As expected, Samsung took some time today to unveil the new Galaxy S21 lineup of smartphones, which includes the top-tier Galaxy S21 Ultra. Samsung calls it the "ultimate smartphone experience", and on paper, it looks to deliver on that.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra has a 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display at QHD+ (3200x1440) resolution and dynamic refresh rates between 10Hz and 120Hz. It delivers up to 1,500 nits of peak brightness and a 50% better contrast ratio compared to its predecessor. As all the rumors suggested, the phone does support the S Pen from existing Galaxy Note or Galaxy Tab devices, but you can also buy it separately. It's sold standalone or with a protective case that houses the pen and the phone.
The phone is covered in Corning Gorilla Glass Victus front and back, and it features a camera bump that Samsung calls Countour Cut Camera, which blends into the phone's metal frame. That camera bump houses a quad-camera setup, featuring an upgraded 108MP primary sensor, which combines nine pixels into one for a 12MP shot. It has a f/1.8 aperture and 0.8µm pixels, but that amounts to 2.4µm per pixel in the 12MP result. The new camera supports 12-bit HDR photos and promises 64 times richer colors and over three times more dynamic range.
You can also record 4K video at 60 frames per second with any of the cameras on the phone, which include a 12MP ultra-wide lens with f/2.2 aperture, and two 10MP telephoto cameras, one with 3x optical zoom and f/2.4 and one with 10x zoom and f/4.9 aperture. The cameras also have an improved night mode, and Samsung says this is its biggest leap in night photography yet. On the front, there's a 40MP selfie camera with phase detection auto-focus.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra also comes with Ultra-wideband (UWB) support, meaning you can use it to unlock certain car doors, for example. You can also use the AR finder to let other Galaxy users know you need help finding a lost item, as long as their smartphone also supports the feature. As far as networks go, the Galaxy S21 Ultra supports sub-6 and mmWave 5G as well as Wi-Fi 6E.
As far as performance goes, of course, the Galaxy S21 Ultra comes with the Snapdragon 888 chipset in North America or the Exynos 2100 in other select markets. Both are octa-core processors with clock speeds maxing out at either 2.9GHz or 2.8GHz. You also get either 12GB or 16GB of RAM and up to 512GB of internal storage. The battery is 5,000mAh and it can fast-charge up to 50% in 30 minutes. Samsung says it also increased the speed of wireless charging.
Pre-orders for the Galaxy S21 Ultra start today, and the phone starts at $1,199 for 12GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. The phone will be available at multiple retailers in Phantom Silver and Phantom Black, while Samsung itself will sell additional variants including Phantom Titanium, Phantom Navy, and Phantom Brown.