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Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G review – the best Android smartphone, yet


  • The Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G is the latest flagship smartphone from Samsung, offering a premium experience in a single package.
  • The cameras are the highlight of the smartphone, capturing stunning photos with ease regardless of the lighting condition.
  • Samsung has armed the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G to the brim with top-end hardware and the latest software, leaving no stone unturned.
  • Read our detailed review to find out how the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G fares in real life.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G is the most premium smartphone from the Korean smartphone maker, offering high-end hardware in a redesigned and reimagined package. The promise of premium experience extends to the software as well.

With Samsung consistently improving its hardware and software designs, along with developing its own ecosystem to go with it, this is turning out to be one of the most complete alternatives to Apple’s ecosystem, which seamlessly integrates the iPhone, iPad and Mac.

But does the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G live up to the hype? Is it worth the premium that Samsung is asking for? Is it actually
Ultra enough? I started out my experience with Samsung’s latest smartphones with all these questions in my mind.

I now have the answers to them. Read on to find out what they are.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G price and availability


The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G has been priced at ₹1,05,999 for the 12GB variant and ₹1,16,999 for the 16GB variant. It comes in three colour options – Phantom Black, Phantom Violet and Phantom Silver.

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It is available for purchase on Amazon, Flipkart, Samsung online store and retail stores across the country.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G – camera galore

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G review – the best Android smartphone, yet
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G camera moduleRounak Jain / Business Insider India

One of the biggest highlights of the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G is undoubtedly its camera capabilities. It comes with a quad camera setup on the back and a selfie camera on the front. Pretty standard fare so far.
But the actual performance will actually end up surprising you.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G review – the best Android smartphone, yet
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G daylight picture.Rounak Jain / Business Insider India

The primary camera is a 108 megapixel (MP) snapper with an upgraded sensor compared to the Galaxy S20 Ultra. It combines 9 pixels into 1 to create a 12MP image. This results in improved image quality.

Other sensors include a 12MP wide-angle camera, and two 10MP telephoto cameras. These two telephoto cameras are different, though – the first one offers 3x optical zoom, while the second one offers 10x optical zoom and comes with a periscope-style lens.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G review – the best Android smartphone, yet
The moon captured at 4X, 10X and 100X Zoom.Rounak Jain / Business Insider India

Simply put, the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G has a highly capable set of cameras. How well does this translate in real life?

I tested the phone in a wide range of situations, both indoors and outdoors – regular daylight conditions, artificial light and in low-light as well.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G review – the best Android smartphone, yet
Image captured in low light conditions using night mode.Rounak Jain / Business Insider India

In regular daylight conditions, the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G returned with excellent results, capturing plenty of detail with excellent colour reproduction and good dynamic range.

The phone continues to use the telephoto cameras even in challenging lighting conditions, unlike most other phones which switch to the primary camera. This can result in a loss of quality in some cases but turning on the Night mode improves the quality of photos significantly.

Samsung has also updated its camera app to rename some confusing names like Live Focus to Portrait mode. The phone performed really well even in challenging situations.

Overall, Samsung has nailed the camera experience in terms of quality, performance, ease of use as well as a diverse range of features. This is one of the best smartphone cameras around.


Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G – performance and battery life


Performance is the second most important metric for a flagship smartphone. Samsung has armed the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G to the teeth with the new Exynos 2100 chipset, paired with up to 16GB of memory and 512GB storage.



In simple terms, this is a lot more power than anything you might need on a smartphone.

From playing graphic intensive games to multitasking throughout the day, the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G handles everything I threw at it. Streaming videos, playing music in the background or simply using social media apps and surfing the internet – the phone breezes through everything.

The phone does get a little hot in some cases, though it has improved to a fair extent when compared to the Galaxy S20 series. However, it doesn’t get uncomfortably hot.

As far as battery life is concerned, the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G comes with a 5,000mAh battery and supports 25W fast charging. You will need to buy a power adapter, though.

The phone lasted me an entire day with ease, with plenty of calling and text messaging throughout the day, along with streaming video and music intermittently.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G – display


The Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G sports a vibrant 6.8-inch AMOLED display with Quad HD+ resolution and 120Hz refresh rate. And Samsung finally lets you enable Quad HD+ resolution with 120Hz refresh rate, offering high resolution with very smooth user experience.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G review – the best Android smartphone, yet
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra display.Rounak Jain / Business Insider India

The Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G’s display offers a vibrant, vivid experience. It is easily legible under direct sunlight, and the contrast is excellent with true blacks, offering a stunning visual experience no matter what you’re watching.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G – software


The Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G runs on Android 11 out of the box with OneUI 3.1, offering the latest experience that both Android and Samsung have to offer.

In the time I’ve been using the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G, I found the performance to be really fast and smooth. There were no lags, slowdowns or stutters.

Samsung also offers a wide range of features and customizability, allowing you to fully tune the experience to your liking. Whether you want a lean experience or the entire kitchen sink, there’s something for everyone.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G – design and usability

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G review – the best Android smartphone, yet
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra in Phantom Black.Rounak Jain / Business Insider India

The Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G packs in perhaps the best hardware available right now, and that means it is slightly big. That said, Samsung has done a great job with the design and the ergonomics, especially with the camera bump that now blends well with the rest of the phone.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G review – the best Android smartphone, yet
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra camera bump.Rounak Jain / Business Insider India

It comes with a matte back that repels fingerprints with ease. Overall, while Samsung has done everything possible to reduce the footprint and make it stand out, it’s not possible to escape the fact that this is a big phone.

Verdict


The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G is perhaps the most complete smartphone that the Korean smartphone maker has launched till date. From the display to the design, cameras, battery and everything else you can possibly imagine, Samsung has included the best that is on offer.

All things considered, the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G is worth the premium that it demands.

SEE ALSO:

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro review – the best wireless earbuds from the South Korean smartphone maker so far

OnePlus 8T review — refined flagship experience at mid-range price

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra review – ultra-everything



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