Plenty to go through in the camera section. At least when it comes to the Ultra. That's why we are going to leave all the features and tidbits for the full review. For now, we will show you a glimpse of what the S21 Ultra can do. We took all four cameras for a spin, and here's what we got.
And here are the 3x and 10x zoom samples.
Of course, we took a couple of samples with the vanilla Galaxy S21, too.
As the name implies, One UI 3.1 offers incremental changes to the software compared to the rest of the Samsung phones running One UI 3.0. The OS is still based on Android 11. The UI appearance, animations and settings are the same. A couple of notable changes, though.
One of the first attempts for continuity across Samsung devices is being introduced here. Currently, only the Samsung Internet browser and Samsung Notes offer real-time sync with multiple devices. You can start taking notes and browsing on your phone and seamlessly switch to your tablet, for example.
Cool new call background videos freshen up the call screen, the S Pen support earns another mention, but we have a feeling this would remain an exclusive S21 Ultra feature for the time being.
The camera app has seen some big changes too. The video resolution toggles are now just a tap away, located on the viewfinder. A new Director's View feature gives you live footage from all four cameras - main, ultrawide, 3x telephoto and selfie. You can switch between cameras on the fly while recording a video. Lastly, there's a new Focus enhancer toggle that promises better focusing performance.
For such feature-packed phones, it's tough to form an early impression. But we do feel like it's a step forward for the Ultra and a side step for the other two in the family. Sure, the S21 and the S21+ both received a significant price reduction to be in line with the absence of some features and even the downgrades, but it still feels it's not enough. In a couple of months, the Galaxy S21 will be an excellent compact flagship at a lucrative price, while the Plus model will touch the Ultra size at a more manageable price as well.
Coincidentally, Samsung is in an excellent position to sell the S21 Ultra at €1,250. The microSD card slot might have been axed, but apart from this, the handset packs pretty much any the features you'd want in a flagship smartphone. There's not a single corner cut this time around, and while last year's Ultra was playing catch-up, the S21 Ultra seems to be setting the bar this time around. A full review is on its way so let's wait for the numbers to come in and see if they can justify the price tag.