The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G – day 9

It’s been a dreary couple of days and I’ve been attempting to catch up with work after the kids had been completely virtual since a little before Thanksgiving. Here are the impressions I’ve gotten in the past couple of days.

This is compared to my Galaxy Note 8, which I loved so much it’s still around. At least for a while. Ting SIM sits in it and that 100 minutes has been being used by every damned car warranty scam in the phonebook.


I use some wickedly old apps. They crash on launch frequently but usually work after. My guess is this is Android 11 v Android 9 and nothing to do with The S21. But it’s something I noticed. No modern or recently updated app has had this problem.

Using the phone as a phone and more like a normal human being gives a full day of use. Using the phone like I use it gives most of a day before it’s getting pretty low. I can plow through a battery two or three times a day if I tried I’d guess.

Feels like it charges slower. Did a check on myself and realized I’m comparing the speed of the battery charge based on 3300 (Note 8) vs about 5000 on the S21 Ultra. So relatively it feels like it’s charging over 40% slower on my equipment, but is charging the exact same speed that particular charger is capable of. Guess I’ve got to get a faster charger to make it feel faster.

The bubbles for texting and messenger have to be turned on. They seem more intuitive and less disruptive but less polished. I’ll figure out what I’m talking about later on this. Could be my resolution or some setting but the chat heads style on my Note I liked better. Visual aesthetic that I’m pretty sure Google is responsible for and not Samsung.

Rotating is wicked fast. This is something I despised on the Note 8 – I’d tilt, it’d get there eventually. S21 is on it.

Slightly better WiFi performance in the same environment. We’re talking about 30mbit better (280mbit vs 313) – fairly consistent just slightly better on my Portal WiFi. I would unreliably say the distance for transmit is slightly better on the S21 as well.

I am seeing no positive impact of 5G at the moment. From what I’ve been able to tell there is none where I’m at. Whether this is tower bandwidth limitation, upgrade status, or what my LTE worked as good as whatever my 5G is (I’m assuming LTE as well, but with a G on the end).

Phone calls are significantly less terrible. I mean they’re terrible to be on but yeah, my Note 8 audio had declined markedly. The mic does not appear to be stuffed up with fluff or anything. The S21 reminds me of being on an ISDN line.

A better case is required than I purchased. Urban Armor Gear sold out of my beloved Monarch cases, but they’re shipping me something to play with that will hopefully be here in a day or so. My twilight sparkles case is a thing of beauty to behold, however attempting to swipe the side controls or down from the top is defeated by the lip.

I don’t know, Urban Armor is going to have to go a long way to defeat the power of Accidental Glitter Case purchase.

Seems to take significantly longer to connect to my car or any Bluetooth. Guessing there’s a scanning interval that’s different. I have not had to reboot the phone since the issues that one day.

Bluetooth, I don’t know how to metric this, but it feels like the range is slightly further. Probably the same antenna improvement that I’m seeing with WiFi. Just ever so slightly better than my Note 8 but not enough to really be a wow factor.

Driving / driving mode / seems to hear me better, respond snappily. This may be related to my Note 8’s terrible microphone on calls, but seriously I record audio and it sounds fine. Never have figure that out. Probably factory reset time.

That’s all I’ve got for today, if you’re buying one buy one through my link and make me a fat 4-6% commission. Or you know, just open a window and browse there and no beer money for me.

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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