The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G, day 56 / probably final review

I’ve had the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G for 56 days if I did the math right. Here’s my final feeling of useful input about it. Almost everything about it shines except the 8K video currently, and I think they can fix that with a software update, or perhaps I’m seeing something that isn’t there.

TL;DR – damned good phone, feels a little like when I first met the HTC Evo 4G in terms of how far ahead it is (in at least camera tech,) you should get it (or not, I don’t know you).

The camera

I feel if you want a great camera this is probably its best selling point. There are others but they generally boil down to “it’s wicked fast man, it’ll do your Android stuff in like no time.”

The above is a video shot in 8K on the S21u5g. It’s good, but the frame rate seems off. I should note to see this in 8K you’ll need a device, to open YouTube most likely, select the cog, and choose to view it in 8K (4320P) – seems to not want to default to great resolution if you can’t support it.

They’re advertising it as “cinema quality” on commercials, but yeah, considering 4K is cinema quality on most projectors I’m going to say they may be underselling it.

Don’t get me wrong, this thing shines… and I may be seeing something that’s not there but the frame rate seems inconsistent and when you’re panning left to right things tend to not be great… in 8K… anything else is fine.

The S21 Ultra shines as a camera. I’ve never had one I liked as much as this. Being able to get a handheld picture of the moon that looks somewhat ok surprised me.

I didn’t happen to be packing a tripod and it was looking particularly photogenic with its three power lines looking like a belt.

Portrait mode makes roughly 70% of the pictures look like, on my opinion, studio quality. I mean there are stinkers, there are fails, but dang…

Color pop (or whatever they call it,) is cool too.

The zoom is really pretty decent (handheld, rabbit from ~70 feet I guess)

The close up shines (may have been in portrait mode here)

Google Photos tends to make cinematic portraits of some of the Portrait Mode photos, which results in a zoom in situation that’s kind of cool and I have no idea how to share it with anyone.

Overall, if you’re looking for a camera, it rocks. Literally the only thing I’ve disliked is the panning on 8K video.

All the other stuff

I’ve still got my Galaxy Note 8 laying around with a Ting SIM in it, data turned off, and useful as a backup. I occasionally grab it when I’m at my desk and find something else that the Smart Transfer didn’t transfer over. Occasionally I’ll use it to play a game.

It’s slow. I never noticed how slow it was until the S21. I mean, it’s still a great phone but man, I was waiting on it on so many things.

Cell reception seems fine. Did some experiments with a VZW phone and yeah, just carriers seem to vary. 5G bandwidth, spectrum, yadda yadda…

128gig model and lack of SD have not messed with me *yet* – I’m keeping a USB OTG handy just in case but I’ve always had 50 or so gig free.

Do wish there was some documentation on HEIC and HEVC that told users what you need to do as I went down the wrong rabbit hole initially.

All day battery – yeah, I can try and defeat it by 4pm. I have defeated it when I tried. I got it down to 18% from 6am-4pm. But you know what, even under my normal insane by average user use cases, I don’t. I’m usually at 25-30% left by midnight. I’ve got screen resolution turned to max and a lot of power saving options turned off because they don’t work with my life. It’s still generally good.

Overall, buy the phone. It’s great. Buy it here and make us a whopping 6% commission on Amazon. Or go somewhere and just type it in and you’re set.

Or you know what, go over to Android Police and buy it through their link if you’re not going to buy it through ours. I get a decent amount of inspiration from some of their stuff and someone other than Amazon should be getting that referral.

And a side note, I seriously had no idea they were doing a follow up today as well, I’m just sitting here posting pictures and thinking about the state of income in blogsville (I believe we’re still banned from Google Adsense,) while realizing even a light chainsaw makes your arms tired and brain fried.

Er yeah, good phone, coincidence, and searching for an income stream that will tell us what’s wrong other than saying “oh you should know what’s wrong.”

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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