Best buy guide: Galaxy Watch 6 or Galaxy S24+. Woo-hoo join SamMobile on WhatsApp or Telegram!

SamMobile has affiliate and sponsored partnerships. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn a commission.

Notifications
    News for you

    What is UWB and why should Galaxy S21+/S21 Ultra owners care?

    Phone
    By 

    Last updated: January 18th, 2021 at 09:53 UTC+01:00

    Ever since announcing its latest premium smartphone line, Samsung was eager to highlight UWB support as one of the key selling points of both the Galaxy S21+ and the Galaxy S21 Ultra. But what does that actually mean? That's what we're here to find out.

    Ultra-wideband (UWB) is a type of radio technology that Samsung believes will be the next big thing in mobile communications. To that end, it started equipping its Android flagships with support for this kind of wireless tech. While the UWB push technically started last year with the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, it wasn't until the Galaxy S21 series that Samsung started delivering universally practical applications of this radio standard.

    What does UWB have over NFC and Bluetooth?

    The UWB specification has been designed for short-range communications with high bandwidth requirements. As an added bonus, it's extremely energy-efficient. It's hence not inaccurate to think of UWB as an NFC on steroids, especially given how its security features and range are also superior to the near-field communications standard. In fact, UWB is as resilient to relay attacks and signal jamming, in general, as Wi-Fi is.

    Naturally, the extra oomph comes at the expense of energy requirements, but take any comparisons targeting power consumption levels of wireless networking with a grain of salt, including the one below. Because that all depends on use cases and the exact psychosis stage at which a developer is while implementing any given solution.

    Bluetooth LE UWB NFC
    Range 25-100m 70-250m lol
    Data speeds Up to 2Mbps Up to 27 Mbps Up to 424 Kbps
    Location accuracy ∼10 cm Up to ∼10cm Yes, duh
    Typical signal latency >3s <1ms >1s
    Chip cost in 2021 ∼$2 Up to $5 $0.25
    Peak consumption >15mA >180mA >15mA

     

    Though that doesn't mean Samsung is done with NFC R&D, UWB definitely has a higher ceiling and is looking much more promising in the medium- to long-term. As for right now, an extremely powerful version of Nearby Share is perhaps the number one advantage of owning a UWB-ready smartphone.

    The ability to quickly locate your electronic belongings is another notable implementation of the ultra-wideband protocol. Branded as SmartThings Find, this functionality just started rolling out to wearables and Android Auto vehicles this month. By the time the Galaxy S21 Ultra and Galaxy S21+ are available for purchase, there should be dozens of Galaxy smartwatches and IoT appliances compatible with Samsung's solution. Oh, and have we mentioned that SmartThings Find includes a futuristic augmented-reality component? It's like you're the Terminator and your car is John Connor.

    Speaking of Android Auto, how about being able to unlock your car after finding it, using just your smartphone? Samsung developed this convenient feature in cooperation with the Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC), so everyone from Ford and Audi to BMW and Genesis will soon be offering it to their customers.

    Our today's look at the state of UWB adoption might have been focused on the Galaxy S21+ and the Galaxy S21 Ultra, but Samsung already committed to firmly embracing the standard moving forward. Meaning that many more Galaxy devices with UWB support are to be expected in the near future.

    PhoneTips & Tricks Galaxy S21 PlusGalaxy S21 UltraUWB

    You might also like

    Galaxy S21 series gets April security update as users wait for One UI 6.1

    Galaxy S21 series gets April security update as users wait for One UI 6.1

    Eagerly anticipating the release of the One UI 6.1 update for your Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21+, or Galaxy S21 Ultra? Well, bad news: that update is nowhere in sight. Instead, Samsung has released a standard security update for its 2021 flagship lineup. One UI 6.1 is currently available only for Samsung's flagship devices launched in […]

    • By Abhijeet Mishra
    • 4 days ago
    Galaxy S21 series grabs March 2024 security update

    Galaxy S21 series grabs March 2024 security update

    Samsung has started rolling out the March 2024 security update to the Galaxy S21 series in several countries worldwide, including the US. The Galaxy S22, Galaxy S23, and Galaxy S24 series have already received the update. The update could be released in other countries soon. Galaxy S21 gets March 2024 security update in Europe, Latin […]

    • By Asif Iqbal Shaik
    • 4 weeks ago
    Galaxy S21 Ultra was used to test Starlink’s satellite-to-phone service

    Galaxy S21 Ultra was used to test Starlink’s satellite-to-phone service

    SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced that Starlink achieved peak download speeds for its satellite-to-phone service using a Samsung phone. It was then revealed that the test was done using a Galaxy S21 Ultra and in collaboration with one of the cellular service providers in the USA. Starlink gets 17Mb/s download speeds for satellite-to-phone service on […]

    • By Asif Iqbal Shaik
    • 1 month ago
    Carrier-locked Galaxy S21 gets February 2024 security update in the USA

    Carrier-locked Galaxy S21 gets February 2024 security update in the USA

    A few days ago, Samsung released the February 2024 security update to the Galaxy S21 series in Europe. A couple of days later, the update was released to the factory-unlocked units of the Galaxy S21 series in the US. The company has now started rolling out the new security update to the carrier-locked units of […]

    • By Asif Iqbal Shaik
    • 2 months ago
    Unlocked Galaxy S21 gets February 2024 security update in the US

    Unlocked Galaxy S21 gets February 2024 security update in the US

    A couple of days ago, Samsung released the February 2024 security update to the Galaxy S21 series in European countries. Now, the availability of the update has been expanded to the Galaxy S21 series in the US. The factory-unlocked variants of the smartphones have now started getting the update. Galaxy S21 series gets February 2024 […]

    • By Asif Iqbal Shaik
    • 2 months ago
    Galaxy S21 series gets more secure with February 2024 security update

    Galaxy S21 series gets more secure with February 2024 security update

    Last week, Samsung started rolling out the February 2024 security update to its phones, and it was first released to the Galaxy Z Flip 3 and the Galaxy Z Fold 3. Now, the update is rolling out to the Galaxy S21 series, and it is currently available in Europe. More countries could get access to […]

    • By Asif Iqbal Shaik
    • 2 months ago