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Your Galaxy S21 Ultra is still amazing, here’s a few reasons why

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Last updated: June 22nd, 2024 at 15:06 UTC+02:00

The Galaxy S21 series was launched in 2021. As you would expect, the Galaxy S21 Ultra was the most feature-packed phone in the lineup.

But three years have passed since the Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21+, and Galaxy S21 Ultra hit retail shelves, and Samsung launched two fantastic Galaxy S Ultra models in that period. 

The Galaxy S24 Ultra is the latest and greatest flagship phone from Samsung, and many Galaxy S21 Ultra owners were unsurprisingly tempted to buy one when the S24 series went official in January this year. 

However, not every Galaxy S21 Ultra owner found enough reasons to make the switch to a newer model in those three years. But what about now? Is it time to leave your Galaxy S21 Ultra behind and move on to greener pastures? 

Well, we wouldn’t call upgrading to a Galaxy S24 Ultra or even the Galaxy S23 Ultra a bad decision. But there are enough reasons for why you might want to stick with your Galaxy S21 Ultra. 

Galaxy S21 Ultra cameras still rock

Samsung's Galaxy S Ultra smartphones are meant to represent the best of what the company has to offer in the camera department. Three years after the launch, the Galaxy S21 Ultra continues to have one of the most powerful camera setups of any flagship smartphone.

The phone's zooming capabilities are the highlight, thanks to its dedicated 3x and 10x zoom cameras. Even today, the only Samsung phones that can match the Galaxy S21 Ultra's imaging prowess and versatility are newer Ultra phones.

Other Samsung flagships don't come close. That includes the $1800 Galaxy Z Folds. Even the Galaxy Z Fold 6, set to launch in July, will have a camera setup that's not as powerful as that of the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

And it's not like the Galaxy S21 Ultra's camera setup will be outdated next year, either. Progress on smartphone cameras has slowed down heavily over the last couple of years, so there's really nothing on the horizon that will feel like a substantial upgrade in camera quality over your Galaxy S21 Ultra.

It is eligible for one more major Android OS upgrade

Another aspect of the Galaxy S21 Ultra that won't feel outdated soon is the software. The Galaxy S21 series is eligible for four major Android OS updates, so it will get Android 15 with One UI 7 later this year. In 2025, it will get One UI 7.1, while security updates will come regularly till 2026.

Not all new software features will make their way to the Galaxy S21 lineup. For example, with One UI 6.1, the Galaxy S21, S21+, and S21 Ultra didn't get most Galaxy AI features. But unless you're dying to try out those AI features, there's no reason to ditch your S21 Ultra right now.

Galaxy S21 Ultra still has plenty of power under the hood

Whether you bought a Galaxy S21 Ultra powered by the Exynos 2100 chip or the Snapdragon 888 variant, you can rest assured that your phone's performance will not feel inadequate any time soon.

And if you have the variant with 16GB of RAM, you would actually be downgrading if you bought any flagship launched after the Galaxy S21 series. Even the Galaxy S24 Ultra gets only 12GB of RAM in the highest memory configuration.

Thermal management on the Galaxy S21 Ultra continues to hold up as well, even though recent Ultra phones are better at controlling heat when pushed to their limits.

Of course, your S21 Ultra's performance may have gotten worse with long-term use, but you can do a factory reset instead of buying a new phone to fix that. Just be sure to back up your data properly if you decide to do so.

Galaxy S21 Ultra has a fantastic display and stereo speakers

Samsung makes improvements to its displays with each new flagship, but we don't see major gains any more. Brightness is pretty much the only area where Samsung makes giant leaps.

Samsung's flagship phone displays have been pretty perfect in all other areas for a long time now, and that applies to the Galaxy S21 Ultra display as well.

The same goes for the S21 Ultra's stereo speakers. You will only get better speaker quality by upgrading to a Galaxy Z Fold, as Samsung's premium foldables feature two dedicated speakers instead of one dedicated speaker working with the earpiece as the second channel.

Its design is literal perfection

The Galaxy S21 Ultra was a masterclass in how you can design a large phone without making one-handed use uncomfortable. It was also the last Galaxy S Ultra smartphone with curved corners.

The Galaxy S22 Ultra, S23 Ultra, and S24 Ultra have a wider body because of the built-in S Pen slot and are almost perfectly rectangular, and they can be a pain to use one-handed.

The Galaxy S21 Ultra, meanwhile, has curved corners and is nearly 2.5mm narrower than later Ultra phones. It's also 0.3mm narrower than the Galaxy S20 Ultra. Those numbers may not seem high in theory, they make a notable difference in practice.

The Galaxy S21 Ultra's design is visually stunning as well. That's partly thanks to the countour-cut camera island that wraps around the phone's metal frame. Samsung ditched the camera island altogether in 2023, and while newer flagships don't look bad without a camera island, they also don't feel as unique.

It supports the S Pen

The Galaxy S21 Ultra's lack of an S Pen slot is one of the main reasons why its design is so good for a large phone, but you can still take advantage of stylus input by buying an S Pen separately.

Want to store the S Pen on your S21 Ultra? Just buy a case with an S Pen holder! You can find many such cases on Amazon. You can also purchase the S Pen from Amazon. Samsung's official website may have it in stock as well.

Any S Pen will work with the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Just make sure you don't get the S Pen Fold Edition, as that is designed specifically for the foldable screens on Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold flagship lineup.

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