Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review: Top dog
The s21 ultra is designed to be the best of everything. Phone it’s got the best camera the best display and the best internals, but as samsung delivered on the ultra name this year, that’s the big question we wanted to ask following our experience with the s20 ultra in 2020, i’m kam bunton from pocketlint – and this is our Review as always, if you do like this video, please do hit that thumbs up and subscribe and hit the little bell to make sure you don’t miss any more of our videos but let’s dive. In now, at the launch of the s21 devices, samsung spent a lot of time talking about the finish of its phantom black design and there’s. No questioning that the phantom black s21 ultra is something to behold. Once you get past the magnitude of the camera housing with those large lenses, looking at you, you’ll appreciate what samsung was talking about. Black phones are often glossy, often highlighting the use of glass. Big phones have suffered from that problem have always been covered in smeary fingerprints with black looking particularly bad. The matte finish of the s21 ultra, though, has a silky texture and mercifully is easier to keep clean. However, there’s, no escaping that this is a large phone it’s. A little thick and a little heavy too, but at least the display fills the front, so it doesn’t feel like space is wasted and while dolby atmos adds a boost without losing bass and becoming tinny.
We don’t think that this is the best arrangement of speakers. In a phone, the ear speaker serves as one speaker, the second being on the base of the phone, so it’s really easy to cover with the hand when holding a phone in landscape, which is a downside for gamers. For those watching video, the experience is rather better. The looser grip and that virtualized dolby atmos effect, really adds some punch to the audio there’s. Another minor design, annoyance and that’s. The location of the mic. Samsung has moved the sim tray to the bottom of the phone, and this has resulted in the mic hole being moved closer to the center of the phone next to the usbc port. The problem is that it’s really easy to cover when you’re supporting the phone. One handed now, samsung phones are always all about the display and the 6.8 inch amoled panel on this phone is no different it’s. A typical samsung experience with a bright and vibrant delivery of all the visuals samsung says that this is its brightest, yet at 1 500 nits maximum. But there are some additional important changes that have taken place under the surface. The s21 ultra adopts the note 20 ultra’s adaptive motion smoothness to solve one of the biggest criticisms of the previous s20 ultra. That old device only offered 120 hertz at 1080p resolution, which hardly seemed premium now. The phone can select refresh rates from 10 to 120 hertz. To suit the content, it’ll also offer these refresh rates at all resolutions, so it’s a win win situation that will save battery because it means you’re not pushing 120 refreshes every second, when you’re reading a static page.
Yet you’ll get the fluidity when you’re, scrolling or gaming, where faster refresh rates are supported. Now some will obviously notice the refresh rate more than others, but for those that do it might just be the things that draws you to this big beautiful phone samsung sticks to offering a top resolution it’s qhd plus, which is 3200 by 1440 pixels, but that’s not Turned on by default by default, it uses the full hd plus resolution. So if you want the pin sharpness, you do need to switch it on in the settings. When you do it’s gon na look fantastic. Now we go into a lot of depth on the cameras in our written review, so you should definitely check that out, but the long and the short of it this time out is that you get a lot of quality and flexibility from the camera makeup. On the back of the s21 ultra and that sets it apart from the other s21 models, the main 108 megapixel camera takes 12 megapixel images by default and offers a lot of zoom options all the way up to 100 times. There are now two 10 megapixel cameras on the back of the s21 ultra making up a new telephoto system, one offering three times: optical zoom and the other a periscope lens offering 10 times they work in combination, so from the camera, app it’s, a seamless transition from One to the other, so you’re getting the best lens for the job now there’s.
Some intervention from the camera app here as you’ll, sometimes find the three time. Zoom is still coming from the main camera likely to give the illusion of a seamless transfer. As you pinch from one to the other, the thing to watch here is the aperture as the ten times optical, as f stop 4.9, and that means you need good light to get results from it. We noticed that far zoom shots were noticeably different, color wise from the other lenses the hundred times space zoom is still nonsense really with results looking more like abstract art but there’s, a new stabilization system that aims to keep your handshake at bay and keep the subject. Steady at least now using the camera can be a bit complicated at times, if only because there are so many options, tapping zoom icons on screen seems to reveal even more, and we found that taking images from any of the 10 megapixel cameras also results in a 12 megapixel image somehow samsung tells us. This is for consistency. Night mode is massively improved and the video capabilities are up there with the best of them, with shooting up to 8k resolution, best part being actually that you can shoot 4k 60 on all of the lenses. Not just the primary one, you don’t sacrifice sharpness and smoothness, just because you want to take an ultra wide, video or zoom in video plus. It takes great selfies in pretty much any lighting conditions from the front camera overall there’s masses in the s21 ultra’s camera, offering much of it is more convincing than the previous s20 ultra and better than the likes of the s20 fe and the s21 that we’ve tested.
Alongside it so it’s a step in the right direction, although it still feels so busy that we suspect people will ignore most of it and just point and shoot, thankfully, with the scene, optimizer turned on you’ll get good results if that’s. What you decide to do now onto performance and battery and we’ve been using the exynos 2100 version and that’s the model you’ll get anywhere in europe, and we found it as always to be a pretty slick experience. The experience in games like call of duty, mobile and pubg is smooth and responsive. The x21 ultra doesn’t escape the battery life issues that are often associated with flagship samsung products, though there’s a large five thousand milliamp hour cell and no charger in the box. Just as an fyi and while there’s an appreciable capacity there’s plenty to drain the battery too it’s a very powerful phone, so you’ll find that if you’re doing things like gaming or taking photos or videos all day, you will quickly drain that battery down. As we did and often needed to top it up during the day, but with moderate use, you should comfortably get through a full day. Now the samsung galaxy s21 ultra feels like a different phone to the s20 ultra. It now feels like a flagship with purpose and intent with the s21 and s21 plus moving slightly down the spec ladder. The ultra clearly sits pride of place as the premium flagship offering in this new 2021 family, but there’s, no, avoiding that this is an expensive phone and with expected launches on flagship hardware from rivals, we’re sure there will be plenty of choices for those wanting something that’s.
A little bit lighter on the wallet our performance is at the heart of what the s21 offers, whether it’s camera or speed and it’s hard to be disappointed. With that experience, it might take a little tinkering to get one ui software running at its best, but with a magnificent display, comprehensive cameras and loads of power, there’s very little that the s21 ultra doesn’t deliver on. As mentioned, there is a more thorough review which goes into a lot more depth in terms of performance and cameras on our site. So please do check that out. I’Ve been cam i’m at cam bunton on twitter. You can follow me there ask me questions or, as always, use the comments down below. If you do like this video, please leave a thumbs up.