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Samsung smartphones have long been expected to do well in camera tests. But how does the Korean manufacturer’s latest flagship fare in the rankings?
Dxomark has finally published its review of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G — the Exynos 2100 version, at least — around one and a half months after the S21 series’ global launch. However, the overall score it gave the device is not something we expected. The S21 Ultra notched 121 points — high, but not high enough to topple even its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra. And certainly not high enough to make it into the list of top 10 camera phones.
According to Dxomark, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G can’t keep up with competitors such as the Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max and Huawei Mate 40 Pro “in pretty much all test categories — even for zoom, where in theory the dual-tele setup should give the Samsung a noticeable advantage.”
To refresh your memory, the smartphone sports a supposedly improved 108-megapixel main sensor that supports 12-bit HDR and 12-bit RAW and two telephoto lenses that deliver up to 10x optical zoom and 100x digital zoom, as well as a 40-megapixel selfie camera.
The findings reveal that this Samsung produces pictures and videos that are grainy; noise — which is “sometimes very strong, structured, and chromatic” — is present in all conditions. The level of detail in zoom shots is low, with texture and fusion artifacts being rendered unnaturally. While images are mostly accurately focused, you have to deal with a rather-slow shooting time in high-contrast and low-light scenes.
Dxomark also has this to say about the Exynos-based Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G’s video stabilization: “Video stabilization counteracts walking motion quite well, but a strong jello effect is visible and stabilization isn’t quite as effective overall as on the best-in-class models. On static scenes, the stabilization is fairly efficient, but some high-frequency residual motion is sometimes visible. Frame shift artifacts are also obvious.”
For a handset that represents supposedly the best in Samsung’s current flagship series and one that fetches a high price, the testing platform says that the result is indeed unexpected. It’s hoping that a firmware update improves in the areas the Ultra hasn’t done well. The device still has good points, after all, such as a fairly wide dynamic range, good contrast, and stable white balance. You can read the full review here.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra specs
- 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display, WQHD+ resolution, 120Hz refresh rate
- 5nm octa-core Samsung Exynos 2100/Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor with 5G and UWB (ultra-wideband)
- Mali-G78 GPU/Adreno 660 GPU
- 12GB/16GB RAM
- 128GB/256GB/512GB storage
- Quad 108-megapixel (main), 12-megapixel (wide), 10-megapixel (telephoto with 3x optical zoom),
- 10-megapixel (telephoto with 10x optical zoom) rear cameras with laser autofocus
- 40-megapixel front camera
- Fingerprint reader (under-display)
- 5,000mAh battery with fast wired charging, fast wireless charging, reverse wireless charging
- S Pen support
- OneUI 3.0 on Android 11
- Color options: Phantom Black, Phantom Silver
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