Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G Review


The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G is the corporate’s most premium smartphone but, with a powerful concentrate on cameras. Similar to the Galaxy S20 Ultra (Review), this new mannequin boasts of 100X “area zoom” and 8K video recording, however with an improved capturing expertise and even higher picture high quality.

We have already talked in regards to the design and important specs of the Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G in our latest first impressions article, so for this assessment, we’ll dive straight into the cameras and system efficiency first. Should you’re severe about pictures or capturing video, then you ought to be within the Galaxy S21 Extremely, which is probably the most able to the three Galaxy S21 fashions. Nevertheless, is the value justified? Let’s discover out.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G worth and variants

Earlier than we start, let’s shortly go over the variants of the Galaxy S21 Extremely which can be accessible in India. In different nations, Samsung has lowered the launch costs of the Galaxy S21 sequence, nonetheless on account of taxes and foreign money price fluctuations in India, the costs have gone up a bit in comparison with final 12 months’s fashions. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G begins at Rs. 1,05,999 for 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, and there is a second choice priced at Rs. 1,16,999 which has 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage.

It is expensive for positive, however nonetheless prices lower than what Apple is charging for its iPhone 12 Pro sequence. The bottom variant of the Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G looks as if it must be the extra fashionable mannequin of the 2, however take into account that there isn’t a microSD card slot for storage growth this time, so if you happen to suppose you may be capturing plenty of 8K video, you may wish to think about the upper storage variant as a substitute.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G cameras

Whereas the digital camera capabilities of the Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G stay largely just like these of its predecessor, Samsung has reworked the implementation, particularly of the telephoto cameras. There is a new-generation 108-megapixel main digital camera which does nona-pixel binning, combining data from 9 pixels into one, for extra detailed 12-megapixel photographs.

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G is all in regards to the cameras


There is a 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle digital camera and two telephoto cameras. The latter each have 10-megapixel sensors, however with various kinds of optical zoom lenses. One has a 3X optical zoom, whereas the opposite is able to 10X, with a periscope-style lens. There is not any point out of hybrid zoom this time, nonetheless there’s nonetheless some AI processing being utilized at increased magnification ranges.

Samsung continues to market House Zoom, which on the Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G, goes all the best way to 100X. At such a excessive magnification, it could possibly get very tough to border pictures appropriately. particularly if you happen to’re capturing handheld, which we skilled with the Galaxy S20 Extremely. That is the place the brand new Zoom Lock function is available in. Whenever you transcend 20X magnification, you get a little bit preview window within the viewfinder that can assist you discover your topic higher. Should you maintain the body regular sufficient for one and a half seconds or faucet the preview field, the digital camera will lock focus in your topic and stick with it (the preview field turns yellow to substantiate this), making it a lot simpler to get a correctly framed shot.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G telephoto digital camera samples (Faucet to see bigger picture)


The brand new telephoto lenses together with this zoom lock function implies that zoomed-in pictures look higher and are barely simpler to seize. The digital camera app affords the identical onerous stops at 3X, 4X, 10X, 30X, and 100X, or you need to use the slider to choose the precise zoom stage you want. The Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G will use digital zoom between 1X and 3X, earlier than it switches to the primary telephoto digital camera, after which once more between 3X and 10X when it switches to the second telephoto digital camera. Picture high quality is noticeably sharper on the native optical zoom ranges, in comparison with any stage in between. At 100X, picture high quality is relatively a lot weaker however AI processing does assist in getting usable pictures.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G 3X telephoto digital camera pattern with Evening mode (faucet to see bigger picture)


In low mild, most smartphones ditch their telephoto cameras and simply use the first digital camera with digital zoom due to their extra beneficial apertures, however the Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G will nonetheless use its telephoto cameras as a lot as doable regardless of their slender apertures. The outcomes are predictably poorer, however if you happen to use them with Evening mode, the outcomes are surprisingly good. In such circumstances, the zoom vary is proscribed to 10X and the telephone sticks to the 3X telephoto digital camera even at that stage, because the 10X digital camera has a really slender f/4.9 aperture. I managed to get excellent pictures from the telephoto digital camera at evening.

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Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G digital camera samples

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Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G digital camera samples


The Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G may also seize native 108-megapixel pictures utilizing its important digital camera, permitting you to enlarge and crop round your topic later, which in principle has the identical impact as zooming in. Nevertheless, I observed that the picture high quality is not one of the best, and also you’re higher off utilizing the telephoto cameras. This goes for pictures taken in daylight in addition to low mild.

Pixel-binned 12-megapixel photographs taken with the primary digital camera in good mild regarded wonderful. Dynamic vary was good, there was loads of element, and colors regarded pure. Autofocus was fast and exact because of the laser AF sensor, like we noticed on the Galaxy Word 20 Extremely. Should you go too near your topic, the digital camera’s ‘focus enhancer’ kicks in, switching to the ultra-wide angle digital camera for a super-macro shot. I discovered this annoying because it tends to activate even if you happen to aren’t too near your topic and the picture high quality is a bit weaker in comparison with what the primary digital camera can seize. Fortunately, a little bit toggle icon within the viewfinder enables you to change it off instantly.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G daylight digital camera pattern (faucet to see bigger picture)

Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G ultra-wide digital camera pattern (faucet to see bigger picture)

Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G close-up digital camera pattern (faucet to see bigger picture)


Shut-ups look nice, with wealthy particulars and colors. Samsung’s Stay Focus mode is now merely known as Portrait and affords the identical bokeh patterns to select from as earlier than. The ultra-wide digital camera can also be competent in terms of capturing landscapes, with an analogous color tone as the primary digital camera. In low mild, the first and ultra-wide cameras proceed to impress even with out Evening mode, nonetheless you may count on higher uncovered pictures when utilizing Evening mode.

There is a new video capturing mode known as Director’s View, which affords reside previews of what the ultra-wide, important, and 3X telephoto digital camera can seize whilst you’re recording, so you realize what to anticipate earlier than switching. You can even allow a reside feed from the selfie digital camera, with a split-screen or picture-in-picture window, which Samsung calls ‘Vloggers view.’ I personally did not discover a lot use for this capturing mode, nevertheless it could possibly be helpful for some folks. The remainder of the capturing modes are just like what we noticed final 12 months, together with Single Take, Portrait Video, Tremendous Sluggish-mo, and so forth.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G Evening mode close-up digital camera pattern (faucet to see bigger picture)

Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G ultra-wide Evening mode digital camera pattern (faucet to see bigger picture)


Samsung has made some modifications to the video recording capabilities of the Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G, however they’re nonetheless not as intensive as I might have favored. Now you can shoot 4K 60fps video with any of the cameras, one thing that Apple launched with the iPhone 11 Professional. Nevertheless, you can’t change between cameras on the Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G as soon as recording has begun, which is a little bit limiting. For this, you may must shoot at 4K 30fps.

Samsung remains to be hyping 8K video recording, which is now stabilised, nevertheless it additionally closely crops the body. Video high quality is sweet in daylight, however could be very grainy in low mild. There is not any restrict on the recording size. The massive disappointment for me although is that 8K video remains to be restricted to 24fps, like on the Galaxy S20 sequence. Video high quality total is excellent, with sharp element, good stabilisation, and pure colors in footage shot within the daylight. Movies shot in poor lighting, even with the 3X telephoto digital camera, have been additionally spectacular.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G selfie digital camera pattern (faucet to see bigger picture)


Total, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G has a mighty spectacular set of rear cameras, and all of them have essential roles to play, in contrast to telephones with devoted depth or macro cameras. The selfie digital camera can also be equally competent right here. It has a 40-megapixel sensor and captures binned 10-megapixel photographs by default. It has autofocus, and might shoot 4K 60fps stabilised movies. Picture high quality in daylight and low mild, particularly with Evening mode, is excellent.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G efficiency and battery life

Apart from wonderful digital camera efficiency, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely can also be a true-blue flagship with cutting-edge parts. The Indian model is powered by Samsung’s Exynos 2100 5G SoC, which is analogous to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 SoC by way of fabrication course of and the categories and variety of ARM CPU cores used. The 12GB RAM variant that I had for assessment posted sturdy benchmark numbers. It scored 5,70,453 factors in AnTuTu, and 960 and a pair of,995 factors respectively in Geekbench’s single-core and multi-core checks. These numbers are nonetheless behind what Apple’s A14 Bionic within the iPhone 12 sequence can produce, however truthfully, you would be onerous pressed to inform any distinction between these telephones with common use.

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The Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G has a beautiful show which curves barely across the edges


The Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G simply ran graphically intensive video games reminiscent of Name of Responsibility: Cellular and Asphalt 9: Legends on the QHD+ decision. Gameplay was easy with stable framerates. The higher half of the metallic body did warmth up in a short time when gaming, which you’ll really feel if you happen to use this telephone with out a case. Actually, this heating was noticeable even when utilizing the digital camera app. The telephone by no means acquired uncomfortably scorching for me, and neither did this appear to throttle efficiency, however your mileage may differ.

The Galaxy S21 Extremely additionally totally helps Samsung’s S Pen, which is bought as an adjunct. I could not check this since Samsung did not ship it together with the telephone, however I think about that the expertise must be just like utilizing the most recent Galaxy Word sequence telephones. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely additionally helps Wi-Fi 6E and has an Extremely Broad Band (UWB) chip, which ought to permit the telephone for use as a digital key to unlock your automobile (when appropriate fashions are launched).

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G doubles up as a wonderful gadget for media consumption. The 6.8-inch AMOLED show will get extremely vibrant, and colors look wealthy and punchy. The QHD+ decision affords excellent sharpness, which is helpful when studying textual content. The most important new function, as I discussed in my first impressions piece, is that you need to use the 120Hz refresh price on the native decision. It is also adaptive, which suggests when no contact enter is detected, or if you happen to’re watching a video, the refresh price robotically scales all the way down to 60Hz. Samsung says it could possibly go down all the best way to 10Hz to avoid wasting energy, however I wasn’t capable of check this declare.

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You’ll be able to select from a wide range of always-on show kinds on the Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G


Movies basically look nice on the Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G’s show. Watching darkish scenes in films is not an issue because the AMOLED panel can obtain spectacular black ranges. Audio from the stereo audio system can also be excellent because of the Dolby Atmos enhancement. You get high-fidelity audio playback with help for the DSD 64/128 and 32-bit PCM codecs over a wired headset.

Different flagship options embrace an IP68 score for mud and water resistance, Samsung Pay through NFC and MST, and a complete lot of sensors together with a new-generation ultrasonic fingerprint sensor. Samsung claims that is about 1.7X bigger than the earlier mannequin, and in my expertise, it labored very effectively. All that is wanted is a fast faucet for profitable authentication. Face recognition is supported too, and can also be dependable.

I discovered battery life to be fairly stable. The 5,000mAh battery capability is similar as what the Galaxy S20 Extremely had, and simply lasts for greater than a full day of heavy to medium utilization. With lighter use, I used to be capable of lengthen the battery life to a little bit greater than a day and a half. This was with the show set to QHD+ and the 120Hz adaptive refresh price enabled. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G lasted for 15 hours and 37 minutes in our HD video loop check, with the display screen on the default decision (full-HD+).

The Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G helps quick charging however solely at as much as 25W, with a appropriate USB PowerDelivery (PD) Sort-C adapter. That is one thing you may have to purchase individually, both from Samsung or a 3rd occasion vendor, since you aren’t getting an influence adapter within the field anymore. Actually, you get solely a USB Sort-C cable and the SIM eject device.

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The massive battery within the Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G enables you to power-through a full day of heavy utilization


I attempted charging the Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G with a 27W Motorola adapter and OnePlus’ 65W adapter which ships with the 8T, and in each circumstances, I used to be capable of get a couple of 70 p.c cost in a single hour. You’ll be able to inform that the telephone is charging quickly as a “tremendous quick charging” message seems on the lockscreen. This telephone may also wirelessly quick cost with a appropriate charger, and reverse wi-fi charging can also be doable.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G software program

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G runs OneUI 3.1, and it labored easily with no actual trace of lag or slow-downs within the week that I needed to assessment this telephone. That is the most recent model of Samsung’s customized pores and skin, and relies on Android 11. It seems to be and feels slick. Acquainted Samsung gestures and shortcuts such because the Edge Panel are all current, which ought to make current Samsung customers really feel proper at dwelling. In contrast to the iPhone 12 Professional Max, you can also make higher use of the massive show by opening two apps in split-screen. Samsung DeX is current, which I discovered tremendous helpful for transferring information from my laptop computer to the telephone and vice versa, wirelessly.

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Adverts should not one thing we count on from Samsung, particularly in a telephone this costly


I did get some spam notifications from the Samsung Store app once I first started utilizing the Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G, regardless of unchecking all of the bins to not obtain advertising data, however this stopped after a day or two. Nevertheless, what I did not count on to see have been third-party advertisements in a few of Samsung’s personal apps reminiscent of Climate and Recreation Launcher. These are static advertisements and are not actually intrusive, however you actually should not need to see them on such an costly smartphone. Should you open the climate app or Recreation Launcher, they’re proper there on the prime.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G ergonomics

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G packs in plenty of options, however all of this comes on the slight value of ergonomics. It is a large telephone by any definition, and actually, it is even a bit thicker and heavier than the Galaxy S20 Extremely. It is also fairly top-heavy, and you’ll really feel this imbalance, even with two-handed utilization. I am not complaining an excessive amount of, although, since coming from the iPhone 12 Professional Max, I discover it a bit extra comfy for one handed use because of the rounded sides.

The brand new design makes the Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G look approach higher than earlier fashions. Samsung’s new contour-cut design for the digital camera module is exclusive, and manages to masks the digital camera bulge fairly effectively. You additionally get premium supplies throughout, with Corning Gorilla Glass Victus for the back and front, and a metallic body.

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The Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G a chunky telephone, however the brand new design helps conceal this effectively whereas trying very fancy



For a very long time, Samsung’s Galaxy S flagships in any given technology have been primarily differentiated by show and battery measurement, with the ‘plus’ fashions benefiting extra. This modified final 12 months when Samsung launched a 3rd ‘Extremely’ mannequin with a concentrate on cameras. This 12 months, Samsung is making an attempt to create an excellent bigger hole between its fashions. The Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G continues to be the hero product, however the Galaxy S21+ 5G and Galaxy S21 5G now have lower-resolution (full-HD+) shows, and the latter even ditches the glass again for plastic. Samsung did one thing comparable with the Galaxy Note 20 sequence final 12 months, with the Extremely mannequin getting a premium remedy, whereas the usual mannequin needed to reside with large compromises.

We’re but to assessment the Galaxy S21 5G and Galaxy S21+ 5G, so I am going to reserve my judgement for them until we do, nevertheless it’s clear that Samsung needs to push customers who need probably the most premium expertise in the direction of the Extremely mannequin, even when they do not care that a lot about cameras.

Samsung has bumped up the costs of all its Galaxy S telephones this 12 months, however the Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G, specifically, remains to be definitely worth the premium for my part. It affords higher worth than the iPhone 12 Pro Max (Review), is equally highly effective, and has top-of-the-line telephoto digital camera implementations out there. Add to that the superb construct high quality, nice show, sturdy battery life, and productiveness options reminiscent of S Pen help, and that is simply one of the best Samsung flagship to this point.

Is Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely probably the most full Android telephone but? We mentioned this on Orbital, our weekly know-how podcast, which you’ll subscribe to through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or simply hit the play button beneath.


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