A major redesign on the Galaxy S Series design ethos.
Phantom Black S21 Ultra (back), Phantom Violet S21 (front)
Back in January 14th, the S21 series launched with Samsung’s Unpacked event. They introduced 3 models similar to last year’s S20 launch, taking the lead with a base model S21 with its bigger sibling S21+. And finally the BIG BOI up there – the S21 Ultra.
Right of the bat, you can see the beautiful color options available on the entire S21 lineup.
And most importantly, you can check out the very-very cool looking matte finishes on the back of the phones. Kind of like the heavily customized cars with a matte finish. The S21+ and S21 Ultra comes with a Phantom Black color option, be sure to check that out.
Phantom Black color option on the S21 Ultra
Having a matte finish brings in the benefit of it not being a fingerprint magnet, while still being real nice to the touch. Though, if you like a shiny glass surface, it shouldn’t matter much after slapping on the included case onto it.
Snowy white (Phantom White color option)
Here, on the top of the phone, you can see the the signature S21 camera bump. It’s an extension of the metal frame over the camera lenses, creating a strong outer shell to protect the camera housing.
So, if you happen to (unfortunately drop it on the pavement/ or on the road), the chance of shattering the camera outer glass (and rendering the entire camera array dysfunctional due to cracks in the glass) is significantly way less than if it were just a big slab of glass.
Okay! So… What’s under the hood?
Now… back to the basics, let’s talk about the specs of this phone. It’s not all groundbreaking cutting edge tech here but stay tuned. For the S21 and S21+, we have 2400 by 1080p FHD+ Super AMOLED displays. And a wide qHD display with 3200 by 1440p on the S21 Ultra. Running at 120Hz and comfortably protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass Victus.
With an increased peak brightness of up to 1300 nits, and with HDR10+ support, watching HDR videos on YouTube just looks soooo great. Feeling tired? Worry not, the built in “Eye care filter” reduces blue light to keep your eyes comfortable.
It’s worth noting that the screens on the S21 models just look so beautifully vivid, even though its only full HD on the S21 and S21+, Samsung’s Dynamic AMOLED 2X is working wonders when you watch HDR content. The 120Hz screen also helps to make everything appear super smooth. Having it beside another non Super-AMOLED display phone just puts it to shame when compared to the viewing clarity of the S21.
On the other hand, the S21 series also come with Samsung’s latest and greatest Exynos 2100. Now while in the past you may have heard that its predecessors weren’t quite living up to expectations. I assure you this new processor wouldn’t disappoint you anymore.
Why is that? Samsung went with ARM’s newest core architecture. The Cortex X-1 and A-78 designs for its performance core cluster, running up to a blazing 2.9GHz. Accompanied by 4 power-efficient Cortex A-55 cores, up to 2.2GHz for other less demanding tasks.
As for the memory options, there’s really only one option. For the S21 and the S21+, they come with 8 Gigabytes of LPDDR5 system memory and 256 Gigabytes of storage. Though for the S21 Ultra, you can pick from either 12 or 16GB of system memory, paired with 256 or 512GB of storage.
The storage is now upgraded to the Ultra Fast Storage 3.1 standard, which is rated for about triple the write speeds of the older UFS3.0 standard. Now what all these nerdy numbers mean? It means Samsung is gearing up for the future.
UFS3.1 (top) vs speeds from previous standards
They are making sure that the memory systems is up to task for memory-intensive applications like 8k video recordings, Director’s view (a new feature that simultaneously records from 2 cameras) or full speed downloads sustained at 5G speeds (Which all the S21 models support).
With data downloads and uploads becoming increasingly faster, the memory systems has to keep up with the user in these intensive use cases. On the other hand, they all come standard with WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0. As an added bonus, the pricier S21 Ultra supports up to WiFi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2.
As for the battery and charging options, we have a 4000mAh battery on the S21, a 4800mAh battery on the S21+, and finally a 5000mAh battery on the S21 Ultra. Common to all S21 models, they all support up to 25W Fast Charging, Wireless Charging up to 15W and reverse wireless charging at up to 4.5W through Wireless PowerShare.
If you couple the massive batteries and the battery saving features recently introduced, with Adaptive Refresh Rate being the biggest factor at play here, the S21 series should easily last through the day under typical use. Should you pick up the Phantom Black S21+ or Ultra, turning on a system-wide dark mode just completes the looks. A batman feel if you would say.
Some other miscellaneous mentions. On the sound department, we have stereo speakers tuned by AKG. Audio output capable of 32bit / 384kHz sample rate. And not to be missed, an IP 68 water resistance rating alongside S-Pen support on the S21 Ultra.
Right, so back to the signature camera bump. They all share the same 12MP Ultrawide cameras. S21/S21+ shares the same 64MP telephoto camera with up to 3x hybrid zoom. And lastly there’s another standard 12MP wide angle camera that two of these siblings share.
S21 Ultra camera cutout
Finally, let’s talk about the star of this video. The camera array on the S21 Ultra. The same ultra wide I had just mentioned, a telephoto camera up to 3x optical zoom, and finally a periscope telephoto up to 10x optical zoom.
Now, the wide shooter from the S21 Ultra snaps a whopping 108MP photos, though the same resolution as the S20 Ultra wide shooter, Samsung did make a whole bunch of improvements on the image processing and software side of things to produce better photos overall.
The addition of the Zoom Lock feature is handy in capturing very far away subjects when Space Zooming up to 100x, since the subject is zoomed in by a huge magnitude and its really far, any movements of your hand results in significant movement of the viewfinder.
The Zoom Finder functions to alleviate that concern somewhat by digitally locking in to the subject. So with the stabilizations taking place, your hand’s wobbliness is less pronounced.
Another notable addition is it now has the capability for 12-bit HDR, which is a huge 64 times more color range than standard HDR 10 content.
For the camera software, the addition of the Director’s View allows simultaneous front and rear camera recording, a neat addition to video recording. You can now record your facial expressions with the front cam while giving comments, recording at 4k@60fps of whatever interest you.
So, all in all, using the Samsung Galaxy S21 feels like a very polished S20 experience. Samsung did choose to improve and upgrade the majority of the features that makes the S20 good. And it all results in a functional, nice looking package.
Get it now while the free gifts promotion is still running, rivalling the pre-order bonuses that ran up until January 28th. Offer valid while stocks last.
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