Samsung S21 Ultra Review
The S21 Ultra is Samsung’s second take on its flagship S-series Ultra series, and here’s something interesting we found out about the company. Oftentimes, it appears to have a second chapter that is stronger than the first. Think back to the first Galaxy S. It was a good phone. S2, though? Great phone, a huge hit. The first Galaxy Fold? She had her problems. The Fold2? Much better and much easier to recommend (if you have the money).
We’re not saying that we discovered a trend or a feature that was out of reach to anyone else, but we’d be remiss in not mentioning the above as it relates precisely to the S21 Ultra and its relationship to the S20 Ultra. Call the foreshadowing first paragraph, if you wish, but we can just hit you with the spoiler itself – the S21 Ultra is a much better product than its predecessor. It’s more refined, more refined, and doesn’t absorb any of the smartphone basics — quite the opposite, in fact.
So maybe it’s not fair to generalize and say you should always wait for a 2nd generation product when it’s a Samsung product, but – wait, we just reminded another example, the original Galaxy Buds vs. Galaxy Buds+. Same general idea. Well, maybe that’s not fair, but it might be a good general rule to keep in mind.
Regardless, the S21 Ultra is now old enough that we can give you our thoughts on what it’s been like to live with it for a long period of time, much longer than we usually get for our regular reviews. On paper, this is a monster – and as you’ll see in the next section, it’s also a monster in your hand.
But the specs only tell a very small part of the story, and the reason this review is so long-term is to give you the rest of that story with more subjective opinions and less cool objective numbers. It’s not about whether it beats its closest competitor by 1% on a synthetic benchmark, it’s about whether or not this phone is fun to use, day in and day out, as our only smartphone. Does it contain what it takes to be easy to recommend or is it more hype than substance? Join us on the next few pages as we try to figure it out.