LOVE the S21 Ultra (from an iPhone user's perspective)

philliplavelle

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So many thoughts on this, but upshot is: I absolutely am loving this S21 Ultra and (right now), can't see myself going back to an iPhone. Writing this as somebody who has just switched from a 12 Pro.

The long and short of it is that I have been an Android user trapped in an iPhone owner's body for a long time. I loved Android and its customisation and was a full time user of Android for many years.. going back to the HTC G1, the first Nexus and all the Galaxy devices up to the S4 which I loved.

But after that, I went back to Apple because it just felt that the quirks were too much to deal with (poor battery on Galaxy devices and the fact that the iPhones had Siri.) Then the Apple Watch came along and it was game over.

For the last run of devices (S6 Edge, S6 Edge Plus, S7 Edge, S8, S10 and S20), each time I've gone out and convinced myself I was going back to Android. I've bought the device but ALWAYS returned it because the quirks just drove me crazy and there was no Apple watch substitute in the same league.

Last year, I grabbed the S20 Ultra which went back because of the focusing issue and that thing was SO heavy. I swapped it for an S21 Plus which was beautiful and paired it with a Watch Active 2 but the awful sensors (notoriously off key) drove me crazy. I'm a real fitness buff and I use the app for fitness tracking at quite a granular level (including weight training with specific apps) and the WA2 just couldn't do it. Sure, there are options like Fitbit or Garmin, but where they excel at one thing (fitness tracking), they fall back on others I use (like being able to reply to messages with non-canned responses.) The Apple Watch just is unmatched at doing all of these things well and so I went back to the iPhone 11 Pro and then upgraded to the 12 Pro in October (this was via a brief dalliance with the Note 20 Ultra in August but I found the shape uncomfortable one-handed and the same issue with the watch.)

I upgraded to the 12 Pro half-heartedly though. Tech is my passion so I always like to have the cutting edge device but I hated the new design. Apple messed it up in my opinion going back to the old industrial iPhone 4/5 style. It's just not nice to hold.

Anyway, fast forward to last month and I couldn't have cared less about the S21 Ultra. I didn't pay much attention. But then I started watching YT reviews and they were almost unanimous in their praise. And so I decided to order it and give the Galaxy Watch 3 a go too since it was only going to cost me $80 with the trade in.

But this time, I've been blown away. Not just by that screen, but the speed, the cameras and all the other stuff. This is the first time I haven't felt that buyer's remorse a few days later and put the sim back in the iPhone. I'm loving everything about the S21 Ultra. And the GW3 seems to be spot on with the sensor much improved (which I read Samsung had done.) So much so that the iPhone is going up for sale this afternoon.

It's not perfect. There are a few niggles. For example an issue with Spotify where if you're connected to the GW3 (only the GW3, not Tizen), it mucks up playback and gets Spotify stuck on one song and makes it unusable. That's a gripe but I can get around that with YT Music. Also, not being able to place a Whatsapp audio call on Android Auto is annoying (easily done by just invoking Google Assistant on the phone but still one extra step) but these are not massive problems. And Google Assistant is WAY improved. Last year, I found its voice dictation to be trash compared to Siri. Now, it's way better in my experience. And of course, GA is way more functional than Siri anyway as we all know.

Things like losing iMessage don't bother me so much as I use WhatsApp. Loss of Airdrop is annoying but by using apps like Crono, I'm synced fully with my Mac anyway. And there are easy workarounds for sending pics and videos to iPhone users without losing quality through compression.

In short: Samsung seems to have nailed it and I love it.

(Oh and let's not forget battery - yesterday I spent ALL day installing apps and customizing it. And I got EIGHT hours SOT!)

Attached a few pics of my setup too.

Any other iPhone users, don't hesitate. You'll love it.
 

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Rose4uKY

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So many thoughts on this, but upshot is: I absolutely am loving this S21 Ultra and (right now), can't see myself going back to an iPhone. Writing this as somebody who has just switched from a 12 Pro.

The long and short of it is that I have been an Android user trapped in an iPhone owner's body for a long time. I loved Android and its customisation and was a full time user of Android for many years.. going back to the HTC G1, the first Nexus and all the Galaxy devices up to the S4 which I loved.

But after that, I went back to Apple because it just felt that the quirks were too much to deal with (poor battery on Galaxy devices and the fact that the iPhones had Siri.) Then the Apple Watch came along and it was game over.

For the last run of devices (S6 Edge, S6 Edge Plus, S7 Edge, S8, S10 and S20), each time I've gone out and convinced myself I was going back to Android. I've bought the device but ALWAYS returned it because the quirks just drove me crazy and there was no Apple watch substitute in the same league.

Last year, I grabbed the S20 Ultra which went back because of the focusing issue and that thing was SO heavy. I swapped it for an S21 Plus which was beautiful and paired it with a Watch Active 2 but the awful sensors (notoriously off key) drove me crazy. I'm a real fitness buff and I use the app for fitness tracking at quite a granular level (including weight training with specific apps) and the WA2 just couldn't do it. Sure, there are options like Fitbit or Garmin, but where they excel at one thing (fitness tracking), they fall back on others I use (like being able to reply to messages with non-canned responses.) The Apple Watch just is unmatched at doing all of these things well and so I went back to the iPhone 11 Pro and then upgraded to the 12 Pro in October (this was via a brief dalliance with the Note 20 Ultra in August but I found the shape uncomfortable one-handed and the same issue with the watch.)

I upgraded to the 12 Pro half-heartedly though. Tech is my passion so I always like to have the cutting edge device but I hated the new design. Apple messed it up in my opinion going back to the old industrial iPhone 4/5 style. It's just not nice to hold.

Anyway, fast forward to last month and I couldn't have cared less about the S21 Ultra. I didn't pay much attention. But then I started watching YT reviews and they were almost unanimous in their praise. And so I decided to order it and give the Galaxy Watch 3 a go too since it was only going to cost me $80 with the trade in.

But this time, I've been blown away. Not just by that screen, but the speed, the cameras and all the other stuff. This is the first time I haven't felt that buyer's remorse a few days later and put the sim back in the iPhone. I'm loving everything about the S21 Ultra. And the GW3 seems to be spot on with the sensor much improved (which I read Samsung had done.) So much so that the iPhone is going up for sale this afternoon.

It's not perfect. There are a few niggles. For example an issue with Spotify where if you're connected to the GW3 (only the GW3, not Tizen), it mucks up playback and gets Spotify stuck on one song and makes it unusable. That's a gripe but I can get around that with YT Music. Also, not being able to place a Whatsapp audio call on Android Auto is annoying (easily done by just invoking Google Assistant on the phone but still one extra step) but these are not massive problems. And Google Assistant is WAY improved. Last year, I found its voice dictation to be trash compared to Siri. Now, it's way better in my experience. And of course, GA is way more functional than Siri anyway as we all know.

Things like losing iMessage don't bother me so much as I use WhatsApp. Loss of Airdrop is annoying but by using apps like Crono, I'm synced fully with my Mac anyway. And there are easy workarounds for sending pics and videos to iPhone users without losing quality through compression.

In short: Samsung seems to have nailed it and I love it.

(Oh and let's not forget battery - yesterday I spent ALL day installing apps and customizing it. And I got EIGHT hours SOT!)

Attached a few pics of my setup too.

Any other iPhone users, don't hesitate. You'll love it.

What is your setup that home screen is cool looking?
 

nikolas4129

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Also an iPhone 12 pro max user that switched to back android. I flip flop all around even blackberry, I like tech and aren't boxed into any particular ecosystem.

I'll start with the conclusion: This phone is amazing.

The screen... It is literally the best screen you've ever seen. It is MILES better than the 12 pro max. Miles. No joke. Objectively way better. I am in love with it. 120hz is indescribable if you've never seen it before. It's just so damn smooth. 60hz is pitiful, jittery and looks ancient now once you try this. The whites... Wow. Brightness... Wow. Viewing angle... Wow.

The rest:
-Battery is great.
Weight is fine. Rounded corners make it way easier to hold than the pro max. Thin enough to fit in pocket, but let's not mince words it is big.
-Phantom black is gorgeous. Looks way better in person. It's not vanta black (look that up it's cool) but it's a deep rich black.
-Software overlay isn't bad. I prefer the Pixel OS as it's cleaner (had Pixel 5), clean os is one reason I liked iOS as well, but honestly Samsung did an acceptable/good job here. I'm happy with it.
-Camera is very good. Haven't tested it that much, but initial impressions are it's a solid top tier contender. And the zoom is legit. I may prefer the Pixel 'look' best, but this camera has better wide angle and zoom.

I may add more stuff but that's it for now 🙂
 

Kizzy Catwoman

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I enjoyed this thread. Thanks for sharing. Love your setup. I spend far too many hours customising my androids. I must have 40+ kwgt packs. Love crayon icon pack as well.
 

mach1man

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Are you still enjoying the S21 ultra?? I’ve been thinking about making the switch but it’s so hard because everyone I talk to has an iPhone
 

lattemaker

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I am currently* using the S21 Ultra BUT I also have an iPhone 12 Pro Max. 90% of the people I interact with are all on iPhones...using iMessage. It is a hard switch to make, which is why I still have my iPhone to go back to if I want. I like almost everything better about Android as a whole, the phone is the big cherry on top. I love that you can customize Android and all that stuff but I HATE Android Auto. Apple Care Play is so much better in so many ways, so think about this if you have a car with Android Auto/Car Play. Texting through voice with Android Auto is a complete mess, its so much more reliable and easier on Car Play. The S21 Ultra it self really is an amazing phone. I do think it takes better photos than the iPhone 12 Pro Max does. The Galaxy Buds Pro are great, better than AirPods and are a excellent accessory to the Ultra if you regularly use earbuds. You can still use Airpods on the S21 but you loose features.

My biggest issue is that almost everything else in my household is Apple. Apple TV on every TV, home kit(some exclusively home kit) smart devices, iPads, and Mac Computers. So if you are in the same boat I would really think hard if you are willing to go along with your phone not interacting/interacting well before you spend all the money on the S21 Ultra. One big thing is Movies. We have about 450 movies purchased through Apple TV and I can't want any of them on my Android, it really, really sucks.

Those are just my thoughts about switching to Android/S21 Ultra from the iPhone line up but hopefully that helps a bit. To reiterate the S21 Ultra is an amazing phone and Android is great. But if your heavily in the Apple ecosystem it's a pretty hard switch to make with a few sacrafices. I wish way back when that I had never dedicated and gotten myself stuck in the Apple ecosystem as bad as I am now.
 

TheAngryToaster

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I am currently* using the S21 Ultra BUT I also have an iPhone 12 Pro Max. 90% of the people I interact with are all on iPhones...using iMessage. It is a hard switch to make, which is why I still have my iPhone to go back to if I want. I like almost everything better about Android as a whole, the phone is the big cherry on top. I love that you can customize Android and all that stuff but I HATE Android Auto. Apple Care Play is so much better in so many ways, so think about this if you have a car with Android Auto/Car Play. Texting through voice with Android Auto is a complete mess, its so much more reliable and easier on Car Play. The S21 Ultra it self really is an amazing phone. I do think it takes better photos than the iPhone 12 Pro Max does. The Galaxy Buds Pro are great, better than AirPods and are a excellent accessory to the Ultra if you regularly use earbuds. You can still use Airpods on the S21 but you loose features.

My biggest issue is that almost everything else in my household is Apple. Apple TV on every TV, home kit(some exclusively home kit) smart devices, iPads, and Mac Computers. So if you are in the same boat I would really think hard if you are willing to go along with your phone not interacting/interacting well before you spend all the money on the S21 Ultra. One big thing is Movies. We have about 450 movies purchased through Apple TV and I can't want any of them on my Android, it really, really sucks.

Those are just my thoughts about switching to Android/S21 Ultra from the iPhone line up but hopefully that helps a bit. To reiterate the S21 Ultra is an amazing phone and Android is great. But if your heavily in the Apple ecosystem it's a pretty hard switch to make with a few sacrafices. I wish way back when that I had never dedicated and gotten myself stuck in the Apple ecosystem as bad as I am now.

I am 50/50 on android auto vs CarPlay. Initially I was more in the CarPlay boat when I switched back to android with the s21. I will say that android auto is growing on me more and more. I don't really have issues with messaging via android auto. It works just like it did with CarPlay which is most of the time it gets it wrong and sometimes it gets it right. I do prefer the dashboard of CarPlay over the one that doesn't exist on AA. My biggest complaint is that I use apple music and you have to specify the exact song/album you want to hear. I can't say play so and so's latest album and have it actually play. It just repeats playing latest album name by artist on apple music and then never starts it. But I can repeat with the album name and it will start playing the album. I will deal with that because I prefer apple music over spotify any day of the week.
 

nikolas4129

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Why would it 'be hard to switch' even if lots of people in your circle have iPhones? I don't have issues with messaging either android or iPhone users from any phone... Why should you?
My mix of friends is about 50/50 android/iPhone, and I I've used both OSs extensively, and there aren't really any hurdles to communicate in either direction. Messages and calls are a non issue, and everyone has FB messenger or whatsapp if you want cross platform video calls.
 

lattemaker

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I think the biggest issue/annoyance with iPhone vs. Android messaging is when it comes time to share videos. You can't just simply send a video taken on an Android phone to an iPhone user, the quality is horrible. The video shows up all grainy and just not good quality. Yes, you can use messenger or some other app to send the video but I use Google Messages on my S21 Ultra and I don't want to have to use a separate app just to be able to send a video to an iPhone user. I really wish there could just be some sort of universal RCS messaging between both Android and iOS.
 

Joshua Luther2

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I think the biggest issue/annoyance with iPhone vs. Android messaging is when it comes time to share videos. You can't just simply send a video taken on an Android phone to an iPhone user, the quality is horrible. The video shows up all grainy and just not good quality. Yes, you can use messenger or some other app to send the video but I use Google Messages on my S21 Ultra and I don't want to have to use a separate app just to be able to send a video to an iPhone user. I really wish there could just be some sort of universal RCS messaging between both Android and iOS.

That’s been the biggest challenge to overcome for a very long time. I don’t see Apple ever giving up iMessage or opening it up for use on Android. And there’s no way that Apple is going to switch over to using sms.
 

Kilroy672

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I made the switch a few weeks ago. I also traded in my iPhone 12 Pro for the S21U. Told the wife I'd give Apple one more chance back in October. But when I seen how the beautiful screen was I had to go back. Not sure why I went from the Galaxy S20+ to the iPhone 12 Pro but I did. But now I'm back and hopefully I'll keep this at least a year or longer.
 

Joshua Luther2

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I made the switch a few weeks ago. I also traded in my iPhone 12 Pro for the S21U. Told the wife I'd give Apple one more chance back in October. But when I seen how the beautiful screen was I had to go back. Not sure why I went from the Galaxy S20+ to the iPhone 12 Pro but I did. But now I'm back and hopefully I'll keep this at least a year or longer.

I’m the same. I gave up the P4xl for the 12 Pro and thought I could learn to love it. But I loved it the most on my first day and my love for iOS diminished every day since. I hate how closed off iOS is and how non apple accessories don’t play as nice with it. As well as some things that I got used to on Android. Apple doesn’t really give the user control over their own device. Look at what they do with turning wifi back on even if you “turn it off.” That’s just the tip of iceberg.

My S21 Ultra comes today. I can’t wait.
 

mach1man

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So I went out and added a new line for the S21 ultra. I used it for about 5 days and it was awesome. The screen, size, cameras, customization was all great. But I did end up returning it bc I just couldn’t fully commit yet. The texting other iPhone users is still an issue with picture and video quality. Yes I know there is Facebook messenger but then it becomes an inconvenience to have them send it again through messenger. But I will say that if a Note 21 ultra comes out in the fall that is like the s21 ultra but with a built in S-pen then the full transition will happen
 

nikolas4129

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I think the biggest issue/annoyance with iPhone vs. Android messaging is when it comes time to share videos. You can't just simply send a video taken on an Android phone to an iPhone user, the quality is horrible. The video shows up all grainy and just not good quality. Yes, you can use messenger or some other app to send the video but I use Google Messages on my S21 Ultra and I don't want to have to use a separate app just to be able to send a video to an iPhone user. I really wish there could just be some sort of universal RCS messaging between both Android and iOS.

Yes agreed. But that knife cuts both ways though, as iphone users have 'issues' sending files to Android users too. Pictures though I can send in the messages app.

So it seems to come down to sending video... And how many videos are you really even sending around daily? Perhaps you're a videophile so fair enough, but I'd have to imagine most people don't send videos often (less than one a week). So is that really such a hassle...? It sounds like a real nitpick to say you 'have to open another app' for these rare usage cases.
 

bchain996

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I am currently* using the S21 Ultra BUT I also have an iPhone 12 Pro Max. 90% of the people I interact with are all on iPhones...using iMessage. It is a hard switch to make, which is why I still have my iPhone to go back to if I want. I like almost everything better about Android as a whole, the phone is the big cherry on top. I love that you can customize Android and all that stuff but I HATE Android Auto. Apple Care Play is so much better in so many ways, so think about this if you have a car with Android Auto/Car Play. Texting through voice with Android Auto is a complete mess, its so much more reliable and easier on Car Play. The S21 Ultra it self really is an amazing phone. I do think it takes better photos than the iPhone 12 Pro Max does. The Galaxy Buds Pro are great, better than AirPods and are a excellent accessory to the Ultra if you regularly use earbuds. You can still use Airpods on the S21 but you loose features.

My biggest issue is that almost everything else in my household is Apple. Apple TV on every TV, home kit(some exclusively home kit) smart devices, iPads, and Mac Computers. So if you are in the same boat I would really think hard if you are willing to go along with your phone not interacting/interacting well before you spend all the money on the S21 Ultra. One big thing is Movies. We have about 450 movies purchased through Apple TV and I can't want any of them on my Android, it really, really sucks.

Those are just my thoughts about switching to Android/S21 Ultra from the iPhone line up but hopefully that helps a bit. To reiterate the S21 Ultra is an amazing phone and Android is great. But if your heavily in the Apple ecosystem it's a pretty hard switch to make with a few sacrafices. I wish way back when that I had never dedicated and gotten myself stuck in the Apple ecosystem as bad as I am now.

Look into Movies Anywhere. It’s a game changer!
 

Joshua Luther2

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Sep 22, 2014
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So I went out and added a new line for the S21 ultra. I used it for about 5 days and it was awesome. The screen, size, cameras, customization was all great. But I did end up returning it bc I just couldn’t fully commit yet. The texting other iPhone users is still an issue with picture and video quality. Yes I know there is Facebook messenger but then it becomes an inconvenience to have them send it again through messenger. But I will say that if a Note 21 ultra comes out in the fall that is like the s21 ultra but with a built in S-pen then the full transition will happen
With regards to sending videos from a Samsung to an iPhone, you can use Link Sharing. It awesome. Go to your gallery and find the video you want to send. Hit share and Link Sharing will show up as an option. The recipient will then open the link in a browser where they can download the video within 24 hours. An iPhone user can send high quality videos through FB messenger. I don't have an issue with FB but if you do then don't use it.
 

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