I was able to play with the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra this weekend. I have no interest in the S21+ or the regular S21 since only the Ultra version can be used with the S Pen. Besides digital inking capabilities, the Ultra also has a dynamic 6.8-inch display, a Snapdragon 888 processor, and FOUR camera lenses (108MP wide, 12MP ultra-wide, 10MP telephoto with 3X zoom, and another 10MP telephoto with 10x zoom). The S21 Ultra is capable of 100X zoom with the Space Zoom feature.
The Ultra also has a 40MP front camera. It appears as if Samsung has learned from its mistakes with the Galaxy S20 Ultra, which had amazing features on paper that were not-so-great in actual use. Even better, the camera lenses are integrated into a metal frame on the rear instead of protruding from within the device. I wasn’t able to take many pictures, but could tell that the lens is a lot less shaky when zooming in on far objects.
I really liked the screen. It’s brighter than any Samsung screen I’ve seen before, and the 120Hz refresh rate even works when the resolution is set to its highest capability – Quad HD+ (3,200 x 1,440). The contrast ratio on video clips is fantastic, and the colors really pop out.
The big surprise with the S21 Ultra is that it’s compatible with the S-Pen, but don’t expect it to have all of the S-Pen’s normal features that exist on the Galaxy Note. However, you can write with it, and it works very well in Samsung Notes and Microsoft’s OneNote.
I wasn’t able to get a complete idea of how well the stereo speakers sound, but they are about as good as the speakers on the Galaxy S20+, which means they are great but not iPhone 12 Pro quality. Using the S21 Ultra with the upcoming Galaxy Buds Pro will likely provide the ultimate audio experience.
Unlike Apple, Samsung continues to use curved screens. There are pluses and minuses to this, but Samsung makes it into a plus with the black version as the screen blends in fabulously with this color. I would definitely recommend the black S21 Ultra more than any other version.
I can’t wait to do a full review of the Galaxy S21 Ultra when I get my hands on a review unit next week. For now, I can definitely say that, once again, Samsung has produced the ultimate smartphone.