Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review: Improving shortcomings to make the most premium smartphone

Photo: CNN

Samsung is the global leader in the smartphone industry. The company spent a record high of $14.3 billion in the past nine months amid the Covid-19 pandemic. This is the very reason the users get to experience something innovative and better each year. This year, the Galaxy S21 series was released a month before that it was expected. Various changes have been made in the series from its predecessor S20 series: changes in terms of display, refresh rate, storage. Then, there is no adapter in the box.

Today, we will be discussing various features of Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, Samsung’s most premium smartphone yet, which arguably has improved all the shortcomings the brand previously had.

Design and display

Photo: Telstra

The S21 Ultra has a sleek look with its front being entirely screen while there is a glass back. The glass back now is a matte finish and feels better while touching. The camera module now looks like an extension of the metal frame, making it neat. The phone, however, is heavier than the earlier released S20 Ultra measuring in 8.9mm thickness and weighing 227 grams. It has the latest Qualcomm 3D sonic sensor Gen 2 ultrasonic fingerprint scanner that is 77% larger and 50% faster.

The phone has a 6.8 inch 2X dynamic AMOLED infinity-o display with a resolution of 1440×3200 pixels. The phone now supports a 120Hz refresh rate in full QHD+ resolution, and now the users can enjoy maximum sharpness with maximum smoothness. The LTPO display on the phone supports an adaptive refresh rate which can go from 10-120Hz depending on what you are viewing. The display can achieve peak brightness up to 1500 nits, improving the contrast between dark and light aspects of digital content for more brilliant picture quality. It has an 89.8% screen to body ratio display, which is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass Victus both in front and back. The phone is IP68 dust and water-resistant certified. 



Cameras are one of the most improved features of the S21 Ultra. It has a quad-camera setup at the back with a laser autofocus system. It has a 108 MP primary camera bagged with a 10 MP periscope telephoto lens, 10 MP telephoto lens and 12 MP ultrawide lens. The main focus this time was to improve telephoto camera performance, and, for that, Samsung has gone with two independent 10-megapixel telephoto cameras: one with 3x optical zoom and another with 10x optical zoom. Both of these cameras are optically stabilised and have dual pixel autofocus. The primary camera can record 8K videos, while all other cameras can record videos in 4K up to 60 fps. This set of cameras has a better dynamic range and performs better in low lights and can record super steady videos. The front-facing is a 40 MP selfie camera with dual video call and choose a colour tone feature. The camera can record videos in 4K up to 60 fps.

Performance and battery life

Photo: Android Headlines

The new Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra runs on Android 11 with One UI 3.1 on top. The phone that is available in the Nepali market is powered by new Exynos 2100 chipset with Octa-core processors. The company claims there has been a lot of improvements in Exynos 2100. The performance of the CPU is increased by 25% and GPU by 35%. It can almost match the performance with the Snapdragon 888 version.

This phone is backed up by a 5000mAh non-removable battery and with a more efficient chipset, the battery performance is also better. It has a 25W fast-charging system which is a downgrade from 45W fast charging from S20 Ultra. Like S20 Ultra, it also supports 15W fast wireless charging and 4.5W reverse charging. It also has a wireless power share option where you can charge another phone.

Storage and connectivity

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra can be found with 12GB RAM and internal storage of 128GB, 256 GB and 512 GB. The MicroSD card option is not available in the S21 Ultra.

The device supports dual nano sim cards. It has better connectivity with ultra-wideband (UWB) support. It also supports hyperfast wi-fi 6E for faster connectivity. The Note 10 has retired the 3.5mm headphone jack and the S21 ultra is following that trend. It also uses USB Type-C 3.2.

It also supports Samsung DeX, Samsung Wireless DeX for desktop support experience, ANT+, Bixby natural language commands and dictation.

Samsung S21 Ultra comes in five colours: phantom black, silver, titanium, navy, and brown. The official price for 12/256GB variant is Rs 154,999, which is cheaper than the S20 Ultra when it was officially released.


Photo: GSM Arena

The S21 Ultra is a feature-packed smartphone. It might have taken a couple of steps backwards by having no MicroSD card slot and no charger included but it is definitely an improvement over the S20 Ultra. The design is more attractive and feels more premium. The adaptive refresh rate is also very beneficial in terms of better battery performance which was limited in the previous generation flagship phones. There is the inclusion of an improved dual-telephoto lens setup. This phone also supports the S pen, which so far has been the signature feature of Samsung’s Note series. The processor has improved hugely making it faster and smoother.

The Samsung S21 Ultra definitely has corrected all the mistakes it previously made making it the ultimate premium smartphone.

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Subba was a tech and auto writer at Onlinekhabar until December 2022.

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