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REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy S21 Is Like A Swiss Army Knife, But Is It Enough?

Consumer Electronic retailers and communication carriers who are ranging the new Samsung Galaxy S21 smartphone in Australia, are hoping that the latest Samsung premium smartphone offering which has  a new processor and completely new camera rig will be a better seller than its predecessor the Samsung Galaxy S20.

Right round the world smartphone sales have fallen during the past year, as the price of premium models rise which is why Samsung has cut the price of the new S21 to be cheaper than the prior model.

Samsung’s shipments from the first quarter of 2019 to the third quarter of 2020 signalled a recovery for the company, who were one of the smartphone manufacturers affected most by the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Samsung shipped 80.4 million smartphones in the third quarter of 2020, 26.3 million devices more than in the previous quarter, the Company refuses to say how many units they shipped in Australia.

Samsung sales consistently place the smartphone giant among the top two smartphone vendors in alongside Apple and their latest offering, which was launched in January 2021 after the Company engaged in an extensive leaks campaign in an effort to lure Lunar New Year shoppers in China to the device. Traditionally Samsung used the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona Spain to launch their premium smartphone offering.

So how does the new device stack up?

The big issue today is whether artificial intelligence is making a big difference to smartphones and how much more technology can be packed into a smartphone camera which in the case of the new Samsung S21 Ultra is fast becoming the Swiss Army Knife of smartphones with new video, still and pro editing and shooting capabilities now standard in the $1,849 device.

While it has a pen capability, the actual pen is a separate accessory with the real standout feature being their new camera array, AI a faster processor AMOLED Display screen and 5G when it’s available.

This is a device that must get the people at Nikon and Cannon gnashing their teeth as digital SLR camera sales get pounded from the technology packed into the likes of the S21 Ultra.

Just how much has Samsung improved the camera on the Galaxy S21 Ultra reveals, the big difference between an iPhone which is predominantly third-party components and the work of technology craftsmen at Samsung, who have delivered technology for their new Samsung Galaxy S21 that is not found in any other smartphone.

Today the iPhone is fast becoming a device to suck people into buying apps from the Apple Store or watching expensive Apple content.

While Chinese devices from brands such as Oppo and Realme are predominantly copying what Samsung is doing in the hardware and software space.

This new device is almost essential for bloggers, people who love great images or video or people who want to have a crack at shooting their own video’s similar to a pro production team using a handheld smartphone, however I did suggest that you buy a tripod or a new generation Steadicam to really experience what this device van actually do.

While the device has 108-megapixel main camera, a periscope zooms, and the ability to shoot 8K video it’s the software and AI updates that have been added to the device that makes it a cutting-edge product which coming eight months after the launch of the Galaxy S20.

Did you know that the new S21 Ultra can also be used as a digital car lock or that it has a multi recording capability that allows you to capture both ambient sounds and your own voice at the same time?

Or that that you can shoot using the forward or backward camera at the same time, Samsung call it Vlogger View.

All the cameras on the back of the S21 Ultra are new and the 108MP main camera delivers third generation ISOCELL HM3 capability.

The real unlock key that has allowed Samsung to dramatically improve the capabilities of their Galaxy S21 Ultra is their new Exynos processor, this is the powerhouse that other competing smartphone brands don’t have access to because it is manufactured by Samsung for their own devices.

This drives the performance of several new features found in the S21 such as their new camera array.

The new processor has allowed Samsung to improve image processing and add the variable refresh rate (which runs from 10Hz up to 120Hz) at full resolution.

It also supports Wi-Fi 6E and multiple variations of 5G.

It’s fast and whatever you are doing there is no lag, it also contributes to better battery life.

Camera

The main camera is the third generation of Samsung’s 108MP camera, the ISOCELL HM3, and it sits in the middle of the array. Above it is Apart from the 108MP camera there is a 2MP ultra-wide camera with dual-pixel autofocus and a 1.4-micron pixel size.

The S21 Ultra’s ultrawide sensor size is now the same as the main camera on the S10 and Note 10 Plus.

Also added are two new 10MP zoom cameras — a periscope camera with a 10x optical zoom, and a 3x optical zoom telephoto. Both have dual pixel autofocus, and provide better lowlight zoom performance, due to a larger pixel size, than previous models.

The configuration of the new cameras provides a 3x and a 10x optical zoom capability by using the two different telephoto cameras and dual pixel autofocus technology.

Coupled to the camera hardware is new AI capabilities which is driven by significantly advanced software that takes advantage of the unique Samsung processor.

the camera does more in the same amount of time and a classic example is the new Best Shot, where the camera’s A.I. makes a recommendation on the framing and composition of your shot within seconds the image is in front of you ready to be shared or edited.

It takes less than a few seconds to appear on screen.

Zoom Lock is a new feature which comes into action beyond 20x zoom and is designed to keep the subject of your shot in frame and in focus.
All you need to do is:

1. Go to Camera.
2. Pinch to zoom in over 20x on “Photo” mode.
3. Click the Preview on the screen, or it will be automatically applied if you don’t move for 1.5 seconds.

You can go from this image to the below image with the click of a button

Without Zoom Lock, Samsung’s A.I. works hard to keep the view on-screen as steady as possible when zooming right in.

The digital zoom makes use of an invisible border around what you see on the screen to counteract the movement of your hand it allows you to take decent photos at higher zoom levels which was a problem with prior models where one had to have a very steady hand if shooting over 20X.

There is also a new macro function, that uses the ultrawide camera to take close-ups rather than a low megapixel dedicated macro camera.

Samsung’s Single Take mode now delivers up to 14 different shots and compositions from one single video, ready for sharing.

The more movement in your Single Take shot — which runs between five and 15 seconds — the more the S21 Ultra can create from it.

Whatever you do with this camera you have the confidence of knowing that working in the background to deliver optimal results is an outstanding processor and new A.I technology whether it be light optimisation when shooting in questionable light conditions.

What the AI calculates is depth optimization in portrait mode, gesture recognition for taking a selfie, upscaling, and de-blurring lowlight HDR shots, and reducing noise by 200% using multi-frame processing in Night Mode shots.

 

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