- The Galaxy S21 Ultra is a high-end phone with a starting price of Rs 105,999.
- In the Galaxy S21 Ultra review we find it notable due to its display and camera.
- The design and price of the Galaxy S21 Ultra hold it back.
Couple of days ago we reviewed the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra on these pages. You can read the full Galaxy S21 Ultra review and it has tons of image samples from the phone's cameras, as well as detailed discussion around its design, display and other key areas. But this is also a long review. So, what if you are looking at a quick takeaway. It's simple: Don't buy the Galaxy S21 Ultra, not because it is not a good phone because it is a fairly good phone, but because it is not a good value for money.
Some more details: we have concerns about its design, the camera performance is nice enough and display is something we find quite good. But overall, the value is just not there, something we also highlighted in the comparison between the Galaxy S21 Ultra and the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
So, let's do a quick recap with this Galaxy S21 Ultra in 5 points, that is if you are short on time.
Point 1: First the design, and that is one big mess with the Galaxy S21 Ultra. It is big and bulky, though understandably given its 6.8-inch display. But we feel that despite a large screen, it could have been better. The camera hump on the back is too big and makes the phone wobble when kept on a table. The glass cover doesn't feel as dense as what we have seen on a few other premium phones, the glossy metal frame sticks out compared to matte finish of the phone, and that camera module has too many edges and lines to give the phone a cohesive look. Talking of the camera module, it also makes the phone top heavy, something that is felt while using the phone. This is a two-hand phone just like other large phones in the market.
Point 2: The 6.8-inch OLED display is top notch and shows brilliant colours. It is also extremely bright. By default the display runs on FHD+ resolution but a user can go into settings and enable the QHD+ resolution, which makes the display visibly sharper. This is also a display with variable 120Hz refresh rate and that makes it extremely smooth in use. Animations are fluid on it.
Point 3: The performance of the phone is fine. It is a smooth phone, and can handle multiple open tabs and apps with ease. It also doesn't heat up like the Galaxy S20 FE does, and the Exynos 2100 inside the Galaxy S21 Ultra runs fairly cool. That said, one thing to note is that the Galaxy S21 Ultra doesn't offer any specific advantages over a phone like the Galaxy S21 or for that matter the Snapdragon 888 phones that cost much less.
Point 4: The battery life of the Galaxy S21 Ultra is average with around. 14-15 hours of battery in use. Fast charging for up to 25W is supported, which isn't all that fast compared to what some other phones offer. It's important to note that the Galaxy S21 Ultra doesn't come with a charger and earphones. These, if users already don't have them, will have to be bought separately.
Point 5: The camera in the Galaxy S21 Ultra has many tricks, including two lenses for offering 3X and 10X optical zoom. The 30X and 100X zoom is also offered but in practice it is useless. We find that in good light, the Galaxy S221 Ultra captures detailed and vibrant photos. In low light, the performance is good enough and comparable to other high-end phones but not exceptional as we see that the phone shows marked loss of details and noise in shadows. The zoom lenses are usable only in good light.
Well, here is a quick summary of the Galaxy S21 Ultra. The big problem, as far as we see it, for the S21 Ultra is its high price of Rs 105,999. It's a fine phone but not at this price and with this kind of design. Whatever it gives to users can also be available in phones that cost something like half of what the S21 Ultra does. It competes with the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max but those phones are unique by the virtue of their software and hardware that is only available to Apple and hence they offer something like better privacy, faster and longer software support that the S21 Ultra, or for that matter any other Android phone, cannot do. A phone that costs above Rs 1 lakh has to offer to users something unique. The Galaxy S21 Ultra doesn't do so in a useful way.