monochrome photo of samsung mobile phone
Photo by Velroy Fernandes on

The premium flagship Samsung phone for 2021 is here, the Galaxy S21 Ultra (for the first time) offers S Pen support on an S-range handset, meaning that you can optionally get the Galaxy Note range’s best feature.

Even without that feature this is a stunning handset, with a brilliant quad-lens camera capable of 10x optical zoom. In fact, it’s said to be the best camera zoom on any readily available Android phone.

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra looks impressive, with a smooth Gorilla Glass back with a matte finish that looks better than the reflective Galaxy S20 range, while around the front there’s a curved edge-to-edge 6.8-inch screen. For the first time on a Samsung phone, it’s worth mentioning that you get both a QHD+ resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate at the same time.

Samsung has retouched its main camera with lasers – yes, lasers – to remedy the autofocus issues on the previous model, and also upgraded the specs to keep up with the demands of processing those large 108MP photos, 40MP selfies, and 8K video without as much as a hiccup. Photos are sharp, dynamic range is impressive and Samsung’s ‘tripod lock’ software feature steadies the 30x and 100x zoom levels on subjects to prevent the viewfinder image from jumping around. 

But photography and speed are only two-thirds of the story here. This is a tale of design beauty and the performance beast, with a gently curved edge-to-edge display, smaller rear camera bump and mesmerizing matte Phantom Black colour option (other colours are available). It’s hard to look away. The Galaxy S21 Ultra is Samsung’s best-looking phone by far.

In comparison to the latest iPhone 12 the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra will only set you back R26k, should you opt to buy it cash. Depending on what’s important to you, then, Samsung may be offering more value for your money.

What’s the catch? Gone is the microSD card slot for expandable storage, and say goodbye to MST (being able to use Samsung Pay with credit card machine even if they didn’t have NFC). You won’t find a charger inside of the box either; like Apple, Samsung cites e-waste as the reason the power brick isn’t included.

This “Ultra” may just live up to its name…

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