The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra offer the most out of the all of the Galaxy S21 series. The last year’s S20 successor is focused purely on the top performance and in this review, we will take a look at the S21 Ultra and why it is currently considered the best Android phone of 2021.
- Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra: Design
- Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra: Display
- Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra: Camera
- Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra: Hardware and performance
- Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra: Connectivity
- Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra: S Pen
- Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra: Battery and Charging
- Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra: Release date, Price and where to buy
- Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra: Pre-order Gift
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra: Design
🎨 The new flagship’s design has been known for a couple of weeks ahead of the official reveal. The S21 Ultra has gotten a metal frame with slightly rounded edges around the side and glass back with nice colour finish.
The S21 Ultra comes in several different colours such as (Phantom) Silver, Black if bought via a network carrier. There are also three exclusive colours (Titanium, Navy, Brown) available if you order directly via Samsung.com, although as their small print says, the delivery may take up to 4 weeks, as these colours apparently require additional production.
While the last year’s S20 Ultra size was 166.9 x 76.0 x 8.8 mm, the new S21 Ultra with its 165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm is slightly smaller but a bit thicker. It shouldn’t be a dealbreaker as the difference is really negligible. The S21 is, however, a bit heavier, weighing 227g ( Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G mmWave even 229g), compared to the S20’s 220g. Even though you won’t even notice after a while as it is not a prominently large difference, the phone can certainly feel a bit bulkier in your hands.
The camera raised bump is also nicely integrated into the phone’s body and does not unnecessarily distract or interfere with the overall design.
The S21 Ultra also improved its water resistance from the previous model to IP68.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra: Display
📲 Simply said, Samsung can do outstanding displays, and this 6.8″ edge Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X is not an exception. The display with 3200×1440 resolution and 515 ppi (pixels per inch) feature HDR10+ and 120Hz refresh rate. The screen covers almost the full front side as there is almost no bezel, only a tiny punch-hole for the selfie camera.
For your information, both S21 and S21+ got smaller, Full-HD (2400×1080) screen, either 6.2″ with 421 ppi for S21 and 6.7″ with 394 ppi for S21+.
The screen is bright with vibrant colours and together with the 120Hz refresh rate offers even better and smoother gaming or scrolling experience.
🔆 The brightness of the display gets up to 1500 nits, which is 300 nits brighter the S20, giving you much better readability outdoors. The screen also has 50% higher contrast ratio than the S20 has had, having the colours strongly pop out of the screen while watching movies or your favourite TV series, while at the same time protecting your eyes with Eye Control Shield limiting emitted blue light.
👉 Under the screen you will(not) see the ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, which has been made 1.7x larger, making it even easier to unlock the phone now.
👀 The S21 Ultra also features Always on Display which is quite customizable. You can choose from a variety of clock designs, calendar, images from your gallery, Bitmoji, animated GIFs or Song information.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra: Camera
📸 Camera, among other things, is where the S21 Ultra stands out against the other models.
At the back of the phone, you will find:
- Main 108MP (f1.8) Wide-angle camera shooting at 83° angle
- 12MP Ultra Wide Camera shooting at 120° angle
- 2x 10MP Telephoto camera (used to create a bokeh effect in ‘portrait mode’ photos) capable of doing 3x and 10x optical zoom and up to 100x Space Zoom (basically a digital zoom with a picture improvement).
With focusing helps Laser Auto Focus, also placed at the back with all the lenses, making it faster and more accurate to focus on the subject (for instance during low light or in close range).
Also, we cannot forget on the 40MP (f2.2) selfie camera placed on the front of the phone in a tiny punch-hole.
The S21 Ultra is capable of recording video in 8K at 24fps (movie-like) as well as 4K video at 60fps. Additionally, it also supports Super-Steady and Slow motion Full HD (1080p) video at 60/240fps, Super Slow-mo HD (720p) video at 960fps and Hyperlapse 4K video at 30fps.
It also features a great function for many video bloggers called Director’s View where the phone records from both the back and front cameras at the same time and you can quickly switch between them.
Together with Scene Optimazer containing 30 modes (Face, Baby, Person, Dog, Beaches, Sky, Mountain…) the camera also support these modes:
- Single Take
- Portrait Video
- Pro Video
- Super Slow-mo
- Director’s View
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra: Hardware and performance
📱 As expected, the new Qualcomm’s processor Snapdragon 888 have been used in the S21 Ultra. The processor built with 5nm architecture boosts the performance (both AI and graphic) compared to the Snapdragon 865 by 25% along with 25% more power efficiency. It also improves camera processing allowing the phone to process data from three cameras at the same time.
The first reports confirm that the S21 is very smooth and fast, even while working with multiple apps simultaneously. It has also been reported that the S21 performs well during gameplay, doesn’t stutter or cause any excessive overheating.
The S21 Ultra comes in three different hardware variations:
- 16GB RAM (LPDDR5) with 512GB internal storage
- 12GB RAM (LPDDR5) with 256GB internal storage
- 12GB RAM (LPDDR5) with 128GB internal storage
Keep in mind that the real internal storage will be smaller due to pre-installed OS and other software.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra: Connectivity
📡 It won’t come to surprise that Samsung’s leading flagship supports all of the latest wireless technologies. As expected, it supports 5G which has been improved to faster speeds and lower battery consumption. For those who don’t have the access to 5G yet, there is also LTE available at up to 2Gbps download speeds.
It is one of the first phones which supports the new WiFi 6Ghz spectrum theoretically delivering higher and more stable speeds. In case you don’t own the new 6Ghz router, the S21 Ultra still supports standard 2.4G and 5Ghz spectrums used in most of the current routers.
The S21 also supports Bluetooth in version 5.2, NFC, location services from GPS, Galileo, Glonass and BeiDou) and so-called UWB (Ultra Wideband) which is a Samsung’s new wireless technology focused on short but more focused data transfer. This can be either between 2 phones or between your phone and other devices such as smart locks or smart tags (SmartThings Find). This technology is still mostly in development and we can surely expect bigger support among Samsung’s devices of all sort.
For those who like to share your videos, photos or other content with others on a bigger screen, you can connect the Galaxy S21 Ultra with your smart TV over USB Type-C (4K at 60fps) or wireless via Smart View (1080p at 30fps)
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra: S Pen
🖊 Something for the Galaxy Note admirers. The S21 Ultra is the first Galaxy S series phone which supports the S Pen which surely comes handy if you happen to use your smartphone for work on-the-go a lot.
The S Pen is not included in the box and is sold separately for £34 ( 39.90€ / $39.99).
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra: Battery and Charging
🔋 Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra uses the same battery as its predecessor S20, however, thanks to 5nm technology used in the present processor, the phone lasts longer on a charge.
We still waiting for more tests to be made so we can report more accurate information on this matter.
You can charge the Galaxy S21 Ultra with fast 25W charger or via a Qi wireless pad such as official Samsung’s Wireless Charger Trio which we have previously reviewed.
You can buy one on Amazon.co.uk for £74.99 or on Amazon.com for $69.99.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra: Release date, Price and where to buy
🗓The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra has been unveiled during a press conference on January 14 and the pre-orders are now open. The release date of when the first phones will be delivered and when you will be able to buy the phones of your network carrier or other stores have been set on Friday, January 29.
💸 In the UK, the prices of S21 Ultra 5G are as following:
- £1149 for 128GB version with 12GB RAM
- £1199 for 256GB version with 12GB RAM
- £1329 for 512GB version with 16GB RAM
In the Europe, the prices of S21 Ultra 5G are as following:
- £1249 for 128GB version with 12GB RAM
- £1299 for 256GB version with 12GB RAM
- £1429 for 512GB version with 16GB RAM
In the USA, the prices of S21 Ultra 5 are as following:
- £1199.99 for 128GB version with 12GB RAM
- £1249.99 for 256GB version with 12GB RAM
- £1379.99 for 512GB version with 16GB RAM
They come in two (Phantom Black and Phantom Silver) colours. As written earlier on, you can now get Titanium, Navy or Brown colours only if ordered via official Samsung.com website.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Pre-order gift
🎁 If you have already decided to buy the S21 Ultra, you may want to hurry and pre-order your new phone now as you can claim free gifts if you pre-order till January 28. If claimed, you will also receive Galaxy Buds Pro (current price £219), Galaxy SmartTag (current price £29), 10% discount on Samsung tablet, watch or others and 4 free months of YouTube Premium.
You can claim the gifts only if pre-order via the official Samsung Shop Online UK.