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What is the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra?
13th October, 2021 |
If you’re in the market for a swanky new phone that will turn heads then the latest flagship offering from Samsung is worthy of careful consideration. Respected tech site reviewers such as Tom’s Guide have been lauding the new Galaxy S21 Ultra’s new cameras, heavy-duty tech specs and vast array of enviable features. But is it as good as it sounds? Read our guide to find out more.
But remember, if you’re in the market for one of these swish handsets you need to make sure you have the right mobile phone insurance in place, too. Give Gadget Cover a call and get your gorgeous Galaxy covered in an instant.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra – at a glance
- Dimensions: 165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9mm (6.5 x 2.98 x 0.35 in)
- Weight: 227g
- IP rating: IP68 Dust and water resistant (up to 1.5 metres for 30 minutes)
- Display: 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2x Infinity-O touch screen
- Resolution: 3200 x 1400 pixels
- Refresh rate: 10 to 120Hz
- Chipset: Exynos 2100 (5nm)
- GPU: Mali-G78 MP14
- RAM: 12GB / 16GB
- Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
- Rear cameras: 108MP (wide), 10MP (periscope telephoto), 10MP (telephoto), 12MP (ultra wide)
- Front cameras: 40MP (wide)
- Zoom: 3x and 10x optical zoom, 100x digital zoom
- Video: Up to 8K at 24fps, 4K at 30fps/60fps, HDR10+
- Battery: 5000 mAh
- Fast wireless charging: Yes
- OS: Android 11
- 5G: Yes
- S Pen compatibility: Yes
When you first see the Galaxy S21 Ultra emerge from its box the first thought that will race through your mind is ‘Wow! This is one gorgeous-looking, big machine.’ Samsung has worked hard on reducing the number of seams, minimising the camera bump on the back and is rightly proud of the matte finish it has achieved. Indeed, it seems a real shame to have to put it in a case.
Our favourite finish is the mesmerising Phantom Black colour, but there’s also a Phantom Silver colour available. And if you buy from Samsung’s own online store then there are three additional colour options to choose from: Phantom Titanium, Phantom Navy and Phantom Brown. And they all do a good job of repelling nasty fingerprint smudges. A distinct improvement on last year’s S20 series, which had a plasticky, reflective sheen.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra also has a smooth Corning Gorilla Glass Victus front and back and feels great in the hand. Indeed, while its large size can be a stretch at 6.8 inches, it feels more comfortable to hold than the smaller 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max. This is because of its subtly curved edges, slim bezels, and its slightly narrower build.
With modern mobile phones packing so many lenses, camera bumps can be unsightly. But Samsung has worked hard to show what can be achieved with a little more design nous. While the 40MP front selfie camera hides behind a tiny punch-hole that’s so subtle that it’s soon ignored after a few minutes of use.
The praise from reviewers for the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s screen isn’t all about its size. Indeed, Samsung is leading the way (among smartphone manufacturers at least) with its smooth 120Hz refresh rate and its pixel-packing WQHD+ 3200 x 1400 resolution display. According to Samsung, it’s the highest resolution possible on a smartphone!
So, whether you’re scrolling through Instagram, watching the latest blockbuster, or viewing stunning digital artworks, you won’t miss out on a pixel! And if this gets a little intense for your liking, there’s a Natural colour balance option so you can tone it down.
In terms of brightness, the display automatically ramps up to a super-bright peak of 1,500 nits when needed outdoors. Putting other AMOLED phones, such as the S21 and S21 Plus, in the shade.
And last but by no means least, Samsung’s redesigned in-screen ultrasonic fingerprint sensor from Qualcomm arrives for the first time. There’s a whopping 1.7x more surface area to this invisible biometric pad, so you can quickly unlock your phone without the need to aim that carefully. Now much more on a par with rear-mounted fingerprint sensors, it’s small changes like this that can make a big difference to user experience.
When you’ve got such a stunning screen in your pocket it’s awful if something happens to it. Unlike some insurers, if you get mobile phone insurance through Gadget Cover, we can cover even minor screen cracks. And if you have an accident that damages your phone beyond repair, we will replace it.
But while the phone looks great, what’s it like beneath the surface? Well, from the raft of tests that reviewers like T3 have put the Galaxy S21 Ultra through it looks like its power certainly matches its beauty. Particularly when measured against previous Samsung offerings.
Internally, it boasts the super-snappy Exynos 2100 processor that does a great job at improving image processing and adding a variable refresh rate (from 10Hz up to 120Hz) at full resolution. Say goodbye to feelings of lag anywhere in the phone experience. For mobile gamers, this is a phone that really delivers!
All that powerful hardware goes hand-in-hand with an Android 11 OS which means that navigation around the phone is both super fast and super intuitive.
The only slight gripe from the cognoscenti is in the area of internal storage. This phone is crying out for you to take 8K video and 108MP photos, which need decent storage capacity.
So, if you’re considering this Samsung phone, you may well want to upgrade from the default 128GB of storage. After all, the 256GB option only costs £50 more, while the 512GB option (which also has 16GB of RAM included instead of 12GB) costs £180 more.
The extra RAM probably won’t make much of a difference to your everyday use, but you’ll definitely notice if you run out of internal storage space. This is vital as unlike with previous S-series phones, there’s no microSD card slot to allow expandable storage. While this seems like an inevitable attempt to keep costs down by Samsung it’s annoying nonetheless.
With its five cameras and 100x zoom range, the S21 Ultra is an impressive piece of kit for any snap-happy phone user. The camera system features a phenomenally powerful second generation 108MP camera, an ultra wide 12MP camera, two 10MP telephoto cameras and a 40MP selfie camera.
It’s also got a faster laser autofocus sensor than other Samsungs, 64x more colours and a faster Bright Night sensor. This sensor is a huge leap for low-light photography enthusiasts, letting you shoot clear images with more speed and less noise than ever before.
While Samsung’s famous ‘Space Zoom’ photos can be a bit grainy, it’s the 3x, 10x, and 30x zooms that will really deliver on those breath-taking shots. All faster, smoother and sharper than ever before. Among many camera developments is the brilliant new Zoom Lock feature. This lets the phone cut down on shakiness at long distances, making shots more stable than ever before.
If portraits are your thing, then the phone uses AI to deliver the best lighting for the perfect photo – analysing faces, lighting angles and direction to give your Insta-ready shots every time. Other shooting modes include Panorama, AR Doodle, Food and Night – so there’s lots of fun to be had when getting to know your new phone.
According to Samsung the phone’s video capabilities could also prove a boon to budding filmmakers. Packed with innovative recording and editing features any aspiring creative or filmmaker will need to think seriously about investing. The Galaxy S21 Ultra boasts both 8K and 4K video capability with stereo sound recording. Hollywood, here we come!
There's also a whole host of video shooting modes to explore, too. These include Portrait video, Pro video, Super Slow-mo, Slow-mo, Hyperlapse and (our favourite) Director's view. The Director's view is great as it lets you capture video from multiple camera lenses at the same time. This makes it super easy to select the best shot and, if you're a frequent vlogger or YouTuber, you'll be able to capture your reactions, too.
If you plan on shooting on location in foreign lands then you’ll need to get mobile phone insurance to protect your equipment. Gadget Cover policies are extended to include use of your gadget anywhere in the world, up to 180 days in any one year.
In terms of standout features the fact the Galaxy S21 Ultra now supports the use of an S Pen stylus has to be right up there. Samsung really is leading the way in this kind of phone functionality. Unfortunately, the Galaxy S21 Ultra doesn’t come with an S Pen included and, unlike the Galaxy Note series, the stylus cannot be charged and stored in the phone.
To get around these problems, Samsung has introduced its new S Pen case designed to protect the phone and hold a stylus. The phone is compatible with previous Note styluses as well as a larger and easier to grip S Pen. Could this be the end for the Galaxy Note series? Some tech fans think so!
Having the right accessories on hand can revolutionise the way you use your phone. But they can be expensive. From S Pens to earbuds, having mobile phone insurance from Gadget Cover means you're protected (up to £150) if they are lost, stolen or damaged at the same time as your phone.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra features a vast array of bells and whistles such as 5G, a high-resolution display, adaptive refresh rate, 8K video and super-fast gaming. And when you’ve got such heavy draining processes, you’re going to need a heavy-duty battery. Even when maxing out the settings, shooting lots of photos, 4K and 8K video, and playing games, the 5,000mAh battery should give you a good day’s worth of use. So, with less intense usage could you even hit the two-day mark?
While you won’t get a charger in the box, Samsung hopes you’ll have an old one to hand or will happily buy a new one. The phone also supports Super-Fast Charging and Fast Wireless Charging for a quick power fix. It also supports Wireless PowerShare so you can use your phone to charge your buds, watch or even a friend’s phone.
Gadget Cover verdict
So, is it worth investing in this top-of-the-range Samsung? Let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons to help you decide.
- Stunning 6.8-inch 120Hz WQHD+ screen – A phone has never looked so good.
- Super powerful hardware spec – Blows other Android phones out of the water.
- Feature packed camera system, including dual telephoto lenses – You’ll be showing off your epic shots in no time.
- Excellent video capability.
- S Pen Digital Stylus support.
- Large, long-lasting 5,000mAh battery.
- 5G network compatible.
- It’s expensive. If you’re on a tight budget then this might not be for you.
- It doesn't come with the S Pen Digital Stylus. Paying extra when you’ve already paid out so much may feel like a step too far.
- No microSD card slot. The inability to expand your storage could be a deal breaker for many.
- It’s a bit bulky. If you like dainty devices then this probably isn’t for you.
Mobile phone protection from Gadget Cover
So, do you think the Galaxy S21 Ultra is right for you? Whatever you decide, one decision that’s simple is the need to get insurance as soon as possible.
For many tech lovers, our mobile phones rarely leave our side, which makes damage, loss or theft an ever-present danger. That’s why it’s really important to protect your device from the very first moment with mobile phone insurance.
Policies arranged through Gadget Cover can include protection for things like:
- Accidental damage
- Liquid damage
- Unauthorised usage
- Loss (optional for an extra fee)
- Worldwide cover
- E-wallet cover
Another great perk you’ll enjoy with a policy arranged by Gadget Cover is family cover. This means your immediate family members are insured when they borrow your device.
Get a quick mobile phone insurance quote today from Gadget Cover.
Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.