Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review: a master of seduction

Introduction

The Galaxy S21 Ultra inaugurates the year 2021 of the giant Samsung and it wants to strike hard. Admittedly, he does not offer an absurd formula to surprise his audience, but he knows how to strike where it is and where it is needed to reach its audience. Here is our full test of this premium smartphone.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra test

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra seen from the back // Source: Arnaud Gelineau – Frandroid

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra has landed in our hands. Smartphone highly anticipated in 2021, it does not bring any big surprises, however, as almost all of its characteristics were known before its formalization.

It is none the less interesting and, as of this writing, the fruit of Samsung’s finest craftsmanship. The South Korean giant has indeed refined what it had learned to do on the previous generation. Did he apply himself well or did he rest too much on his laurels? We tested the Galaxy S21 Ultra to provide answers.

This test was performed with a model provided by Samsung.

Our video test of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

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Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra datasheet

Model Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
OS version Android 11
Manufacturer interface One UI
Screen size 6.8 inch
Definition 3200 x 1440 pixels
Pixel density 515 dpi
Technology Super AMOLED
SoC Exynos 2100
Graphics Chip (GPU) Mali-G78 MP14
Random access memory (RAM) 12 GB, 16 GB
Internal memory (flash) 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB
Camera (back) Sensor 1: 108 Mpx
Sensor 2: 12 Mpx
Sensor 3: 10 Mpx
Sensor 4: 10 Mpx
Camera (front) 40 Mpx
Video recording 8K @ 30 fps
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi 6E
Bluetooth 5.1
Supported bands 2100 MHz (B1), 800 MHz (B20), 1800 MHz (B3), 2600 MHz (B7), 700 MHz (B28)
NFC Yes
Fingerprint sensor Under the screen
Ports (inputs / outputs) USB Type-C
Battery 5000 mAh
Dimensions 75.6 x 165.1 x 8.9mm
Weight 228 grams
Colors Black, Silver
Price 1259 €
Product sheet
See the test

Imposing its originality

Samsung was keen to offer a neat and sophisticated aesthetic with a smartphone that stands out from others by its rear camera module. On the one hand, this one is made of aluminum, which changes a little from the blocks traditionally covered with glass on previous generations.

On the other hand, and this is the most striking: the module in question rolls up on its left to embrace the curves of the Galaxy S21 Ultra at the edges.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra dos couché

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra has an original design // Source: Arnaud Gelineau – Frandroid

This way, it appears to be cast in the same metal as the chassis as if it were one piece by design. Upon closer inspection, however, we realize that a thin line delimits the frame of the photo block. This aesthetic bias is not wildly revolutionary, but it is already setting the tone: this Galaxy S21 Ultra wants to mark its difference with some subtleties of this kind. On this specific point, the initiative is a success and contributes to the originality of the smartphone.

Nevertheless, it remains impossible to mention this photo module without mentioning its imposing size. This was already a striking feature on the S20 Ultra , it is even more reinforced on the Galaxy S21 Ultra. This vertical, protruding rectangle may curl up on its side, but it does not manage to hide. Correction: he does not seek to hide, quite the contrary.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra camera bump

The photo module of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra protrudes in relief // Source: Arnaud Gelineau – Frandroid

Samsung has decided to go free and fully assume this integration. To take great photos, the smartphone comes with a large photo module – with very large lenses, a very large ToF sensor and a slightly smaller LED flash – whether you like it or not!

Well, we can easily imagine that the builder hopes you like it, that it triggers a glimmer of desire in your peers and that you fall in swoon over this design. However, many people could be rather repelled by this lack of discretion. Personally, I’m pretty enamored, but I’ve never been a very subtle person.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra prise en main

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra in hand // Source: Arnaud Gelineau – Frandroid

Be careful though: the Galaxy S21 Ultra seems to have been designed by pure right-handed people. Where does this intuition come from? Holding the smartphone in your left hand, you are quickly hampered by the protrusion of the photo module when you try to change the volume by pressing with the index finger on the physical buttons on the edge, under the unlocking key (the finger passes Above).

It’s a small detail, but it can be annoying in the long run. In addition, the smartphone is inevitably wobbly when lying on a table.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra dos

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra has a matt glass back, here in its black version // Source: Arnaud Gelineau – Frandroid

Another important detail on this Galaxy S21 Ultra: the matt glass back. Samsung’s S line in turn tastes this preferential treatment – the S20 FE were entitled to a polished plastic back as a reminder. Like the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra , it’s a pretty hit. This satin feel is particularly pleasant on the fingers while it also avoids catching fingerprints, without completely escaping them. The deep and intense black version that we received for this test is particularly “wow”.

Here we have mentioned the main elements to remember from the design of the Galaxy S21 Ultra. However, for the moment we have been content to talk only about the back side. You will understand that the front of the smartphone is much more classic. The screen slightly curved at the edges takes up a lot of the surface and is pierced in the middle of the forehead by a discreet punch.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra face avant

The front of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra // Source: Arnaud Gelineau – Frandroid

The fingerprint reader is hidden in the panel and has been enlarged by 65% ​​to be easier to use. The Galaxy S21 Ultra takes advantage of a USB-C port and a dual nano SIM drawer, but no jack or space for a microSD. In addition, it is IP68 certified and therefore resistant to water and dust and it protects with Gorilla Glass 7 on the front and back.

And what about dimensions? With measurements of 75.6 x 165.1 x 8.9mm, the Galaxy S21 Ultra is not at all for small hands and completely embraces the trend of devices that, for the most part, get bigger and bigger.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra paysage

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra held horizontally // Source: Arnaud Gelineau – Frandroid

In my case, I found that the grip was still very comfortable thanks to the good rounded finishes that do not “slice” the palm. Moreover, despite a weight of 228 grams, it does not feel very much. Let’s hear it: the S21 Ultra is heavy, there’s no denying it. However, this is really well made up for by the quality of the design offered by Samsung.

A sublime screen

Our best smartphone screen ever “. This is roughly how Samsung described the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s panel, and happy again! This smartphone is the crème de la crème of the South Korean colossus. So we expect nothing less than a superb display experience. And the manufacturer has put the small dishes in the big ones with a diagonal of 6.8 inches enjoying an AMOLED display with infinite contrast and always so delicious and a refresh rate of 120 Hz in adaptive.

Thus, as on the Note 20 Ultra, the screen of the Galaxy S21 Ultra may switch from 10 to 120 Hz automatically depending on the content displayed. The idea is to preserve the device’s battery a little more efficiently. The feeling of fluidity, always so pleasant for the eyes is there and we love it. That’s not all: there are a plethora of other qualities that deserve to be highlighted as well.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra utilisation

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra has a very nice screen // Source: Arnaud Gelineau – Frandroid

The brightness first. Under the tropical sunlights, love is told in music (-ique) – thank you Gilbert – and the Galaxy S21 Ultra offers exemplary readability with a panel that can grow up to 831 cd / m² according to our probe and CalMan software from Portrait Displays . This is more than enough so you never have to squint. Moreover, if you use your smartphone in a dark environment, you will not be dazzled either, since it also knows how to go down to a minimum threshold of 1.6 cd / m².

The variety of colors that the Galaxy S21 Ultra can display is also a source of satisfaction. 201% of sRGB space is covered, compared to 135% for the more complex DCI-P3. This is in any case valid on the default setting: vivid mode. For your series and films, but also to admire your photos with stars in the eyes, this plurality of tones is very appreciable.

Mesure écran Galaxy S21 Ultra mode vif

Set to vivid mode, the screen of the Galaxy S21 Ultra is not very true to reality, especially on skin colors and varieties of red and orange // Source: Frandroid

In return, and as often, this famous vivid mode distorts the colors to make them more beautiful. We then end up with an average Delta E of 6.02% on the DCI-P3, whereas we are rather aiming to get closer to 3 for good fidelity. We also measure an average temperature of 7050 K, which is a little too blue compared to the ideal located at 6500 K.

The other option, natural mode, corrects the shot with an average Delta E on the DCI-P3 at 4.96 and a temperature at 6600 K. But this setting offers a narrower range of colors with coverage at 108% and 72% respectively for sRGB and DCI-P3.

Mesure écran Galaxy S21 Ultra mode naturel

With natural mode, we get better color fidelity on the Galaxy S21 Ultra screen, but the palette is narrower // Source: Frandroid

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The ideal according to Frandroid is therefore to keep vivid mode activated on the Galaxy S21 Ultra, but to take the time to adjust the colorimetric gauge to incorporate a little more red. The balance thus found is a feast for the eyes.

One UI at the top with Android 11

Android 11 and the One UI 3 interface that we have already taken in hand can be found here. More specifically, the Galaxy S21 Ultra tastes version 3.1 of this software experience signed by Samsung. This allows him in particular to take advantage of some photo and video functions which we will detail in the dedicated part.

We are also happy to see the integration of the Google Discover news feed on the far left of the home screen. This is something that can be found on a very large number of Android smartphones, but it was until then shunned by Samsung. Another good point: using two apps simultaneously on a split screen is easier. After selecting the option from the multitasking view, it only takes a swipe of your finger to use it. You can then save pairs of apps to open them at the same time faster.

Beyond that, there is therefore a One UI experience that we have always acclaimed and that we will continue to do on this smartphone. The intuitive nature of the navigation (with keys or by gestures) the neat design, the well-crafted dark mode or the lowering of the vast majority of the interaction elements to facilitate use with one hand are all qualities that deserve to be greeted.

It is, however, a pity to observe that the collaboration with Google has not been extended to all levels. Thus, by keeping the start button pressed, unlike other devices running Android 11, the Galaxy S21 Ultra does not offer the new power menu delivering a shortcut to Google Pay and a control screen displaying all the connected home automation devices. to the smartphone. Samsung undoubtedly wanted to focus on its homemade solutions, namely: Samsung Pay and the SmartThings panel accessible from a large button in the quick settings.

On a more positive note, the under-screen fingerprint reader is finally proving responsive and does not suffer from any particular malfunction. Yet this was something that we frequently noticed on the brand’s previous smartphones which also integrated this ultrasonic sensor under the screen. We love, we love a lot. One less source of frustration for people like me! I would point out, however, that other users have indicated to me that they’ve never really had a problem, some fingerprints may be easier to read than others.

I struggled very often with in-screen fingerprint scanners on Samsung smartphones.

On the S21 Ultra, it has been well corrected 🙂 No problem to report since I started using it. pic.twitter.com/DnHyEhe8oP

– 😎mar Belkaab (@OmarBelkaab) January 22, 2021

Finally, the possibility of using the S Pen is obviously to be considered. This is important news on this Galaxy S21 Ultra – the first non-Note smartphone to feature it – and at the same time there isn’t a thousand things to say about it either. The accessory benefits from a latency time of 9 milliseconds here as on the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and this is a very good asset for improving the comfort of writing and drawing. For those who appreciate this little extra, this novelty is therefore inevitably welcome.

Stylet S Pen sur Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

The S Pen stylus works on the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra // Source: Frandroid

However, in the absence of the Bluetooth functions allowing the use of Air Gestures to interact with the smartphone remotely. However, you can use the button on the stylus to display the context menu. The Galaxy S21 Ultra does not offer any storage for the S Pen. S Pen, which you will have to purchase separately, either on one of your compatible Samsung devices (tablets or Galaxy Note), or through a single purchase or with a dedicated shell. In conclusion, it is not this detail that will really change the game on the appreciation of the smartphone.

There was no real doubt: the Galaxy S21 Ultra obviously benefits from HD quality on SvoD services thanks in particular to the integration of Widevine L1 DRM .

Two powerful loudspeakers

With its stereo speakers, the Galaxy S21 Ultra manages to provide good audio power and high-end sound spatialization. Beware of the potential impression of imbalance caused by the upper speaker less powerful than its counterpart. Overall, this is clearly not disturbing and you really have to look for the little beast to fully realize it.

Minimal saturation can also occur when you turn the volume up all the way, never in such a way as to spoil the pleasure of listening to your favorite song. If you are used to using headphones, don’t hesitate to activate Dolby Atmos mode in the Quality and sound effects menu. In this way, you will enjoy music that encompasses more, richer and deeper you.

In the same menu, you will also have access to an equalizer which is always as practical and precise as well as to the Adapt Sound option which automatically adjusts the listening settings according to your age group. As usual, you can always customize this setup yourself, but it’s still settings for die-hard audiophiles.

Zoom x10 my love, zoom x100 my toy

Samsung largely takes over the photo configuration inducted into the Galaxy S of 2020. On the S21 Ultra, we can still see the presence of two sensors dedicated to zoom.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra module photo

The imposing photo module of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra // Source: Arnaud Gelineau – Frandroid

See instead:

  • a main sensor of 108 megapixels (f / 1.8), equivalent 24 mm;
  • 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle (f / 2.2), 120 degrees, 13mm equivalent;
  • 10 megapixel x3 telephoto lens (f / 2.4) 72mm equivalent;
  • 10-megapixel x10 telephoto lens (f / 4.9) equivalent to 240mm;
  • ToF sensor with laser autofocus.

On classic daytime shots, Samsung is doing Samsung. Indeed, the photo quality is excellent in terms of sharpness and dynamic management while the colorimetry still bears the signature of the South Korean giant. Namely: this tendency to saturate tones to make them more beautiful to the eye, but less faithful to reality. It’s still going strong on Instagram.

When night comes, Galaxy S21 Ultra sometimes allows itself some freedom with colorimetry – the city lights are transcribed in a very yellow way – but the atmosphere of the scene is always well respected. A photo taken at 10 p.m. will not look like a photo taken at 6 p.m. for example. In addition, the level of detail, although less extensive than in the daytime shots, is maintained at a completely satisfactory level.

It will also be recalled that Samsung smartphones activate a scene “optimizer” by default. This option acts as a backup night mode when the algorithm deems it necessary. However, the night mode of the Galaxy S21 Ultra is really effective to better illuminate a particularly dark image. If you have time, I advise you to force the activation of the night mode which will avoid certain anomalies on the image more effectively than the simple optimizer.

First take a look at the comparison below between two photos of the same night scene: one with forced night mode, the other with regular shooting and with the optimizer turned off. The difference is striking.

Now let’s compare the same photo with night mode and the image captured with the optimizer turned on. The difference is smaller, but on the second shot, some artifacts, a sort of misinterpreted halo, creep into the lower left corner and also a little bit on the right side, thus affecting the rendering. Forcing night mode is better.

Note also that the night mode in question is available on ultra-wide-angle, wide-angle and x3 and x10 zoom shots. On higher magnifications, the function is no longer accessible.

As last year, there is an option to take 108 megapixel photos which weigh heavily on the storage space, but which offer more detailed and clear images when the right light conditions are there. you. While a gimmick in a lot of situations, this feature can be quite handy in some cases where the user would like to be able to crop as they see fit in the image without worrying about getting a very degraded shot.

Exactly, below, you can compare how the 108 megapixel mode preserves certain details more effectively.

On the ultra wide-angle, there is not much to report as it behaves very normally. The distortion at the edges can be felt in a few shots, but we especially remember that the level of detail remains quite good even at the periphery of the image (but not always). At night, digital noise is felt, but the result remains correct as long as you have a few light sources in the scene. Under these conditions, however, the edges of the image are clearly less well groomed.

We come to the zooms. Unsurprisingly, the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s x3 optical zoom is very good, but its prowess is eclipsed by those of the really convincing x10 zoom. The fact that it is optical really affects the gain in quality and sharpness. Note, however, that my remarks apply to the pictures taken during the day. In low light, it’s immediately more difficult to get something that is either bright enough or crisp.

Zoom x3 with the Galaxy S21 Ultra

10x zoom with the Galaxy S21 Ultra

The more ambitious will even venture on the digital x30 zoom which remains quite good in a very large number of well exposed situations. We immediately notice a glaring and perfectly logical difference in quality with the optical x10, but it remains exploitable all the same.

Finally, the daring will even look for the digital x100 which marks its return on the Galaxy S21 Ultra. This option is very fun to use to test its usefulness and effectiveness. To be completely honest, I still find it technically and technologically impressive as always, but it will take persistence and a bit of luck to succeed in achieving a truly clean image. It really is a geeky toy (and I love it) which, due to its obvious limitations, will rarely find use.

Note, however, that with the Zoom Lock introduced by Samsung, the smartphone helps you better freeze the image you want to capture. Just stay still (as best you can) for a few seconds or press the skylight which allows you to better point your sights. Said skylight will be colored to let you know that the smartphone has frozen an image and that you just have to trigger the photo to immortalize it with as little blur as possible.

To show just how impressive the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s zoom capabilities are, I’ve put six photos for you in the gallery below that I invite you to check out in order. They range from ultra wide-angle (x 0.6) to x100 magnification, including x1, x3, x10 and x30. Notice how the fireplace in the last picture is only a small detail on the first.

A quick word on portrait mode, which is very effective in delineating the subject of your photo from the blurred background. However, the skin tone of the person in the image is not always well transcribed and depending on the light conditions, the skin may appear paler in the photo than in reality.

On the video side, the possibility of filming in 8K is still there thanks to the 108 megapixel sensor. Remember that this is above all a way of making the smartphone ready for the future – I tried to avoid the formula future proof . 8K is set to become more democratic in the years to come, but today it remains confined to niche mobile uses.

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Right now, I would recommend that you prefer the always efficient 4K 60 fps mode instead. Note that this option is now available on all Galaxy S21 Ultra sensors.

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Still on the video, we discover some new features such as the compatibility of the super stabilized mode with recordings at 60 fps in Full HD. This option makes it possible to attenuate sudden movements of the camera for a slightly smoother effect. The picture quality is however a little worse than on a classic recording.

Notez que le mode super stabilisé est plus efficace sur les mouvements lents, mais nous avons souhaité l’éprouver sur un plan où mon sujet — Arnaud — et moi-même étions en train de trottiner.

Lien YouTube S’abonner à Frandroid

Samsung met aussi en avant le mode réalisateur qui permet de filmer avec le smartphone tout en prévisualisant ce que voient les autres capteurs. Ainsi vous pourrez savoir à l’avance si cela vaut le coup de changer d’objectif et de mieux préparer le cadrage. C’est pratique, mais le fait d’appeler ça « mode réalisateur » était peut-être un peu exagéré.

Autre fonction intéressante, mais qui concerne la photo : Samsung imite Huawei et permet à son tour d’effacer une personne d’une photo si vous estimez qu’elle gâche votre image. L’option en question est cachée dans un menu « Labs » pour bien faire comprendre qu’elle est encore expérimentale. Je peux confirmer. Supprimer un passant est simple comme tout, mais le rendu est sujet à quelques erreurs d’interprétation et le smartphone peut combler la zone libérée par un flou pas tout à fait artistique.

De l’autre côté du smartphone, on a un capteur frontal de 40 mégapixels qui produit de bons selfies détaillés. La nuit, il est tout de même un petit peu plus compliqué d’obtenir une image bien nette, mais rien de bien méchant.

Enfin, voici un petit exemple de ce que donne une vidéo selfie enregistrée en 4K 60 fps sur le Galaxy S21 Ultra.

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Petit bonus : vous pouvez activer une option pour enregistrer des copies au format RAW 12 bits des photos que vous prenez avec le mode Pro.

De grosses performances, mais des instabilités sur Fortnite

L’Exynos 2100. Un nouveau SoC et de belles promesses . « Exynos is back », affirmait d’ailleurs Samsung pour présenter sa puce. Nous la trouvons ici associée à 12 Go de RAM — 16 Go sur la déclinaison la plus premium. Évacuons les évidences dès maintenant : les tâches du quotidien s’exécutent fluidement et rapidement. La question ne se posait même pas sur du haut de gamme. Plus intéressant : il y a une vraie progression par rapport à la génération précédente en ce qui concerne les performances brutes comme en témoignent les  benchmarks ci-dessous. L’Exynos 2100 domine sans pitié l’Exynos 990 de 2020 qui était un peu en deçà des attentes à ce niveau-là. Les ingénieurs de la marque ont fait de gros efforts pour rectifier le tir.

Toutefois, j’ai quelques doutes quant à la capacité de l’Exynos 2100 à tenir la dragée haute au Snapdragon 888 de Qualcomm . En effet, la nouvelle puce de Samsung est un petit peu meilleure que le Snapdragon 865+ de l’année dernière, mais la différence n’est pas incroyable. Il nous faudra tester un smartphone équipé du SD888 pour savoir si les deux SoC font jeu égal ou non.

Modèle Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max Asus Zenfone 7 Pro Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
AnTuTu 8 630500 653687 629173 530920
AnTuTu CPU 165456 177519 183666 N/C
AnTuTu GPU 265244 267037 242192 N/C
AnTuTu MEM 119987 117275 107333 N/C
AnTuTu UX 79813 91856 95982 N/C
PC Mark 2.0 15282 N/C 15082 11149
3DMark Slingshot Extreme 7660 5248 7457 6792
3DMark Slingshot Extreme Graphics 10053 6348 8938 8460
3DMark Slingshot Extreme Physics 4179 3267 4719 4018
3DMark Wild Life 5565 6667 N/C N/C
3DMark Wild Life framerate moyen 33 FPS 39 FPS N/C N/C
GFXBench Aztec Vulkan/Metal high (onscreen / offscreen) 36 / 27 FPS 59 / 90 FPS 32 / 22 FPS 26 / 20 FPS
GFXBench Car Chase (onscreen / offscreen) 51 / 60 FPS 45 / 71 FPS 46 / 55 FPS 45 / 52 FPS
GFXBench Manhattan 3.0 (onscreen / offscreen) 116 / 152 FPS 60 / 177 FPS 89 / 128 FPS 103 / 125 FPS
Lecture / écriture séquentielle 1988 / 1307 Mo/s N/C 1729 / 771 Mo/s 1408 / 665 Mo/s
Lecture / écriture aléatoire 80528 / 74811 IOPS N/C 62338 / 61672 IOPS 45700 / 49300 IOPS

Sinon, le Galaxy S21 Ultra se montre irréprochable sur un jeu comme Call of Duty Mobile ou Arena of Valor où vous profiterez des meilleures configurations sans heurt. Ce n’est toutefois pas aussi bien sur Fortnite . Le mode Épique est disponible en 60 fps, mais il se montre fichtrement instable. Les chutes à moins de 40 fps — et même à moins de 40 fps de temps à autre — surviennent trop fréquemment lors d’un mouvement abrupt de caméra ou sur des scènes très animées.

Fortnite en qualité Épique et en 60 fps sur le Galaxy S21 Ultra

En mode Épique à 60 fps sur Fortnite, le Galaxy S21 Ultra n’est pas très stable. Le compteur en haut gauche tombe régulièrement sous les 40 fps, voire sous les 30 parfois. // Source : Frandroid

Jouez en Épique à 30 fps est bien plus confortable. Les 90 images par seconde sont même proposées dans les options du jeu sur ce smartphone avec des graphismes plafonnés à « Moyen ». Samsung et Epic Games devront cependant optimiser ce mode, car c’est vraiment les montagnes russes en termes de  framerate . Notez d’ailleurs qu’au lancement de Fortnite sur le Galaxy S21 Ultra, un message prévient que l’appareil n’est pas encore officiellement compatible. Nos petits soucis viennent peut-être de là.

Attention, quand on le pousse vraiment à bout, le téléphone peut chauffer de manière conséquente.

Du haut de gamme Samsung à nouveau autonome ?

Depuis combien de temps Samsung n’avait-il pas réussi à proposer un smartphone haut de gamme doté d’une autonomie vraiment solide ? L’année dernière, le géant sud-coréen s’était carrément montré décevant sur ce point. Et voilà que débarque le Galaxy S21 Ultra. Malgré sa batterie de 5000 mAh, nous avions vraiment quelques appréhensions sur son endurance. Or, l’Exynos 2100 semble faire du bien, tel un baume apaisant.

En effet, le Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra résiste très très bien aux affres du temps passé loin d’une prise. Le SoC gravé en 5 nanomètres apporte véritablement une meilleure efficacité énergétique et ça fait un bien fou. En outre, je ne dis pas ça en ayant forcé le mode 60 Hz d’ailleurs. J’ai bien utilisé l’appareil avec les 120 Hz adaptatifs et tout porte à croire que cette option est devenue plus intelligente et surtout plus réactive que par le passé pour préserver la batterie. Le smartphone a su ici trouver un bel équilibre pour satisfaire les utilisateurs sur ce point crucial.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra USB

Le port USB-C du Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra // Source : Arnaud Gelineau – Frandroid

Même sur les journées qui s’éternisent, le téléphone lutte vaillamment pour ne pas lâcher rapidement ses précieux pourcentages de batterie. À titre d’exemple, sur notre protocole de test personnalisé ViSer — qui simule une utilisation active en alternant pléthore d’application en tous genres –, le Galaxy S21 Ultra a résisté pendant 16 heures et 20 minutes. Ce qui le catapulte parmi les meilleurs résultats en la matière. De là vient notre théorie : l’écran est plus habile pour jongler rapidement entre les différents taux de rafraîchissement et réussi très probablement à vite descendre à 11 Hz sur les nombreuses interfaces assez fixes jalonnant notre test en laboratoire.

Nous ne saurons toutefois nous contenter de cela. Le Galaxy S21 Ultra doit aussi passer l’épreuve du réel, du concret ; en d’autres termes, de l’utilisation au quotidien par un véritable être humain que j’interpréterai exceptionnellement malgré ma nature reptilienne. Les conclusions sont alors un tantinet moins élogieuses, mais on retient tout de même qu’il y a eu de gros progrès. Le meilleur exemple reste, je pense, ma toute première journée avec ce téléphone.

À 100 % de batterie, je débranche le Galaxy S21 Ultra réglé sur le mode 120 Hz vers le début d’après-midi et j’entame alors le transfert de mes applications et données grâce à Smart Switch . Cette opération est plutôt énergivore : on parle en effet de télécharger et installer pléthore d’apps (j’en ai un peu moins de 200 qui ne sont pas natives) ainsi que les données qui vont avec. J’enchaîne rapidement avec l’installation du gourmand Fortnite et une partie de 30 minutes en qualité Épique à 60 fps. Voilà des tâches bien énergivores, mais ça ne s’arrête pas là. Tout enthousiaste que je suis, je sors prendre une série de photos, je lance YouTube Music en arrière-plan pendant plusieurs heures pour profiter de mes morceaux dans mon casque connecté en Bluetooth , je regarde un Let’s Play de plus d’une heure sur YouTube, j’utilise activement Twitter, Messenger et WhatsApp et je conclue ma journée avec un appel long de 36 minutes et de la bonne procrastination sur TikTok — app qui consomme beaucoup — pendant plus d’une heure.

Consommation de batterie sur le Galaxy S21 Ultra

En une demi-journée particulièrement intensive, le Galaxy S21 Ultra est passé de 100 à 10 % en 9 heures avec 6 heures d’écran allumé. // Source : Frandroid

Ainsi, en 9 heures, je suis descendu à 10 % de batterie avec un total de 6 heures d’écran allumé. Au vu de mon utilisation intensive, ce constat est plutôt satisfaisant. Sur les jours suivants, plus classiques, mais bien actifs, j’enregistrais des utilisations de 12 à 14 heures par jour avec un temps d’écran variant de 6 à 8 heures en fonction des utilisations. Ce sont surtout les enregistrements de vidéos 4K et 8K et les longues sessions de jeux gourmands qui éprouvent rudement la batterie. Les autres activités sont plutôt bien gérées.

La boîte du Galaxy S21 Ultra ne renferme pas de chargeur , Samsung mettant en avant des motivations écoresponsables comme Apple peu avant lui. Le téléphone est toutefois compatible avec la recharge rapide jusqu’à 25 W en filaire. J’ai donc utilisé le chargeur du Galaxy Note 20 Ultra et j’ai pu constater que le terminal nécessitait 30 minutes pour passer de 10 à 65 % de batterie. Il lui faut ensuite encore un tout petit peu plus d’une demi-heure pour retrouver sa pleine vitalité.

Évidemment, les charges sans fil et sans fil inversée sont également de la partie.

Réseau et communication du Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Encore heureux pour un appareil à plus de 1000 euros, le Galaxy S21 Ultra se montre impeccable pour téléphoner. Aucun de mes interlocuteurs n’a signalé de souci au niveau de l’intelligibilité de mes propos lors de mes communications. Au contraire, on m’a indiqué que ma voix parvenait de manière claire et sans compression. Par ailleurs, les bruits de ville autour de moi ne sont jamais venus ruiner les tympans des personnes à l’autre bout du fil, à l’exception peut-être d’une ou deux sirènes d’ambulance. Hormis ces sons ponctuels et difficiles à atténuer, le fleuron de Samsung s’en sort brillamment dans cet exercice.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra appel

Un appel passé avec le Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra // Source : Arnaud Gelineau – Frandroid

Le Galaxy S21 Ultra est compatible avec la 5G standalone (SA) et non standalone (NSA). Vous pourrez ainsi profiter d’une « vraie » 5G sur la bande de fréquence n78 à 3,5 GHz ainsi que d’un réseau qui réexploite les fréquences de la 4G LTE (2100, 1800, 2600, 800 et 700 MHz) en France. Contraint par des soucis logistiques liés au couvre-feu et à une ville de Paris qui ne profite pas encore d’un déploiement commercial dudit réseau de nouvelle génération.

Sur la 4G d’Orange cependant, je n’ai rencontré aucune anicroche en région parisienne. Même son de cloche pour la géolocalisation, le point bleu de Google Maps m’a toujours situé avec précision et réactivité — un peu moins quand j’étais dans le métro — pendant mes déplacements. Notez aussi une compatibilité avec le Wi-Fi 6E, le Bluetooth 5.2 et la technologie ultra wideband (UWB).

Prix et disponibilité du Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Le Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra est commercialisé en France à partir du 29 janvier 2021. Comptez un prix conseillé qui commence à 1259 euros pour le modèle avec 128 Go de stockage. On monte ensuite à 1309 euros pour la déclinaison de 256 Go et jusqu’à 1439 euros pour celle de 512 Go (et 16 Go de RAM). Pour les coloris, les deux finitions sont mates, mais il faudra choisir entre le noir (comme notre exemplaire) et l’argent. Le site officiel de Samsung propose trois autres couleurs en exclusivité : gris sidéral, bleu marine et marron.

Sachez aussi que jusqu’à la veille de la commercialisation, Samsung propose une offre de précommande grâce à laquelle vous recevrez un Galaxy SmartTag et des Galaxy Buds Pro en plus de votre smartphone.

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