Things I Like
- Impressive 120Hz AMOLED Display
- Good Camera Setup
- Good Performance
- Decent Battery Life
- One UI Feels Very Intuitive
- GPU could be weak compared to Snapdragon variant
Samsung Nepal recently launched the Samsung S21 series and among them, Samsung 21 Ultra is the company’s ultimate flagship. It comes as an upgrade to the Samsung S20 Ultra.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is Samsung’s ultimate flagship that is rocking a 120Hz 1440p display, Exynos 2100, 108MP quad-camera setup, and 5000 mAh battery.
I have been using this for 3-4 days now and I love the phone. Let’s see why!
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Specifications
- Body: 165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm, 227 g (Sub6), 229 g (mmWave), IP68 dust/water resistant (up to 1.5m for 30 mins), Stylus Support
- Display: 6.8 inches, 1440 x 3200 pixels, Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 120Hz, HDR10+, 1500 nits (peak)
- Protection: Corning Gorilla Glass Victus (front & back)
- Chipset: Exynos 2100 (5 nm)
- CPU: Octa-core (1×2.9 GHz Cortex-X1 & 3×2.80 GHz Cortex-A78 & 4×2.2 GHz Cortex-A55)
- Memory: 12GB RAM, 256GB, UFS 3.1
- OS: Android 11, One UI 3.1
- Rear Camera: 108 MP (2nd gen), f/1.8, 26mm (wide), 1/1.33″, 0.8µm, PDAF, Laser AF, OIS
- 10 MP, f/4.9, 240mm (periscope telephoto), 1/3.24″, 1.22µm, dual pixel PDAF, OIS, 10x optical zoom
- 10 MP, f/2.4, 70mm (telephoto), 1/3.24″, 1.22µm, dual pixel PDAF, OIS, 3x optical zoom
- 12 MP, f/2.2, 13mm (ultrawide), 1/2.55″, 1.4µm, dual pixel PDAF, Super Steady video
- Video: [email protected], [email protected]/60fps, [email protected]/60/240fps, [email protected], HDR10+, stereo sound rec., gyro-EIS
- Front Camera: 40 MP, f/2.2, 26mm (wide), 1/2.8″, 0.7µm, PDAF
- Battery: Non-removable Li-Po 5000 mAh battery, Fast Charging 25W, USB Power Delivery 3.0, Fast Qi/PMA wireless charging 15W, Reverse wireless charging 4.5W
- Misc: Fingerprint (under display, ultrasonic), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer
- Colors: Phantom Black, Phantom Silver
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Price in Nepal: Rs. 1,54,999 (12/256GB)
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Early Impressions
Samsung S21 Ultra takes the design of the Note 20 Ultra and improves on it. The camera module has now been extended to the side frame. To be fair I like it, it looks smoother and more elegant.
On the back, it has a new haze finish on top of the glass back. The phantom black definitely looks stunning and the matte finish makes it premium. It doesn’t catch fingerprints as well and most of all, it is not reflective.
The glass back is protected by the Gorilla Glass Victus. I have dropped the phone couple of times and there are no scratches on the back of the frame. It is also IP68 rated for water and dust resistance.
On the front, it has a hole-punch in the middle of the screen. The bezels are slightly reduced and the screen is slighlty curved as opposed to flat screens of the S21 and S21 Plus.
As usual, S21 Ultra gets an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor and it is 1.5 times larger than the previous generation. It works better and feels faster than the one on the Note 20 series.
The volume button and power button are on the right side. On the bottom, it has a USB-Type C and sim tray with dal sim support but it doesn’t have a MicroSD slot. Samsung has officially killed the microSD support on their flagship phones.
The phone is big and it weighs about 227gms. The footprint is big and it is difficult to use with a single hand.
Best High Refresh Rate AMOLED Display
The good news is that Samsung has finally enabled the high refresh rate option on QHD resolution. It features a 6.8 inches Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with a screen resolution of 1440 x 3200 pixels.
The QHD display is absolutley stunning along with the high refresh rate smoothness. It is defnitely the best smartphone display.
The colors of the AMOLED panel are as you expect from Samsung with a saturated profile. It has a peak brightness of 1400 nits and it is easily usable outdoors. However, the 1400 nits brightness is only enabled in HDR contents. The front glass is also protected by Gorilla Glass Victus.
The 120Hz refresh rate feels slick and smooth. The adaptive display can change the refresh rate from 10 Hz to 120Hz according to content. It should certainly help it to conserve battery life.
Exynos 2100 Hype
Samsung has been hyping up the Exynos 2100. They even held a separate event for the Exynos 2100.
Exynos 2100 is a 5nm chipset that is similar to the Snapdragon 888. Both of them use the same architecture and CPU. The major difference is their GPU.
Exynos 2100 uses ARM’s X1 prime core clocked at up to 2.91 GHz alongside a trio of Cortex-A78 cores running at 2.8GHz and four power-efficient Cortex-A55 cores working at 2.21GHz. It uses the ARM Mali-G78MP14 GPU. Along with this, it now has 12GB RAM and 256GB storage.
If you look at it, Samsung has even managed to clock the CPU higher than the Snapdragon 888. Interms of benchmark, it was able to get a single-core score of 1069 and a multi-core score of 3213 on GeekBench. If you look up the score of Snapdragon 888, then it is higher than that of the Exynos 2100.
For gaming, I’ve playing alot of COD Mobile on the S21 Ultra. While the likes of Note 20 Ultra felt warm after gaming for 20 mins, the S21 Utlra does not get too warm.
Even though it is lagging behind the Snapdragon 888, the real-world performance seems to be good so far. COD Mobile runs smoothly even on the highest graphic and highest FPS setting.
Improved Camera Setup
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is rocking 4 cameras on the rear with a 108MP main sensor, a 10MP telephoto lens with 10X optical zoom, a 10MP telephoto lens with 3X Optical Zoom, and a 12MP Ultrawide angle sensor. Furthermore, it comes with laser autofocus as well.
More than anything else, the dynamic range of the S21 Ultra feels better than the Note 20 Ultra.
The new 108MP HM3 sensor used on the S21 Ultra is improved in all the departments and doesn’t have the problem that haunted the S20 Ultra.
It even uses 9 to 1 pixel binning that provides better detail. Each pixel carries more detail and helps to capture more detailed photos overall. Furthermore, it also uses 12-bit HDR by combining two 10-bit frames for a wider dynamic range.
Else, it has a 10MP telephoto lens that can provide 3x optical zoom and another 10MP telephoto lens that can provide 10X optical zoom. It also has a 100X zoom feature. The moon shot feature is a really cool feature that uses an algorithm to enhance the zoomed-in picture of the moon.
The ultrawide angle sensor is also a 12MP sensor but this time it has autofocus and can be used to get macro shots.
As for night shots and videos, I still need to test its camera. It is now capable of capturing videos up to 4k 60 from all the sensors and up to 8K 24fps from the main sensor.
I will tell the full story in my full review but enjoy some samples for now.
On the front, it has a 40MP selfie sensor and the photos do look really good. It has tons of detail with popping colors. Also, you can totally turn off the beauty mode from now on.
Samsung S21 Ultra is equipped with a 5000 mAh battery which will last you a day even with a 120Hz refresh rate.
I have been using the S21 Ultra on the QHD display and adaptive refresh rate. On average, I have been getting around 6-7 hours of screen on time with this setup.
As for the charging, Samsung claims that the 25W charger can charge it from 0 to 100 in about 1 hour and 11 mins. I will update the battery test in my full review later this week.
On the software side of things, it has Android 11 along with One UI 3.1. One of the cosmetic changes that you will immediately notice is the new notification shade. It is now transparent and you can easily add a notification toggle with the plus button at the end.
Some of the other major change comes interms of camera features. It has improved the single-take feature and the new director mode is probably the best addition. You can now easily switch between all three lenses on a fly.
Moreover, you can capture from the front camera simultaneously. There’s a zoom lock feature that helps to stabilize the camera when capturing zoomed-in pictures.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra takes the design of the Note 20 Ultra and makes it even better. The new camera contour cut design and the haze finish looks gorgeous. The 120Hz 1440p display provides an immaculate visual experience. It is definitely the best display out there.
Also, the Exynos 2100 seems to have a competitive CPU performance. Surely, the Mali GPU is not as good as the Adreno but the gaming has been good in my initial testing. I will follow up on its long-run gaming performance in my full review.
Stay tuned for the full review where I will be exploring more on every aspect like camera, performance, and battery even further.
What’s your take on the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra? Let us know in the comments below!