Galaxy S21 Ultra is the best phone to use outdoors, and not for its insane 5G speeds

Galaxy S21 Ultra is the best phone to use outdoors, and not for its insane 5G speeds
Samsung did a great job with the Galaxy S21 Ultra as the phone apparently has literally the best display under the sun, and you can catch record 5G speeds on Verizon's Ultrawide Band mmWave 5G network with it... only outside, of course. We kid, as one has nothing to do with the other, but both abilities are just adding to the long list of unique Galaxy S21 Ultra features.

First, the record 5G speeds, and then why the S21 Ultra is actually the best phone to use outdoors, not the tongue-in-cheek reason. It turns out that, in addition to supporting Verizon's future C-band 5G network, Samsung's finest is able to hit the heretofore lab-confined 3Gbps+ download speeds. On Verizon's mmWave coverage in downtown Manhattan, of course, right next to the 5G panel, as PCMag's great Sascha Segan found out.


In the same scenario, the iPhone 12 is "only" able to muster 2.7Gbps, as it has an older X55 5G modem that is on top of that not integrated into the A14 chipset as Qualcomm's X60 is into Snapdragon 888. 

Getting indoors behind a glass windows just across the street, though, cut the Ultra's speed in half to 1.6Gbps, and then lost the 5G signal completely a bit further in the building. So, yeah, 5G speeds on Verizon's S21 Ultra are unmatched... outdoors... in one particular spot.

On the other hand, Samsung just scored the Sunlight Visibility award from the storied Underwriters Laboratories (UL) certification platform. Their testing routine returned the peak brightness of 1500 nits that Samsung claims outdoors, but also listed 73% of DCI-P3 ambient color gamut coverage preservation there. For comparison, instead of the 99% to 73% drop, that gamut goes from 78% to 30% on a good LCD panel when viewed outside in direct sunlight. 

Samsung's secret sauce? The newest M11 generation of OLED display elements that it exclusively built the Galaxy S21 Ultra display with, which allow for frugal power draw coupled with the most granular dynamic refresh rate and record high peak brightness, contrast and color gamut coverage that make the phone great for outdoor visibility. Ditto for its record 5G speeds outside... near a Verizon 5G hotspot.


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Galaxy S21 Ultra
  • Display 6.8 inches 3200 x 1440 pixels
  • Camera 108 MP (Quad camera) 40 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 12GB RAM
  • Storage 128GB, not expandable
  • Battery 5000 mAh
  • OS Android 11 Samsung One UI

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