One Cool Thing: Samsung Galaxy S21 and Galaxy Buds Pro

PCMag’s Sascha Segan and Will Greenwald give their first impressions of Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra, Galaxy S21, and Galaxy Buds Pro earbuds.

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– Hello everybody, And welcome to One Cool
Thing, with I’m Sasha Segan and
this is Will Greenwald, And we have all the new Samsung products From this week here. I’ve got the Galaxy S21 Ultra, I’ve got a smallest 21, I’ve got the Smart Tag, And Will, you’ve got the
earbuds there, right? – Yep, they are right here. – Okay, great, so we’ve got a lot Of smooth black objects from Samsung. But why don’t I start with the S21 Ultra? So as you can see here, the S21 Ultra is, It is a pretty big, heavy, thick phone. We’ve got a 6.8 inch screen, A quad HD 120 hertz screen. We’ve got a metal body And we have it festooned with cameras. And all of these cameras are
really the big deal here. There’s an Ultra-wide,
there’s a 108 megapixel, And there’s both 3X and 10X telephoto. So that it can go to really
high, super zoom levels Without looking horribly,
horribly, digitally zoomed. And the camera is much better Than last year’s Galaxy S20 Ultra was. – ’Cause they look very similar. Like how much better are we talking? And is it purely in quality Or are we talking like a wider zoom range Or things like that. – Okay, so we’re talking
massively better in quality. Both the S20 Ultra and this phone, Actually I think I’ve got
an S20 Ultra over there.

I wonder if I can reach
it, give me a second. – ’Cause I’ve actually
been using the Note Ultra. Well, that looks like a
very similar camera thing. – Yeah, and here’s the S20 Ultra. So, the S20 Ultra promised 100X zoom, And the Note Ultra does
not promise quite 100X, But the S20 Ultra’s zoom Above about 10X was
just horribly, horribly, Digitally zoomed. – Digital zoom was pretty much useless. – Yeah, it was pretty
much useless above 10X. Also the S20 Ultra had
serious focus problems. Now, you don’t have those
problems on the Note Because the Note has a
dedicated laser focused sensor Like the S21 does. So you’ve got, the 108
megapixel main camera From the S20, which
had the focus problems, But now we’ve gotten rid
of the focus problems ’cause we have a focus sensor. And instead of just
having a single zoom lens We have 3X and 10X optical zoom lenses. And that means that zooms up to 10 X Are razor sharp because they’re optical. – And so is the Ultra-wide? – What? – Those are the Ultra-wide too? – Yeah, it’s definitely the Ultra-wide. That’s why it looks
like a trypophobia party On the back of this thing. So… – That’ll disturb me if I
think about it ’cause… – Yeah. – It looks extremely similar
to the cluster on here ’cause it has the same laser sight.

– Yep. Yep. But the body of this phone
is…it’s less hard-edged. It’s more rounded than your Note. And then, okay, so we’ve
got, the better cameras, Higher megapixel, more functional at up To about 30X zoom after
which it’s kind of… – Right.
– A little ”blah.” But then we also have a
bunch of other new features. Some of which are working now, Some of which are going to work In the future. For instance, the night mode, especially On the front-facing camera,
dramatically improved. And that’s largely because
of some processing stuff In the new Qualcomm
Snapdragon Triple 8 Processor. The single take mode, I don’t
know if you’ve tried that, That’s the thing where
you take like 10 seconds Of video and then it turns it
into a bunch of like stills And gifs, that is also improved. You have a new thing
called director’s mode, Which lets you take videos
with multiple lenses. And then there’s also in here All sorts of new network features. It’s got WiFi 6E, which
is the new super fast WiFi That only the first routers
have just come out for it. It has C-band 5G, which won’t
be turned on until next year. – Does it have the rest
of the 5G ranges too? – It has every kind of
5G available in the U.S. And every kind of 5G that
the U.S. will probably have For the next several years. And the, your Note does not have C-band. – Right. – Right. – So it’s very forward-looking,

It has this amazing camera system. Battery life is good, gets heavy, But it’s very, very powerful. Oh, and, it’ll work with your S Pen. – Cool. – There’s nowhere to actually… – But it doesn’t have
a place for it, yeah. – Yeah, there’s nowhere
to actually put the S Pen, But if you buy…you can buy a $70 case That comes with an S pen,
that gives you a place To slide the S pen and also
protects your investment. Or you can just use it with,
if you have an old Note, I tried it all the way back To an S Pen for a Note 4 and it worked. – And it has all the same S pen features, If you use that. Like the, ’cause I found really
cool you can use the S Pen As a remote shutter for the camera. – Yeah, not quite. So you
can draw on the screen But those remote, you’re holding Your S Pen far away features,
those rely on Bluetooth And for those who apparently
need a special S Pen Pro Which has not come out yet. – Okay. – So, compared to the S20,
is this a big enough jump To justify upgrading over it? – Well, so the S20 Ultra I
thought was kind of a disaster, Because the 108 megapixel
camera was a mess And the super zoom was a mess. And the S21 Ultra really redeems that. It’s everything the S20 Ultra
should have been, plus more. So yeah, it’s a terrific phone. Really my only complaint
about it, other than the fact That it’s really heavy,

It’s over eight ounces, Is that, it is a $1,200 phone In a year when tens of millions
of people are out of work And our economy is in tatters. – Yep. – Yep. But, hey, you have a $1,200
phone there, so there you go. – Yeah. Speaking of which, would you
recommend getting the S21 Or wait for the Note 21,
which, you know, Samsung Hasn’t said anything
about, but it’s inevitable. – I don’t even know if
there will be a Note 21. – Really?
– There’s all sorts of, yeah. There’s rumors flying around
that the S Pen support On the S21, means that they
are bringing the Note series To a close. So it’ll be interesting
to see if that happens. – That kind of makes sense
with like the case for it, But it’s just nice to have, like a pen That’s just in here. Although, I still got a case to protect it. – Yeah, I totally agree. But the S21 Ultra, if you have…if $1,200 And a big heavy phone
doesn’t scare you away It’s definitely going to be the phone That sets the feature bar
for the rest of the year. As opposed to, the much
more affordable little S21, Which I have here, which is
now the S21 Ultra is $1,200. – Yeah.
– This little guy is $800. So it more competes with your
iPhone 12, your OnePlus 8T, Your other kind of
standard-sized flagship phones. – That’s Literally two-thirds
of the price of the Ultra. – Yeah, it’s kind of crazy. – How big of a step down in like features

And specs do you get for that compromise? – As you can tell, it’s
two-thirds of the price And it has two-thirds of
the number of cameras. – Yeah. – And they do less than
two-thirds of the zoom. These guys, basically, your
maximum optical zoom is 3X And while Samsung advertises up to 30X, – It’s digital.
– One’s more optical. Yeah, it’s digital, so you
really want it to be a 3X, And optically the cameras
here are very similar To the S20 Plus, which were pretty good But with the better night mode, From the Snapdragon 888, so that’s good. Better night on the front-facing camera, From the Snapdragon 888, so that’s good. And then that director’s view
and better single take mode And all of that. And then here you have, I mean, What’s really happening here, I wish I could get my laptop
webcam to properly expose this, But you know, that’ll never happen. What’s really happening here,
is that this is your play For a smaller hand-sized Flagship Android phone for the year. And it’s a little bigger
than last year’s S20, But it’s still the smallest,
really powerful Android phone You’re going to get this year I think. And it’s got all of those
forward-looking 5G features And it’s reasonably flagship
priced, and the screen… – Does it have the same 5G as the Ultra? – So it’s got the same 5G as the Ultra. It lacks WiFi 6E, Which, once again, nobody’s
going to have WiFi 6E Until 2022 anyway.

– Right. – Yeah. – And the screen, a big feature I’ve seen especially in flagship phones, Higher refresh rates, 90 hertz, 120 hertz. How are they on both phones? Like how smooth is it? – Yeah, so what’s interesting Is that these screens are
adaptive refresh rates Which means that you can’t
set the refresh rate by hand Instead, it’s adapting from
10 hertz all the way up To 120 hertz, depending on
the content you’re showing. In my experience, they
are nice and smooth. The Ultra’s screen
especially is super bright. It’s even brighter, noticeably brighter, Than last year’s phones. But Samsung always, like
Samsung always gets the basics. You know call quality is going to be fine. You know connectivity is going to be fine. You know the screen is going to be lovely. Where we were kind of dancing
around last year was, well How good are the cameras? But the S21 Ultra’s camera is amazing And the S21’s camera is pretty good. That said, there’s one
problem with the S21 That I think may make this phone struggle. And that’s that because of
the size, the battery life Is a little low. – How long are we talking about? – So, it depends on whether
you’re using WiFi or 5G. On WiFi it’s fine, we’re
talking 10 plus hours Of screen on time, but on
5G you’re more around seven. And that’s… – Wow, 5G really takes the hit.

– 5G really hits it. It’s the same effect on the big phone too. You go from, like 11 and a
half to eight and a half. – Does that sort of thing
happen to other 5G phones Like the last year’s
models or the iPhone 12s? – Yeah, that’s just the
effect of running stuff Over a cellular network, as
opposed to a WiFi network. – Okay, so it’s not 5G specific. It’s like if you were using like 4G LTE, It would still be a hit. It still hits it much harder than WiFi. Turning on WiFi and keeping WiFi on And keeping…and accessing
WiFi whenever possible Is actually a great stealth
way to improve the battery life Of your phone. – Cool. – So, okay, so we’ve got these two phones And Samsung also had a
bunch of accessories, And I’d like to go over to you
because I have not even seen These earbuds yet, and
I’m curious how they are. I’m curious, obviously they’re
designed a lot differently Than last year’s ear beans. How do they work differently
than last year’s ear beans? – Well, these are the
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro And I can take them out and show you That they are conventional,
in-ear true wireless earbuds. – Because the ear beans design was stupid. – Yeah, I actually have them
here too and these are like, They don’t even go in your ear, Which means even though these technically Have noise cancellation, it
fundamentally cannot work If you don’t have a seal in your ear. Like no amount of digital,
like acoustic blocking Whatever you’re listening
to, can change the fact

That the sound waves can get in, Instead of, if there’s like a seal, Like with a good rubber ear tip. That was just the technical matter of it. – Yeah, I remember that. So how’s the sound and how’s
the noise cancellation now That you have appropriately
sized and shaped earbuds? – Well, the sound is very good. These sound quite good, strong bass, Very sort of a sculpted sound It’s not really an audio file. Sound was good. Like strong highs, strong lows. It’s a good sound. I enjoy it. The noise cancellation,
though, pretty disappointing Especially compared to,
say, the AirPods pro Which obviously these are kind of designed To not mimic, like thankfully
Samsung went its own way With a more sort of conventional design, But, yeah they haven’t gotten ANC right, While, you know, Bose are
currently the kings of that, That if you spend the
significant amount of money For say about 300 bucks for
their earbuds, a little bit less Or a little bit more for their headphones You’ll get the best noise
cancellation, period. Like, it’ll block out everything. Apple has gotten very good, Including with their
AirPods Pro, which are $250, So more expensive than this. These are $199. Their noise cancellation is better And they also have
excellent noise cancellation On the AirPods Max,
which are just big cans

And they’re half a grand. They’re very expensive for what they are. Sony has gotten very good with ANC, But Samsung hasn’t quite gotten it yet. It just doesn’t block out
a whole lot besides low Frequency rumble. So, it’s not worth it. – What else is out there at $199 In terms of true wireless earbuds? – There are lots of good ones
out there in that price range But not in terms of…you’ll
have to look harder To find good noise cancellation for that. You’re looking at generally
around $250 at least. For around $200, you can
get some very good ones. The Jabra Elite Active 75t. I believe the 85t might
also be around $200. Sony has some very good ones. They haven’t replaced their 2019 XM 1000 Sounds. WF-1000XM3. But they’re quite good. You can
probably find them for sale. These actually, they sound very good. They’re also completely waterproof. IPX7. The charging case is…it
has wireless charging. If you want to use that,
you can even charge With your own Samsung phone Because of the weird power share system, Which, do you know anyone who uses that? – The reverse wireless charging? – Yes.
– No. I remember when Huawei started
pushing it as a feature But I don’t know a lot of people Who have really used that. Now, actually, that goes
to another good question,

Which is, do you need a
Samsung phone to use these? – You do not. You get a lot of features enabled With the Galaxy Wearables
app, the same thing you’d use If you use a Samsung Galaxy Watch. Also it doesn’t necessarily
need a Galaxy phone. So you could pair it with
a Pixel or whatever… – Yeah, I put the Galaxy
Wearables app on my One Plus And it works fine. – Yeah. So you can use that to
adjust the noise cancellation Or change the long press
gesture on the phone Or just do different things like that And keep it up to date. There are certain features Like there is a 360 degree
audio feature, similar To Apple spatial audio,
that’s available only With the earphones paired
with a Galaxy phone. And, there are a few
minor things like that. There’s like a low latency gaming mode, Which, if you’re playing on
a phone, the audio latency Isn’t going to be a
very big issue compared To all the other issues of
playing a game on a phone. – Now.
– Yeah. – So okay. So those don’t need a Samsung phone, But I wanted to show the one last object That Samsung announced which
does need a Samsung phone. And this, I am still testing. It is Samsung’s Smart Tag,
which is their competitor To Tile. – It’s…it looks fatter
than Tiles I’ve seen. – Yeah, It’s fat, it’s fat. It’s not skinny.

It uses Bluetooth. It will…it’ll track your devices. I believe what makes it
particularly interesting Is that, if someday there are
a lot of these in the world And there are a lot of
Samsung phones running The SmartThings Find app, They’ll create sort of a mesh network. And then you can find it, Even if it’s outside Bluetooth range. But you can’t do that yet Because nobody else is running
Samsung’s SmartThings Find Or has any of these, So there you go. But you do
need the Samsung phone for this. I am going to be testing
this throughout the week. It’ll be interesting to
see basically how easily I can find my keys. – That seems really weird
that you need a Samsung phone For it in two directions
because, one, there are plenty Of alternatives that you
don’t need a Samsung phone For, like Tile works with
pretty much anything. And the other one, things like this Have the same finding option. I’m pretty sure there’s the
same locate my earphones, Like feature, with Bluetooth
location in the case. – Yeah, well there’s, Samsung
is trying to consolidate all Of that around their new
SmartThings Find app… – Yeah. – which will find your phone,
it’ll find your earbuds, It’ll find your little taggy thingy, Giving it a little bit of that
Samsung software ecosystem, Samsung product ecosystem idea. – Which is, it very much seems often That fortunately they aren’t trying To mimic the style

And they sort of have
their own design philosophy And feature sets in mind
but it does seem often That Samsung is very interested
in being their own take On Apple in terms of ecosystem hegemony. – Yeah, they definitely want
to be developing an ecosystem Even if they don’t control
their own operating system. Okay, so… – Speaking of which,
there’s one feature I forgot To mention on this. – Really, what? – Voice-activated Bixby. – Hey!
– But not other voice things. You need to use the long tap
to bring up Google Assistant Or Alexa. – That’s good to know. Okay, great. So, the phone reviews
are going up this week. The earbud review is already up, right? – Yeah. – The SmartThings tag review Will be up pretty soon. – And if you’re interested
in the older models, The Ultra review for the Note
20, that’s been up for months. – Yeah, and the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE Is still our editor’s choice For most people’s Android phone. It came out just a couple of months ago. It’s even less expensive. It has a lot of good functionality
and long battery life. So, thank you all for watching. This has been One Cool Thing
with the new Samsung products. We will have continued coverage Of the new Samsung products on

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