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Phone Comparisons: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

AH Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Galaxy Note 20 Ultra comparison
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Following the Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Galaxy S20 Ultra comparison, it’s time to compare the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. This comparison makes a lot of sense as well, for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the Galaxy Note 20 Ulta was the company’s flagship before the Galaxy S21 series arrived. Second, both of those smartphones support an S Pen stylus.

Granted, the Galaxy S21 Ultra does not ship with the stylus, but it does support it. The Galaxy S and Note series devices have never been closer in terms of functionality than at this point. The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is still more than a viable purchasing option, so some of you are probably wondering if it’s worth getting over the Galaxy S21 Ultra. That’s why we’re here to compare these two smartphones. Let’s start with the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra comparison, shall we.

Specs

Samsung Galaxy S21 UltraSamsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
Screen size6.8-inch WQHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X display (120Hz adaptive refresh rate)6.9-inch WQHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X display (120Hz)
Screen resolution3200 x 14403088 x 1440
SoCQualcomm Snapdragon 888 / Samsung Exynos 2100Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus / Samsung Exynos 990
RAM12GB/16GB (LPDDR5)12GB (LPDDR5)
Storage128GB/256GB, non-expandable (expandable in some countries)128GB/512GB; Expandable (up to 1TB)
Rear cameras108MP (f/1.8 aperture, OIS, 0.8um pixel size. Produces 12MP images with 2.4um pixel size)
12MP (ultrawide, Dual Pixel AF, 120-degree FoV, f/2.2 aperture, 1.4um pixel size)
10MP (telephoto, Dual Pixel AF, OIS, f/2.4 aperture, 1.22um pixel size, optical zoom 3x)
10MP (telephoto, Dual Pixel AF, OIS, f/4.9 aperture, 1.22um pixel size, 10x optical zoom, 100x Space Zoom)
108MP (f/1.8 aperture, 0.8um pixel size, PDAF, OIS, 79-degree FoV)
12MP (telephoto, 1.0um pixel size, 20-degree FoV, f/3.0 aperture) -> Space Zoom (50x), 5x optical
12MP (ultrawide, 1.4um pixel size, 120-degree FoV, f/2.2 aperture)
Front cameras40MP (f/2.2 aperture, 80-degree FoV, 0.7um pixel size, PDAF)10MP (f/2/2 aperture, 1.22um pixel size, 80-degree FoV)
Battery5,000mAh, non-removable, fast battery charging (USB PD 3.0), Fast Wireless Charging 2.0, Wireless PowerShare4,500mAh, Non-Removable, 25W Fast Battery Charging, Qi charging (15W), Wireless PowerShare (4.5W)
Dimensions165 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm164.8 x 77.2 x 8.1mm
Weight229 grams208 grams
Connectivity5G, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C5G, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C
SecurityIn-display fingerprint scanner (ultrasonic)In-display fingerprint scanner (ultrasonic)
OSAndroid 11
One UI 3.0
Android 10
One UI
Price$1,199.99$1,299
BuySamsungSamsung

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: Design

When it comes to the design, one thing you’ll notice immediately is that the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has a much boxier design. Its edges are sharp, while the Galaxy S21 Ultra comes with rounded edges. Both smartphones offer extremely thin bezels, almost non-existent ones. They also both ship with curved displays, and a centered display camera hole. That camera hole is quite small, by the way.

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You can easily differentiate them from the front based on their shape. From the back, it’s also easy to see which is which based on the camera housing. The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra offers a regular camera housing with three vertically-aligned cameras. The Galaxy S21 Ultra takes a somewhat different approach. The phone’s camera housing is an extension of its frame. Both phones offer rather large camera housings which protrude on the back, by the way.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 17

Both devices are made out of metal and glass, and both are extremely slippery. Using a case with both of them is certainly a good idea. They do feel different in the hand, due to the different shape, it’s all a matter of preference. The Galaxy S21 Ultra is heavier than the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, quite a bit. It is a bit taller, and a bit narrower as well. Both of these phones look and feel great, it’s all a matter of your personal preference.

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Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: Display

Both of these phones have extremely large displays, while the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra’s is slightly larger. It comes with a 6.9-inch panel, while the Galaxy S21 Ultra features a 6.8-inch display. That is not something you’ll notice, though, as they’re both quite large. The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra features a 6.9-inch QHD+ (3088 x 1440) Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel with a 120Hz refresh rate. That panel also supports HDR10+ content, and is protected by the Gorilla Glass Victus.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra’s display, on the other hand, is a 6.8-inch WQHD+ (3200 x 1440) Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel with a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate. This panel also supports HDR10+ content, and it’s also protected by Gorilla Glass Victus. Both displays are curved, and both come with a display camera hole. The question is, how are they in real life? Well, the short answer is… excellent!

That is something we’re used to when it comes to Samsung’s flagship panels, though. Both of these displays are quite vivid, and the viewing angles are also excellent. The blacks are deep, as they should be, while both panels are also quite bright. You’ll be hard-pressed to find something to complain about here, as both displays are amongst the best on the market at the moment.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: Performance

In regards to performance, both devices are top notch. The Galaxy S21 Ultra is technically a more powerful smartphone. It does come with a more powerful processor, but you’ll need really specific conditions in order to notice that. Both phones can handle the most demanding games for Android without a problem. Both are also doing an excellent job in pretty much every other way. Multimedia consumption, image processing, video processing, browsing… they’re both fast and fluid in all these scenarios.

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If you are looking to get a more powerful phone, on paper, the Galaxy S21 Ultra is the way to go. The Snapdragon 888 and Exynos 2100 bring various improvements to the table. Those are more powerful processors, and chances are they’ll keep this phone running at full speed for longer. At the moment, though, both phones are excellent performers. No matter which you decide to get, you can expect excellent performance.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: Battery

When it comes to the battery life, both are pretty good, but the Galaxy S21 Ultra is better. The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra comes with a 4,500mAh battery, while the S21 Ultra includes a 5,000mAh battery. That, in combination with a more power efficient SoC, and adaptive display refresh rate, results in a phone that will offer more battery life. The difference is no monumental, though, and both phones do have excellent battery life.

You can expect to get over 6 hours of screen on time with both devices with regular use. Usage scenarios differ vastly from one person to the next, though, so keep that in mind. If you’re performing something power-demanding, the battery will last less. Overall, though, battery life is excellent on both phones, and some of you may even get well over 6 hours of screen on time on these phones.

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Both handsets support USB PD 3.0 charging

Both the Galaxy S21 Ultra and Note 20 Ultra support the same USB PD 3.0 standard. With a default 25W charger that Samsung usually ships with its devices, you should be able to charge each device to 50% in about half an hour. Do note that in some markets the Galaxy S21 Ultra does not include a charging brick, though.

When it comes to wireless charging, both support it. Fast Wireless Charging 2.0, which should provide you with 15W wireless charging. Wireless PowerShare aka reverse wireless charging is also supported on both smartphones.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: Cameras

In regards to cameras, the Galaxy S21 Ultra does bring some notable improvements. The device includes a brand new 108-megapixel ISOCELL sensor for its main camera. This is Samsung’s second-gen sensor, and it performs really well. The images during the day end up being sharp, and handle HDR situations really well. Nighttime shots are just as good, and an improvement compared to the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

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Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 35

The sensor allows for more than enough light into the shot, and the phone does a good job processing those images. You’ll notice more details in the images than the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra can provide. Both are pretty good, though, and the difference is not that huge, though it’s noticeable. Wide-angle shots are good, and the same goes for optical zoom shots. The Galaxy S21 Ultra also offers 100x Space Zoom thanks to its periscope setup, which is something the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra can’t provide. Still, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra also delivers a more than capable camera setup, they’re both really good in this regard.

Audio

When it comes to audio playback, the two devices are quite similar. Both come with great speakers, and audio tuned by AKG. You’ll be getting rich, loud sound out of the speakers on both devices. You’ll even get some bass as part of the offering, while the sound is well-balanced. These are amongst the best stereo speakers on a smartphone.

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Unfortunately, neither device comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack, though that’s something we’re used to seeing by now. You can always utilize a Type-C port, and use a dongle. Alternatively, you can connect Bluetooth earphones or headphones to the device. Sound via a good pair of headphones is really good as well. It’s well-balanced across the spectrum, and there’s nothing negative to say here, really.