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Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 256GB review (first impressions)

anticpated
Level 29: Intuitive
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Hi here is my first impression review of the said telephone.

 

Looks

 

The slate is quite sizeworthy with a slight bulk on the back of the handset due to the camera array which are made from a set borrowed from the Note 20. The option for Macro photography is now an option which itself is controlled by the Samsung software and the use of periscope lens (up to 240mm focal).

 

Cameras

 

A back case is recommended for keeping it balanced on a surface due to the camera module. The photographs I have taken so far are OK outdoors. Night mode photography uses longer exposures to capture more detail and reduces the distortion caused by the lack of light. 

 

To be honest I haven't really bothered with the Front Facing camera although the punch hole in the screen is central and it would be appear to be of usable quality. 

 

Buttons

 

There are only ..... 2 volume rockers and one other which doubles as power/bixby button and standby whilst the power is on with short presses. Double presses and single presses can be configured by using the sidekey options.

 

Another way to power off is to drag the console from the top of the screen twice and hit on the power icon to bring up the power options which I find easier. Volume down + Power with a short press as expected creates screenshots. Although can also be done by using the edge menu option which I find easier.

 

Synthetic benchmarks

 

I ran a couple of software benchmarks to get an over picture and it is impressive. Alas it all depends on the model of S21 Ultra you have; the Snapdragon 888 or Exynos 2100 chipset. Different areas are equal, indistinguishable or miles apart. Essentially the Snapdragon has slightly better GPU, Image Processing on certain techniques like moire blurring used in portrait mode where focus is concentrated on the foreground features or a a person.

 

With AnTuTU 9.3.1 benchmark I scored 739174, which puts this in the top 20% of ranking results.  Which clearly means Exynos is not really competition for Qualcomm yet. When the Exynos 2200 is released with an AMD mRDNA 2 GPU this difference may be reduced. That will be revealed next year if that is the case.

 

So if you want to play games on your telephone, you may want to buy the Snapdragon model if you can get one imported or another handset that already uses this chipset. For everything else you won't even notice any difference.

 

Screen

 

The panel is QHD+ or FHD+ at 60Hz/120Hz; as it uses LPTO based (developed by Apple) it can range from 10Hz-120Hz depending on the workload so dynamically controlling the refresh rate to suit the application. LPTO is combination of different minerals which allow multifaceted performance.

 

The screen is very clear, colour accuracy in imaging is very good and the contrast is very good. Light mode and Dark mode options are available to suit all needs. With dark mode being more sharp and focussed in my opinion.

 

Caveats....

 

There is no headphone port with only support for wireless headsets or conversion with a USB C to Phono port for those who want to avoid bluetooth as a handsfree option. Samsung do offer the option of claiming wireless headphones on their website with a proof of purchase before a certain date. Which hopefully I still qualified for even with the delivery delay.

 

Sound is OK. Although I also recommed external speakers over the phones anyway. The mostly metal finish does make it a little louder though. 

 

Damage resistance

 

IP68 resistant which makes it a tested to a high level of dust, scratches and tactility and water resistance up to 30 minutes within 1 metre depth (0.01 ATM). In contrast you have Apple iPhone 13 with up to 6metres resistance which is 6 times better.

 

Conclusion

 

It is a touch heavier than some handsets due to the size 6.8" diagonal scale. Add another case then it does seem quite big for some.  Battery life so far is good from the 5000mAh and for my use will last around a day or more. 

 

Speed in use has been good so far and the UX 3.1 from Samsung is better now with a UFS 3.1 filesystem which is part of the Linux lifecycle is quick and responsive. The lack of memory card support could disappoint some and with 128GB, 256Gb and 512GB (16GB RAM) options and 12GB RAM being the choices. Some may feel onboard storage is inadequate for higher quality video or high resolution music in 24/96 FLAC format for example; those are extreme examples though.

 

I never talked about social media, selfie shots or anything like that as most phones on the market are very capable of doing this. So the obvious answer that would be this can do this all very well indeed.

 

Something I never touched on was the S-Pen support which I never tested however it may be of interest to some. In which case I recommend you buy one with the case from Samsung.

 

Hopefully my small-ish review gives some people some insight. Have a good day and hope you got some insight from my short piece.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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