Samsung unveils Galaxy S21 Ultra with a huge screen, crazy specs, and S Pen support


Samsung has announced the Galaxy S21 Ultra at its Unpacked event. The successor to the S20 Ultra from last year, the S21 Ultra is the highest-end S21 you can buy. To help you save money, Samsung has the S21 and S21 Plus which I’m covering separately. This article will focus on the beast that is the S21 Ultra.

Perhaps the most striking new feature of the S21 Ultra is the fact it ships compatible with the S Pen. Up until now, the only phone you’ve been able to buy from Samsung that worked with an S Pen was a Galaxy Note. With the S21 Ultra, that all changes. Now, granted, you’ll need to buy the stylus separately, and you’ll need to get a case that can store the pen so you don’t lose it. But just like a Note, you can jot down notes, draw, scroll, and more with the stylus on the S21 Ultra.

People have been trying to figure out if by Samsung bringing the S Pen to the Galaxy S series, the Galaxy Note line will soon die off. It’s still a bit too early to tell since it’s the beginning of 2021 and Galaxy Note phones don’t usually ship until August or September, but we may be on the brink of the extinction of one of the more pivotal smartphone series ever.

Samsung tweaked the design of these phones juuust enough so that you can tell the S21 and the S20 apart. All three new phones ship with a camera housing that pours over the side of the left top corner of the phone, while the screen doesn’t pour over to anywhere. For the first time in forever, Samsung has decided not to include a curved display on any of its Galaxy S devices, significantly reducing the amount of accidental touches on your screen and creating a much better grip.

Rounding off the design, Samsung is sticking with IP68 certification for the new S21 Ultra, while the device is covered in Gorilla Glass Victus with an AL7s10 metal frame.

The S21 Ultra ships with a huge 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with 50 percent more contrast and improved color accuracy. It offers a WQHD+ (3200×144) resolution and an adaptable 120Hz refresh rate. (You can even choose to have QHD and 120Hz enabled at the same time.) Samsung also includes an improved blue light filter for easier visibility while scrolling in bed.

Under the hood, Samsung is using the Snapdragon 888 processor and, in other markets, its own Exynos 2100 chipset. You also get either 12GB or 16GB of RAM depending on which storage configuration you get (either 256GB or 512GB, respectively). Of course, you get both sub-6GHz and mmWave 5G, and you’ll also find Wi-Fi 6.

On the back of the device, Samsung includes a 108MP main camera with an f/1.8 aperture, a 12MP f/1.2 ultra-wide, a 10MP f/2.4 lens, and a secondary 10MP f/4.9 telephoto. You also get a Time-of-Flight lens which can power various AR experiences. You can take up to 8K videos and pull 8K stills from then using the company’s new 8K Video Snap feature. You can also take 4K 60fps video across all the cameras on the device. You also get 100x Space Zoom, a 12-bit RAW shooting option, night mode, improved facial recognition, studio lighting, and portrait mode.

Meanwhile, the front-facing camera sits at 40MP with an f/2.2 aperture.

As for endurance, the S21 Ultra comes with a huge 5,000mAh battery. You get 25W Super Fast charging in addition to 15W fast wireless charging, but you’ll need to buy a compatible adapter separately since Samsung isn’t shipping wall warts in its boxes any more (just like the iPhone 12). You also get Wireless PowerShare which lets you wirelessly charge accessories like headphones by placing them on the back of your phone.

The phone comes with One UI 3.0 based on Android 11 with all the features we’ve seen in Android 11 updates for Samsung’s past devices. You also get stereo speakers tuned by AKG with Dolby Atmos support.

The Galaxy S21 Ultra will launch on January 29th starting at $1,199. It’s up for preorder starting today. The S Pen will be sold for $40 separately or bundled with a case for storage for $70.

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