The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G is the latest flagship smartphone to come out of the giant Korean smartphone company. Having better hardware and a larger screen real estate compared to its smaller siblings, there’s a lot to love about the device. As of this writing, we think it’s the best flagship smartphone of 2021, so let’s go through some of the reasons why we love the S21 Ultra.
First up, the display because that’s the first thing you’re going to interact with when you start up the device. On top of realizing the bright, vivid visuals, you’ll also notice how smooth the screen is due to its high refresh rate of 120Hz. Sure, on paper it has the same 120Hz refresh rate as the standard S21 and the Plus model, but what you don’t see is that it has a higher touch sampling rate and a more diverse adaptive refresh rate.
A higher touch sampling rate means that your touch gestures are registered more accurately, resulting in faster, swifter touch responses. This is beneficial for day-to-day navigating through the phone, and especially when you’re gaming. As for the adaptive refresh rate, the phone automatically lowers/increases the refresh rate depending on your use case to save you battery life. So, the lower your refresh rate, the more battery you save. For the S21 series, the Ultra is capable of going as low as 10Hz, while the S21 and Plus model can only go as low as 48Hz.
For instance, watching a movie on the S21 Ultra can lower down the refresh rate to 10Hz or 24Hz for a more natural viewing experience. If you start gaming, the refresh rate can be jacked up all the way to 120Hz for maximum immersive experience.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G has a quad camera system on the rear, and while it already takes amazing photos during both day and night, what we love is actually the features it has. Particularly, the Space Zoom, Zoom Lock, and improved Single Take feature.
Space Zoom on the S21 Ultra lets you zoom in up to 100x digitally. That’s a massive amount of distance to cover, and to top it all off, Samsung introduced the Zoom Lock feature. This feature is activated when you’re zoomed in and stand still for two seconds. What it does is recognizes the point of focus, and locks on the viewfinder to stay steady even if your hands aren’t. That’s extremely useful, especially when you’re trying to capture a shot of the moon.
Single Take isn’t a new feature, but the one on the S21 Ultra has been improved with a couple more new capture modes – best moment, scene lighting, highlight video, and dynamic slo-mo. Having these capture modes at your one-click disposal is great when you want to capture photo and video at the same time. This way, you truly never miss a moment, and you have an option of which captured moment looks best.
Samsung’s OneUI 3.0 has improved in many ways, from the overall icon design, to the navigation transitions. I used to dislike OneUI back in the day, and I wouldn’t choose it if I had a choice. That being said, the recent improvements to OneUI has made it so user friendly that I think it is one of the better custom Android UI to hit the Android platform.
From the smooth and intuitive transitions, to even small things like swipe down to pull the notification bar. These gestures are now more natural than ever, and it just makes sense with how I use my smartphone on the daily. Double tap works on both waking the screen, and to lock the screen when you’re on the homepage. The fingerprint sensor has a much faster response time as well. If you’re not liking the default way of how OneUI looks and feels, there are also customization options for you to change pretty much everything on the UI. You can change navigation gestures, app drawer behaviour, overall theme, and more. The possibility is limited by your creativity.
This is one of the best feature on the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G, the speaker system. It’s nothing out of the ordinary, as it still has a dual speaker setup – one in the earpiece, and another at the bottom of the phone. What’s interesting is that it has been tuned to sound nothing like a smartphone speaker. When I first heard the sound coming out of the S21 Ultra, I thought to myself “this sounds a lot like an independent Bluetooth speaker”. Even my wife thought it was a Bluetooth speaker until I told her the audio was coming from the phone itself.
Sure, it may not have the best bass performance, but the soundstage and vocal performance is amazing. There’s so much clarity to enjoy, and the fact that there’s no distortion at loud volumes makes it great at parties or even some alone time when you’re reading a book. I used to have a Bluetooth speaker with me in the shower, but now all I need is the S21 Ultra.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G may just be one phone, but the fact that it can connect to multiple devices in various ways makes it a master of all trades. When it comes to Bluetooth, the S21 Ultra can connect to multiple devices, and it can automatically recognize which device is a priority and will automatically switch to it. If you’re connected to the Galaxy Buds Pro, you can even use the Buds Pro as a standalone microphone ala news reporter style.
Lastly, the DeX feature on Samsung devices has now gone wireless. There’s no longer a need for a dock or cable, all you need to do is cast your screen wirelessly to a display, and turn on the DeX feature. What this does it that it turns your S21 Ultra into a mini computer, with a familiar Windows UI. From here, you can access your files, get some work done on-the-go, watch videos, and still access all your apps in window form. Also, the phone’s 5G ready so when Malaysia’s ready for 5G, you will be too.
Those are the main reasons why we think the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G is the smartphone of the year (so far). It has very useful features backed with more than capable hardware, providing the users a smooth, intuitive, gratifying experience. To learn more about the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G or the other S21 devices, check out Samsung Malaysia’s official website here. And if you’re not big on storage, there are more affordable options of the S21 series which offers 128GB of storage too.