Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra First Impressions
- The S21 Ultra is the biggest of the lot and is priced at Rs 1,05,999 in India.
- The S21 Ultra now features a new chipset – the Exynos 2100 SoC which is built on the 5nm architecture.
Alrighty then! Samsung’s second-biggest flagship – the Galaxy S21 Ultra – is here and it’s big. And heavy. And big. The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is lighter than the S21 Ultra – by around 20 grams. Samsung unveiled its latest flagship series – the Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21+, and the Galaxy S21 Ultra. The three models will be going on sale in India by the end of this month but you can order them right now.
The S21 Ultra is the biggest of the lot and is priced at Rs 1,05,999 in India. But the big price tag isn’t the only thing which is new here. The S21 Ultra now features a new chipset – the Exynos 2100 SoC which is built on the 5nm architecture.
Also, the S21 Ultra supports the S Pen – so the thin line of exclusivity of the Galaxy Note series – is no more. But wait, that is not all – the new colour – Phantom Black – comes in a chic looking frosted glass panel and definitely looks like something at home inside Knight Rider’s KITT.
Or maybe the Batmobile…
Of course, we have been using it for a few days – did we like it? Here are our first impressions.
The Mystic Bronze may have looked better
Okay, we admit – Samsung’s idea of putting a frosted glass panel does look good on the S21 Ultra – but again, frosted glass is not something which stays on and is prone to scratches by simple coins and other items and other phones (if you have two phones – do not keep them in the same pocket).
The Phantom Black colour looks good – but we have seen similar shades before – like the glossy black on the Note 9 and the S9/+ models. The frame is jet black now. The front and back consist of the new Gorilla Glass Victus and an aluminium frame – all set together with such robust-ness – you could destroy a building.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra carries over the design strategy which started with the Galaxy S20 series which we thought was okay – but excuse us – the camera island was a major no-no. On top of that Samsung went ahead and wrote “Space Zoom” on it.
Camera module looks much better now
This time it’s more subtle. Samsung almost hit the nail with the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra’s design – and the Galaxy S21 Ultra takes the cake. We did find the design absurd then – when we were looking at leaks and rumours – but the real deal looks – well – the same.
But here’s the clincher – the back panel is a massive black piece of glass and the camera panel now looks much more digestible in the real world. So much so, we did like it when compared against the Note 20 Ultra. Photos of it may not do justice to it but we have to give points to Samsung for trying out something new. The contour cut looks classy but makes its thicker than the Note 21 Ultra. Also, the camera island is matte as well – not glossy.
The display is better, stronger, and well, better
Speaking of trying out something new – Samsung has let go of the 3D curved display this time as well. In fact, the last curved display Galaxy S flagship was the Galaxy S10 series. Yes, we shall lament about it in every Samsung flagship review.
The display is a major looker – brighter and features a higher contrast ratio than the S20 Ultra and is now capable of running at 120Hz at QHD+ resolution, something which the S20 Ultra missed out on.
The fingerprint sensor is an in-display one – and ultrasonic too. The sensor is now faster but again – nothing as fast as the conventional fingerprint sensor. It also gets support for S Pen stylus and HDR10+ certification.
Samsung’s new chipset is bonkers, on paper
The Samsung Exynos 2100 chipset – based on a 5nm fabrication process like Apple’s A14 Bionic, and features ARM Cortex cores instead of Mongoose cores. The cores feature a higher clock speed than the cores in the Snapdragon 888 chipset. On top of that – the Exynos 2100 chipset’s tri-core NPU belts out 26 TOPS – similar to the SD 888’s Hexagon 780 AI engine.
We will detail the performance of the S21 Ultra in our full review – but preliminary tests look very promising. Maybe this year we will not get upset over Samsung’s Snapdragon variants of the S21 series in the US and China.
The S21 Ultra runs on the stable One UI 3.0 which is based on Android 11 straight out of the box.
The cameras are well, bonkers too
Samsung has gone overboard on increasing its telephoto camera performance this time – putting two telescopic sensors on the back – 10-megapixel sensors – one with 3x optical zoom and one with 10x optical zoom. They are now optically stabilised and feature Dual Pixel autofocus. There is a 108-megapixel sensor too, and a 12-megapixel ultrawide sensor. The selfie camera is a 40-megapixel unit.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra – all in all – looks very promising. The Ultra does not get expandable storage anymore – but then – if you have the monies for the Ultra, we are sure you have the monies for extra cloud storage. Like, come on!
Watch this space for our full review.