Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra long-term Review, Specifications, Price

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra long-term Review, Specifications, Price
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The S21 Ultra is Samsung’s second shot at an S-series Ultra flagship, and here’s something interesting we figured out about the company. More often than not, it seems to have a stronger second act than its first. Think back to the first Galaxy S. It was an okay phone. The S2, though? Great phone, huge hit. The first Galaxy Fold? It had its issues. The Fold2? Much better, much easier to recommend (if you have the money).

We’re not saying we’ve spotted a trend or theme that’s been elusive to everyone else, but we would be remiss not to mention the above because it so neatly ties into the S21 Ultra and its relationship to the S20 Ultra. Call the first paragraph foreshadowing, if you will, but we can just hit you with the spoiler itself – the S21 Ultra is a much better product than its predecessor was. It’s more polished, more refined, and it doesn’t suck at any of the smartphone fundamentals – quite the contrary, in fact.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra long-term Price

  • 128GB 8GB RAM$ 1,199.99
  • 128GB 12GB RAM$ 849.88
  • 256GB 12GB RAM$ 957.99

So maybe it’s not fair to generalize and say you should always wait for the second-generation product when it’s a Samsung, but – wait, we just remembered yet another example, the original Galaxy Buds vs. the Galaxy Buds+. Same general idea. Well, maybe it’s not fair, but it could be a good rule of thumb to keep in mind.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra long-term Specifications

NETWORKTechnologyGSM / CDMA / HSPA / EVDO / LTE / 5G
LAUNCHAnnounced2021, January 14
StatusAvailable. Released 2021, January 29
BODYDimensions165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm (6.5 x 2.98 x 0.35 in)
Weight227 g (Sub6), 229 g (mmWave) (8.01 oz)
BuildGlass front (Gorilla Glass Victus), glass back (Gorilla Glass Victus), aluminum frame
SIMSingle SIM (Nano-SIM and/or eSIM) or Dual SIM (Nano-SIM and/or eSIM, dual stand-by)
IP68 dust/water resistant (up to 1.5m for 30 mins)
Stylus support
DISPLAYTypeDynamic AMOLED 2X, 120Hz, HDR10+, 1500 nits (peak)
Size6.8 inches, 112.1 cm2 (~89.8% screen-to-body ratio)
Resolution1440 x 3200 pixels, 20:9 ratio (~515 ppi density)
ProtectionCorning Gorilla Glass Victus
Always-on display
PLATFORMOSAndroid 11, One UI 3.1
ChipsetExynos 2100 (5 nm) – International
Qualcomm SM8350 Snapdragon 888 5G (5 nm) – USA/China
CPUOcta-core (1×2.9 GHz Cortex-X1 & 3×2.80 GHz Cortex-A78 & 4×2.2 GHz Cortex-A55) – International
Octa-core (1×2.84 GHz Kryo 680 & 3×2.42 GHz Kryo 680 & 4×1.80 GHz Kryo 680) – USA/China
GPUMali-G78 MP14 – International
Adreno 660 – USA/China
MEMORYCard slotNo
Internal128GB 8GB RAM, 128GB 12GB RAM, 256GB 12GB RAM, 512GB 12GB RAM, 512GB 16GB RAM
UFS 3.1
MAIN CAMERAQuad108 MP, f/1.8, 24mm (wide), 1/1.33″, 0.8µm, PDAF, Laser AF, OIS
10 MP, f/4.9, 240mm (periscope telephoto), 1/3.24″, 1.22µm, dual pixel PDAF, OIS, 10x optical zoom
10 MP, f/2.4, 70mm (telephoto), 1/3.24″, 1.22µm, dual pixel PDAF, OIS, 3x optical zoom
12 MP, f/2.2, 13mm (ultrawide), 1/2.55″, 1.4µm, dual pixel PDAF, Super Steady video
FeaturesLED flash, auto-HDR, panorama
Video8K@24fps, 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/240fps, 720p@960fps, HDR10+, stereo sound rec., gyro-EIS
SELFIE CAMERASingle40 MP, f/2.2, 26mm (wide), 1/2.8″, 0.7µm, PDAF
FeaturesDual video call, Auto-HDR
Video4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30fps
SOUNDLoudspeakerYes, with stereo speakers
3.5mm jackNo
32-bit/384kHz audio
Tuned by AKG
COMMSWLANWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6e, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot
Bluetooth5.2, A2DP, LE
GPSYes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO
NFCYes
RadioFM radio (Snapdragon model only; market/operator dependent)
USBUSB Type-C 3.2, USB On-The-Go
FEATURESSensorsFingerprint (under display, ultrasonic), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer
Samsung DeX, Samsung Wireless DeX (desktop experience support)
Bixby natural language commands and dictation
Samsung Pay (Visa, MasterCard certified)
Ultra Wideband (UWB) support
BATTERYTypeLi-Ion 5000 mAh, non-removable
ChargingFast charging 25W
USB Power Delivery 3.0
Fast Qi/PMA wireless charging 15W
Reverse wireless charging 4.5W
MISCColorsPhantom Black, Phantom Silver, Phantom Titanium, Phantom Navy, Phantom Brown, Navy
ModelsSM-G998B, SM-G998B/DS, SM-G998U, SM-G998U1, SM-G998W, SM-G998N, SM-G9980
SAR0.77 W/kg (head)     1.02 W/kg (body)
SAR EU0.71 W/kg (head)     1.58 W/kg (body)
Price$ 849.88 / € 1,011.26 / £ 926.00 / ₹ 97,850
TESTSPerformanceAnTuTu: 657150 (v8)
GeekBench: 3518 (v5.1)
GFXBench: 33fps (ES 3.1 onscreen)
DisplayContrast ratio: Infinite (nominal)
CameraPhoto / Video
Loudspeaker-25.5 LUFS (Very good)
Battery life
Endurance rating 114h

Disclaimer. We can not guarantee that the information on this page is 100% correct. Read more

All that aside, the S21 Ultra is now old enough that we can bring you our thoughts about what it was like to live with it for an extended period of time, way longer than we usually get for our normal reviews. On paper, this one’s a monster – and, as you’ll see in the next section, it’s also a monster in your hand.

But specs only tell a very small part of the story, and this long-term review’s reason for existing is to bring you the rest of that story, with more subjective opinions and less cold objective numbers. It’s not about whether it outperforms its closest rival by 1% in a synthetic benchmark, it’s about whether this phone was a joy to use or not, day in, day out, as our one and only smartphone. Does it have what it takes to be easy to recommend or is it more hype than substance? Join us over the next few pages as we try to find out.

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