the palm rejection is strong enough not to be a problem for accidental touches.
Performance, Software and UI:-
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra that we are reviewing is driven by the 5nm process developed by the Exynos 2100 SoC. We also have 12 GB of RAM onboard, and a 16 GB variant is also available, although that will cost you a lot more. You will find the experience to be very smooth, stutter-free, and steady, no matter what you want to do on this screen. Three hours of CoD: Mobile saw the phone get warm to the touch, but that’s more from keeping the phone for that long, and not because of the usual “heating issue.” With their home-grown chip, which, compared to the Qualcomm equivalent, has almost always been criticized for its efficiency but not this time, Samsung really seems to have hit it out of the park. With a single-core score of 798 and a multi-core score of 2614, the Geekbench 5 figures for the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra look very promising. These numbers don’t beat the iPhone 12 Pro ranking, but frankly, it doesn’t feel like a slower or worse experience using the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. For hours, I’ve been playing on this and finding the experience to be top-notch.
Samsung’s OneUI 3.0, which is now considerably more refined than OneUI126.96.36.199, really helps the user experience. There is a handful of UI-tweaks that will stand out, although most of the modifications are subtle and under the hood. The animations and transitions, whether switching windows or pulling down the notification bar, are some of the most noticeable. Like you see on OnePlus phones, the animations are not fast and snappy, but more on the mellow and smooth side, giving them a more elegant feel. In OneUI 3.0, the Edge panel continues to exist, though I’m not sure if it has any use at this point. Thankfully, if it gets distracting, you can turn the function off.
Its best feature is probably the camera on the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. In the camera department the S21 Ultra houses four cameras, 108MP primary camera, a 10x zoom lens with 10MP resolution, a 10MP 70mm lens, and a 12MP ultra-wide lens. The camera app allows you to use them as one single camera system, allowing you to go from 0.6x all the way to 100x, while both are nice on their own. In both picture and video modes, this is available. Although there is certainly a LOT to unpack stuff on the camera side, I’m going to try to make it simpler for you.
Amazing results are provided by the primary 108MP camera. The main camera of the S21 Ultra is easy to focus on throughout the day and the stabilization of the picture ensures that your handshake does not ruin the shot. The findings are noise-free when you travel indoors or in relatively low light situations and appear to maintain some degree of clarity. A 9-in-1 bin is carried out by the sensor, so the results are supposed to be of good quality. A laser system helps the camera this time, ensuring that even in the lowest of lighting conditions, you can lock onto your subject. The only catch is, for the laser to strike the target, you have to be reasonably close to it and then bounce back to deliver the focusing information.
The telephoto lenses work together to carry you all the way to the moon and they could certainly be stronger, although the results are impressive. Shots taken at 100x are slightly hazy, lacking sharpness, but remarkably simple to accomplish. The spot at the center of the frame is what the camera would “hold” when you zoom in to 100x, removing as much hand-shake as possible. As nice as this is, it can also make it hard to make frame changes. The 100x space zoom works as advertised and provides functional results, but I’m not sure how long this feature’s excitement will last.
Finally, we have an ultra-wide 12MP camera, which actually comes with auto-focus, unlike those found on most other smartphones. This helps you to exercise more imagination without having to wonder if your shot is going to be in focus. Overall, the cameras of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra invoke the disappointment of the Galaxy S20 Ultra. The cameras on the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra deliver the promise of great shots taken with the utmost ease, given the price you are paying for this handset.
On the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, the situation with the battery is one where I find it a little challenging. A 5000mAh battery is packed into the handset, but the charging is limited to 25W wired and 15W wireless. Not only did the company decrease the speed of fast charging (45W on the S20 series to 25W on the S21 series), but they also removed the charger from the package by following Apple’s footsteps. Phone charging is certainly a slow process, particularly when you consider the fact that phones from many other manufacturers offer much faster charging, which costs one-fourth of the price.
I used the phone at its QHD+ resolution and adaptive refresh and got a little more than a day’s worth of use regularly. Many photographs were taken, videos were shot and, of course, games were played. I doubt that it will be used too extensively for such tasks by those who actually buy this phone, so you can expect a slightly better battery life. In fact, you can easily expect the battery to last a day and a half when you tone down the resolution to FHD+. Only know that you plan to have to fork out a little over 2 hours to charge it back up to 100 percent when the phone dies.
Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra?
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra feels every bit premium and every bit a smartphone that resides at the very top of the flagship ladder. It’s likely to make the Note series obsolete now that it also provides support for the S-Pen. This year, when it comes to features, efficiency or even cameras, Samsung is not leaving out anything. The only thing I’d like Samsung to change is the speed at which the phones are charged. The Galaxy S21 Ultra makes complete sense if you’re looking for the new and the most prestigious Android experience that will last you at least 2 years.