Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely evaluate revisited: This 12 months’s Galaxy Notice


Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Silver back

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

With no Galaxy Notice 21 this 12 months, the Galaxy S21 Ultra stays Samsung’s premium smartphone choice in 2021 — outdoors of its swanky foldable merchandise, in fact. However the Z Fold 3 is prohibitively costly for many customers, whereas the Z Flip 3 doesn’t provide the identical power-user expertise as Samsung’s Notice and Extremely merchandise.

In case you’re available in the market for a brand new cellphone, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely is much from the one ultra-high-end choice in the marketplace proper now. There’s a rising record of premium-tier rivals together with the Oppo Find X3 Pro, Sony Xperia 1 III, and the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra, amongst others. So does the cellphone nonetheless maintain up as a strong buy over half a 12 months later? Let’s weigh up the great and dangerous on this Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely evaluate revisit.

Our authentic verdict: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review


The nice

We awarded the Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely 4.5/5 stars and our coveted Editor’s Alternative award, so it’s no shock that the handset nonetheless holds up very properly over six months later. The cellular business would possibly transfer rapidly however definitely not quick sufficient to depart Samsung’s finest within the mud.

Leading edge {hardware}

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra display on table at angle

David Imel / Android Authority

I may spend paragraphs on the Galaxy S21 Extremely’s wonderful 120Hz AMOLED show, snappy efficiency (for each Snapdragon and Exynos variants), or IP68 score for mud and water resistance, however these haven’t modified since our preliminary evaluate and are nonetheless proper up there with the most effective within the enterprise. In reality, the complete {hardware} bundle is just about faultless for an ultra-premium smartphone. In order for you it, the Galaxy S21 Extremely nearly definitely has it.

There’s a dual-SIM choice, 5G sub-6GHz and mmWave help, Corning Gorilla Glass Victus display safety, the most recent Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity, wi-fi and reverse charging, an in-display fingerprint scanner, and extra. You’ll wrestle to discover a extra complete bundle in the marketplace even over six months later.

Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Extremely nonetheless presents one of the vital complete {hardware} packages in the marketplace.

Not that there aren’t strong rivals in the marketplace too, and a few telephones are pushing forward with under-display cameras, faster-charging capabilities, and higher audio setups. However Samsung’s premier providing has you coated for a very powerful bells and whistles in addition to some other model. That’s excellent news for purchasers who had been maybe holding out for a next-gen Notice — sometimes Samsung’s technological showcase. Whereas not a alternative for Notice followers, the Galaxy S21 Extremely is unquestionably a cellphone constructed with energy customers in thoughts. The cellphone even performs properly with an S Pen stylus, though there’s nowhere to securely stow it without a case.

Software program and updates

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra One UI software apps menu

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

In addition to providing strong {hardware}, Samsung’s One UI software program continues to go from energy to energy.

As we famous in our Galaxy S21 Extremely evaluate, One UI is distinctively Samsung. The interface is closely skinned and presents a variety of options that go above and past the fundamental Android expertise. It’s not one for the purists however these extras are what make One UI a haven for energy customers who can grasp the extra instruments and choices. I discover Samsung’s Edge panels a useful multitasking device and am an enormous fan of the vary of digicam taking pictures choices. Samsung additionally goes additional with Dex and cloud storage integration for enterprise customers.

Extra on One UI: Everything you need to know about Samsung’s Android skin

One UI has one or two issues. Adverts baked into its in-house apps are an annoyance that can, happily, be remedied before the end of 2021, whereas navigating the large vary of settings is verging on cumbersome. However general, One UI is likely one of the finest Android skins round.

Simply as importantly, Samsung now has top-of-the-line replace pledges within the enterprise too. The corporate promises three years of Android version updates not only for the S21 collection however for all its current smartphones. That is accompanied by 4 years of safety updates, making certain the S21 Extremely stays related till 2025. This significantly improves the cellphone’s long-term worth proposition.

Battery life

With a 5,000mAh battery onboard, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely simply lasts a full day of use — typically two if you happen to solely require lighter workloads. Months down the road, the battery life is just about pretty much as good as day one. I’ve by no means had the cellphone run out on me mid-day, even when out taking pictures footage for a number of hours.

The Galaxy S21 Extremely can take you thru two days of use between expenses.

Whether or not you want your cellphone for work or play, the Galaxy S21 Extremely has you coated. Plus you’ll be able to at all times tweak the cellphone’s adaptive 120Hz show mode and energy saver settings do you have to want the handset to last more between expenses.

Wonderful cameras

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra camera

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

With a big 1/1.33-inch 108MP primary sensor, 3x telephoto, 10x periscope, and ultra-wide cameras onboard, the Galaxy S21 Extremely stays one of the vital sturdy images packages in the marketplace proper now. Paired up with 8K, 4K 60fps, and 960fps slow-motion video capabilities and a number of different software program options, equivalent to Director’s View and Single Take, the S21 Extremely has even probably the most demanding digicam customers coated.

Associated: The best camera phones you can get

That mentioned, it’s not utterly flawless. Colours can nonetheless be just a little oversaturated in comparison with the most effective within the enterprise and also you’ll spot the occasional signal of heavier processing on nearer inspection of some images. Even so, the digicam fingers in spectacular and really constant outcomes, from portraits and selfies to nightscapes and long-range zoom.

Right here’s only a small pattern of the images I’ve taken over the previous 12 months:

Since launch, we’ve pitted the Galaxy S21 Extremely towards nearly the entire finest digicam telephones obtainable and it has persistently come out on high, if not at all times with the perfect photos then definitely for its sheer versatility. The handset pipped different premium-tier smartphones to the publish in our mid-2021 mega camera shootout, making it top-of-the-line, if not the most effective digicam cellphone to purchase this 12 months. In case you’re after additional head-to-head comparisons, take a look at our shootouts beneath.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely digicam shootouts:


The not so good

In fact, Samsung’s telephones are by no means totally free from controversy. The shortage of a microSD card enlargement slot, no headphone jack, and the absence of a charger within the field are positive to grate on one or two potential prospects on the market. However in my time with the handset, I’ve come throughout a few different minor bugbears that detract from what’s in any other case top-of-the-line smartphones cash should purchase.

Clunky design

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra in hand

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Though sporting related {hardware} to final 12 months’s fashions, Samsung redesigned the Galaxy S21 collection with a sleeker digicam housing and a extra streamlined “Contour Lower” look. Whereas this works for the common S21 and S21 Plus, I’m much less bought on the bulkier measurement and look of the Galaxy S21 Extremely.

At 227g and eight.9mm thick (~12mm if you happen to embody the digicam housing), the Galaxy S21 Extremely is a hefty smartphone. Granted, that weight features a massive 5,000mAh battery, wi-fi charging, mmWave 5G, and a number of different technological goodies, so there must be some give and take. Samsung managed to make the cellphone 2mm thinner than the S20 Extremely, nevertheless it’s nonetheless not what I’d name ergonomic and stays a distracting weight in your pocket.

That mentioned, the design definitely isn’t dangerous. It’s nonetheless arguably higher than the Apple iPhone 12 Professional Max and its palm-slicing edges. Nevertheless, after taking part in with the elegant Sony Xperia 1 III (186g) and the beautiful Oppo Discover X3 Professional (193g), it’s onerous to say that the Galaxy S21 Extremely seems or handles anyplace close to as properly because the swankiest telephones within the enterprise. In case you’re spending cash on a trend assertion, look elsewhere.

Gradual and finicky charging

Samsung 45W Travel Adapter box contents

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

25W wired and 15W wi-fi charging is considerably gradual by fashionable requirements, though prioritizing low temperatures over brute charging pace is a wise resolution for long-term battery well being. I wouldn’t suggest shopping for a 100W charging cellphone as a substitute.

See additionally: The best Samsung Galaxy chargers

Nonetheless, the cellphone’s 5,000mAh battery takes a quite sluggish 70 minutes to refill utilizing a 25W charger and just a little over 90 minutes at 18W. Wi-fi charging is even slower, making it solely appropriate for a top-up all through the day.

Make sure you seize a USB PD PPS charger to quick cost the S21 collection.

Whereas there are commendable causes to drop the in-box charger, Samsung has compounded the issue by necessitating a USB Power Delivery PPS compliant charger to maximise the handset’s 25W wired charging capabilities. Decide an ordinary USB Energy Supply or different plug and also you’ll be capped at 18W and even decrease. Not offering a charger within the field makes it extra seemingly that customers will journey up and purchase the flawed plug. Samsung presents appropriate charging equipment for as little as $20, however there’s stiff competitors from third-party alternatives too.

Audio system could possibly be higher

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra face down on desk

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

A extra minor grievance I’ve is with the Galaxy S21 Extremely’s audio system. They provide loads of quantity, an affordable stereo presentation, and sound first rate sufficient for watching TV reveals. However there’s one thing just a little off concerning the sound that’s onerous to pin down. It’s not muffled as such, nevertheless it’s not the punchy presentation you would possibly count on from a cellphone at this value.

I believe it’s as a result of the decrease speaker is chargeable for a lot of the quantity and bass. In the meantime, the highest speaker is extra treble-heavy and appears to exist largely to offer the impression of stereo stability. There’s some trickery afoot and whereas it’s largely properly disguised, you’ll discover one thing just a little off when listening to your favourite tracks.

The underside speaker grille can be very straightforward to cowl when holding the cellphone in panorama mode, so not supreme for gaming and flicks. If cellphone audio system are a high precedence in your subsequent buy, you will discover higher choices on the market with forward-facing audio system, such because the Asus ROG Phone 5.


Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely evaluate revisited: The decision

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra stood by cactus

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Whereas Samsung saved many and even minimize some core specs from 2021’s Galaxy S21 and S21 Plus to decrease their value, the Galaxy S21 Extremely stands out within the vary for persevering with to pack within the newest and best of Samsung’s options. The improved digicam bundle, 1,440p 120Hz show, and S Pen help are properly definitely worth the $200 low cost over 2020’s S20 Extremely.

Up subsequent: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review second opinion

Even so, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely is just not an inexpensive gadget, priced as it’s at $1,200. It solely turns into dearer for energy customers who require 256GB or 512GB of storage, costing $1,250 and $1,380 respectively. At these costs, multimedia fanatics would possibly need to take a look at the Sony Xperia 1 III ($1,299), whereas cellular avid gamers could choose the Asus ROG Cellphone 5 ($999). Nevertheless, now you can discover the S21 Extremely with a $200 low cost from Samsung and different retailers, making it virtually a steal.

With out the Galaxy Notice collection this 12 months, the Galaxy S21 Extremely is the fall-back gadget for Samsung power-users who don’t need to dabble with Samsung’s foldables, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 ($1,799) and Galaxy Z Flip 3 ($999) — though calling it a fall-back is considerably unfair to the Extremely and quite undersells its credentials. The cellphone stays one of the vital achieved technological showpieces the cellular business has to supply and remains to be a beneficial buy for many who will make use of the cellphone’s technological prowess.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra macro of back cameras

Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely

In order for you probably the most highly effective cellphone in Samsung’s Galaxy S21 collection, the Galaxy S21 Extremely is for you. It comes with the biggest show at 6.8-inches, the largest battery at 5,000mAh, and the most effective digicam setup with a major 108MP sensor. It additionally comes with as a lot as 16GB of RAM. Nevertheless, it is also the costliest with a beginning value of $1,199.



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