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Test: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G – top Galaxy model with reference screen and top camera
March 13, 2021 (Philip Kind)
Clash of the Titans: After the Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max went through acid testing, we directly compared it to the current flagship from Korea. The iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S models are the undisputed stars on the smartphone floor – and the only ones whose releases are always accompanied by massive media hype. In the past there has always been the headline “Is This the iPhone Killer?” , But those days are long gone, as Android’s competitors themselves set the standards for quality and Apple has already embraced many ideas from the other ecosystem. This is a good thing, as it also speeds up quality jumps.
The lofty and high-quality optics indeed indicate that Samsung’s S-Class is quite pricey. A heavy-duty metal frame and glass guarantee maximum durability – it weighs 227 grams on the scale. Meanwhile, it goes without saying that the noble radio operator has IP68 certification. The camera block on the matte back looks like a challenge to the competition, as six lenses protrude 1.9mm. But more about that later. Good: Compared to the previous model, the scissors have been integrated into the chassis more discreetly.
The ultimate view, however, is the screen, which again extends almost entirely over the front. At 6.8 inches diagonally, it’s slightly smaller than the S20, but the quality is amazing. The OLED panel has a resolution of 3200 x 1440 pixels (WQHD +), ensuring an ultra-sharp picture. And not just that: Saturation and brightness are great, too. On top is also 120Hz display technology for perfect smoothness. Conclusion: There is hardly anything better in the smartphone sector at the moment – so this point goes to Samsung.
Back with built-in camera
Who has more lenses? Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra comes with five additional LED flashes. That’s impressive, but the manufacturer goes one step further when it comes to specifications. The main lens with a bright f / 1.8 lens and a 108MP sensor is supported by two 10-megapixel telephoto lenses with 3x and 10x zoom. On the top there is an ultra-wide angle lens with f / 2.2 aperture and 12 megapixels and the zoom lenses have optical image stabilization. – This is a clear quality advertisement!
Outside in broad daylight
In a slightly weaker light
The equipment also provides much more than usual standards. Good idea: With the “Zoom-Lock” function, the user can no longer access the digital zoom, which reduces the quality. On the other hand, this detour allows you to enlarge up to 100 factors, which is more of a gimmick, since the quality is correspondingly poor. The picture quality is not bad at all in normal playback. In daylight, the pics are a colorful and detailed feast for the eyes. In direct comparison to the current top iPhone model, the photos show a slightly “exaggerated” color, while the Californian has more value when it comes to low-light shots, and the Koreans are a little ahead, because a few years ago you wouldn’t have captured the evening with the S-Class. The new one was also not considered possible because you can’t fool the physics with the new Night Mode and the so-called Single Capture: AI paints the best selection of photos and videos from a 15-second sequence. As a follow-up, Samsung provides a wide range of photo and video editing options, and the flexible RAW format is also supported.
Recorded in a poorly lit basement
Talking about videos: With the vlog view, the videos can be recorded simultaneously with the front and back cameras, and there are also vertical format videos for social networks. You can even shoot 8K movies with 24 fps or 4K movies at a maximum of 60 fps. The meaning of 8K movies can be debated, but the truth is that these clips are cruel memory lollipops. Combined with the Professional Video mode the equipment is great, but the low-light video capture is disappointing – you have to do a lot of post-processing here. A very clear point for iPhone camcorder. The S model adds extra points for the selfie camera. 40MP resolution provides crisp and clear images thanks to the built-in autofocus.
The manufacturer in the Far East presents itself worthy of reference in the field of data interfaces. The 5G modem supports all 5G frequencies as well as LTE with up to 2100MHz – currently no other smartphone offers this. NFC and the brand new Bluetooth 5.2, USB Type-C 3.1 and WiFi 6 leave no question as to who is the current data king in the market.
The accessories are a stark contrast, as there is neither a power supply nor a headphone. Storage space is also saved. There are different versions (up to 512GB of storage space), but as with the iPhone, Samsung is also canceling the microSD memory card slot. Compassion.
With the new S-Class Smarthone there is always the very latest software equipment. Therefore, the new Android 11 is preinstalled. The update includes several improvements to security and privacy settings, a dedicated screen recorder for video recordings and a new display of notifications for messaging apps. Operating system is supported by internal user interface 3.1. For the user, this means countless options for customization and input assistance. Therefore, users should take a lot of time when preparing to filter out the best options for themselves.
This time, there is the potential to use the S-Pen for creative minds. Unlike Note models, Samsung’s stylus input cannot be integrated into the chassis. The manufacturer offers two different protection covers where you can keep the pen on the device. This and S-Pen need to be purchased separately.
The new S-Class has a very good position when it comes to unlocking, due to the presence of an ultrasound fingerprint scanner built into the screen and face recognition for safe and fast. With this tandem, the Korean can be quickly brought out of deep sleep in all situations. At this point, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G is ahead of the iPhone, as the fingerprint sensor has been rationalized here. The bottom line is that both reference smartphones can perform nicely and the differences are somewhat marginal. However: in terms of handling, the S-Class has slight advantages over the American model.
Like Apple, Samsung also uses an internal power processor for the top model. The latest model is called the Exynos 2100. The cool feature: It offers externally developed SoC processor cores based on ARM reference designs. The clock rate of 2.8GHz is not as fast as the iPhone Max Pro, but there are 12 or 16 GB of RAM to choose from. Needless to say, the performance is absolutely top notch. Instead, it is more exciting that Samsung’s latest model is getting closer and closer to Apple’s performance. In the end, you have to use special software to find a noticeable difference between the Model S and iPhone sharing points.
Im camera detail
The built-in battery pack delivers 5,000 mAh, but the idea is contradictory in practical testing. While Koreans have broken the 12-hour mark under continuous pregnancy, recall times of three to four days are on average. IPhone Pro Max allows more room here.
Nano? Apparently, Samsung and Apple have reached an agreement, since the Koreans no longer put a power supply in the box either. If you still have one with 25 watts, it will reach 100% again after about 1.5 hours, which is good performance. Inductive charging takes longer as only 15W is supported. By the way: Other suitable devices can also be charged wirelessly using a smartphone. And to whom is the point due here? If service on call is important to you, you should choose iPhone, and on the other hand, multimedia addicts should feel more comfortable with the Model S in terms of battery power.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra also uses dual speakers at the bottom of the screen, so there’s no real stereo experience. You can’t complain, however, because the audio experience is lively and has a good bass foundation. However, the iPhone plays a more subtle, clear and diverse category – that point goes to Californians. However, making calls is fun with both smartphones. Sounds are transmitted very cleanly and are present in both directions of the broadcast – this is really in the direction of the fixed line network. Conclusion: The bottom line is that the measurements from iPhone Pro Max are slightly better.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G
This time, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G is a direct comparison to the Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max. This is also evident, because both reference radio operators are now strikingly similar, as Koreans have adopted several iPhone quirks 1: 1: no microSD – more memory card slot and power supply unit suddenly missing. This seems a bit stingy given the very high price tag. The bottom line is that the new S-Class is at the front. Especially in the field of camera and display quality, there is currently nothing better. However, Samsung narrowly wins in the comparison test with California residents, with the iPhone scoring plus points in measured values and Samsung’s camcorder slightly weak. Is the smartphone worth about 1,300 euros? IPhone owners have not only had to ask themselves this question for a long time.
Top screen, 1A camera and solid performance, but here, too, the equipment is provided
The test: Ulf Schneider