So it comes decked out with the latest and greatest of tech with features that are not seen on any of its siblings. Among them, a higher resolution screen close to two days of battery life, an upgraded quad camera system and support for the s pen, compare that with the s21 and s21 plus, which traded in a screen resolution downgrade and retained. Last year’s camera hardware for a more affordable price tag, it’s a strategy that i can get behind at a more accessible 800 price point. The s21 is a non compromising samsung phone that delivers on what most users need, but for those who demand a bit more and are willing to pay a lot more then there’s, this phone hi i’m michael josh, your gadget, matchmaker helping you find the right device to Match your needs still on the fence about which s21 series smartphone to buy well keep watching. This is our samsung galaxy s21 ultra review Music i’ve already said this in my s21 review, but it bears repeating samsung really knocked it out of the park this year when it comes to the design of the s21 series bringing the sophistication we first saw on the Note 20, ultra to the s21 ultra build materials, are premium, an aluminum frame with a glossy finish: gorilla glass, victus front and back the camera bump on the s21. Ultra is still pretty large a necessity given its complex camera system, but it’s designed to look like it.
Seemsly blends into the phone’s frame it isn’t offensive. In fact, i rather quite like how samsung has leaned in a bit more and embraced the hump. The phone will still rock on a table unless you’ve got a case on, and the ultra is still too large. For my tastes, but compared to something like the iphone 12 pro max it isn’t as wide, which makes this phone a little bit more manageable for someone with smaller hands like me, at launch, only two colors were offered phantom silver and phantom black. I know i’ve previously said that all black phones can be boring, but i’m really loving the subdued, elegance and matte black finish of the s21 ultra for something more special. You can opt for a made to order s21 ultra in either phantom navy phantom brown and phantom titanium. This won’t cost you extra, but you’ll have to wait longer, sometimes up to three to four weeks to get your order. Music no surprise here: the s21 ultra has one of the best displays on the planet. It runs in the family. New to this phone, though, is the ability to enjoy the buttery smooth, 120hz refresh rate, with a quad hd resolution on last year’s s20 ultra, you had to pick between a fast refresh rate or a high resolution screen. Now you can have both of those together by default. The display of the phone is set to full hd plus, but you can definitely pump it up to quad hd plus, if you’re looking for the ultimate in display tech.
This has got to be it from the rich colors and contrast of its amoled panel to its high resolution and motion smoothness and a maximum brightness of 1500 nits. It really doesn’t get any better than this if it’s not very evident from the size of this bump. It’S, the s21 ultras camera system that’s significantly different from its siblings all new and improved hardware, including a second generation: 108 megapixel, wide angle, camera a 12 megapixel ultra wide camera with a 120 degree field of view and two telephoto cameras, one that goes up to 3x And the other that shoots at 10x, while reviewing this phone’s cameras, i set out to answer two questions: how does the cameras on the s21 ultra, which costs four hundred dollars more compared to the s21, and how does it compare versus the best from apple if we’re, Just talking photo quality during the day using the 1x lens, the galaxy s21 and s21 ultra both take good photos. I found that the ultras lens is wider, so more things fit into a frame like all three windows on the right side of this photo, because the s21 ultra has a 108 megapixel sensor and it combines these pixels to create a 12 megapixel image. If you zoom in on both photos, you’ll find more detail in the s21 ultra photos again, not something most folks should worry about. One thing i did notice is its shallower depth of field. Of course, if you’re all about zooming in further, this is where the ultra shines, thanks to its second zoom lens, with 10x optical zoom versus the iphone 12 pro max.
The differences are interesting with each phone’s strengths being consistent throughout on a bright sunny day, you’ll notice, the iphone will produce richer blues like in this shot of the radio city music hall. Despite the bright background, both phones did a good job at preserving the details of the scene. It’S the same case in this shot of some manhattan buildings, as well as this late afternoon, photo of a church in greenpoint. Another thing worth pointing out because of the 108 megapixel sensor and pixel binning when you zoom in you’ll, find more details on the s21 ultra photo. Lastly, on this snowy day in brooklyn, when seen on its own, the iphone 12 pro max’s photo looks gray, but when compared to the s21 ultra you’ll find that same bluish tone in the sky is still applied in terms of colors. The iphone will sometimes produce punchier. More vibrant shots like on this shot at the flat iron district other times, it’s, pretty similar like in this early evening, shot of some fake flowers outside a store. Another thing we noticed is that the s21 ultra, while more contrasty preserves shadow detail a bit better. For example, there’s more detail on these gray jogging pants or in this shot. If we zoom into the clock, all of the detail around it is lost in the shadows of the iphone’s photo blue hour. Is my favorite time to take photos. Both phones did a good job despite the waning light.
The s21 ultra’s ultra wide angle lens is noticeably wider. The iphone 12 pro max does a better job at hdr, producing a more lively photo of this corner bar by the nassau g train with the sun fully set. I took these photos of a school bus using the main lens. The iphone’s photo was sharper with more punch using the ultra wide angle camera. The iphones is also significantly better it’s the same story in this shot of this fire station. The iphone’s photo is brighter there’s, more pop sharpness and more detail. If you zoom in we also tested in a more controlled environment, my lego room, the iphone’s photo, is again brighter, although we do like the shallower depth of field on the s21 ultra photo, both did a decent job with very little available light. Finally, in an almost completely dark room, both phones produced images with softer details, but the iphone brought in more light and color using night mode now, let’s take a look at some zoomed in photos. The iphone 12 pro max has 2.5 x optical zoom, while the s21 ultra has 3x optical zoom. In this first shot, i prefer the iphone’s photo with its shallower depth of field. A lot of detail on this lego rose is lost in the s21 ultra photo. The highlights, too, are a bit blown out out and about during the day the differences are hard to spot, but, as noted earlier, the s21 ultra preserves more shadow detail.
As seen on this 5th avenue clock and in this photo of these train lights, there’s much more color and better hdr in the s21 ultra photo. I think, though, where the s21 ultra really shines is its dedicated 10x zoom lens, which the iphone 12 pro max doesn’t have so, whether you’re zooming in on these snowflake lights or a human subject or a church tower off in the distance you’re getting photos with plenty Of detail photos you can actually post on social media or make prince of new on the s21 series is the ability to shoot 4k video at 60 fps, so here’s the video montage i shot on a snowy day here in new york Music. Before we move on from a creator’s point of view, i really must say i do like the director’s view feature on the s21 ultra. It makes using all three cameras for video much easier. The live thumbnails allows you to frame each shot before you switch between camera. To camera, while you’re recording, while this does nothing to improve the smoothness of the transition per se, it does ensure that each shot is composed properly. Samsung also did a good job at tuning each camera, so the quality of each shot is consistent. Music in what one might consider a shake up to the entire galaxy family, samsung added s, pen, support to the ultra and to the ultra, only once exclusive to the note series, the s pen extends what one can do with a smartphone being able to jot down Notes, scribble quick memos, even when the display is off sign documents or for those more creatively inclined, sketching or painting.
If you have an old node or the galaxy tab, s7 plus those s pens will work as well compared to the note you’re getting a much bigger stylus, making this a more comfortable writing tool. There isn’t a cavity inside the phone, but if you get this silicone case, there’s a little slot for you to store it not having to literally carve out space for the s pen to go inside means that samsung has freed up space for other components. Apart from its improved ergonomics, thanks to its larger size, the most important thing to note about the s21 ultra’s s pen is its 9 millisecond latency, which right now is the gold standard. You’Ll find it on the note, 20 ultra and apple’s ipad pro and now it’s on the s21 ultra and just for future reference. You want that latency number to be as low as possible so that there’s no delay when writing on a digital screen. To give it more of that pen and paper feel, while bringing a note exclusive feature to the s21 series, raises questions about the relevance and the future of the note line i’m glad to see it as an optional feature on the ultra. So you only spend for it if you plan on using it here is what pricing is like for the s pen by itself and the s pen with a bundled case. This particular s pen does not have bluetooth built in so you won’t get features like being able to press on this button to trigger the camera, shutter or air gestures.
But samsung is adding an s pen pro to its lineup. Later this year, with bluetooth built in Music like last year’s, s20 ultra, the s21 ultra comes with a 5 000 milliamp hour battery, which leaves plenty of juice in the tank after a heavy day of use. Even with the resolution set to quad hd, plus 5g connectivity and with occasional s, pen use, in fact, on most days, i was getting about a day and a half with the s21 ultra with heavy use, perusing the internet, keeping up with social media navigating on google Maps taking a lot of photos all of these things with a 25 watt samsung charger, the one that used to ship with last year’s phones, i got to 20 after a 10 minute charge between 56 and 59 after 30 and 98. After an hour, a full charge took one hour and 10 minutes before we wrap up. It would be remiss of me not to point out that, despite all the extra features that make this phone, an ultra samsung did take away some features so pay attention in case. Some of these are a deal breaker number one power users might not be happy that there’s no longer a micro sd card slot, although i will say i’m thrilled that samsung has finally put in a sturdy sim card slot on its phones, replacing that flimsy plastic. One they’ve used for years number two mst support has been removed, which was a feature that made samsung pay more readily available because it worked with existing credit card terminals that had the tap to pay feature.
Meaning vendors didn’t have to buy completely new hardware just to support it number three: the ultra no longer supports samsung’s optional 45 watt charger, so charging speeds are maxed out at 25 watts, which brings us to number four. Apart from the fact that there are no headphones in the box, there is also no charging brick in the box, and last, at least here in the us. The base model only comes with 128 gigabytes of storage, which isn’t very ultra at all for a more reasonable 256 gigabytes, it’s 50 dollars more. That said, it’s also important to take note that the s21 ultra is also more affordable than last year’s, s20 ultra, which last year retailed for 200. More so is the samsung galaxy s21 ultra your gadget match having used and reviewed both the s21 and the s21 ultra. I stand by what i said in my previous video. The s21 is the samsung phone that most users should go out and buy. It offers the best bang for your buck and it delivers on all the essentials. One can expect from a top of the line smartphone. So, who should buy the s21 ultra? Well? First, ask yourself: is a big phone for you. The answer is, yes, get the phone if you’re willing to spend 400 more for the flexibility that double zoom lenses afford. I don’t use them every day, but i definitely can think of some situations where, having that flexibility can be a godsend get the ultra.
If you see yourself using the s pen, i sure do get it for the best display on a smartphone today and get it for superb battery life. Have you made up your mind i’m curious to know which galaxy s21 series smartphone? Is your gadget match sound off in the comments section below and while you’re at it subscribe to this youtube channel and hit that bell icon so that you get notified as soon as we post new videos? Follow me on social media for all the behind the scenes? Fun stuff, including some sample photos from the s21 ultra and as always, make gadgetmatch.