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The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G shows almost no weaknesses in our test. It convinces with an excellent screen, a particularly good camera and also excellent performance. Given the huge battery, the runtime can be a bit longer, but it’s still very good and can easily get users through most of the day. Unfortunately, Samsung is now also reducing the scope of delivery, leaving without the power adapter and the handset. Samsung has also removed the memory card slot. Media users and photographers on a budget should check out the S21 Ultra, but value shoppers can get the same performance for a lot less money.
Update Samsung Galaxy 21s Ultra Price Review
The year 2021 has barely begun when Samsung has already opened the smartphone season with its new flagship generation: Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21+ and Galaxy S21 Ultra. Unlike the Galaxy S20 series, the three new models are only available as 5G models in this country. They all have the same processor, Samsung’s new Exynos 2100 with an integrated 5G modem, which of course still supports 4G or LTE radio.
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All three models have two SIM card slots and a built-in eSIM card. You can use two SIM cards or one SIM card and eSIM with a dual SIM card at the same time. However, only one SIM card can transmit on the 5G network.
All three Galaxy S21 models start at an introductory price that is slightly lower than the S20 generation – but the Galaxy S21 Ultra still costs at least €1,250 at the start of the market. Unfortunately, Samsung is following Apple and without a power bank and headphones like all the other S21 phones. Narrow cardboard boxes now contain only the appropriate charging cable. Samsung also touts this as “environmental protection” and “resource protection”. However, this only applies if you have the right equipment at home and do not need to buy it separately.
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Outside, the S21 Ultra does a lot. It looks great in Samsung’s classic edge-to-edge design with narrow bezels. As usual, the transition is very well organized. The back is made of frosted glass and blends in with the now very stylish camera in the same base tone. The camera setup is just 1.9 millimeters – a significant improvement over the previous S20 Ultra’s 2.3 millimeters. Compared to the S20 models, the camera block is much smaller than the Alien, but it fits in the same way.
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The Galaxy S21 Ultra’s screen is 0.1 inches smaller than the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s – but it’s still big: it measures an impressive 6.8 inches and – like the other S21 models – also has an OLED panel. However, only the Galaxy S21 Ultra offers a resolution of 3,200 x 1,440 pixels (WQHD+). One-handed operation is not exactly possible here. As usual with its predecessors and OLED mobile phones, the large screen has large color dots. The screen covers 149 percent of the standard RGB color space. Watching fans will also benefit, as the Galaxy S21 Ultra covers 100 percent of the DCI-P3 color space for HDR videos, which is excellent. The Galaxy S21 Ultra is also capable of HDR10+. In short: Samsung proves once again that it makes great phone screens.
An average checkerboard ratio of 153 to 1 can’t change that. For HDR video and sunlight, the screen can reach a brightness of up to 1131 candelas per square meter according to our measurements – not only does it burn your eyes, but it’s also a new best value on our best list. You can read the screen well even in strong sunlight. Without any lighting tricks or HDR content, the screen achieves a brightness of up to 516 cd/m² – that’s bright enough for indoor use. Here we measure 50 percent whiteness.
Samsung has improved its 120Hz display technology in the S21 series and is using it to improve the refresh rate in the Galaxy S21 Ultra. The smartphone recognizes that, for example, 120 Hz is necessary for modern games, or that a slower 10 Hz is sufficient for quiet reading of e-books. Adaptive frequency control is enabled on our test devices. You can see how your device is set up in the on-screen menu. To save power, control the screen at 60 instead of 120 Hertz.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is the model with the most cameras in the Galaxy S21 series: a large lens with a bright f/1.8 aperture and a new 108-megapixel sensor, along with two 10-megapixel telephoto lenses with 3x and 10x zoom . However, the latter has a weak aperture of f/4.9 and is suitable mainly for daytime shots. The 3x zoom has an f/2.4 aperture, which is standard across the smartphone range. There is also an ultra-wide angle lens with f/2.2 and 12 megapixels. The front lens (f/2.2 aperture) records a maximum resolution of 40 megapixels. Both zoom lenses have optical image stabilization to reduce camera shake.
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To prevent users from accidentally going too far with digital zoom and enlarging subjects at the expense of image quality, the Galaxy S21 Ultra has a feature called “Zoom Lock” that temporarily disables zoom mode at 20x digital zoom. continues. After the art break If you ignore this warning, you can zoom up to 100, but you will lose a lot of image quality. Samsung calls this “Space Zoom”.
Lab tests show that recording in bright light is excellent. Something more Samsung is known for is the S21 Ultra’s System of the Day – some like it, others find it odd. In short, the Galaxy S21 Ultra shows a very high image quality that rivals even the best competition on the market. The same goes for the front camera: thanks to the built-in autofocus, images from the front camera are consistently sharp and very easy to use.
By the way: if you want to post-edit your photos professionally, it’s better to use the raw mode: As the name might suggest, the S21 Ultra saves RAW image files with a lot of information.
In low-light photography, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G rivals the Huawei P40 Pro and P40 Pro Plus. If the device stands still or protrudes from the three corners, the results of the laboratory examination are partially positive. But when it comes to hand drawing, some competitors have an edge.
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In addition to functions such as night mode and the so-called single shot, in which the smartphone continuously records a scene for up to 15 seconds and then leaves the “AI” the best selection of photos and videos under various filters, there are now also new video functions. With the so-called “director’s view” you can switch between different views of other lenses during video recording. In the Vlogger function, you can record videos from the front and rear cameras at the same time. Along with an optional photo gallery, the S21 Ultra is crying out for the attention of creators – TikTok, Instagram and YouTube welcome you.
However, it seems that the “director’s vision” is not fully thought through. Because you can only switch between individual lenses. Features such as face tracking or any video filtering feature cannot be set or adjusted by “AI”. In our opinion, this is wasted power because the computing power is there.
But the “professional video” mode only shows the settings options: from shutter speed to autofocus, here it is possible to create cinematic 8K movies at 24 frames per second or 4K movies at a maximum of 60 frames per second.
The quality of the videos is excellent – with the right lighting. However, we were disappointed with the low-light shots. Only experts in the field can find great videos in professional video format.
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As every year, with the new generation Galaxy S, Samsung introduces its new high-end mobile processor: this year it is called Exynos 2100. And as every year, some Samsung fans in Europe prefer the current Snapdragon processor. Samsung wants to change this with the Galaxy S21 series, and with the new Exynos 2100, it brings a system on a system (SoC) for the first time since 2016, which does not use native processors, but relies on the ARM architecture reference. Samsung also integrates a 5G modem for cellular communications below 6 GHz and mmWave, rather than relying on an additional one. The high-performance combination consists of a very powerful Cortex-X1 core with a clock frequency of 2.9 GHz and three more efficient Cortex-A78s that accelerate up to 2.8 GHz. For smaller tasks, there are also four Cortex-A55s – here at 2.2 GHz. Samsung has also improved the storage system and other elements of the processor (task division scheduler).
Depending on the selected memory version, the processor has between 12 and 16 GB of RAM available, which is mainly intended for demanding applications and multitasking.
Performance is excellent: animations run smoothly, the user can enjoy a full 120 Hertz. Load times are minimal and apps consistently open at high speeds. That’s why the good benchmark results are not surprising either: it loads and renders our PDF test file in a quick 1.9 seconds. In the GFX benchmark (scenario: Manhattan 3.1; off-screen; 1440p), the Galaxy S21 Ultra scored 67 fps. So Samsung is closing the gap on Apple with its flagship A14 bionic device. We rated the iPhone 12 Pro Max a value of 78.9.
The integrated 5G modem supports all 5G frequencies relevant to Germany, i.e. expanding 5G in rural areas. Until now, many smartphones have had problems when LTE and 5G frequencies are very close to each other, such as 1,800 MHz for LTE and 2,100 MHz.
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