You need some context. You know when you review something comparing it to something else always gives you a better idea of how the device is going to perform, and i feel like, if you’re looking at the s21 ultra you’re, probably considering the iphone 12 pro max. These are both expensive smartphones. These are probably the best phones you can buy today and if you’re throwing that kind of cash down, you want to make sure you choose the right one. I will say this from a design standpoint. I think they both look absolutely gorgeous. The iphone. Has this boxy big look, it looks very luxurious with its stainless steel edges. It feels very hefty in the hand the s21 ultra has more of a futuristic look. It reminds me of a cyborg, like they embedded the camera into the body, giving it an upgrade. You know if you’re holding these devices the s21 ultra is so much nicer in the hand the iphone is thicker like it’s wider. It takes up more space in your palm, making it more difficult to hold, whereas the s21 ultra, even though it has a bigger display. The phone is not as wide so it takes up less space in the hand overall it’s just making up for it in height now this does have curved edges and you guys know how i feel about it. I’M not going to go through it again, but it’s not as bad as the previous s lineup from the year before they actually did a pretty good job.
I still prefer a flat display, but this is pretty close to that experience now, because this phone has those curved edges, it is a bit slippery in the hand. My suggestion is, if you don’t rock a case to put on a d brand skin, just do it. These new ones from mkbhd look absolutely awesome. Now displays are always a touchy subject like i’ve, always loved the displays on both of these phones and i’ll, make it simple for you they’re, both oled, this one’s dynamic oled, which is samsung’s own type of experience. But if you want more of a color, accurate, look and vibe, then you’re going to want to go with the iphone 12 pro max. If you want more of a punchy, contrasty look and feel, then you go with the samsung galaxy s21 ultra it’s not going to be as accurate in terms of how they calibrate it. But it just looks amazing, like you lay your eyes on this and then you look at the iphone you can’t help, but keep your eyes on the s21 ultra there’s no 120 hertz on the iphone and – and this is a touchy subject for a lot of people. I know most people won’t care, but but you use these both devices in a comparison every day, and you learn to appreciate that 120 hertz display you know this year, it’s adaptive this year, you can use it at qhd and uh it just. It just makes the phone feel so much faster and more enjoyable to use, and since we have a qhd panel at 120, hertz you’re, probably thinking the battery life is not going to be as great well there’s.
A 5 000 milliamp hour battery inside of the s21 ultra and i’m, getting seven to eight hours of screen on time at 120, hertz with the resolution set to qhd plus that’s, absolutely awesome, i’m finishing the day with, like 60 to 65 percent and that’s. A great thing now, the iphone 12 pro max, you guys know already you’ve seen the tests the battery life on this is insane, even though the battery’s smaller the optimizations with the processor inside and apples. The vertical integration just gives you more battery life overall, but man both of these phones are very, very close in terms of battery life, fingerprint scanner i’m, so glad it has one. You know right now with all of us wearing masks. The fingerprint scanner is everything as much as i love face id it sucks right now it just sucks because of the state we’re. In with having to wear masks, i have to unlock the phone using a passcode and that’s really annoying when you’re trying to pay for something this year, samsung increased the size of the fingerprint scanner it’s a little bit faster it’s, not as accurate as the optical scanner. You’Ve seen on most phones but it’s, a big improvement compared to the previous one. Now i’ve already compared the stereo speakers on the ultra to the note 20 ultra and they sound slightly better, not huge. But there is a noticeable improvement now i’m going to compare it to the iphone 12 pro max, and you guys, let me know which one you think sounds better.
The one area i don’t think samsung is getting enough credit. Is the software experience this one ui 3.0 update is absolutely awesome. Things are less cartoony. The notification system combined with android 11, is a lot more intuitive bixby’s, still there, but it’s just lurking in the background it’s. Not in your face bothering you like, like sit down for a second okay, you might fall off your chair when i show you this, but when i swipe to the right, that’s, google, now i finally get the google experience when i swipe to the right. I want this on all my android phones. I don’t have to use some sort of alternative that i don’t like and they brought it back and to do this prior to this device. You had to install some sort of launcher, but that’s no longer the case now. We’Re led to believe the more money you spend on a smartphone, the better. The camera is supposed to be, for example, this 12 pro max can zoom in 0.5 times more than all the other iphones. It also has a bigger sensor that allows in more low light, which is supposed to be better for nighttime photography. The s21 ultra, on the other hand, has a 108 megapixel camera upping the megapixel count compared to the s21. It also has four lenses to work with the wide lens, the ultra wide lens, a periscope lens that can zoom in up to 10 times in a regular telephoto lens that can do three times but here’s the thing i sat through all these photos and they look So good on both phones, it really comes down to what type of color science you prefer.
Samsung has always been known to make photos, look super contrasty and they still are but it’s not as aggressive as they used to be. They toned it down a bit. I do find that samsung devices tend to lean towards a cooler tone with a little bit of overexposure in some instances, whereas the iphone has more of a balanced white exposure with yellow tones to give the photo more of a warmer look. Now, when it comes to nighttime photography, i think they both did an amazing job, maybe with a slight edge to the galaxy s21 ultra again, it leans towards more to a cooler tone where at night time, the iphone is really letting those yellows in to give the Night, look a more warm experience and even video. I was honestly expecting the iphone 12 pro to blow out the galaxy s21 ultra out of the water, but again very similar, like they both look so good. I will say this: if you’re looking for pro modes, they they don’t, have a pro mode on the iphone, but you can shoot raw. The galaxy can do pro mode, but it can only do pro mode on two of the lenses on the wide and ultra wide lens, but here’s the thing: if you’re taking a lot of instagram stories, tick, tock, videos and snapchat iphone’s still better. All those apps have optimized their camera api to work with the iphone. In fact, i actually did a tick tock video, comparing the camera quality on the s21 ultra to the iphone and it’s much better on the iphone and that’s, because tiktok hasn’t optimized their camera app to work with the s21 ultra and as for performance, i don’t think It really matters.
You know we’re at the point now where these chips are just so fast. Snapdragon 888 feels insanely smooth, considering they packed 16 gigabytes of ram and a 512 gigabyte ssd in the most high end, s21 ultra. Of course, if you get the 128 gigabyte or 256, you only get 12 gigabytes of ram, but this is like overkill. You know, and even though apple technically has the fastest a14 bionic on paper, one phone does not feel faster than the other there’s, literally nothing we’re doing on our phones today to really push this hardware. I will say this: if you’re using 5g, the snapdragon 888 in the galaxy s21 ultra will offer better battery life because the actual modem is integrated into the chip and for those of you out there who think samsung is going to kill the note lineup they might. I don’t know if they will, i think, buying a note with an integrated pen is a lot more attractive than buying an optional accessory. But i do like the fact that samsung is giving you the option. You know, maybe you have a tab at home. Maybe you have an old note lying around. You can just use the s pen with your galaxy s21 ultra like this pen i’m. Using right now is from the note 20, and it works perfectly with this device. As for no more micro, sd card expansion, no more headphones and no more charger in the box, it was coming.
You know one day it was coming and there’s a lot of. You have been vocal in my comment section who don’t like this, who feel like they’re, offering you less and i get it. I get it and i think the best thing you can do is vote elsewhere with your wallet, but to me personally, i’ve never found having a micro sd card to be a big deal so here’s the bottom line. I truly feel like this galaxy. S21. Ultra is the best samsung device they’ve ever released, and i don’t mean that as a year over year thing i mean in general. You know they just made it the way. I’D like it, you know, no nonsense, no bixby, beautiful cameras that actually work. No auto focusing issues fast, good battery life, just an all around great smartphone experience, the iphone 12 pro max same sort of idea, it’s a great phone, but i really think it comes down to one thing: specifically: are you the type of individual that uses a windows Laptop and has other android devices, then you’re, probably going to want to buy the s21 ultra. I think, if you’re an iphone user, you know who you are you’re using an ipad you’re using a macbook, and you appreciate the continuity you get being in that apple ecosystem. Being able to airdrop, you know that’s something you can’t get with galaxy phones, but if you’re looking at both of these devices as standalone phones, then it comes down to whatever you like more.
Do you want years and years of updates paired with better resale value, then you’re gon na buy the iphone? Do you want as many features as packed as possible, and a very good android experience and you’re? Okay, with upgrading your phone three years later, then get the s21 ultra overall, i am super impressed and i think this new s21 ultra is going to be my daily driver on android foreseeable future.