Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G: the ultimate Galaxy experience drops early this year

Samsung goes full premium with their latest flagship phone.

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Samsung Galaxy owners, it’s time to renew your annual subscription: the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G is here early to assail your wallets and purses before the Lunar New Year. Can we have an F in the chat for the Chinese readers who qualify to be an ATM, please? Looks like the start of 2021 is going to be brutal on your wallet because the S21 Ultra 5G certainly looks like a heck of a flagship.

The press release for every Samsung flagship phone can sometimes read like a bible because of how much stuff they pack into the phone, but don’t worry, here’s the TL;DR of the most important bits:

Swanky new camera (but of course)

The point of a flagship is inevitably the camera. In this case, the S21 Ultra 5G has a quad rear camera array – ultra-wide, wide and dual-telephoto – featuring an upgraded 108MP sensor. You can take 12-bit HDR photos for a richer colour palette and wide dynamic range (64 times richer and three times wider than S20 Ultra), and the main (wide) camera lets you edit in 12-bit RAW as well.

The dual-tele lens system (optical 3x + optical 10x) are designed for what Samsung calls 100x Space Zoom. Both lenses are equipped with Dual Pixel tech (two photodiodes on one pixel) for improved light collection. Combined with improved Bright Night tech to reduced noise and nona-binning (not a typo for nano, it means combining nine pixels into one) also for better low light performance, and subsequently, better photos of faraway objects in challenging conditions.

You also get 4K video at 60fps across all lenses including front and rear four lenses, and 8K video at 24fps on the main camera. This also means that Director’s View (switching cameras and perspective mid-recording) will transition smoother in terms of video quality. Last but not least, the housing blends into the frame for a sleek, yet striking, aesthetic. The monolithic look certainly oozes class, alright.

120Hz Quad HD+ display at last

At 6.8", it’s a hair smaller than the Note. More importantly, the Dynamic AMOLED 2X now runs at 120Hz (refresh rate) at max resolution (3,200 x 1,440). The phone cycles through a range from 10Hz to 120Hz, adapting to the content being viewed to maximize battery life. The new display is also touted to be 25 per cent brighter than the previous generation at 1,500 nits peak brightness and has a 50 per cent better contrast ratio. It also has Eye Comfort Shield to reduce blue light fatigue.

Now with S Pen experience, but not S Pen

The S21 Ultra is compatible with S Pen, but you will need to get the stylus separately or use an existing one from your Note or Tab. But now, you don’t need to buy a Note to use the S Pen.

Other stuff

  • Exynos or Snapdragon? They don’t even bother to mention anymore. Probably Exynos, then. The new octa-core Exynos 2100 is on the new 5nm silicon process with a maximum speed of 2.9GHz. Should we worry that we’re not getting the Qualcomm? Yes – only if your regular game is a benchmarking app.
  • Available in 256GB and 512GB variants.
  • Ultra-wideband (UWB) for unlocking compatible car doors and dropping virtual messages to other Galaxy users with UWB to help you look for missing items.
  • Compatibility with Android Auto to control your SmartThings enabled devices at home.
  • The battery is now 5,000mAh, which is bigger than the one in the Note Ultra. It can fast charge to 50 per cent battery in 30 minutes.
  • You have an easy way to remove location metadata from photos before sharing, while Private Share lets you control availability time and user access to files that you share.

The damage

It’s priced at $1,798 of the 256GB variant, while the 512GB version will set you back $1,998. This doesn’t take into account accessories like the protective covers and the S Pen ($58). They do have two bundled options: Clear View Cover with S Pen ($108) and a Silicone Cover with S Pen ($88).

The phone will be available on 29 January. It can be pre-ordered and Samsung will throw in their Galaxy Buds Pro (Silver) and Galaxy Smart Tag (black) worth $356 in total once the transaction is made. More details here.