The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G – day 2 review

OK, so it’s been another day and I’m actually at the point of wanting to throttle some Samsung developers so let’s get into my complaints on the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G. in a quick Good/Bad breakdown.

Good: all WiFi AP names and (some but not all) passwords transferred over so I don’t have to reenter them.
Bad: None of the settings for auto-reconnect transferred over so I walked into work today and triggered a network alarm for a tenant (not terrible, but I’m connecting to anything I’ve ever connected to)
Good: All apps and 5+ gigs of text messages transferred from old phone to new
Bad: out of 100 or so apps maybe three have data
Good: All the Bluetooth pairing names transferred
Bad: none of them work, all have to be re-paired
Good: low light and up to 30x zoom photos are really good
Bad: they’re jpeg artifacty as all get out (I’ve got to locate the setting that’s doing this)

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The 5G portion of the T-Mobile network I’m testing this on has started to underwhelm me. While I had not planned far enough in advance to get speedtests written down on LTE with my Note 8, I know they were in the 15-30 mbit range at work. I’ll note this is probably nothing related to the phone, but it’s what I’m noticing. I’m now in the completely underwhelming 3mbit down at work (oddly 20 up,) and fairly decent at home.

I’m on day 3 now of error messages from Samsung Pass claiming it can’t verify my fingerprints and to try again later. This doesn’t concern me particularly but there is one app that I like to have Pass as an option as I have an unbelievably complex password that does not get saved that I had Pass put in, then a normal password, then an in-app biometrics… meh, whatever… it’ll get fixed.

Bluetooth has bugs. I’ve had to reboot the phone to get it to connect to my car. Well, maybe there was a workaround but I had 10 seconds of being stopped to figure out how to fix the problem and move on. I never had connection issues with the Note 8.

Samsung Pay, go away, go away

I don’t use Samsung Pay. This is not because I dislike it, it’s more that still relatively few places I go work with tap to pay. Even if they say they do it’s a rarity that things work out still. I’m in the Googleverse, whatever.

Samsung Pay comes preinstalled and hovers as a card you can pull up from the bottom. I don’t know why. It’s not my thing but it seems that there’s no reason I can think of to need thumb access to it at all freaking times.

I wanted my swipe gestures rather than on-screen, selected them in the settings, and immediately found out that Samsung Pay was in the way. The pages I found said to open it, go into settings, and choose how it worked there. Well, no. You open it, you have the option to agree to a huge terms and services, or quit out of the program.

I think after a bit of messing around I finally agreed to a huge ToS that I didn’t agree to, and at this point I was able to get into settings and disable it. I might have been able to uninstall it, had not thought of that until writing.

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Everything’s artifact-y in default save resolution (this is zoomed in a bit afterwards as a note) – look better in normal size but it’s set by default to super casual photographer

A whole lot of Samsung marketplace apps keep updating. Feels like nothing has survived past the couple of weeks this thing has been on the market. Seems since none of them are current perhaps just installing on first use might be a better option than the way it’s going.

Samsung’s power saver of course puts Dropbox and anything that might be in charge of cloud syncing your media in case your phone dies to sleep. Discovered that today.

The all-day battery is of course all day on average use with the screen in moderate resolution and not being a person who’s running their phone to the breaking point like me, but it’s a pretty decent battery life even with that.

I don’t have any of the high-wattage chargers sitting around to test the quick charge with (gave my last one to my boss for a trip,) but it does a pretty decent job charging on the things I have.

I’ve had Android phones since 2010 and this is the first I’ve ever had where I have to hold down the power/wake and the vol down for 3 seconds to get the power menu to come up. Having had to reboot this a couple of times this is annoying. It may be the glitter case I have making it more so but yeah, I’d rather have just one button to press.

Things planned for day 3: wireless charging a secondary device, seeing if the audio sounds any better than the Note8, microphone sensitivity testing, hopefully some photos when it’s not drizzly low light meh.

Do I like it? Yes – nice fancy beast of a phone. Fixable. Feels like the successor to my Note 8 unlike the S10+ I had for a week that felt meh.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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