The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra & S21 Review: The Near Perfect and The Different

Today we’re reviewing the Galaxy S21 Ultra in both Exynos and Snapdragon SoC flavours, as well the baseline Galaxy S21 – contrasting two very different devices in Samsung’s new series, coming in at two very different price points.

Today we’re reviewing the Galaxy S21 Ultra in both Exynos and Snapdragon SoC flavours, as well the baseline Galaxy S21 – contrasting two very different devices in Samsung’s new series, coming in at two very different price points.

Qualcomm Announces X65 & X62 5G Modems on 4nm

Qualcomm yesterday has announced a slew of new 5G communication platforms, representing their next-generation modems, and RF front-end solutions that will be powering the next flagship devices later in 2021 as well as 2022. This includes two new 5G mo…

Qualcomm yesterday has announced a slew of new 5G communication platforms, representing their next-generation modems, and RF front-end solutions that will be powering the next flagship devices later in 2021 as well as 2022. This includes two new 5G modems in the form of the new Snapdragon X65 and X62, a new RFFE portfolio with new envelope trackers, new antenna tuners, and new power amplifiers, alongside a 4th generation mmWave antenna module that supports more frequency bands and a larger frequency bandwidth.

Starting off with the new X65 modem, it’s a rather large generational upgrade compared to the current X60 modem that increases the amount of frequency bands as well as bandwidth that a vendor can deploy in an end user device.

In terms of sub-6GHz frequencies, the new X65 modem increases the bandwidth from 200MHz to 300MHz, essentially a 50% increase in aggregate spectrum that can be used. Such a wide breadth of spectrum is currently extremely rate in terms of 5G network deployments, but as the US is freeing up new mid-band frequencies for 5G usage over the next years, as well as other global markets deprecate 3G frequencies and reallocate them into 5G usage, we’ll be seeing more possible carrier aggregation combinations across larger variety of frequency bands.

On the mmWave side, things have also seen improvements as the available bandwidth goes from 800MHz to 1000MHz, and now adopts support for the TDD 41GHz n259 band, important for mmWave deployments in countries such as China and Japan.

The new modem, when aggregating across sub-6GHz and mmWave networks with the new increased bandwidth capabilities thus advertises maximum download speeds of up to 10Gbps. Of course, such peak figures aren’t too realistic in the real world, but they do showcase the vast increase in spectrum bandwidth available, which will translate to better transmission speeds in crowded situations.

Alongside the super-high-end X65 modem, we’re also seeing the release of the X62, which is essentially its little brother. In terms of frequency bands and standards capabilities, it’s of the same calibre as the X65, however it differs in terms of its spectrum bandwidth capabilities; sub-6GHz is reduced to 120MHz, and mmWave is reduced to 300MHz across 4 carriers, rather than 10. Undoubtedly this modem solution will be targeting devices at lower price points than the X65 flagship.

Interestingly, both new X65 and X62 modems are manufactured on a 4nm node – this should be Samsung’s 4LPE node which is a further iterative improvement of their current 5LPE technology.

The new 5G modem solutions and their RFFE companion chips are set to hit the market in late 2021.

Related Reading:

Xiaomi Launches Mi 11 Globally: Starting at 749€

Today Xiaomi is launching their new Mi 11 flagship for the global market, following their domestic launch of the phone in China almost 6 weeks ago.

The Mi 11 is an interesting device as it really balances out its features as a affordable flagshi…

Today Xiaomi is launching their new Mi 11 flagship for the global market, following their domestic launch of the phone in China almost 6 weeks ago.

The Mi 11 is an interesting device as it really balances out its features as a affordable flagship device. The European prices for the new phone start at 749€, featuring the new Snapdragon 888 SoC, and what seems to be a top-of-the line 1440p 120Hz OLED display, all while featuring a high-end 108MP camera module, though the phone compromises on its other cameras.

The Snapdragon 888 vs The Exynos 2100: Cortex-X1 & 5nm – Who Does It Better?

Ahead of our full device review of the Galaxy S21 Ultra (and the smaller Galaxy S21), today we’re focusing on the first test results of the new generation of SoCs, the Snapdragon 888 as well as the Exynos 2100, putting them through their pa…

Ahead of our full device review of the Galaxy S21 Ultra (and the smaller Galaxy S21), today we’re focusing on the first test results of the new generation of SoCs, the Snapdragon 888 as well as the Exynos 2100, putting them through their paces, and pitting them against each other in the new 2021 competitive landscape.

Investigating The Galaxy S21 Ultra New OLED Emitter: Huge Efficiency Improvements

As a prelude to our full review, today we’re investigating the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s new display, which beyond QHD 120Hz and VRR capabilities, also brings a new emitter technology with huge power efficiency gains.

As a prelude to our full review, today we’re investigating the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s new display, which beyond QHD 120Hz and VRR capabilities, also brings a new emitter technology with huge power efficiency gains.

Sony Launches Xperia PRO 5G … for $2499

Last year in February Sony had launched the Xperia 1 II, as well as teasing a sibling device called the Xperia PRO. This latter variant of the phone was meant to be a professional variant of the Xperia 1 II, in a more rugged form-factor, as well as in…

Last year in February Sony had launched the Xperia 1 II, as well as teasing a sibling device called the Xperia PRO. This latter variant of the phone was meant to be a professional variant of the Xperia 1 II, in a more rugged form-factor, as well as integrating a HDMI input port.

Today, almost a whole year later, Sony is ready to finally to launch the Xperia PRO 5G, with availability starting today at a staggering price tag of $2499.

The peculiarity about the Xperia PRO 5G are two key features: a HDMI input port alongside the usual USB-C port, as well as additional mmWave 5G connectivity in the form of four antennas, more than the usual two or three we find in other consumer models.

Sony is trying to position the Xperia PRO as a professional accessory for broadcast video, where the phone directly attaches to your camera feed via HDMI and is able to directly upload to the internet. It’s a very niche use-case, however Sony is trying to replace several discrete devices in one: The Xperia PRO can serve simultaneously as a high-quality monitor, and actually outperform most other dedicated camera monitors out there thanks to its 6.5” 3840 x 1644 HDR OLED screen, as well as serving as a cellular video streamer, a kind of device that usually alone goes for $1000 to $1500.

Furthermore, Sony is doing a lot of fanfare about the phone’s 4 mmWave antennas and how it’ll be able to achieve much better, stable, and uniform reception compared to other devices in the market which employ only 2 or 3 antennas. The caveat here is of course that this will only ever get used when under actual mmWave coverage, which is still a very limited number of locations in the US. Of course, the phone will fall back to sub-6GHz 5G and LTE whenever there’s no mmWave coverage.

So, while the $2499 price tag might sound absolutely outrageous at first, it’s not much more expensive than other discrete solutions such as a dedicated monitor as well as competing, feature poorer cellular streaming devices. Where I do think Sony dropped the ball here is in terms of software features: the Xperia PRO lacks more commonly found features in dedicated monitors such as wave forms or vector scopes, and also lacks any kind of camera control or status features, even with Sony’s own line-up of cameras. For the device being now launched almost a whole year after its initial announcement, that’s extremely disappointing. During the Q&A briefing, it seems that Sony is aware of these features missing, but offered no concrete answers on whether they’ll continue to evolve the product from a software standpoint.

The Xperia PRO is otherwise feature identical to an Xperia 1 II – including the Snapdragon 865 SoC, the triple-camera setup, screen, and battery size, though DRAM and storage are upped to 12GB and 512GB. Furthermore, Sony says that the Xperia PRO is only launching in the US for $2499, with no current plans for availability in other markets.

Related Reading:

The Google Pixel 5: A Mini-Review – Small Package, Small Value?

The Pixel 5 is a change of tactic for Google, with the company opting to go the route of a lower-cost “premium” or high mid-range component configuration, rather than setting up the Pixel 5 as an all-out flagship phone. Given the company&r…

The Pixel 5 is a change of tactic for Google, with the company opting to go the route of a lower-cost “premium” or high mid-range component configuration, rather than setting up the Pixel 5 as an all-out flagship phone. Given the company’s product release cadence over the years, always releasing new phones towards the end of the year, just around the corner of the spring next-gen releases. This schedule had always been a disadvantage for Pixel flagships, so maybe Google’s change of strategy here to go for the mid-range is a more sensible approach.

MediaTek Announces Dimensity 1100 & 1200 SoCs: A78 on 6nm

Today MediaTek announced two new top-end SoCs in the form of the new Dimensity 1100 and Dimensity 1200. The two new designs are a follow-up to last year’s Dimensity 1000 SoC which marked the company’s return to the high-end in 2020, with a…

Today MediaTek announced two new top-end SoCs in the form of the new Dimensity 1100 and Dimensity 1200. The two new designs are a follow-up to last year’s Dimensity 1000 SoC which marked the company’s return to the high-end in 2020, with a relatively solid SoC design.

Qualcomm Announces Snapdragon 870: An 865++?

Today Qualcomm is making a rather unexpected SoC announcement in the form of the new Snapdragon 870. The chip is a rather odd release in Qualcomm’s chipset line-up in that this is actually a part derived from last year’s Snapdragon 865 ser…

Today Qualcomm is making a rather unexpected SoC announcement in the form of the new Snapdragon 870. The chip is a rather odd release in Qualcomm’s chipset line-up in that this is actually a part derived from last year’s Snapdragon 865 series, with the new model being a new silicon bin that ups the clock frequencies for a small boost in performance, even though it’s getting a model name that would indicate more substantial changes (of which there aren’t).

Samsung Announces Galaxy S21, S21+ & S21 Ultra: Cheaper Baseline, Higher High-End

Today, Samsung is taking the virtual stage to release the new Galaxy S21 series of devices, including the Galaxy S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra. In a time where smartphones become more and more expensive, Samsung is attempting a different approach this year,…

Today, Samsung is taking the virtual stage to release the new Galaxy S21 series of devices, including the Galaxy S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra. In a time where smartphones become more and more expensive, Samsung is attempting a different approach this year, and instead of increasing device prices, actually reduces them – at least for the baseline S21 and S21+ models.