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Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Review

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Review after one month. Why do I have two S21 Ultras here?

Well, one of these is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 version and the other is the Exynos 2100 and why do I have two of me here?

So the S21 Ultra, if you’ve been following me on social media then you know that I’ve really enjoyed using this over the past month and I’m really happy with the way Samsung has taken feedback from us reviewers and customers over the past year and really bought lots of improvements from the S20 Ultra to the S21 Ultra.

Now I’m going to be covering a lot of details so this video is going to be pretty long.

So I’ll leave some chapters down below but before you jump to a particular section, smash that like button for me it will help with the algorithm and it will help this article be recommended to more people, with that out the way let’s start off with one of my favorite things of the S21 Ultra and that is the display.

Now I know you guys are going to say I say this for every new Samsung smartphone but the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra has the best display on the market right now in my opinion, it’s sharp, it’s vibrant, it’s bright and it’s got great viewing angles.

Not only that this is the first Samsung smartphone where you can have Quad HD plus resolution with a 120 Hertz refresh rate at the same time and that gives you maximum sharpness with maximum smoothness.

So traditionally Samsung devices that had a 120 Hertz refresh rate you could only have that refresh rate at full HD.

So I’m glad something has finally brought this to the S21 Ultra and it gives you an excellent viewing experience.

Sure, the bezels are roundabout the same as the S20 Ultra and we still have this punch out but I kind of liked this punch out it allows me to do some fun creative wallpapers by the way if you want to download the wallpaper it’s available both in a dark mode and a light mode.

So many people ask me about it there’ll be some links down in the description below.

Now, there is a slight curve on the edges it’s roughly about the same as the S20 Ultra.

It’s not completely flat, but it’s not completely curved like we’ve gotten the note 20 ultras.

So I think it’s a good balance and we also have a great always-on display.

This is something that I really like about Samsung having that always-on display means you can really see things at a glance.

There the other new thing that we’ve got this year is the 3D Sonic Gen 2 sensor from Qualcomm.

This has a larger area and it’s also faster and more accurate and in using this over the past month I’ve noticed that yes it is a little bit faster and you do have fewer failures.

Now, my advice when it comes to any in-display fingerprint scanner is to re-register the same fingerprint twice and that just makes it a little bit of a better experience.

Moving on to the design, I think Samsung did a really good job we’ve got this camera module which kind of melts into the sides.

We’ve not really seen anything else like this and I think loads of other manufacturers are going to copy this design now.

So I actually really like it.

I think it looks very unique and I really liked the fact that Samsung has gone for a matte finish across the board.

So we’ve got the Phantom black and the Phantom Silver here which are the two main colors although you can get some exclusive colors directly from Samsung.

I think you guys already know that I actually love the Phantom black, it just looks so, so good.

But anyway the Phantom Silver is also really nice and it’s got a bit of a two-tone finish which you might like.

Although I have noticed it picks up fingerprints easier than the Phantom black.

Now, if you want to mix things up, you can always get skin from our channel sponsor brand.

I’m currently digging the icons drop from a Marques really makes the device look even more unique.

I’ll leave a link to the brand down in the description below.

Now we do have IP 68 water and dust resistance as expected and we’ve got Gorilla Glass Victus both on the front and the back.

Now, this is very durable I’m not somebody who does drop tests.

I’m sure others have done drop tests but generally speaking.

Gorilla Glass Victus is very durable.

Now let’s move on to the cameras and I think Samsung has actually done a really good job with the cameras on the S21 Ultra.

There was lots of improvement needed on the S20 Ultra and almost everything has been addressed here on the S21 Ultra.

So I’m going to start with the ultra-wide camera it’s great takes excellent shots, great dynamic range.

It can be slightly over-processed, I find in certain situations, but I’m confident that this can be improved with software updates but the new thing for the ultra-wide camera this time.

What isn’t on any of the other S21 devices is the fact that it’s got dual pixel autofocus.

This allows you to focus in super close and get some excellent macro shots.

Now I’m not talking about those hideous two-megapixel macro cameras that we see on so many devices.

No, this is actually using the ultra-wide camera so you do get some very, very good results.

The primary camera on the S20 Ultra did have some focusing issues.

So Samsung like they did on the Notes 20 Ultra has bought over a laser autofocus sensor which definitely does help with autofocus.

Now, this is the same size sensor as we had on the S20 Ultra and this gives you some excellent images, lots of detail, and a very natural-looking shallow depth of field.

Now, one of the other issues that we had on the S20 and the Note 20 Ultra was that because you had such a large size sensor if you are close up to subjects things would stop getting out of focus very very quickly.

So you might have a situation where part of what you want isn’t focused and the rest is not in focus.

Samsung has also tried to address this with a focus enhancer mode.

So when you do get up to 30 centimeters close to a subject then it’s going to either automatically switches on or you can put it on manually and then it’s going to give you a lot more focus which really does help and this year we have two zoom cameras, one is at three times and one is that 10 times and the S21 Ultra has some of the best zooms on any smartphone.

I like that they’ve got three as well as 10, so, you know, you don’t have to be at one extreme or another you do have that range and even up to around 30 times, you get some excellent results now you do have 100 times space zoom.

All right, it’s called space zoom but it’s good compared to the S20 Ultra is it something that I’m going to use much?

No, having this device for the past month I’ve probably used the 100X zoom like four times and that’s been when I’ve been testing it.

Okay, fair enough you can take pictures of the moon everybody likes taking pictures of the moon for some reason.

It’s the same side, it’s tightly locked to us it looks the same every time, but anyway you can take pictures of the moon and they do come out pretty good but yes if you love 100 times zoom on a smartphone.

Although this is not something that’s amazing it’s the best on a smartphone right now.

Now one area where the S21 Ultra is not so good in my opinion is when it comes to portraits the artificial bokeh effect and with the times zoom using the full primary camera you can actually get some pretty decent results but the problem is mainly when you go to the telephoto portraits.

Now I assumed Samsung would be using the three times zoom camera.

The iPhone for instance uses the 2.5 times telephoto camera and that gives you the equivalent of a portrait that you would get on a pro camera.

The S21 Ultra doesn’t do this it doesn’t actually use the telephoto camera for portraits it just uses the primary camera and punches in.

Now, this results in very, very soft portraits which I am definitely not a fan of and I’m hoping Samsung can actually change this and use the three times telephoto zoom for portraits which I’m assuming would do better instead of just cropping into the main sensor.

But yeah, if you are somebody who likes taking portraits at two times, as I do then the S21 Ultra is not great for that and the selfie camera has also been improved.

You have probably heard me rant about this for so many years.

Samsung devices generally tend to make your selfies look super bright so they will make your skin tones look very, very fair.

I’ve never been a fan of this, again, Samsung has listened to us and now when you do open up the selfie camera you’ll have an option to go for either natural or bright selfies.

I obviously went for natural selfies and they do give you much more accurate skin tones.

Now, the selfies are still a little bit on the softer side I’ve found in comparison to some of the competition.

I do think software updates may be able to improve this but generally speaking, the overall camera package for photos is very good.

When it comes to video as well I’d say, this is one of the best smartphones for articles we do have up to 8K recording.

Now 8K recording is there but it’s still something that I won’t be using a lot.

There’s no stabilization at 8K so the only way you’d be able to really use it is if you had it on a tripod.

So yeah, it’s that it’s nice to have one improvement that I’m definitely happy about is the fact that we can now record 4K 60 frames a second across all of the cameras.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Review

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Review
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Review

Traditionally on previous sensing devices, you’d only be able to do 4K 60 from the primary as well as the selfie camera, but not the other cameras.

So I’m happy that this is here and yeah, overall you get some excellent quality video from the S21 Ultra.

There’s also a pro video mode, which is nice to have so if you are somebody who likes to tweak your settings and things, then that
option is also there.

Now I want to move on to the whole Exynos versus Snapdragon debate.

So I’ve had both of these devices over the past month and I’d say I’ve had roughly equal time with my sim card in each of these.

The first thing that I going to talk about is the camera differences.

So you might be thinking how can these have camera differences when they’ve got exactly the same cameras, right?

Well, the thing is the chipset also has something called an ISP an image signal processor.

So when you take an image, it actually goes through this image signal processor gets processed and then goes to the smartphone and the software then also plays a part.

The good news is in most situations these are pretty much neck and neck.

So primary camera ultra-wide even in low light I found these were very close.

The one area where I did notice a difference was in the extreme zooms.

I found that the Qualcomm Snapdragon version just gave sharper and cleaner results compared to the Exynos version.

Now I want to emphasize that this is at the extreme zoom levels and I’m hoping that maybe Samsung can improve these with a software update.

But apart from that, generally, the cameras were very similar.

Now let’s talk about performance, traditionally when it comes to Exynos versus Qualcomm the Exynos version is quite a bit behind I’ve found when it comes to performance and gaming but after all the tests that I’ve done and also test that some of my friends have done even more detailed tests, in particular, Thunder E from Booredatwork and Tom The Tech Chap.

They’ve done very detailed tests where they’re also looking at things like frame rates and what we’ve found as a whole is that in certain areas, the Exynos is better and in certain areas, the Qualcomm is better.

It’s very, very close and I’m pleased to say that it finally looks like Samsung has caught up with Qualcomm when it comes to performance and performance is absolutely great on both of these.

They’ve been able to handle everything that I’ve thrown at them.

Now, if you’re still interested in getting the Qualcomm version, not the Exynos version everybody keeps asking me where do you get your core conversion from?

Now, another thing that generally has an impact because of the chipsets is the battery life and I’ve had an interesting experience because I started off with the Exynos version, and honestly speaking, my battery results were very mixed.

Some days I was getting good battery life some days it was absolutely terrible.

However, about a week and a half in I got a software update and then the Exynos version has given me excellent battery life.

The Qualcomm version as soon as I’ve had it, it’s been giving me very good battery life.

I’m getting around about six hours of screen on time, this is me because I am a heavy user it might differ from what you’re getting but in my experience, the battery life has been very very good on both and very similar as well.

Although the Qualcomm version might just get the slight edge.

Now, Tom The Tech Chap has spent a lot of time actually doing a detailed battery test and in his test, the Qualcomm version got around 20 minutes, extra time.

So, we’re looking at around about 5% extra battery life over the day that’s not as significant as what we’ve had previously so again, generally speaking.

I think either of these that you go for it’s not going to be that much of a big difference.

Now you may already know that the S21 Ultra no longer comes with a charger out of the box.

I’ve ranted about this a lot in previous videos so I’m not going to go on about that a lot more here for me personally, it’s been fine.

I’ve got lots of other chargers at home and I generally just use wireless charging anyway.

Wireless chargers are very cheap and they’re also very convenient because when it comes to bedtime, I can just drop the phone on the wireless charger, wake up to it fully charged and that’s generally what I’ve been doing with the S21 Ultra.

Now we also have reverse wireless charging, I have not used reverse wireless charging apart from filming this clip of B roll.

But nevertheless, it’s there if you want to use it if you do want to charge your buds on the back of the S21 Ultra, you can do that.

Now let’s talk about software so we do have One UI the latest version and I generally really do like One UI you’ve heard me say before.

I think Samsung well one of the first to really look at one-handed usage and how everything’s formatted is really good for one-handed usage and I’ve had, I’d say about two, maybe three updates since I got the S21 Ultra, which is very good cause it’s only been a month.

So if Samsung continues this and brings lots of software updates and improvements over time.

Then I’ll be very very happy with this and the speakers we do have serious speakers and they sound really, really good.

Now, one new thing that we’ve got on the S21 Ultra which you’ve never had on the S series before is support for the S pen.

I like options, so I’m glad that this is here.

However, there’s a couple of things so this isn’t included, you have to buy it separately and if you do buy it separately, realistically speaking you’re going to have to get it with a case because otherwise where are you going to really put this.

Now, here’s the thing here’s one of the cases that I’ve got here, it’s a really nice case and the S pen is tucked away here on the side and you can use it whenever you like and can be very useful.

The only thing is this is already a very big phone and when you add a case to it which makes the phone wider than it is then I don’t think it’s the most comfortable device to use.

Also on this case in particular when you do take the S pen out, there’s a gap here.

So, you know, you can feel it when you’re holding it so I really don’t think many people are going to be getting the S pen.

It might appeal to a very small niche but if you are somebody who values an S pen, I still think the Note series will be the better option for you but I mean, it’s nice to have.

If somebody really wants an S pen with the S21 Ultra, you can get it now.

Finally, I want to talk about the storage and the price.

So you may already know that the S21 Ultra does not have a micro SD card slot Samsung traditionally on pretty much all their S series devices has had a micro SD card slot.

I think the S6 was an exception but other than that they’ve all had a micro SD card slot.

Of course, if you’re somebody who absolutely needs a micro SD card slot then this is not going to be for you.

But I think most people should be absolutely fine and there’s a good reason for that and that is that Samsung is offering double the storage for just 50 pounds or $50 more.

On top of that, the S21 Ultra is coming in at a lower price compared to what the S20 came in last year and keeping those things in mind.

I think a lot of people can just go for the 256-gigabyte option for a little bit more that’s what I would recommend and I don’t think you’re going to have that much of an issue with storage.

Now you can go all the way up to 512 gigabytes but I think 256 gigabytes is the sweet spot and that’s the S21 Ultra.

If you’ve made it all the way to this point of the video as always, I absolutely love you thank you for making it here.

As you can tell I really do like the S21 Ultra it’s one of my favorite devices.

I think Samsung has done a great job and they’ve really ticked a lot of boxes for a lot of people and if you, after the best from Samsung right now this is the device to get.

I would say this is the best smartphone of the year so far, although I know it’s February but I really think this sets the bar high for the rest of the smartphones coming in the year.

That’s what I think what do you guys think?

Do drop me a comment below, let me know your thoughts.

I hope you enjoyed this articles and found it useful.


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