Update Samsung S21 Ultra Used Price Review – Samsung was the only smartphone brand that did not appear to be affected by the supply chain issues that delayed the launch cycles of many of its competitors. Ironically, Samsung launched the Galaxy S21 series in January, well ahead of the usual February deadline for Galaxy S series devices.
Last year, Samsung introduced the Ultra series as the top variant of the S and Note series. The S21 Ultra is visually different from the other S21 variants released this year. Samsung seems to have reserved the best features for the price of the S21 and S21+ for this variant. But is a price tag of over 100,000 rubles attractive to new buyers? I will try to answer this question in my review. But first, let’s take a look at the basic specifications and start with the camera section.
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Chipset: Exynos 2100 (1x 2.9 GHz Cortex X1 + 3x 2.8 GHz Cortex A78 + 4x 2.2 GHz Cortex A55)
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Additional cameras: 10 MP periscope telephoto with f/4.9 aperture and 10x optical zoom + 10 MP telephoto with f/2.4 and 3x optical zoom + 12 MP ultra-wide angle with f/2.2
The cameras will be the deciding factor for buyers of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. If you want the short version, the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s cameras deliver on their promises. Read more about what doesn’t shine.
The cameras will be the deciding factor for buyers of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. Image: Tech2/Nimish Sawant
Like last year, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra features a 108MP primary camera with a new sensor that offers pixel-free binning for a 12MP image, unless you specifically select the 108MP mode to shoot at its own resolution. The main camera aperture is f/1.8 and the sensor size is 1/1.33 inch. It is well supported by a 10-megapixel periscopic telephoto camera with 10x optical zoom and a 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera with f/2.2 aperture. The S21 Ultra also has an additional 10MP telephoto camera that can shoot with 3x optical zoom. The ultra-wide-angle camera can also be used as a macro camera if the focal distance of the object is several centimeters. On the front, there is a 40-megapixel selfie camera with f/2.2 aperture. There’s even a dedicated laser autofocus on the back that’s sure to help you lock focus faster. Overall, the S21 Ultra packs a punch in the camera department. No unnecessary camera specs like depth sensor or dedicated 2MP macro cameras etc. Each camera has a specific purpose that it serves.
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I won’t even talk about daytime shooting as there isn’t much to complain about. You can look at many daylight photos taken with the main camera to get an idea. Photos are rich in detail, high dynamic range and 3x and 10x optical zoom create beautiful images. Any zoom range other than 3x and 10x results in digitally zoomed images with noticeable softness. I found the 30x image to be quite usable, but anything above that should only be used in an emergency.
One of my concerns with last year’s S20 Ultra 100x Cosmic Zoom was that it was difficult to use due to poor image quality. While the 100x hybrid zoom is still hair-raising when it comes to reliably locking the camera onto a subject, I was very impressed with how well it was able to capture the moon. This time there is a focus lock mechanism that helps you compose a shot with 100x zoom by locking the focus when you see a yellow indicator in the upper right corner. Just hold for a few seconds when you see the yellow light for a pretty handy shot. Here is an example of the recommended zoom range; sure, it’s a conversation starter. (Here’s a link to the original samples: Ultrawide and 100x Space Zoom for the image below)
Photos taken in low light have overly aggressive noise reduction algorithms that result in relatively soft images, especially when using any zoom function. Switching to night mode definitely helps, but I noticed that the hand shake compensation wasn’t the best. This is especially noticeable when some exposures are around 5 seconds long. It’s a bummer, as night mode shots come out fine, but if you’re even breathing, it ends up causing some shakiness. We’ve seen many smartphones do this well in the past, most notably the Huawei P20 Pro, whose AI processing after long exposures was excellent. But then we didn’t have to deal with 108 MP sensors. Something has to give.
With night mode, the S21 Ultra takes good photos in tricky lighting conditions like these, but you have to keep calm.
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The camera app has many features like Single Take, which takes a bunch of photos and videos with just one click; “AR Doodle”; “RAW Mode”; Portrait modes for both photos and videos; “Hyper Child”; “SuperSloMo” and more. With all this talk about RAW modes, a comparison with the iPhone 12 Pro is expected, but we will write a separate story about that in the near future; for now, we’ll just focus on the S21 Ultra’s camera performance.
Selfies came out well and there was no unnecessary face lighting or other gimmicks. However, the portrait mode is a hit. Low-light selfies were unusual and the lack of skin texture was noticeable. The front camera is also capable of capturing 4K 60fps videos, but they remain without image stabilization.
The S21 Ultra’s video quality is impressive during the day and in low light. After sunset, the material begins to gradually soften, and in many cases there is a noticeable search for focus. The S21 Ultra is capable of capturing FHD, 4K at 60fps, but “SuperSteady” image stabilization is only available for FHD at 60fps. This is the second generation where you have to use a gimbal to record stable 4K video at 60fps; Apple has shot stabilized 4k 60fps with the iPhone X. Walking and shooting in 4K produces sharp shots, and while the “SuperSteady” stabilized shots are pretty good, there’s a noticeable softness to the end result. You can also shoot 8K video at 24 frames per second, but this will reduce the frame rate a lot. Needless to say, when shooting 8K video, you need to use a gimbal or hold your phone on a tripod, because even the slightest shake will translate into video. While you can shoot 4K 60fps with all cameras, you can’t switch between lenses unless you’re shooting 4K 30fps or lower. One mode I really liked while shooting was the Director’s View, which activates both the front camera and any of the three rear cameras so you can shoot while walking. I see vloggers use this feature a lot because it allows you to be in the frame. It’s nice to see video features like this offered directly without having to download expensive apps.
Director’s View allows you to use the front camera and any of the three rear cameras simultaneously.
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The S21 Ultra’s microphone quality is quite impressive and has a feature called “Zoom Microphone” which focuses the microphone according to the camera zoom for better audio quality.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra continues Samsung’s tradition of delivering great screens. The 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED Infinity-O display has a native resolution of 1440×3200 pixels, which means a dense pixel density of 515 PPI. It supports 120Hz refresh rate not only for FHD+ but also native resolution which is really impressive. The S21 Ultra has a variable refresh rate depending on what’s being viewed on the screen, allowing the phone’s screen to run from a low of 10Hz to a high of 120Hz. The screen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass Victus.
The 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED Infinity-O display has a native resolution of 1440×3200 pixels, which means a dense pixel density of 515 PPI. Image: Tech2/Nimish Sawant
It has a maximum brightness of 1500 nits, which is only noticeable when playing HDR10+ content on popular streaming platforms like YouTube, Netflix and Prime Video. The screen offers a “Vibrant Mode” where you also get the option to adjust the screen temperature, and a “Natural Mode” with relatively muted colors. Thanks to the maximum resolution and high density, reading on this screen is a pleasure. I finished most of the ebook I was reading on my Kindle S21 Ultra. However,
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