The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G is the corporate’s most premium smartphone but, with a powerful deal with cameras. Identical to the Galaxy S20 Ultra (Review), this new mannequin boasts of 100X “house 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 major specs of the Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G in our latest first impressions article, so for this evaluation, we’ll dive straight into the cameras and system efficiency first. Should you’re critical about images or capturing video, then you have to be within the Galaxy S21 Extremely, which is essentially 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 rapidly go over the variants of the Galaxy S21 Extremely which are accessible in India. In different nations, Samsung has decreased the launch costs of the Galaxy S21 sequence, nonetheless as a consequence of taxes and forex 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 dear 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 ought to be the extra common mannequin of the 2, however remember that there is no such thing as a microSD card slot for storage enlargement this time, so when you suppose you may be capturing numerous 8K video, you may wish to contemplate the upper storage variant as an alternative.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G cameras
Whereas the digicam capabilities of the Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G stay largely much like these of its predecessor, Samsung has reworked the implementation, particularly of the telephoto cameras. There is a new-generation 108-megapixel main digicam which does nona-pixel binning, combining info from 9 pixels into one, for extra detailed 12-megapixel photographs.
There is a 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle digicam and two telephoto cameras. The latter each have 10-megapixel sensors, however with several types of optical zoom lenses. One has a 3X optical zoom, whereas the opposite is able to 10X, with a periscope-style lens. There is no point out of hybrid zoom this time, nonetheless there’s nonetheless some AI processing being utilized at greater 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 may get very tough to border pictures appropriately. particularly when you’re capturing handheld, which we skilled with the Galaxy S20 Extremely. That is the place the brand new Zoom Lock function is available in. Once you transcend 20X magnification, you get a bit preview window within the viewfinder that will help you discover your topic higher. Should you maintain the body regular sufficient for one and a half seconds or faucet the preview field, the digicam will lock focus in your topic and persist with it (the preview field turns yellow to verify this), making it a lot simpler to get a correctly framed shot.
The brand new telephoto lenses together with this zoom lock function signifies that zoomed-in pictures look higher and are barely simpler to seize. The digicam app provides the identical laborious 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 digicam, after which once more between 3X and 10X when it switches to the second telephoto digicam. 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.
In low mild, most smartphones ditch their telephoto cameras and simply use the first digicam 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 attainable regardless of their slim apertures. The outcomes are predictably poorer, however when you use them with Evening mode, the outcomes are surprisingly good. In such instances, the zoom vary is proscribed to 10X and the cellphone sticks to the 3X telephoto digicam even at that stage, because the 10X digicam has a really slim f/4.9 aperture. I managed to get superb pictures from the telephoto digicam at evening.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G may also seize native 108-megapixel photographs utilizing its major digicam, permitting you to enlarge and crop round your topic later, which in concept has the identical impact as zooming in. Nevertheless, I seen that the picture high quality is not the perfect, 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 principle digicam in good mild appeared glorious. Dynamic vary was good, there was loads of element, and colors appeared pure. Autofocus was fast and exact because of the laser AF sensor, like we noticed on the Galaxy Notice 20 Extremely. Should you go too near your topic, the digicam’s ‘focus enhancer’ kicks in, switching to the ultra-wide angle digicam for a super-macro shot. I discovered this annoying because it tends to activate even when you aren’t too near your topic and the picture high quality is a bit weaker in comparison with what the principle digicam can seize. Fortunately, a bit toggle icon within the viewfinder helps you to change it off instantly.
Shut-ups look nice, with wealthy particulars and colors. Samsung’s Stay Focus mode is now merely known as Portrait and provides the identical bokeh patterns to select from as earlier than. The ultra-wide digicam can also be competent in terms of capturing landscapes, with an identical color tone as the principle digicam. In low mild, the first and ultra-wide cameras proceed to impress even with out Evening mode, nonetheless you possibly can anticipate higher uncovered photographs when utilizing Evening mode.
There is a new video capturing mode known as Director’s View, which provides reside previews of what the ultra-wide, major, and 3X telephoto digicam can seize when you’re recording, so you understand what to anticipate earlier than switching. You can too allow a reside feed from the selfie digicam, 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 might be helpful for some folks. The remainder of the capturing modes are much like what we noticed final 12 months, together with Single Take, Portrait Video, Tremendous Sluggish-mo, and so forth.
Samsung has made some modifications to the video recording capabilities of the Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G, however they’re nonetheless not as in depth as I’d have preferred. 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 not change between cameras on the Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G as soon as recording has begun, which is a 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 no 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 superb, with sharp element, good stabilisation, and pure colors in footage shot within the daylight. Movies shot in poor lighting, even with the 3X telephoto digicam, had been additionally spectacular.
Total, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G has a mighty spectacular set of rear cameras, and all of them have vital roles to play, not like telephones with devoted depth or macro cameras. The selfie digicam 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 superb.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G efficiency and battery life
Aside from glorious digicam efficiency, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely can also be a true-blue flagship with cutting-edge elements. The Indian model is powered by Samsung’s Exynos 2100 5G SoC, which is analogous to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 SoC when it comes to fabrication course of and the kinds and variety of ARM CPU cores used. The 12GB RAM variant that I had for evaluation 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 exams. These numbers are nonetheless behind what Apple’s A14 Bionic within the iPhone 12 sequence can produce, however actually, you would be laborious pressed to inform any distinction between these telephones with common use.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G simply ran graphically intensive video games akin to Name of Obligation: Cell and Asphalt 9: Legends on the QHD+ decision. Gameplay was clean with strong framerates. The higher half of the metallic body did warmth up in a short time when gaming, which you’ll really feel when you use this cellphone with out a case. In actual fact, this heating was noticeable even when utilizing the digicam app. The cellphone by no means bought uncomfortably sizzling for me, and neither did this appear to throttle efficiency, however your mileage might range.
The Galaxy S21 Extremely additionally totally helps Samsung’s S Pen, which is bought as an adjunct. I could not take a look at this since Samsung did not ship it together with the cellphone, however I think about that the expertise ought to be much like utilizing the most recent Galaxy Notice sequence telephones. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely additionally helps Wi-Fi 6E and has an Extremely Vast Band (UWB) chip, which ought to permit the cellphone 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 superb machine for media consumption. The 6.8-inch AMOLED show will get extremely shiny, and colors look wealthy and punchy. The QHD+ decision provides superb sharpness, which is beneficial 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 when you’re watching a video, the refresh price robotically scales all the way down to 60Hz. Samsung says it may go down all the best way to 10Hz to save lots of energy, however I wasn’t in a position to take a look at this declare.
Movies typically look nice on the Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G’s show. Watching darkish scenes in motion pictures is not an issue because the AMOLED panel can obtain spectacular black ranges. Audio from the stereo audio system can also be superb because of the Dolby Atmos enhancement. You get high-fidelity audio playback with assist for the DSD 64/128 and 32-bit PCM codecs over a wired headset.
Different flagship options embody an IP68 ranking 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 properly. 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 strong. 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 in a position to extend the battery life to a 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 take a look at, with the display 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) Kind-C adapter. That is one thing you may have to purchase individually, both from Samsung or a 3rd celebration vendor, since you aren’t getting an influence adapter within the field anymore. In actual fact, you get solely a USB Kind-C cable and the SIM eject device.
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 instances, I used to be in a position to get a few 70 % cost in a single hour. You’ll be able to inform that the cellphone is charging quickly as a “tremendous quick charging” message seems on the lockscreen. This cellphone may also wirelessly quick cost with a appropriate charger, and reverse wi-fi charging can also be attainable.
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 evaluation this cellphone. That is the most recent model of Samsung’s customized pores and skin, and relies on Android 11. It seems 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 residence. Not like the iPhone 12 Professional Max, you can also make higher use of the big 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 cellphone and vice versa, wirelessly.
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 packing containers to not obtain advertising and marketing info, however this stopped after a day or two. Nevertheless, what I did not anticipate to see had been third-party advertisements in a few of Samsung’s personal apps akin to Climate and Sport 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 Sport Launcher, they’re proper there on the high.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G ergonomics
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G packs in numerous options, however all of this comes on the slight price of ergonomics. It is a large cellphone 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 may 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 snug for one handed use because of the rounded sides.
The brand new design makes the Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G look method higher than earlier fashions. Samsung’s new contour-cut design for the digicam module is exclusive, and manages to masks the digicam bulge fairly properly. You additionally get premium supplies throughout, with Corning Gorilla Glass Victus for the back and front, and a metallic body.
For a very long time, Samsung’s Galaxy S flagships in any given technology had been primarily differentiated by show and battery dimension, with the ‘plus’ fashions benefiting extra. This modified final 12 months when Samsung launched a 3rd ‘Extremely’ mannequin with a deal with cameras. This 12 months, Samsung is attempting to create a fair 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 therapy, whereas the usual mannequin needed to reside with huge compromises.
We’re but to evaluation the Galaxy S21 5G and Galaxy S21+ 5G, so I will reserve my judgement for them until we do, nevertheless it’s clear that Samsung needs to push customers who need essentially the most premium expertise in 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 provides higher worth than the iPhone 12 Pro Max (Review), is equally highly effective, and has among the best telephoto digicam implementations out there. Add to that the superb construct high quality, nice show, sturdy battery life, and productiveness options akin to S Pen assist, and that is simply the perfect Samsung flagship thus far.
Is Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely essentially the most full Android cellphone 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.