Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review – A benchmark setting flagship

Samsung 21 Ultra - Dhiram Shah / Luxurylaunches

In the realms of smartphone flagships, we have often come across revolutionary features and designs. It’s rare that we see excellence to a level where the entire category is challenged. Be it looks, performance, or utility, Samsung prides itself in its ‘Galaxy’ of star-studded smartphones that have redefined the smartphone experience across the globe. With the arrival of the Galaxy S21 Ultra, the company has simply outdone itself.

It’s drop-dead gorgeous to look at, to put it plainly. The slender yet expansive body would require you to tread along the UI with two hands, but that also means there’s that much awesomeness to look forward to. At the back, the seamless camera compartment occupies one corner giving it only a slight unevenness when placed on a flat surface. What’s important is that this camera back design is unique to the S21 Ultra, telling everyone what you’re shooting with, in your mirror selfies.

In matte Phantom Black, the S21 Ultra is an attention magnet

For some time now Samsung loyalists have had to choose between the Note series and the S series, with the S-Pen being the deciding factor. The Galaxy S21 Ultra bridges this gap too, by introducing support for the renowned stylus in an S series phone. This will have to be purchased separately, though. Weighing in at 228 grams, on paper, the phone is heavy but the curving screen and back panel make it extremely easy to grip. More importantly, it isn’t as broad as the iPhone 12 Pro Max, which helps the ergonomics.

Everything on the S21 Ultra’s AMOLED display looks stunning.

The Galaxy S21 Ultra sports a 6.8-inch Quad HD+ screen – a slightly curved and severely smooth surface that is both, a tangible and visible delight. With a resolution of 3200 x 1400 pixels, you can view the minutest details in your captures and video. As it seduces your senses with its fluid beauty, the real magic of the screen is practiced behind the scenes. The refresh rate – which is the number of times a screen updates with new images per second – has always been a focus area for phone developers. After all, the higher the response rate, the smoother the visuals, albeit, at the cost of battery life. The Galaxy S21 Ultra introduces its revolutionary dynamic refresh rate that slows down the refresh rate when static images are being viewed, thereby saving battery, while at the same time increasing it up to 120Hz when there’s video involved. This amicable harmonization between battery life and visual clarity is an astounding breakthrough in itself. And it’s significant because this is the brightest screen in a phone, ever, with 1,500 nits.

Galaxy S21 Ultra – Dhiram Shah / Luxurylaunches

Even in close proximity the ultra wide lens fit the subject completely in the frame. – Dhiram Shah / Luxurylaunches

Details are reproduced accurately in low light even with a neon light in the backdrop. Dhiram Shah / Luxurylaunches

The camera is beyond comprehension with a 108-megapixel sensor on the main camera with a large 1/1.33” sensor. Professional photographers will love the fact that you can now capture 12-bit RAW format images. For everyone else, the AI-assistance for the capture of regular images is wonderful. The dual-pixel autofocus on the ultra-wide lens is a fantastic ally to have on your side when you’re capturing those stunning sceneries and large monuments when on holiday. A key change that is a true differentiator of the camera is the dual-telephoto optical zoom offered in the S21 Ultra. It allows you to shoot in increments of 3x and 10x, taking you much closer to the subject you want to capture without too much noise. This is arguably the best smartphone camera on an Android device. It doesn’t produce captures that look as natural as they do in the iPhone, but that can pass for the sheer support it offers both, professional and amateur photographers.

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The laser auto focus delivers crisp shots – Dhiram Shah / Luxurylaunches
The AI automatically detects the subject and process the image accordingly. – Dhiram Shah / Luxurylaunches

Daylight shots are just perfect. – Dhiram Shah / Luxurylaunches

And that’s not all. The camera captures amazing video resolutions of up to 8K, while capturing images at up to 33-megapixels, simultaneously. This performance has to be attributed to the Exynos 2100 processor and 12 Gig of RAM that is lightning fast and makes the phone a lot more responsive. The One UI 3.1 software that runs on the Galaxy S21 Ultra rides over Android 11 and delivers a delightful experience. With it, you can open dual apps at a time and multitask seamlessly. The Samsung DeX feature opens up everything on your phone as if it were a horizontal desktop device that you are viewing it on. All you have to do is connect it to a monitor via WiFi or USB.

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There is barely any pixelation in low light shots – Dhiram Shah / Luxurylaunches

The phone is definitely worthy of its ‘Ultra’ name.

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is the superlative equivalent of a smartphone available, anywhere. It has no parallel and could stay on the top of the food chain for a few months to come. With the 5,000 mAh battery, you can stay connected all through the day, shooting stunning images and videos that are Instagram-worthy.

The Samsung S21 Ultra is available in 256 GB (12 GB of RAM) and 512 GB (16GB of RAM) for Rs 106,000 and Rs 1,17,000 respectively.

Note – None of the images are edited or processed in any way. There are only resized for faster loading.

The luxe factor is:

9.5 Looks
10 Built quality
8.5 Performance
9.5 Camera
8 Battery
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