Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G unboxing and first impressions: the latest torchbearer from the brand

Will the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G set a benchmark for flagship phones in 2021?

Samsung’s newest Galaxy S-series phones have arrived earlier than usual and they look to set a benchmark for flagship phones in 2021. The Samsung Galaxy S21, S21+, and S21 Ultra tout high-end specifications, premium designs, and this time around they all come with 5G connectivity in India. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G, in particular, is the most specced-out phone of the lot, both in terms of looks and hardware. This is the model that we’ll be taking a closer look at today in our unboxing and first impressions. 

Unboxing the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G is a lot simpler now that Samsung has gone the Apple way and removed the charger from the box. The retail box is slimmer as it only includes some documentation, a Type-C cable, a SIM ejector tool, and the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G phone itself. If you happen to have a 25W fast charger lying around the house, you’re good to go, otherwise, you will have to purchase one through the Samsung website or a third-party one from elsewhere.

The moment you lift the phone from the box, you will instantly feel the heft of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G. It’s a massive device that offers a large screen and a chunky build. The phone that weighs around 229 grams, which is something you will need to get used to. The Delhi winter gave us a feel of just how cold the matt finish rear panel can get. The whole device comes in a pure black colour, which Samsung calls Phantom Black. It is as black as it can get and it looks pretty attractive.

What’s unique about the Galaxy S21 series is the rear camera module, which now curves along the top left corner to meet the frame. On the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G, the camera module is large and protrudes quite a bit. As for everything else, the phone offers a dual SIM card but no support for storage expansion or a headphone jack. Expectedly, the device carries IP68 rating indicating it can survive limited exposure to dust and water.

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G features a large 6.8-inch QHD+ Dynamic AMOLED display with a 120Hz Adaptive refresh rate, which means it can automatically switch between 10Hz to 120Hz depending on the content on screen. With up to 1500 nits peak brightness, the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s screen looks bright and the AMOLED panel delivers punchy colours and inky blacks, as expected. 

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G comes with a quad-camera system that includes the all-new 108MP ISOCELL HM3 sensor, a 12MP ultra-wide lens, and two 10MP telephoto lenses where one offers 3x optical zoom and the other 10x optical zoom. The camera boasts up to 100x space zoom and the module also includes a laser autofocus sensor. The Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G also comes with a 40MP front-facing camera. All in all, the smartphone seems to offer powerful cameras and we will have more to say about the performance in our full review. 

As for everything else, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra features the latest Exynos 2100 5G chipset in India. The chipset is based on a 5nm process and offers a maximum clock speed of 2.8GHz. This is paired with up to a whopping 16GB of RAM and 512GB internal storage. Suffice it to say that the hardware is capable enough to run everything smoothly, though we will reserve our verdict after we put the phone through its paces in our full review. In a first for an S-series device, the S21 Ultra supports Samsung’s S Pen (the one which is the signature feature of the brand’s Galaxy Note range), though this time, the S Pen itself is an optional extra.

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra ships with a 5,000mAh battery and supports up to 25W fast charging, with the latter feeling a tad bit disappointing as we hoped to see Samsung offer faster charging speeds, seeing how the competition offers speeds as high as 120W. There’s support for 15W wireless charging as well. The Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G should last a full day thanks to this battery and a power-efficient chipset, but we will have a better idea of this after spending a few days with the device.

Overall, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G looks like a phone that comes with very few compromises as it should be the case for a phone that costs over Rs 1 lakh in the country. Stay tuned to our full review where we will talk about the flagship’s performance, cameras, battery life, and more.