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Phone Comparisons: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs OnePlus 8 Pro

AH Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra vs OnePlus 8 Pro comparison
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In this article, we’ll compare the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs OnePlus 8 Pro. Those are the two most powerful smartphones these two companies have to offer at the moment. Do note that the OnePlus 8 Pro is one generation behind the Galaxy S21 Ultra, though. The OnePlus 9 series is expected to arrive in a couple of months to rival the Galaxy S21 series. Having said that, the OnePlus 8 Pro is more than powerful enough to be included in this comparison, which is why we’re here.

The OnePlus 8 Pro got announced in April last year, while the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra was announced in January 2021. Both of these smartphones are quite large, and they’re not exactly that light either. They do have similar build materials but do feel different in the hand, which is also something we’ll talk about. We’ll kick things off by listing their specs, and then move to the design, display, performance, and some other categories. That being said, let’s kick off the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs OnePlus 8 Pro comparison, shall we.

Specs

Samsung Galaxy S21 UltraOnePlus 8 Pro
Screen size6.8-inch WQHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X display (120Hz adaptive refresh rate)6.78-inch QHD+ Fluid AMOLED display (120Hz), MEMC
Screen resolution3200 x 14403168 x 1440
SoCQualcomm Snapdragon 888 / Samsung Exynos 2100Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
RAM12GB/16GB (LPDDR5)8GB/12GB (LPDDR5)
Storage128GB/256GB, non-expandable128GB/256GB (UFS 3.0); non-expandable
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)
48MP (Sony IMX689 sensor, f/1.7 aperture, 1.12um pixel size, OIS, EIS, PDAF, laser autofocus)
48MP (Sony IMX586 sensor, f/2.2 aperture, 120-degree FoV)
8MP (telephoto zoom, 3x optical hybrid, f/2.4 aperture, OIS)
5MP (color filter, f/2.4 aperture)
Front cameras40MP (f/2.2 aperture, 80-degree FoV, 0.7um pixel size, PDAF)16MP (Sony IMX471, f/2.4 aperture, EIS, fixed focus)
Battery5,000mAh, non-removable, fast battery charging (USB PD 3.0), Fast Wireless Charging 2.0, Wireless PowerShare4,510mAh, non-removable, 30W fast battery charging, 30W fast wireless charging, 3W reverse charging
Dimensions165 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm165.3 x 74.4 x 8.5mm
Weight229 grams199 grams
Connectivity5G, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi, USB Type-CLTE, 5G, NFC, Bluetooth 5.1, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C
SecurityIn-display fingerprint scanner (ultrasonic)In-display fingerprint scanner (optical)
OSAndroid 11
One UI 3.0
Android 10 (upgradable)
OxygenOS
Price$1,199.99$899 / $999
BuySamsungOnePlus

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs OnePlus 8 Pro: Design

When it comes to the design, both of these phones are made out of metal and glass. Both of them are also quite curvy, and they fit in the hand well. The thing is both of them are quite slippery, mainly because of the materials they’re made out of. The size doesn't help much either, it makes them even harder to handle, especially with one hand. Both of them have curved displays as well.

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The Galaxy S21 Ultra has more heft to it, which is not surprising, considering that it’s almost 30 grams heavier. The two phones are almost equally tall, while they’re similar in terms of width as well, though the Galaxy S21 Ultra is a bit wider. It is also slightly thicker, but both are under 9mm thick. You’ll notice a display camera hole on both phones, though it’s placed in different spots of the display. Both devices also offer really thin bezels all around.

OnePlus 8 Pro AM AH 2

The Galaxy S21 Ultra’s camera module on the back is much larger, and it also delivers a completely different design. Both camera modules protrude on the back quite a bit, though. You’ll notice company brandings on the back of each of these smartphones. Both the Galaxy S21 Ultra and OnePlus 8 Pro feel like quality smartphones, there’s no doubt about that. If you like large smartphones, and don’t mind the slippery factor, these two are great choices.

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Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs OnePlus 8 Pro: Display

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and OnePlus 8 Pro both offer quite large displays. The Galaxy S21 Ultra comes with a 6.8-inch WQHD+ (3200 x 1440) Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel. That display is curved, and it offers a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate. It does support HDR10+ content as well, and it’s protected by the Gorilla Glass Victus. OnePlus 8 Pro, on the other hand, offers a display that is almost the same in terms of size.

The OnePlus 8 Pro features a 6.78-inch WQHD+ (3168 x 1440) Fluid AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate. That display is also curved, and it supports HDR10+ content. The Gorilla Glass 5 is here to protect this display. The Galaxy S21 Ultra’s display is technically more advanced, and better protected, but in real life, both of these displays are excellent. They’re easily amongst the best panels on the market at the moment.

These two displays are incredibly sharp, while the colors are vivid on both of them. Both displays get quite bright when needed, and those blacks are as deep as they should be on OLED displays. The viewing angles are excellent on both smartphones as well. There’s really not much to complain about here, well, in fact, we don’t have a single complaint here. The refresh rate only helps things, as it keeps everything smooth. Do note that the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s panel is more battery-friendly, though, as that’s an adaptive refresh rate we’re talking about here.

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Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs OnePlus 8 Pro: Performance

The performance is excellent on both smartphones, to say the least. The Galaxy S21 Ultra includes a newer and more powerful processor (the Snapdragon 888 or Exynos 2100, depending on the market), but considering that the Snapdragon 865 inside the OnePlus 8 Pro is still immensely powerful, you won’t feel a major difference in terms of performance. The Galaxy S21 Ultra may load some games slightly faster, but that’s about it.

Both phones offer plenty of RAM on the inside. The Galaxy S21 Ultra offers 12GB or 16GB, while the OnePlus 8 Pro comes in 8GB and 12GB RAM flavors. LPDDR5 RAM is included in both cases. The Galaxy S21 Ultra utilizes UFS 3.1 flash storage, while the OnePlus 8 Pro comes with UFS 3.0 storage. The day-to-day performance will be excellent no matter which of the two phones you get.

Both of these phones will fly in regular usage, no matter if we’re talking about browsing, consuming multimedia, multitasking, taking pictures… basically anything. Even gaming is excellent on both phones. You can run any 3D game that is available in the Google Play Store with ease, no matter which device you end up getting. They’re both immensely powerful in terms of hardware, and also well-optimized on the software side of things.

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Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs OnePlus 8 Pro: Battery

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is one of the best battery life smartphones we’ve used, especially when it comes to high-end devices. Having said that, the OnePlus 8 Pro is not a slouch in that department either, not at all. Still, it cannot reach the Galaxy S21 Ultra heights. The Galaxy S21 Ultra does include a larger battery pack as well, it has a 5,000mAh battery, compared to a 4,510mAh unit in the OnePlus 9 Pro.

That, on top of the fact that the Galaxy S21 Ultra uses an adaptive refresh rate display, makes it pull ahead in terms of battery life. If you’re not a heavy user, the Galaxy S21 Ultra could be a two-day smartphone for you. It can easily pull 8 hours of screen-on-time, at least it was able to do it for us. Your mileage may vary if you’re gaming a lot, or doing something else that is processor-intensive. The OnePlus 8 Pro can cross the 7-hour screen-on-time mark with ease as well.

Both smartphones offer fast charging, though the OnePlus 8 Pro offers slightly faster charging. The Galaxy S21 Ultra offers 25W fast wired, and 15W wireless charging. On top of that, you have access to Wireless PowerShare aka reverse wireless charging. The OnePlus 8 Pro, on the other hand, offers 30W fast wired and wireless charging. It also offers reverse wireless charging, though it’s a bit slower than the one Galaxy S21 Ultra has to offer.

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Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs OnePlus 8 Pro: Cameras

When it comes to cameras, the situation is quite interesting. The OnePlus 8 Pro is a major improvement compared to its predecessor, but the Galaxy S21 Ultra is one of the best camera smartphones in the market at the moment. Samsung improved upon what the Galaxy S20 Ultra had to offer, while also avoiding all issues the Galaxy S20 Ultra had at first. The phone’s 108-megapixel main camera sensor can capture tons of detail, and balance shots really well, regardless of the setting.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra AH 11

It does a great job during the day and night. Do note that it does lean towards more saturated shots, with rich colors… though that’s not surprising considering this is Samsung’s smartphone. The ultra-wide camera also does an excellent job in pretty much all conditions, though it cannot match the main one. The OnePlus 8 Pro is really good in both good lighting and low light, though a step behind the Galaxy S21 Ultra. The OnePlus 9 Pro may change that, though, we’ll see.

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It captures really detailed shots with lots of detail. In good lighting, the difference is barely visible in terms of quality, but there is some difference in low light. The Galaxy S21 Ultra also has great telephoto capabilities, which are kind of unique. It can provide images with 30x zoom that are perfectly usable, as long as you’re in good lighting. If you need 100x zoom, you have that option as well.

Audio

Audio is excellent on both smartphones. Both of these devices have stereo speakers, which are really good. The sound on the Galaxy S21 Ultra is tuned by AKG, and it shows. The Galaxy S21 Ultra speakers do seem to be a bit louder and clearer, though the difference is not that big at all. Both smartphones provide excellent sound via their speakers. The situation is also really good when it comes to audio via headphones.

Neither of the two phones has a 3.5mm headphone jack, but if you hook up your headphones via a Type-C port or via Bluetooth, you’ll get really good audio. You’ll need a good pair of headphones for that, though, of course. The sound is well balanced across the spectrum, lows, mids, and highs sound really good on both phones, with no major differences.

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