By Jaime Misalucha
Korean tech giant Samsung (is it safe to call them K-tech? Hahaha!) unveiled its latest smartphone lineup with the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra leading the new S21 series early this year.
It has a 6.8 Inches edge quad HD+ screen with a 120hz screen refresh rate for an ultra-smooth user experience. It also sports a Corning Gorilla Glass Victus which is sturdy enough to withstand falls and bumps. Coffee spills? With its IP68 rating, you don’t have to worry.
Off the box are the actual unit, a Type C charging cable, a sim ejector pin, and a user’s manual.
Yes, folks! It doesn’t come with its own charging brick or wall plug, or whatever you want to call it. This is honestly the trend I wish will go away quickly as it feels like receiving something incomplete even though you paid for it at full price! I guess this is a classic example of “not all trends are worth following.”
The PC connectivity of the S21 series allows users to easily integrate their smartphone to their PC without needing to install additional apps or software. For Windows users, the Your Phone app in your Windows laptop or desktop integrates well with the S21 series. Apart from being able to access your photos, calls, text messages, and notifications, you can also mirror your phone’s screen to your PC and actually access apps that are on your phone! This is the connectivity that I have been looking for in a phone because you can have one centralized machine to access both your phone and computer. This works well, especially while at work when you need to speed type responses to multiple messages from your PC and your phone.
Other phone brands also offer such connectivity but most of them require you to download their app. Some would only work exclusively within the brand’s eco-system. So kudos to Samsung for its PC connectivity flexibility!
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra’s fully packed cameras are where this smartphone shines the most. In fact, the 40 megapixels front camera delivers one of the clearest images for a selfie camera I have ever seen.
Now the camera setup at the back of the device is also a different ball game. With its 12 megapixels ultrawide camera, 108 megapixels wide-angle camera, and two 10 megapixels telephoto cameras, photos captured turned out crisp and clear. Like HD TV clear!
My first impression upon hearing the 108 megapixels wide-angle camera is that this phone must be a landscape-centric camera. Meaning it works well with scenes with wide spaces to capture or that it can cover wide spaces.
But it actually works in any setup, no matter how large or tiny of the subject you are photographing.
Outdoor scenery also translates well thanks to its quad-cam setup. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra was able to capture clearly different interesting sceneries within Intramuros and because of its 108-megapixel lens, you can zoom in to your captured images and it will still be crisp and clear.
The space zoom is also an impressive touch as it expands the boundary of how far a camera phone can capture. The 100x zoom was actually fun to try out and I’m sure many will use it to spy on their crush! It takes a bit of getting used to though in using the 100x zoom as it is ultra-sensitive to camera shake. But this is not saying something bad about the S21 Ultra because any camera, in a phone or a professional for that matter, will have the camera shake at its maximum zoom.
Its night mode feature is also worth mentioning as it renders images nicely. The images taken are clear and not grainy at all. Of course, motion blur will always be present no matter how steady you put your camera. Just like any other smartphone’s night mode, it automatically sets the camera at a slow shutter speed. Tip, wait for the right time when the place has lesser people. Unless you really intend to include in the composition of your image the movements of the scene.
As for indoor shooting, its 108 megapixels wide-angle camera still does a great job. It captures in great detail even the tiniest element of a flower. It also translates well the image’s lighting and gives you an exposure that can be dramatic.
The video capture capability is also something to be excited about as it gives you high-quality videos through its 8K resolution. Apart from that, its super steady feature is also a huge help as it smoothes your movements and greatly lessens the camera shake. Even when running, the shots were steady, although not 100%, and it won’t give people a headache while watching it.
Its nifty, Director’s view feature is also something worth mentioning, even though such a feature already exists in older Samsung Galaxy smartphones. Content producers and even news reporters can benefit from this feature as it can be useful when conducting an interview. You can switch from the back to the front of the camera with ease. Plus you can also switch to a different lens from the back camera that works like a zoom lens, although the switch is drastic but that is fine.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is a smart device best paired with someone that needs to have a powerful camera with him or her at all times. Personally, I can see news reporters and even content producers or influencers using the S21 Ultra with ease and comfort. Filmmakers, be it professional or not, will also find the S21 Ultra and good everyday companion for that out of the blue movie scene idea shoots. It’s also good to note the sleek and thin shape that makes it very portable. It’s honestly too thin that it slipped my hand dozens of times. Good thing I’ve always caught it before it hits the ground. I suggest buying a casing for a more sturdy grip on the phone.