The progression and evolution of Samsung has not gone the way I would've foreseen it. In the beginning when I first became a new fan, it was the Samsung S3. I've owned the S3, LG G3, S6 Edge, S7 Edge, S8, Note 8, S9, Note 9, S10 Plus, Note 10 Plus, S20 Plus, Note 20 Ultra, and now the S21 Ultra. What got me on Samsung? I felt Samsung actually listened to consumers and gave us the room to help with development. "The next best thing" It was a work in progress with every release and I felt like I was a part of it. I was also not an Apple fan with the limited custom features and controls. Fast forward to the S21 series. There's a saying, you either die a hero, or live long enough to become the villain. It appears the entire time, Samsung was the villain in the making. We knew Samsung wanted to prove Apple wrong, but I didn't realize Samsung wanted to actually become Apple. They mocked Apple only to follow Apple, what a bunch of hypocrites. The peak of Samsung when I felt it was the people's company was the S10 plus. The S10+ offered it all, the little FanBoy items that made me feel life was good with Samsung: headphone jack, heart rate sensor, MST/NFC mobile payment technology, great screen, thin bezel, in screen fingerprint scanner, included AKG headphones, fast charger, and expanded storage. Do you remember? Then the slow decline: the Note10 Plus released with no headphone jack and the loss of MST mobile pay. Then the S20 Plus, no headphone jack, no MST, no heart rate sensor. And now, the S21 Ultra with no headphone jack, no MST, no heart rate sensor, no headphones, no fast charger and no expandable storage.What have we gain with the S21 Ultra? At a high cost, the screen is the best smartphone screen in the industry. Barnone with its 120hz refresh rate and adaptive resolution. The in-screen fingerprint scanner is upgraded, the camera is now among the best in a very crowded and competitive pool.After using the S21 Ultra for a few days, I was underwhelmed, coming from the S20 Plus. I found myself missing the S20 Plus, and more the S10 Plus, even with the new upgrades. I've lost enthusiasm and confidence in Samsung. The S21 Ultra's weight and size is not for me, I found myself with hand fatigue and not really enjoying using the S21 Ultra. The SPen support is nice, but come on Samsung, this is a Galaxy S phone. The Note 20 Ultra is actually the better phone than the S21 Ultra if you want productivity and comfort.There's no doubt the performance is noticeable particularly the high resolution and high refresh rate with the new Snapdragon 888, 12 gigs of memory and faster storage speeds. But was it an advancement worth upgrading to...my 100% sure answer, definitive no. There is a lacking of quality and value that I look for and want. And in a way, Samsung I have a feeling knows that. The pandemic and consumer behavior may have had something to do with it, but the S21 Ultra despite its advancements, left out too many great distinguishing Samsung features that defined a Samsung Galaxy S-series phone. The pre-order deal was so enticing to me, I jumped on it, with $700 of my old S20plus to trade up, and to also get $260 off of added buys - so I got the Buds Pro, S-pen, and a Samsung Case. But I've decided to keep my S20 Plus and paying the difference.What I plan to do now is keep the S21 Ultra as a backup phone and continue to use my S20 Plus and Notw 20 Ultra. Truth is I still have the S10 Plus and continue to be completely nostalgic about it -- putting my sim card in it from time to time reminiscing how it could've been instead of where we are now in the Samsung Galaxy S Line Up.Imagine the S21 Ultra having these features: MTS/NFC payments, heart rate sensor, expandable storage, exceptional camera, best industry screen, IP68, Invictus protection, 120hz refresh rate with high resolution, 5000ma battery and everything else it has.That would be something amazing and exciting!!!If you still own the S10 Plus, keep it, if you own the S20 Plus, keep it. The S21 Ultra, in my humble opinion is Samsung reducing itself to become the villain. Don't start another lease agreement, extend your contract, or get into another debt on the S21 Ultra. It's harsh and it's my opinion.Rumor is we may not see the next Note this year, which disturbs me even more....stay tuned. Samsung is trending toward Foldables, which I just don't get.
Is this the decline of Samsung? Likely not. But it is a slow decline of my loyalty and admiration for Samsung. As a techie enthusiast and a general user, like many others, I get excited each year over the prospect of the next great thing that will help me live my life and manage my day. Samsung has been a part of that center. But, IMHO, Samsung has slowly declined since the S10 Plus. "You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain." Harvey Dent, Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight. Samsung embodies this. Originally touting itself as the anti-Apple and speaking to guys like me. My relationship with Samsung started with the S3. But I did switch to the LG G3 afterwards and skipped the S4 & S5, as I felt Samsung didn't have all I needed. LG was the rebel underdog I had cheered for. I admired LG for it's bold creative and innovative ideas every year, but they just didn't execute and deliver -- the price of LG was the failure to be practical. So, I slowly gravitated towards Samsung Galaxy, after the LG G3, (notable is the LG G3 was absolutely the best and legendary phone), I owned Samsung in this progression: Note 3, S3, Note 4, S6 Edge, Note 5, S7 Edge, S8, Note 8, S9, Note 9, S10 Plus, Note 10 Plus, S20 Plus, Note 20 Ultra, and now the S20 Ultra. Samsung was the company that I trusted each year to delivery "counter-Apple" features that consumers asked for and wanted, and set itself apart with Android customization, Headphone Jack, Expandable Storage, IR Blaster, Heart Rate Sensor, and MST Payments, just a few I LOVED about Samsung. In addition, the perk of Samsung was you always knew you would get the absolute best panels. What I long for was Samsung to fix their software shell, which they did with One UI. Then I had wanted them to fix their speaker game which they did with AKG tuning. They it was battery life, which One UI helped with and optimization as well as larger battery. It was looking good.The S10 Plus was the peak of Samsung and the slow decline since. The S10 Plus had still the headphone jack, MST payments, heart rate sensor. After the S10, I had hoped for better battery life, higher refresh rate, better button placement, improved in screen finger print scanner and keep everything else, earphone jack, MST payments, heart rate sensor. We thrived on mocking Apple having gotten rid of the headphone jack then. But then the slow decline of Samsung's identity, and the shift.Note10Plus - the head phone jack disappeared. MST disappeared.S20 Plus/Note 120 Plus - the heart rate sensor disappearedS21 Ultra - the expandable storage is gone and also the charger and headphones.All those little things that made Samsung unique is now gone. They had become the villain.Is the S21 Ultra a great phone, compared to the competitors, absolutely yes, but at the cost of so many identifiable unique Samsung features that leave me no longer loyal to Samsung. This is a 180 strategic positioning of Samsung that leaves me open to other companies now. However, with the competition thinning, I hated to hear LG is no longer in the game. So, it leaves Apple, Motorola, OPPO, Xaomi, One Plus, and only a short list. I'm looking at switching to Apple, I can't believe it.Should you buy the Samsung Ultra, upgrade, etc?If you already have an S10, S10 Plus, Note 10 Plus, S20 series, the answer is NO. Save your money, and consider your phone to still be very capable. In fact, if you can get the S10 Plus, S20 Plus, or Note 20 Ultra,I still kept my S10 Plus and S20 Plus and will continue to use it. I will keep my S21 Ultra, but only as a back up. That's right! A brand new flagship, as a backup. The S21 Ultra is too big, bulky, and doesn't deliver enough compared to either my S10 Plus or S20 plus. My daily driver is the S20 Plus. I do carry 2 phones, the S20 Plus and the Note 20 Ultra. Despite having dramatic nostalgia over what could've been, I long for the days of the S10 plus and dream of Samsung building up from that. Even the S20 lost the heart rate sensor and headphone jack, but it was negotiated with a great panel and high refresh rate at 120hz with great battery performance, good camera set up, one hand usability, 120hz panel, etc.. The S21 Ultra just doesn't deliver enough, the battery life is great, but the usability doesn't outpace the S20 Plus. Too many sacrifices plague the S21 Series. Going back to 2020, what the heck was up with the Note 20 basic model. And btw, I don't care about the S-pen compatibility on the S21 Ultra. That's what the Note series is for and btw, I hear Samsung might cancel the Note series, it appears Samsung is going through strategic shift to their foldables and other innovative screen form factors. Let's see what the future holds. For the year 2021, it's a disappointing January so far, and I DO NOT recommend the S21 Ultra. My best advice is the get the S10 Plus or S20 Plus. The S20 Ultra was and is still a fiasco.