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By | 08/09/2022

Galaxy S21
lineup is impressive. From 5G support to a new camera setup with better performance, in that location’due south a lot to be excited about. Heck, theS21 Ultra even borrowed 1 of the Note’s marquee features:S-Pen stylus support. That’southward right, yous can at present utilise a stylus to write or describe on one of Samsung’south S-serial phones.

All three phones run
Android 11
with Samsung’s 1 UI 3.1 proprietary skin. That means y’all get the best Android currently has to offer (until Android 12 comes out), but you besides have access to improvements and tweaks Samsung has fabricated to the operating system. For case, the S21 has ii different types of floating notifications and you lot can now add effects to your video calls.

Below I’ll prove yous some of the best features I’ve discovered on the Galaxy S21 Ultra then far.

How to turn the S21 off

If you long-printing the power button expecting to turn the phone off, you’re in for a surprise. A Bixby surprise, to exist exact. That’south correct, belongings in the power button will launch Bixby, instead of giving y’all the selection to turn the phone off. Just don’t fret, yous have a few different options to power your S21 down or restart it:

  • Swipe down from the top of the screen to view the quick settings panel, so tap on the power push in the meridian-right corner.
  • Long press the side push and volume downwards button at the same time until the power menu shows upwardly.
  • Modify the side push button to function as the ability push button by going to
    Advanced features
    Side central
    and select
    Power off bill of fare. From now on, long-pressing the power push button will bring up the power bill of fare.


The S21 Ultra will work with an S Pen. Cool, right?

Sarah Tew/CNET

Southward-Pen support on the S21 Ultra

This isn’t a hidden feature, so much as it just isn’t all that obvious unless you’ve been explicitly told about it. Y’all run across, the S21 Ultra lacks anywhere to store the S Pen, like the Note series does. So if you bought the phone because you wanted the all-time Samsung has to offer, you wouldn’t know any ameliorate.

The S21 Ultra will piece of work with any Milky way Annotation series or Galaxy Tab Due south series Southward-Pen stylus. Or you can opt for the S21 Ultra instance that includes an S Pen.

If you have an Southward Pen, all you need to do to start using it with the Ultra is to touch on the tip of it to the screen and it should simply work. If you hover the pen just higher up the screen’southward surface, you lot’ll see a little icon on the brandish showing that it recognizes the stylus. One time you touch information technology to the screen, the Air Control icon volition show upward, letting y’all take quick notes, screenshots and so on.


Smart select has to be one of the all-time subconscious features on any Galaxy phone.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Take better screenshots

Every Galaxy S21 has Samsung’s somewhat subconscious Border panels that tuck away shortcuts to apps, features and information. You may have noticed a slightly transparent line along the right-side of your S21’s screen. That’s where you access the hidden panels. Out of the box, i of the screenshot panel is turned off.

It’southward easily one of the virtually useful panels as it gives you several options to do more than just capture your screen. The panel is really called Smart Select, and information technology gives you the tools to capture just a portion of your screen using the rectangle or oval, tape an animated epitome (or GIF) or pin a screenshot, maybe with a telephone number or address, to your screen.

To turn on the Smart Capture panel go to Settings>Display >Edge Panels>Panels and tap on the circle in a higher placeSmart select. Going frontward, you only need to open the Edge console and swipe between the panels y’all have added until you find smart select, then select the tool you want to utilise to take a screenshot.


Video calls tin take on a dissimilar look with new video phone call effects.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Add together effects to your video calls

E’er see someone use those fancy backgrounds on Zoom? The ones that make it expect similar you’re somewhere else? Well, yous can practice that on the Galaxy S21 in your video calls. To select your effect, become to
Advanced features
Video call furnishings. Plough it on, then select whether you desire your background simply blurred, a color or a specific image from your photos.

Turn on Floating notifications for piece of cake access to alerts

Android eleven brought the launch of Google’due south new Bubbles notification feature, which looks and works a lot similar Facebook Messenger’s Chatheads feature. That is, instead of having to swipe down the notification panel to view alerts, a floating circle gives you quick access to your conversations at all times. Bubbles does the same affair, but for more apps, such equally Google’s Messages.

Bubbling joins Samsung’s version of the same feature, called Smart pop-upward view. But before you can utilize either one, you’ll need to enable it.

Go to
Advanced settings
Floating notifications. Pick the choice you desire to apply, both of which take a quick animation on the screen to prove how they work. Experiment with both Bubbles and the Smart pop-up characteristic to figure out which one y’all prefer, even if it’s neither of them.


Bubbles or not? That is the question.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Lock screen widgets

Samsung’s Always On Display feature has long been a favorite of mine. It makes it easy to quickly run across data or control audio playback, but with the Galaxy S21, you lot can practise even more with it. If yous get to
Lock screen
you tin can plow on each widget you’d like to use, along with
Show on Always On Display. And then, whenever your phone is locked and the AOD is agile, double-tap the clock to view all of your widgets.


Lock Screen widgets are where it’s at.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Search for annihilation on your phone

Having problem finding an app, contact or file? Swipe down from the acme of the screen to review the quick settings shortcut console, then swipe downward once more to view the full quick settings panel. Tap the search icon at the top of the screen and type your query.

If you’re however on the fence about the S21,
exist sure to read our review. The S21 Ultra has some fancy camera tricks —
here’s how to use them. If you’re curious about the future of Android and what features it’ll bring, Android 12 is currently in beta and we have a roundup of our
favorite features thus far. When your phone starts to feel a bit sluggish,
give it a tune-upwardly.