Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra long-term review

15 July 2021


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  • Chackla

Rkm, 16 Jul 2021Samsung bought Harman which owns AKG, Bang and Olufsen, JBL... moreSamsung even makes army tanks and weapons btw. Samsung rules the display market. apple iphone screens are made by Samsung

  • S21 Ultra Ned

This phone is perfect in every way.

  • Rizal

Even if it equipped with 5000 maH, the battery is still drain quite much. I am not sure why, perhaps I charged it with Huawei charging plug (40W).

I'll look into the mentioned flaws as a 5-month s21 Ultra user:
"but it's still an all-black phone and that's rather dull"-I disagree, this is the best looking phone I've ever owned, and I've owned several HTC smartphones back in the day. I actually hate the childish trend of rainbow-colored smartphones, plus they're more attractive for thieves.
"would've preferred it to be lighter if not also thinner, but the big issue with handling is that it's top heavy, and rather significantly so."-I agree about the first 2 points, disagree with the last one. I hadn't felt that, it's surprisingly well balanced considered the camera hardware.
"One thing we'd like to mention regarding design is the very unfortunate positioning of the microphone pinhole at the bottom"-that never occurred to me,like ever. Unless you're drunk and tired, but I'd never hold my $1000 phone in that state of mind.
"Finally, let's address the invisible elephant in the room, and that's the airiness of the box."-I agree 100% on that.
"A lot of its competitors use more curved screens and have zero accidental touch issues, whereas the S21 Ultra does get a lot of them."-I never had issues with that. Granted, most of the day it's in the case, but in the evening I use it "naked" and never had that issue. I was actually surprised and expected accidental touches.
"Despite being the fastest and smoothest Samsung ever, the Galaxy S21 Ultra is not the smoothest phone around."-that's true, they really need to work on that. But at least I never had to reset or hard reset my device, which was often the case in my older Samsungs.
"After the last update which took the security patch level to June 2021, with our use case, we've always hit 5 hours of screen-on-time in a day, and we even managed 6 a few times."-I've had 7-9 hours SOT constantly. Granted, with lighter use and more efficient settings. But I am very happy with the battery life, especially considering the fact Samsung designed the chips, which never is good news.
"It's time for the Korean company to really up its charging game."- maybe just a little bit. Like, make the 45 w chargers you used to provide able to charge the phone in 50 minutes and it's ok, I don't mind it.
"Duplicate apps"-surprisingly, I found Samsung's apps to be far better than Google's alternatives (Messages, Chrome,Calendar,Gallery), all except for keyboard and voice assistant.
"The ultrawide photos are good, but definitely not the best we've seen from ultrawides lately"-agreed, p40 pro and op9pro beat it out of the park easily
"The ultrawide produces barely decent photos at night, far from outstanding or wow-inducing."-agreed
""default is cropped" situation"-I barely used the selfie cam, but I guess it can get annoying.
2 things you forgot to mention: video recording in 4k60fps, 8k and Hyperlapse mode are comically badly executed, even after the updated.
Secondly, again you forgot to mention the overheating issues, just like you did with mi11. You might not notice it in breezy seasons, but in summer days it's definitely not something you won't notice.

All in all, with all the flaws mentioned, this is still the most balanced smartphone of 2021. Mi 11 Ultra was very close, but Xiaomi hurried up too much with trying to beat Samsung by quickly releasing mi11u and that resulted with half-baked software.


  • S21U

AnonD-986036, 16 Jul 2021Much more advanced, yes. The autofocus and the sensor are l... moretf r u said? im using both S21U n iphone 12 pro(for ipad integration), and with latest update which is yesterday, the lowlight cam on S21U r far more superior. im dare to day its the best today.

  • AnonD-986036

Anonymous, 15 Jul 2021Samsung sensor is much more advanced, equipped with dual pi... moreMuch more advanced, yes. The autofocus and the sensor are larger and more advanced then P40 Pro+ One. But, what matters is results. Not specs. And Samsung phones have bad lowlight photos and videos without night mode

AnonD-986036, 16 Jul 2021Oh i just know that. I thought only AKG was Samsung. But te... moreSamsung bought Harman which owns AKG, Bang and Olufsen, JBL, infinity. Samsung is huge. I've read that they make helicopters or own a company that makes helicopter or something along that line.

Perfect smartphone. I am only not happy with the selfie camera, difficult to shot more than one person from the hand.

  • Anonymous

Amand, 15 Jul 2021We know s21 ultra is the best in 2021. Xiaomi 11 ultra ... moreNo way I would be using Exynos S21 series. Laughable gaming performance and terrible oilpainting cameras, yet people across the world still buy them thinking they are getting the best phone coz they read US-based reviews where Snapdragon versions are featured. I would rather go for Sony or Asus or Chinese brands if I had to deal with Samsung's way of treating their customers.

  • Anonymous

I'm a user of S21 ultra SD. I don't understand the hate from some people who might very well be broke and can't afford this phone. The phone overall is great and is on top of the chart of the best phones for this period. The camera is great, colors, dynamic range, night mode etc. The zoom is just outstanding, it's like a telescope ffs. Battery is great (so far). Easily 24h with heavy use. Regarding bloat, of course it has, like since the beginning of the galaxy lineup. Wtf are you complaining about? Use whatever you need, what's so hard to understand? The screen is awesome. Build quality is great. Is this the perfect phone? Of course not, you must be an idiot to think and/or complain about that. Are there better phones? For my personal usage, no! I was about to get the iPhone 12 pro max, but the screen was a deal breaker for me. Other than that, iPhone is at the same level, with its plus and minus things compared with S21 ultra. Yes the phone is expensive, yes it might not justify the money for some of you, so what? There are a load of products out there overpriced. If you don't like this phone, just f*ck off, no one is forcing you to buy it. Buy whatever suits your tastes best.

Anonymous, 15 Jul 2021Samsung sensor is much more advanced, equipped with dual pi... moreok in good light but video in low light and low light pics without waiting for night shot to work

Hello

Nice long term review! I suggest adding some feedback on cellphone 5G radio signal reception performance. Is the mobile capable of maintaining the 5G connection at home? Are the antennas well designed and positioned correctly, no signal loss by holding the cell in your hand or putting in your trouser pocket? speed?

  • AnonD-986036

Duck of death, 16 Jul 2021Harman Kardon is Samsung. Everything in your Xiaomi is Sam... moreOh i just know that. I thought only AKG was Samsung. But technically Xiaomi should have better speakers as they have 2 symmetrical stereo speakers. While S21 ultra uses an earpiece plus bottom speaker

Anonymous, 15 Jul 2021What is so creepy about having a zoom lens?? Many people us... moreAgreed and thought the same and should not of been mentioned as it leaves a negative and abhorrent tone to the camera part of their review...

And in addition to your comment this setup can be convenient and a substitute camera for people who travel for holidays or sight seeing, spectator sports and recreational events ( DPREVIEW even recommends for travel and sports a versatile camera lens with good zoom capabilities) etc.,

AnonD-986036, 16 Jul 2021After this, Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra long term review and maybe t... moreHarman Kardon is Samsung.
Everything in your Xiaomi is Samsung. 🤣

Hemedans, 15 Jul 2021samsung Ui has never been the fastest, but you choose Samsu... moreNot to forget Goodlock. It's literally the closest your phone can get to rooting without actually rooting your phone.

  • Anonymous

Hemedans, 15 Jul 2021most people don't talk about Samsung bloatware because... moreit's only bloatware if you don't use them 😉

what many normal phone users miss is that software, experience and ecosystem makes up an integral part of the phone to many folks, not just hardware

to them they don't bother about it at all as long as they can get good specs for dirt cheap and replace their phone yearly or every 2 years once the poor QC and support comes in (and also to get better specs)

like you said dex and samsungs apps are some of their features and while many treat it as bloatware, it means they are buying the wrong phone (should go for maybe stock android instead), because to me they are important features (seriously, they are the only android competitor to have taken the whole "ecosystem" thing kimda seriously (though still falls flat because typical Samsung) and their notes and internet apps are absolute top notch and the best in their category),

and also, *every* phone has "bloatware", be it xiaomi or BBK, all trying to push their own apps and system, but of course since it is android all of us already are invested in googles apps and ecosystem in first place and thats why OEM apps seem redundant to most people and are hence called "bloatware" by most, and i think this is one of androids biggest down falls

Daylight image quality is mediocre. Processing is very bad. Even pixel 2 can take better daylight photos.

Anonymous, 15 Jul 2021Samsung sensor is much more advanced, equipped with dual pi... moreSo with DPAF its more advanced? Lol. Quality depends on image processing algorithym as well. Huawei apply Super Res algorithym, Samsung did not. S21U x10 zoom aperture are slower than x10 on P40 Pro+. Thats why I would love to see how it turns out at x3, x4, x5 all the way to x15 zoom between those two. Plus, the 'Samsung look' as per mentioned in the review is not my cup of tea.

If AF aspect is the more advanced by your logic, then the main cam on P40 are more superior, because using omnidirectional PDAF instead older PDAF that S21U has. Right? Its yoursay anyway.

How is that accurate and over saturated fit in the same sentence?🙃