What's Really Bad About Samsung Phones

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra: is the top smartphone's camera really that bad?

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra offers almost everything a smartphone can offer today. With two telephoto focal lengths, the top model even has one more camera than the top cell phones of the competition. Nevertheless, experts claim: The camera equipment of the Galaxy S21 Ultra is only mediocre. Even the previous model should be better. This judgment turns users into an angry mob. You accuse the DxOMark experts of fraud. But are you right? Or did Samsung really screw up the camera of the Galaxy S21 Ultra?

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra not even in the top 10

If you look at the top list of camera experts from DxOMark, the Huawei Mate 40 Pro + has been in first place for some time. Now you could think that there is a new top model from Samsung, which is known to always have a good camera , at least in the top 5. But far from it. With 121 points, it ranks 17th in the list of experts. Even the Galaxy S20 Ultra, i.e. the predecessor model, is better according to DxOMark and can be found in 10th place. But how can that be?

If you look at the test of the camera experts in their entirety, you will see that they may not be that wrong at all. The sample images that you took with the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra are shockingly poorer quality compared to photos that were taken with the HuaweiMate 40 Pro or the iPhone 12 Pro Max. From image noise in all lighting conditions to blurring at all focal lengths to artifacts, lens flares and unsightly bokeh: the top-of-the-range camera from Samsung can hardly convince the testers. And even the layperson should have doubts about the quality of the Galaxy S21 Ultra camera when looking at the photos - especially in comparison with those of the Mate 40 Pro.

Users criticize expert test

Despite the many sample images under all conditions and in comparison to other top smartphones: The criticism of the DxOMark test is tough. Samsung smartphone users accuse the experts of fraud. We also tested the Galaxy S21 Ultra. While the Space Zoom turns out to be a clever marketing coup and delivers subterranean quality, we weren't as tough when evaluating the other camera properties.

→ Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra: Will the camera drama repeat itself?

Our conclusion is: If you want a smartphone with which you can rely on the camera at any time of the day or night, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is the perfect companion. Whether portraits, landscape or macro shots, pictures in rooms with little light or snapshots of food that you share via WhatsApp or Facebook: The top smartphone always delivers sharp, brilliant and often impressive photos. In addition, you can easily get a centimeter close to the subject with the main camera and get an amazing close-up. You can shoot great portraits with the two telephoto lenses. The focus can also be changed later, as well as removing the background color or setting the bokeh to be softer.

Image noise, as DxOMark noted, can only be seen in a few images in rooms with little light. Artifacts, i.e. image details that represent an unintended difference to the original motif, are present. However, you have to zoom in digitally very deeply. As far as sharpness is concerned, the ultra-wide-angle lens clearly lags behind the wide-angle. Particularly at the edges, details are frayed and become increasingly blurred from the center to the edge.

→ Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra in the test: Breathtaking, but one thing bothers you

Conclusion: is the camera of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra really that bad?

Nevertheless, the camera experts at DxOMark are right in many respects. Especially when you compare the photos taken with the Galaxy S21 Ultra with those of the Huawei Mate 40 Pro. The differences are enormous - especially in terms of sharpness. However, our test also shows that the user will still be happy with the Samsung flagship's camera in everyday life. Above all, the great colors stand out.

Even if the result is not impressive every now and then - the majority of the photos are impressive. Nevertheless, there are smartphone models such as the Mate 40 Pro, the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro or the iPhone 12 Pro Max that are better than the new Samsung phone. And this does not get the maximum number of points in the “Camera” sub-category, but leaves the test laboratory with 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Smartphone with a good camera for 1,000 euros? That's how much you really have to spend