Samsung Galaxy S21 and S21 Ultra Review | Too many trade-offs?

تم نشره في 2021/01/21
We've spent a week with the Samsung Galaxy S21 and the S21 Ultra and there is plenty to talk about. Is the S21 any better than the S20, or even the S20 Fan Edition? Is the S21 Ultra the next great Android flagship phone? And seriously, is a plastic back that terrible? Check out our reviews of the Samsung Galaxy S21 and S21 Ultra.
00:00 Intro
01:02 S21 Design
02:03 S21 Display
02:33 S21 Battery Life
03:31 S21 Camera
04:33 S21 Camera Zoom Issues
05:05 S21 Compared to S20 and S20 FE
05:37 S21 Performance and Flagship Features
07:24 S21 Ultra Stands Out
07:54 S21 Ultra Camera
08:40 S21 Ultra's Impressive Zoom Capabilities
09:23 S21 Ultra Price and Size
09:57 S21 Ultra Display and Battery Life
10:31 Final Thoughts/Which S21 Should You Buy
Samsung Galaxy S21 is available here:
Samsung Galaxy S21+ is available here:
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is available here:
In our studio:
BDI Corridor Media Console:
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#GalaxyS21 #GalaxyS21Ultra #S21Review #S21 #S21Ultra #S21UltraReview #SamsungGalaxy #DigitalTrends #Review


  • Is the Galaxy S21 compelling enough for you to upgrade?

    • No, this stuff is trash. No sale.

    • The missing microSD-Slot and plastic build makes it a No Go for me despite having been in the market to upgrade. S10e (750 bucks back in 2019) seems to be still a better phone than the S21, having been cheaper but still with SD card slot and glass back... Now they're selling less for more money, how stupid 🤑😤

    • Flat display(bye bye curved display), plastic back, sign me up.

    • @chamomiami Thanks, just about every app I download is either a language app or a production app or apps that have specific enhancement figures, for example an app that captures what you are typing, so if a window closes it's saved, etc. or apos that captures text on a screen. Not games. I use a tab for games. But I'm thinking of the S20 because of the expendable SD card and expandable memory up to Tgb and it comes with a cable etc. And is selling for $700. Rather than the S21 for $1300 for 258Gb with no expandable memory. I have a theory about skipping every other generation while they work out bugs. Thanks for the feedback. ❤️

    • @Mehki get the 256gb as I did and open a Google acc so you have Google Pic on the site and Google drive for other stuff.. And stop downloading apps, that Hurst any phone.

  • there really is no where left for phones to go. I have a Note 9 and the screen is cracked, I am looking to get another note 9 or at most a 10. I would rather two note 9s. And I am a power user using my phone in business using the pen and all the features. Its a beautiful device and before it was a droll waiting for the next Samsung release I barely care what number they on now.

  • The downside of glass backs is that insurance doesn't cover repair. So when you file a claim, you're fucked. They conviently fail to tell you that when you buy phone insurance. I hate Asurion.

  • Asking if you should go back to I12. Why? Never go back to a looser ;-)

  • s21 ultra 🤩

  • Plastic back makes sense. Glass back is just stupid. A glass back is honestly poor design. It is impractical and a waste.

  • if you are good at manual shooting, s21 ultra is good.

  • Hi I'd love to know how low brightness the display can go, for when I use my phone before I fall asleep 😊

  • So.. s20 fe vs s21 for camera ?

  • I don't know one person who doesn't use a case.

  • The photos looked great I have no idea why you're saying they're bad lol, sounds like a samsung hater

  • Get over the polycarbonate backing: far better than glass when it comes to protection and ease of mind. And the sensors haven't changed on the Pixels. Ok, your smugness is evident with this review and at times contradictory. We get it. Move on. It's $200 less than last year's model. It's definitely worth it with a trade-in for $98.00.

  • Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra does not have an ESIM.

  • I cant stand plastics. Might skip this one as I'm also anti case. No way I'm holding plastic back phone 😞

  • Social media is built upon unnatural pictures

  • I cancelled my order, I'm done paying a premium to have an inferior chipset. I'm done with Samsung phones and giving us in the UK the Exynos chipset, sorry Samsung but my S20 Ultra was the last phone I buy until you sort this out

  • I really dont care if the back is plastic or if i leave a print on it.

  • this guy is never happy about samsung phone

  • title says S21 Ultra review, and then three minutes in you say you don't actually have an S21 Ultra. seriously? thumbs down for the clickbait. won't be watching any of your "reviews" again.

  • Apple fanboy reviews

    • Funny thing is I'm also called a Samsung fanboy when I review an Apple phone

  • "this samsung is too colorful and bright", are you new to Samsung products?

  • Half a pound? How much is that?

  • Curved was sucks bro

  • How does battery saving mode affect the adaptive refresh feature?

  • I completely disagree about the plastic case. I prefer it 100% over glass that's just going to break anyway.

  • Nice to see you again on the Tube.always enjoyed your reviews which are always done very professional.

  • I have been doing some research on Bitcoins because it seems to be an easy means of making money when you have a good knowledge of the Bitcoin market, can someone please guide me on how I can begin making money on Bitcoins?

    • @Kyle Anderson Thank you for your help.

    • You can speak to her on her WhatsApp contact above

    • @Dermacus Wilderman ( + 1 8 5 6 2 5 4 2 1 6 0 )

    • @Orin Hintz How do I speak with Dr. Elaine Myers concerning making profits on Bitcoin?

    • Nothing feels better than earning money at the comfort of your home, I was able to make $ 32,000 within a month of investment with Dr. Elaine Myers.

  • 8GB of RAM is apparent if you use DeX. SD is also not just about outright storage capacity. It's effectively "cold" storage which is ideal for system backups as well as affording large media creation/consumption. Shooting 4K video will burn through internal storage, let alone 8K, not to mention the ever higher resolution photos.

    • @Nick B I am absolutely 100% sure that no OEM would get rid of the SD card reader if it affected the masses, that would be a stupid business decision! So, yes, I stand by the fact that very few people need it, just that they are more vocal than the average consumer who could not care a less. Every company does their research before decisions like this and you just have to accept that you are in the tiny minority and for the good of the many we move on. As a technocrat, not as simple as you claim, I enjoy the advantages of the cloud and hopefully regions that have neglected this will up their game as demand changes? Cloud is not bad just because some locations do not do it well, with a bigger adoption it will get to the masses and killing SD cards in phones pushes us forward rather than slowing the process down.

    • @andyH_England "most of us" - mighty presumptuous of you. You put a lot of faith in always having a reliable cloud backup. Great when it works and is accessible. Not great when it's not. Your use case sounds pretty simplistic. That's fine, but it's not a general indicator of what is useful or necessary for others, even in the 21st century.

    • Most of us keep our backups off the phone as it is pointless backing to an internal SD card if you have lost or damaged the phone. I also do not keep video or photos on my phone once I have shot them. They are either backed up in the cloud for viewing when I want on whatever device or put on a USB-C external drive (much faster). It is a simple case of getting used to what techies do in 2021, you can do all the same stuff! Get a 256gb or 512gb if you record really long videos, if that is your hobby or business then the extra is a worthwhile investment (tools of your trade). When you watch a video, delete it, why would you need to keep it? With 5g or AirDrop (or similar) getting stuff to and from devices is easy. SD cards are no longer relevant if you are willing to move on and try 21st-century solutions.

  • Watching this on my S20 Ultra 5G in 1440p. Thinking 🤔, I still have the best phone 🤳🏾📱.

  • It's not as curved as the note 20 ultra

  • 99.9% of people put cases on their phones

    • Definitely not 99.9%, but it's high!

    • @Clinton McCool I've never used a case...

    • I've never seen a single person who doesn't have a case on their phone. ever.

  • Another stupid review of the S21 ultra overwhelm by Samsung marketing hype. The phone has to compared to the latest of last year, that's the Note 20 Ultra, which blows it away with better tech and a current real world price of about $1000 today. Price comparison has to be made on today's price not the so often lazyman reviewer price of when it first came out to determine comparative advantage and value for money.

  • I dont get the removal of SD card on the Ultra🤔 don't they know a shit ton of samsung fans love that SD card? Sales will be interesting. I bet they suck after all the fan boys pre-order. Including myself as I already have a tab s7+ with that SD card slot

  • "if you are not going to put a case on your phone"... Very few people go raw dog for good reason. Who cares about the back? Not me.

  • Let's be real, if Caleb wasn't on this channel reviewing TVs, it would've died a long time ago lol

  • 2 years ago Samsung could afford to give you all of these things easily. Then they raise the price 1 year for greed, drop it, cut a bunch of features and people act like Samsung did you a favor. The consumer mind is so short term. None of these reviewers have given it straight

    • That's because they don't want to give up their early access. Real reviews of devices come out after they are released to the public. Anything before public release is butt kissing, in part or in whole. Basically, all of the blue checkmark channels with over 100,000 subscribers. Every one of them released a Samsung S21 review yesterday.

  • The plastic back was a good move. The back does not need to be glass. This is literally the Only review saying pictures are bad (color etc). Wonder if they looked at these on a Calibrated monitor or via the samsung display while color profile was set to vibrant. I am using a very high end display and the pictures look good to me.

    • @Paul Granado clueless iPhone user

    • Terrible phone

    • I have the S20 FE and it is fine. It is too slippery to go without a case anyway. I would have liked some texture. That, is a good phone with an micro SD card slot. I would have replaced my Note 9 with a Note 20 Ultra with 512GB internal storage but that has NEVER been in stock! WTF Samsung? They make Flash, both micro SD and internal Flash. They don't want to sell phones.

  • UMMMM ... I guess you didn't know you can use an "S Pen" on the 21 Ultra!! Cow}:-o)

  • I hate glass backs. Finally lightweight plastic is back.

    • they feel good until you drop em. or squeeze them out your pocket

  • You would have to be a moron not to put a case on your phone. I am very careful with my phone but it does fall sometimes and if it didn't have a case it would be smashed to pieces

  • I prefer the plastic back.

  • No sdcard slot is a MAJOR deal breaker. If this is the trend in the flagship models (S Series or Note), will switch to the mid tiers which still have sdcard option. Too much compromises in the flagship model to the point where the negatives start to outweigh the positives. Higher refresh rate, more power in the chips etc etc fine. But take away the sdcard, you killed it.

  • Is it worth it from note 20 ultra

  • Playing games: temple run.

  • Worst review I've ever seen.

  • Thinking $1000 for a phone is perfectly normal is a good indication of just how insulated the West is from the rest of the world.

  • Note 20 ultra 2 days battery??

  • Where is the dislike button???

    • Are you blind?

  • Who cares about the back, as most of us uses cases and being cheaper its a good thing for us a good move from samsung. the bad move from them was to remove the memory card slot.

  • Dude compare to other reviews I've seen yours is horrible!! 🙄.

  • Time to upgrade from my S9. I got an awesome deal on an S21. The only thing that I miss will be the SD Card. I would prefer glass back but in all reality I have always used a case. I never see the back.

  • Great review, but I think the comparison should be the S21, S21+, S21 Ultra against the Note 20 series of phones because in my mind the S21 series replaces the Note 20 series....just my thoughts...

  • I'm coming from a S10 plus and I'm getting $550 off. I couldn't deny that deal.

    • @Magrad Fares where?

    • Couldn't pass up this promotion, got $800 for my note 10 plus for the s21 ultra and now I owe only $400 over 24 months on my plan, what a deal!!!

    • @Iftikhar Ejaz Yes, I don't know if there are more deals but the s21 is free with trade in with an s9 to s20

    • @Tensiro under contract?

    • @Iftikhar Ejaz at&t is doing free for s9

  • Skip to 10:32 the rest is just a guy listing the specs

  • Frankly the reason I keep upgrading from the previous model year (in this case from my S20 to S21) even if it's just a minor improvement is because Samsung keeps giving insane trade in values for the latest last year's models, with a steep dropoff in value for models 2 years old by comparison. Right now they're giving $800 for an S20 meaning the S21 is $0 with that trade in...but an S10 only gets $550 trade in value. So by always upgrading each year even if the new version is not necessarily a revolution, next year when the S22 comes out I'll be able to get top dollar trade in value again by having the S21 to trade in. This effectively gets me the new phone for free or almost free each year assuming Samsung continues the aggressive trade in values they've been offering the past few years.

    • It is a good deal but some would say the s20 is better than the s21 and I honestly see little reason to upgrade apart that you get a slightly better chip with a bit better battery. That is subjective and as the deal is good then either way if cool. I assume you also get the freebies so if you have not got the Galaxy Buds then that is a gain?

  • 1:41 "If your not gonna put a case on your phone, you're probably not gonna be happy with a plastic back" Reality: But 100% of all cases are plastic...

  • If its their big bet, they better fold. These phones are terrible

  • I was waiting for you to cry.

  • Let be honest, who own a s20 serie that's thinking on upgrade to the s21 serie?? 5% of people??? So why keep comparing those two series?? Please help people with s9, s10 and even s8 still out there, those people need to know how beg are the differences between phones!

    • @andyH_England I paid $700 for the S20U and am getting $800 in in trade in credit, plus $260 in pre-order bonus, plus $60 in Samsung SOFI acct discount. In the US they are not giving away the Buds Pro for free like in other parts of the world.

    • @Me That Guy Depends on what you traded in as they are all worth something. So it is not really costing you $720, you are just passing the loss over to what you traded in? So if you traded in an S20U that cost $1400 you are losing $1400 over a year just to buy the latest S21U. The Galaxy Buds are free so that does not count on what you have traded-in!

    • Lets See Paid 720.00 for the S21 Ultra /w 512gb , Galaxy Watch 3 45mm and Galaxy Buds Pro after trade in credits count me as UNO

    • I agree people who has a phone two or more years old are the ones who are mostly going to or interested in upgrading.

    • I'm paying $10 to trade in my s10 for the s21, a leather case, a 25w travel charger, and a wireless duo charger

  • This Channel is against Samsung wether it is their TV's or smartphones

    • No, Samsung is against Samsung.

    • I just said a lot of nice things about two Samsung phones

    • @Samuel Takata I have 4 Samsung TVs that are great displays, but I would not use them as televisions. I have FireTVs and ChromeCasts hooked up to them.

    • @logikgr Did you just say that samsung products are "just not that good" ? Lmao probably an iSheep

    • Their parts engineering is top-notch, but their own finished products are just meh. They're just not that good.

  • Not here to see the phone.

  • As a Samsung fanboy I’m so disappointed in this yrs line up

  • Awesome review of the Galaxy S21 series. You put things into perspective quite nicely, thank you. I'm coming from a Pixel 4A which I love! The performance of the camera is nothing less than spectacular and the price is minuscule. But every time I see a wide angle and a zoom set up in another phone, I get a little envious.

  • Would you make the switch from the Pixel 3XL to the S21 plus?

    • I think that's a pretty solid upgrade. But it depends if you really are drawn to the Google take on Android, or if you're willing to switch gears and try Samsung. I'd make the decision based on that ... because the Pixel 5 is great too! (and cheaper)

  • Bring on the Ultra. Even with the useless curved screens.

    • I hate curved screens too, but apparently they've reduced the curve for the ultra quite a bit to the point where it's not that bad. at least that's according to other reviewers.

    • Curved screens are as useless as glass backs

  • Would you upgrade from a Pixel 3XL to the S21 plus?

  • Samsung s21 ultra 4k vedeo faillg all

  • You guys are fkn boring. I am andrew marnik with digital trends. Closing the video

  • why do reviewers keep telling me that i won't notice the downgraded display from 1440p to 1080p , when i do notice it when I switch from 1440p to 1080p on my S20 normal .!?

    • Because reviewers aren’t essentially “paid for” but just as an example, digital trends just last week gets invited to Samsung’s CES 2021 event, so they can talk about all of Samsung’s new products before everyone else does. It’s a mutual “gentleman’s” agreement. They let them into their event before everyone else, which brings a lot of traffic to their AR-one channels, which in turn brings DT money. The agreement is that their “reviews” are more or less just an advertisement of their product with extra strings. They can still be subjective, but they can’t say too much “bad” things about the device, or next year, Samsung won’t invite them to their 2022 CES event. This happens all the time with AR-one. Activision does it with COD AR-oners (just look at “mrroflwaffles”, spoke up against Activision and they ruined his AR-one channel), and companies like Samsung do this as well. AR-one is really just a cesspool for paid for “ads” but they don’t really tell you who’s actually sponsoring the video. Often at times, when companies like Samsung right now, are getting blasted for the things they didn’t include (lower resolution screen, plastic back instead of glass/metal, no removable storage or charger), these reviewers are often “damage controlling”, when they need to be more strict on these companies.

  • I can trade in my s20 for the s21 free of cost. But with $150 credit accessories with samsung. That alone might be worth the switch

  • You must be California folks with the over processed too colorful crap. Where I am the picture look as vibrant as the environment. California is dreary though. Sky grey till the pollution burns off by the sun.

    • @Andrew Martonik People serious California head gassing on blue skies. Grey or white till damn near noon when the sun does come out. Then by 3:00 the temperature starts dropping. Can't leave home without a sweater or jacket. The good weather a total lie. Only if you compare it to Michigan's, Vermont or Alaska.

    • @Andrew Martonik Lived in California 20 years it's a blue sky lie.

    • I live in New York. (I also love California ... specifically for the sun and blue skies! Not sure what you're talking about there.)

  • The hardware design is great. And, the software phenomenal. The biggest problem is functionality. What do I do with my 8K videos? Cause they will eat up storage faster than you can say storage. This phone is dependent on what you are trying to do. That should govern your decision.

  • I continue to be frustrated by the fact that I cannot get the best specs and best camera simply because I cannot handle a super giant phone that I can't use because I have small hands and small pockets. So while I want the camera and display of the Ultra and would gladly pay for it, I ordered the base S21 because it's the only size that will work for me ☹️. However I always use a case so I don't care about the plastic back, and in fact prefer it for weight and durability.

  • Samsuns new $300 phone can be yours, for just $800.

  • Samsung did right with pricing. If you're on TMobile, you can just exchange S9 with S21 for free (24month lock down but if you are still with TMo, it's basically free + tax). I'm blown away just by that. If they continue to do this 2 years later perhaps exchanging S21 for S23 for free, why the heck not.

    • Facts. Gonna trade my g8 for the s21 n half off. I noticed that they base the trade in value as the same across a series. Which is why I'm getting the base 128 gb s21 n transfer data to my pc to free up space.

  • I knew it lol wtf are they thinking lol well I guess they are thinking these aren't there flagship anymore we shall see half way throufh this year I wouldn't buy these guys I would wait lol

  • Samsung should be ashamed of themselves ripping off customers with these useless offerings. No MST on Samsung Pay, No sdcard support on no S21 models, No charger, No headphones, poor 1080p displays on the S21 and S21Plus, poor unboxing experience (NOSALE) I look forward to extremely poor sales on S21 models which Samsung deserves this isn't 2015 when they did the same sdcard bullshit to the Note5 and S6EdgePlus. Poor sales means they won't fuck with the Note21Ultra or Fold3 come September.

  • I'll stick with my s20 ultra. I can expand memory

  • Amazing breakdown!

  • No 1440p on regular S21? Y I K E S

  • another way keep the last year model & piss on this cheap plastic made & cut cost in corners here & there...well i bought NOTE 20 ULTRA 512GB for around $1500 not long ago got released & never gonna trade in to this B.S model & plastic made & less feathers ...

  • 200 USD less than last year and still 500 USD more than when the galaxy line started.

    • @Maxwell Benz I disagree. margins are not going up. in fact margins are going down because consumers are demanding more for the same or less as technology improves. these advancements don't come for free.

    • @Frank Reynolds yeah, you guys don't look at that at all. Consumers never look at a company financials these companies just got more profitable. Take a look at the stock market didn't just go up because companies were making less money. Consumers keep accepting paying more for Less margins are going up.

    • Because manufacturing price increased too.

    • That hasn't happened in a vacuum, though. The Galaxy S line has expanded, and the entire industry has increased in price across the board.

  • I have a feeling I need to stock some Galaxy Note9 512 Gt. It has 3.5mm headphone jack, 512 Gt mem + SD slot. The two things I need. Memoory is needed to store my CDs in lossless and headphone jack all my headphones. Wired headphones wont require charging. Otherwise S21 ultra 5g etc would be for me.

  • I am interested in the S21 plus . Would it be a worthy upgrade from my S9 ?

    • @KickDrumKid23 at&t. You have to upgrade your line while also pre-ordering the s21. If you want a better phone, you just have to pay the difference

    • @Britty Kitty Where is that deal?

    • I traded 2 phones S9 and S10 for 2 S21 it was great deal they paid me $350 $550 with $160 credit each bought my family wireless chargers, buds pro and cases and all these accessories also on discount when you buy them with the credit

    • No

    • I think it's a really good upgrade from the S9. But unless you have an S9+, you should check out the smaller S21.

  • Samsung trying to be apple. No thanks. If I wanted an iPhone clone, I'd buy an iPhone.

    • Apple phones have a touch screen and camera, samsung phones also have a touch screen and camera. Coincidence? I think not...

    • in what ways?

  • It would be great if they weren't so tall.

  • Whose idea was to make a phone completely out of glass , plastic all the way. Way less cracking

  • Good job