Tech

Samsung's Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G Is Here. Does It Live Up to the Hype?

The tech giant’s flagship smartphone is packed with features.
IMAGE SAMSUNG
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Many smartphone makers trumpet the features of each new gadget at launch in typical breathless hyperbole. But in the case of Samsung’s latest—the Galaxy S21 Series, which was launched earlier this week— the pronouncements of truly groundbreaking tech are accurate and well-earned. 

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G is the most premium in the latest Galaxy S21 series

Photo by Samsung.

The newest flagship lineup is composed of the base model (S21 5G), the S21+ 5G, and the undeniable star of the group—the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G. All of the models in the lineup are worth a look, and are packed not just with eye-popping new tech, but with impressive and industry-leading innovations, but we’ll focus on the most premium tier. If you’re going to go all-in, might as well pick the best, right?

Galaxy S21 Ultra - Display

The Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G is the largest in Samsung’s S21 series, with a 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display. The phone has a 25 percent brighter display compared to the Galaxy S20 and has a 50 percent improved contrast ratio.

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The phone also features what Samsung calls “Contour Cut Camera” housing that seamlessly blends into the metal frame, as well as Corning Gorilla Glass Victus, supposedly the toughest Gorilla Glass ever. 

For the first time, you can use the S Pen on a Galaxy S21 Series smartphone 

Photo by Samsung.

Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G delivers with our most advanced pro-grade camera system, so that you can capture stunning, studio-quality photos in various lightings and settings, or shoot and edit videos with a toolbox of new AI-powered features that elevate every shot.  

Galaxy S21 Ultra - Camera

The new Samsung S21 Ultra 5G has four rear camera lenses (ultra-wide, wide and dual tele-lenses) that features an upgraded 108MP pro sensor. This Galaxy phone can also shoot in 4K at 60fps across all lenses, and features 100x Space Zoom. Translation: you can get crystal clear shots even if you’re far away.

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As for shooting in low light, the phone has an improved Bright Night sensor for even better photos at night or with weak lighting. 

Galaxy S21 Ultra - Connectivity

The Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G supports Wi-Fi 6E, one of the first smartphones commercially available to do so. That essentially means users can enjoy more bandwidth and even faster internet connection. It, of course, already supports 5G (it’s right there in the name!)

The Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G can shoot in 4K at 60fps

Photo by Samsung.

Perhaps one of the most impressive new features is the phone’s ultra-wideband capabilities that turns it into a “key” that can automatically unlock compatible car doors. You can also use its built-in augmented reality (AR) finder to send virtual messages to other Galaxy smartphone users.

Your phone will be even more invaluable when you use it to control smart devices in your home—like air conditioning or lights—through Android Auto in your car. It’s yet another step into the multi-connected ecosystem of the future.

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Lastly, Samsung owners who are used to tinkering with their phones with an S pen will appreciate that the company is making the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G compatible with the device. You’ll have to buy the S pen separately or use one from an existing unit (Samsung Galaxy Note or Tab), though.

“Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G is another example of how Samsung is driving meaningful innovation forward to give people personalized experiences that enrich their lives and empower them to express who they are,” said TM Roh, President and Head of Mobile Communications Business, Samsung Electronics. “Given how indispensable technology has been to our lives during these times, we wanted to take another leap forward and push the boundaries of what a smartphone can do.” 

The Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G supports Wi-Fi 6E

Photo by Samsung.

Galaxy S21 Series - Price

The Galaxy S21 5G is at P47,990, while the Galaxy S21+ 5G is P57,990. Meanwhile, the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G starts at P69,990 for the 256GB model and P79,990 for the 512GB pre-order-exclusive model.

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It will be available through retail partners starting January 29, 2021. But those who pre-order between now until January 28 can get a bundle—including Galaxy Buds Pro, Galaxy Tab A 8.0, Galaxy SmartTag, and a 25W Travel Adapter—worth up to P20,000. You can get it in Phantom Silver (256GB model with 12GB RAM) and Phantom Black (256GB model with 12GB RAM or 512GB model with 16GB RAM, which is a pre-order-exclusive model).

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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