I have to say that I have been pretty impressed the last few days when I tried the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. My last experience with a Samsung phone was the Galaxy Z Fold 2, which I also had a lot of fun with.
This time around, the phone is a little smaller, but still offers a number of improvements that were missing from the Fold 2 and its predecessors. But let’s start from the outside first.
It’s nearly impossible to leave a fingerprint on your back as the metallic finish is matte. It’s quite a difference to the more vivid rearview of the S20 Ultra.
This immediately gives the S21 Ultra a first-class feel, coupled with its heavy weight of 228-229 g (heavier at the point where the camera is located). For comparison: the S20 Ultra weighs only 220 g.
On the back of the phone in the Phantom Silver variant, notice the flow of the camera into the edge?
One major change in appearance this time around is the attempt to seamlessly integrate the camera bump into the side of the phone. Don’t get me wrong, the bump is still noticeable and a little scary to see without a cover, but it looks more polished overall.
I liked that the edges of the phone had gorilla glass, which was less curved which meant the screen was less accidentally touched to trigger random commands.
One look at the display
I was really excited to try the phone for gaming, especially since it has a 6.8-inch Quad HD + Dynamic AMOLED 2X display.
This image doesn’t do its portrayal very justice because it looks great in person
It was a pleasant experience while watching videos or playing games as everything looked smooth, clear and alive.
Samsung has introduced a new adaptive display (10-120 Hz on the S21 Ultra) that eliminates the need for users to choose between a high-resolution or high refresh rate display. Rather, the display simply adapts to what you’re doing on the screen (it gets lower as you read an article and vice versa as you play).
To be completely honest, I couldn’t tell with the naked eye any differences in how it adjusted.
On the inside
The S21 Ultra uses Samsung’s Exynos 2100 processor. After obsessing over the Genshin Impact game for the past 4 months and knowing how unfriendly the game could be on many phones, I had to see how far it could take the processor.
While it stuttered a bit when first loading the game, it soon ran smoothly. I was even able to play with an overclocked current power load.
However, the phone felt quite hot after about 30 minutes, especially around the camera area. I had the same experience with the Fold 2. It didn’t seem to affect how the game went, just a little uncomfortable for a long game.
I think this is a sign for me to take breaks! In terms of battery life, the 5,000 mAh battery lasts a decent long with an average of a few hours of play and use in social apps on and off. I only fully charged it twice in 3-4 days. It took about 2 hours to charge, although this was expected.
Look at the world through his cameras
If you were to start giving me the specs of the S21 Ultra’s quad cameras, you would be losing my attention. But for all of the geeks who like this stuff, here’s what it offers:
- 40MP selfie camera,
- Quad camera setup with 108 MP wide, 12 MP ultra wide and two 10 MP telephoto cameras, one with 3x zoom and the other with 10x zoom.
- 100x room zoom,
- 8K video material with the main sensor, all cameras can record 4K and 60fps.
With all of these numbers in mind, I expect some good photos. After everything I’ve caught, I think it was decent. The 0.6x zoom to 10x zoom exceeded my expectations, with photos that were still quite sharp (think about the compression we did for our images on the website).
At 30x zoom it started to get blurry and at 100x zoom the subjects could still be seen, but a lot of detail was lost. (Also, I still don’t see any reason why such an intense zoom would be necessary for everyday use …)
What I found cool was the Director’s View, which is not of much use to me on a daily basis, but would be useful if I opted for vlogging.
The S21 Ultra is the first in the S series to have an S pen (only included with cover purchase) and we didn’t receive one for review.
However, I had tried it at a briefing and it felt like your standard S-Pen experience. We also tried a Note10 S pen and it worked. So, if you already have an S-pen lying around, you may be able to use it on the S21 Ultra.
Overall, the phone doesn’t shy away from its premium quality, which is logical as it costs either RM 5,299 (12 GB RAM, 256 GB storage) or RM 5,899 (16 GB RAM, 512 GB storage). When you pay that much, you want to know that quality is in your hands.
|Smooth gaming experience even with difficult games||The phone would get pretty hot near the camera area after prolonged gaming|
|The matte metallic back looks better and feels better||The phone is heavy and can get stressful for a long time|
|Sharp display and images for up to 10x magnification|
- You can get the phone here.
- Further information on our VP Verdict range can be found here.
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