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Phone Comparisons: Samsung Galaxy S21 vs S21+ vs S21 Ultra

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Samsung announced its Galaxy S21 flagships recently, three devices got announced as part of it. In this article, we’ll compare the Galaxy S21 vs Galaxy S21+ vs Galaxy S21 Ultra. The Galaxy S21 and S21+ are actually quite similar, while the Galaxy S21 Ultra stands above them, at least on paper. The Galaxy S21 and S21+ are similar from both design and specifications perspectives, actually, though there are differences.

As per usual, we’ll compare the devices across a number of categories, to try and help you make a purchasing decision. We’ll kick things off by listing their specifications, and will then move to the design, display, performance, battery, camera, and audio departments. That should give you a better idea as to what these phones have to offer, and how they compare. That being said, let’s kick off the Samsung Galaxy S21 vs S21+ vs S21 Ultra comparison, shall we.

Specs

Samsung Galaxy S21 / S21+Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
Screen size6.2-inch / 6.7-inch FullHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X display (120Hz adaptive refresh rate)6.8-inch WQHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X display (120Hz adaptive refresh rate)
Screen resolution2400 x 10803200 x 1440
SoCQualcomm Snapdragon 888 or Samsung Exynos 2100Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 or Samsung Exynos 2100
RAM8GB (LPDDR5)12GB/16GB (LPDDR5)
Storage128GB/256GB, non-expandable128GB/256GB, non-expandable (expandable in some countries)
Rear cameras12MP (f/1.8 aperture, 1.8um pixel size, OIS, Dual Pixel PDAF)
12MP (f/2.2 aperture, 1.4um pixel size, 120-degree FoV)
64MP (f/2.0 aperture, 0.8um pixel size, OIS, PDAF, Hybrid Optic 3X, 30X Space Zoom)
108MP (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)
Front cameras10MP (f/2.2 aperture, 1.22um pixel size, 80-degree FoV, Dual Pixel AF)40MP (f/2.2 aperture, 80-degree FoV, 0.7um pixel size, PDAF)
Battery4,000mAh / 4,800mAh, non-removable, fast battery charging, Fast Wireless Charging 2.0, Wireless PowerShare5,000mAh, non-removable, fast battery charging, Fast Wireless Charging 2.0, Wireless PowerShare
Dimensions151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9mm / 161 x 75.6 x 7.8mm165 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm
Weight171 grams / 202 grams229 grams
Connectivity5G, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C5G, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C
SecurityIn-display fingerprint scanner (ultrasonic)In-display fingerprint scanner (ultrasonic)
OSAndroid 11
One UI 3.0
Android 11
One UI 3.0
Price$799.99 / 999.99$1,199.99
BuySamsungSamsung

Samsung Galaxy S21 vs S21+ vs S21 Ultra: Design

When it comes to the design, the Galaxy S21 and S21+ resemble quite a bit. The two devices have the same camera setups, and thus the rear camera housing that looks the same on both phones. The Galaxy S21 Ultra’s is noticeably bigger, as it includes more cameras in there, and different sensors. The Galaxy S21 and S21+ also both have a flat display, unlike the ‘Ultra’ model.

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Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Hands On AH 7

Those two phones are not entirely identical when it comes to the design, though. The Galaxy S21+ is not only larger, but it comes with more premium materials. It is made out of metal and glass, like the ‘Ultra’ model, while the Galaxy S21 combines metal and plastic (backplate). All three phones have extremely thin bezels, and those bezels do seem to be uniform. A single display camera hole is included, and it is centered.

Samsung improved the design

Their rear camera housing is an extension of the frame. So, we’re looking at a camera housing made out of metal, which extends from the right side of the phone and also from the top. Cameras are vertically-aligned, and this design actually looks really good on the Galaxy S21 and S21+. It’s not that bad on the S21 Ultra either, but that phone includes more cameras, so the whole setup is wider and it looks a bit less aesthetically pleasing in comparison to the other two phones.

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The Galaxy S21 is, by far, the smallest and lightest smartphone in the lineup. It weighs 169 grams, compared to 200 and 227 grams the Galaxy S21+ and S21 Ultra offer. It is a lot shorter, and narrower than both other devices. The Galaxy S21+ is actually not that much shorter than the S21 Ultra, while it offers the same width. It is one mm thinner, though, as it offers similar thickness to the S21.

Samsung Galaxy S21 vs S21+ vs S21 Ultra: Display

All three of these phones have really compelling displays. The Galaxy S21 and S21+ offer fullHD+ panels, while the ‘Ultra’ model comes with a QHD+ display. The Galaxy S21 and S21+ displays are identical in every way except the size. They feature 6.2 and 6.7-inch displays, respectively. We’re looking at a fullHD+ (2400 x 1080) Dynamic AMOLED 2X display, which offer a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate, and support HDR10+ content. Both displays are protected by the Gorilla Glass Victus, and both are flat.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, on the other hand, comes with a 6.8-inch QHD+ (3200 x 1440) Dynamic AMOLED 2X display. That panel also offers a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate, and supports HDR10+ content. The Gorilla Glass Victus is applied on top of this panel as well. The Galaxy S20 Ultra’s display is curved, unlike the other two panels. That curve is not extreme, though, so keep that in mind.

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All three of these panels look excellent, to say the least. Samsung’s flagships usually offer the best panels in the market, or at least close to it. This time is no different. The displays on all three phones are extremely vibrant, those colors are punchy, while viewing angles are excellent. Blacks are as deep as they get. Thanks to the high refresh rate, they’ll also show content in utmost fluidity, and the adaptive refresh rate is here to keep the battery consumption in check.

Samsung Galaxy S21 vs S21+ vs S21 Ultra: Performance

When it comes to performance, you won’t really notice a difference between these three phones. All three perform admirably, as they should. These are the best possible devices that the number one smartphone OEM has to offer, so that’s what you’d expect. All three phones are fueled by the same SoC, the Snapdragon 888 in some regions, the Exynos 2100 in others. The Galaxy S21 and S21+ include 8GB of RAM, while the ‘Ultra’ model comes with 12GB or 16GB, depending on your choice.

All three phones can handle pretty much anything. No matter if you’re more of a casual user and use your phone for web browsing, taking pictures, and multimedia consumption… or you’re a gamer, perhaps, these phones can handle it. You can also process images and video without an issue here. Their 120Hz displays only help the overall feel of smoothness, and Samsung used top notch internals here as well when it comes to RAM and flash storage. These three phones are excellent performers.

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Samsung Galaxy S21 vs S21+ vs S21 Ultra: Battery

The Samsung Galaxy S21, S21+, and S21 Ultra a really good display size -> battery capacity ratio. The Galaxy S21 comes with a 4,000mAh battery, the S21+ includes a 4,800mAh battery, while the ‘Ultra’ model packs in a 5,000mAh unit. We didn’t really test battery performance in detail just yet, you’ll have to wait for our review for that. At this point, we can say that battery life definitely isn’t bad.

The Snapdragon 888 which is included in our review units is more battery friendly than its predecessor, and Samsung’s adaptive refresh rate displays are definitely helping with battery consumption. Most users should have no problems getting over 6 hours of screen-on-time on any given day. Smartphone usage differs a lot from one person to the next, though, so your mileage may vary drastically.

When it comes to charging, all three phones support USB PD 3.0 charging. You will be able to take advantage of 25W fast wired charging, and 15W wireless charging with all three devices. All three phones also offer Wireless PowerShare aka reverse wireless charging. So, all phones are well-equipped in the battery department.

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Samsung Galaxy S21 vs S21+ vs S21 Ultra: Cameras

The Samsung Galaxy S21 and S21+ have the exact same camera setups. You’ll find three 12-megapixel cameras on the back (wide, telephoto, and ultra-wide), while a 10-megapixel unit is included on the front. The Galaxy S21 Ultra is a completely different story, though. That handset includes four cameras on the back. A 108-megapixel main camera, two 10-megapixel telephoto units, and a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera. A 40-megapixel unit is included on its front side.

samsung galaxy s21 AH 5

All three phones are capable of taking some great photos. The Galaxy S21 Ultra can provide the most details in a single shot, though. Its 108-megapixel camera provides 12-megapixel results with really large pixels. That’s also a great combination for low light photography, as the Galaxy S21 Ultra does a really good job in that regard as well. The ‘Space Zoom’ (100x) feature is back, and it’s better than ever.

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The Galaxy S21 and S21+ are nothing to scoff at either, quite the contrary. They can take some great-looking shots as well. In terms of zoom, it goes up to 30x. Low-light and ultra-wide photos are also really good, which is something you’ll see in our full review. All in all, the Galaxy S21 Ultra definitely leads the pack in the camera department, but the Galaxy S21 and S21+ are excellent as well.

Audio

When it comes to audio, you won’t be disappointed, that’s for sure. All three phones are equipped with stereo speakers, and audio, in general, is tuned by AKG. Samsung’s flagship smartphones usually deliver great speakers, and these are no different. The speakers bring a lot of punch, they’re loud, and they’re also quite sharp. There’s not much to complain about here, to be quite honest.

Neither of the three devices has a 3.5mm headphone jack, though that was to be expected. You can always use Type-C earphones, utilize a dongle, or connect via Bluetooth. Once you do, presuming your headphones are good, you’ll be able to get really good sound out of these phones. The audio is well-balanced across the spectrum.

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