What’s the difference between the Samsung Galaxy S21, S21 + and S21 Ultra?


In 2021, Samsung introduced its flagships a month earlier than in 2020. And if traditionally the South Korean manufacturer presented new models at the MWC, now he chooses the date himself, without sharing attention with anyone. And the late release of the iPhone 12 line played a role – Samsung decided to hold its Unpacked presentation as close as possible to Apple in the fight for the top market segment.

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Traditionally, the Galaxy S series received a set of three models – the compact version represents the Galaxy S21, the Galaxy S21 + demonstrates good autonomy, and the Galaxy S21 Ultra looks the most uncompromising. The line turned out to be bright and interesting.

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Samsung Galaxy S21, S21 + and S21 Ultra design

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra design

The new line clearly attracts attention and is clearly different from its predecessor. All three models are made in the same style, but the camera block is no longer a separate element on the rear panel, but flows into the side frame. The solution is original, but understandable – the protruding rectangle will now cling less to the fabric of the pocket, and the frame will become even more stable.

Samsung Galaxy S21, S21 + and S21 Ultra

At the same time, in the two junior models, the flash is located separately from the corner, in the body. On the other hand, the S21 Ultra has a rather large panel with cameras, and there was a place for a flash.

The back panel of the S21 + and S21 Ultra is made of matte glass with Gorilla Glass 7 protection, but the younger model received a plastic case, albeit a new generation. Of course, the manufacturer assures of its special strength and even awarded the name Glastic (from glass + plastic). The company already has experience in releasing flagships with a plastic cover – the recent Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy 20 FE are clear confirmation of this.

The entire front panel is given to the screen, the round cutout for the camera remains in the middle. It is worth noting the rejection of the curved screen, the effective solution complicates the design and repair too much. But the scope turned out to be as narrow as possible.

Samsung Galaxy S21 and S21 + design

Samsung Galaxy S21 and S21 + design

The arrangement of the buttons has not changed: on the right edge, which is closest to the cameras, there is a volume rocker and a power supply. There is no 3.5 mm audio jack, but this is no longer surprising. And the slot for two nanoSIM cards is now located at the bottom, to the left of the traditional place for the USB Type C port. To the right of it is the speaker, which has also moved from its previous place. There is a pair of microphones on the top panel, while the third is on the bottom.

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Samsung Galaxy S21, S21 + and S21 Ultra colors

The color options have also been updated, this time the bright base colors have been replaced by calmer and noble ones. The Galaxy S21 can be seen in purple, pink, white and gray.

Samsung Galaxy S21 colors

Samsung Galaxy S21 colors

The Galaxy S21 + is available in purple, black, and silver. In addition, users can choose two more exclusive colors: red and pink, although they are only available when buying a smartphone on the official Samsung website.

Samsung Galaxy S21 + colors

Samsung Galaxy S21 + colors

The top Galaxy S21 Ultra received two basic colors – black and silver, as well as three exclusive: titanium, blue and bronze.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra colors

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra colors

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Samsung Galaxy S21, S21 + and S21 Ultra water resistance

Samsung Galaxy S21, S21 + and S21 Ultra water resistance

The water protection class remains the same – IP68. This is enough for everyday use. The smartphone is not afraid of accidental drops on it and, in theory, is able to survive half an hour of swimming at a depth of up to one and a half meters. But it’s better not to experiment, especially in sea water or in a pool.

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Samsung Galaxy S21, S21 + and S21 Ultra display

The display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass Victus. The younger model (S21) received a screen diagonal in 6.2 inch, medium (S21 +) – 6.7 inch, and the S21 Ultra screen has become slightly smaller than that of the previous “Ultra” – 6.8 inch… Large size is good, but ergonomics are also important. The first two models received a resolution of 2400 × 1080 pixels (Flat FHD +), which is less than the previous generation. But Samsung reasonably decided not to pursue beautiful numbers and focus on quality. But Galaxy S21 Ultra received the ultimate resolution of 3200 × 1440 pixels with a density of 511 ppi. This is due to the larger diagonal of the device and its positioning. Of course, the quality of the screens has improved over the previous generation. Although just a year ago it seemed impossible.

Samsung Galaxy S21 vs S21 + vs S21 Ultra comparison

The displays of the new series differ from their predecessors, striking in brightness and viewing angles. For users looking for the best display available on the market, the S21 Ultra is worth recommending. It is she who will become a benchmark for competitors in the coming year.

Samsung Galaxy S21, S21 + and S21 Ultra screen

The displays of the new flagships are called Dynamic AMOLED 2X. The screen brightness of the two younger models is 1200 nits, while in the S21 Ultra it reaches 1500 nits! Realized 100% color volume, which makes the color reproduction realistic even in bright daytime. Colors remain vibrant and saturated, and contrast ratios up to 3,000,000: 1. This allows you to work out the details even in the darkest and lightest areas of the frame and immerse yourself as much as possible in the displayed picture.

The refresh rate of the screen reaches 120 Hz, and in the younger models it can change in the range from 48 to 120 Hz, and in the S21 Ultra – from 10 to 120 Hz. This allows you to make scrolling as smooth as possible. And the choice of refresh rate is carried out based on the consumed content, which saves battery power.

An ultrasonic fingerprint sensor is built into the screen, which has become even faster.

The screen has received a new system of protection against blue radiation. A special technology reduces its intensity, protecting the eyes from strain and fatigue. This will allow you to work with the phone as comfortably as possible for a long time, including watching movies. It’s important to note that this is the first time a Galaxy S has support for the S Pen. But only the S21 Ultra received it, the display of which has a built-in Wacom panel that recognizes stylus presses.

S-Pen Samsung Galaxy S21, S21 + and S21 Ultra

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Samsung Galaxy S21, S21 + and S21 Ultra manufacturer and memory

In the race for 5nm technology, Samsung simply couldn’t stand aside. The flagships received the Exynos 2100 processor, and the Snapdragon 888 will be used for the US market. Once again, Samsung has challenged Qualcomm, trying to surpass the market leader with its solution. The new processor has a powerful X1 core at 2.9 GHz, three powerful Cortex-A78 cores at 2.8 GHz and four regular cores at 2.2 GHz. The Mali-G78 MP14 video accelerator received 14 cores. A special three-core neural processor with a performance of up to 26 TOPS is responsible for the work of artificial intelligence. The ISP in charge of image processing is capable of capturing data from cameras up to 200MP, recording 4K video at 120fps, and playing back 8K video at 60fps. It was this chipset that first received support for the AV1 decoder for 8K resolution. It is difficult to talk about the advantage or lag behind the Snapdragon 888 – the power reserve is so large that it will be difficult to find scenarios that clearly highlight the superiority of one solution over another.

Both junior models received 8 GB of LPDDR5 RAM, while the S21 Ultra has 12 or 16 GB of the same type of RAM. The built-in storage of 128 and 256 GB of UFS 3.x standard is offered. But the S21 Ultra will also get a 512GB variant. But these smartphones do not have support for memory cards.

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Samsung Galaxy S21, S21 + and S21 Ultra battery

Manufacturers have long come to the conclusion that there is no point in increasing the battery capacity – today the power consumption scenarios of the device are much more important. The Galaxy S21 has a pretty impressive 4000mAh Li-Ion battery, while the S21 + has a 4800mAh battery. The oldest and largest model has a 5000 mAh battery. All devices support fast wireless charging up to 15W and are capable of charging wireless devices themselves, reversibly giving up to 9W. Supports PD 3.0 fast wired charging standard, which allows you to get power up to 25W.

Thanks to the transition to a 5-nanometer process technology, a noticeable improvement in the autonomy of the device is expected. The S21 models will most likely last 15-20% longer than the S20 models. At the same time, the Exynos 2100 in this regard also slightly outperforms the Snapdragon 888. 2-3 days of work with an average load is the minimum that can be expected from the models of the Galaxy S21 line.

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Samsung Galaxy S21, S21 + and S21 Ultra cameras

In modern smartphones, cameras are almost a key element. The flagship simply cannot afford to shoot badly or worse than the competition. Samsung is quite loud in declaring that the cameras of the new flagships are made for a real revolution in the world of photography and video. However, it sounds as pathetic as it is not new. And if in the last generation the “hardware” of cameras was updated, then this year Samsung put special emphasis on software algorithms.

Design Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Galaxy S21 and S21 + models received a main camera with three modules:

  • The main one, a resolution of 12 megapixels, f / 1.8, pixels of 1.8 microns and with optical stabilization
  • Ultra wide-angle, 12 MP, f / 2.2, 1.4 μm pixels.
  • Telephoto, 64 MP, f / 2.0, 0.8 μm pixels, with optical stabilization, 1 / 1.72 inch matrix and x3 optical and x10 hybrid zoom.

Space Zoom allows you to use 3x Hybrid Optical Zoom and 30x Super Resolution Zoom.

The Galaxy S21 Ultra has four main camera modules:

  • Main, a resolution of 108 MP, f / 1.8, pixels of 0.8 microns and optical stabilization
  • Ultra wide-angle, 12 MP, f / 2.2, 1.4 μm pixels.
  • Telephoto, 10 MP, f / 2.4, 1.22 micron pixels, with optical stabilization, optical zoom 3x.
  • Telephoto, 10 MP, f / 4.9, 1.22 micron pixels, with optical stabilization, optical zoom 10x.

In this model, the Space Zoom allows you to take advantage of the 5x hybrid optical zoom and 100x Super Resolution Zoom. There is a ToF sensor. The emerging laser autofocus has significantly accelerated the camera’s work in the dark, and the new Bright Night technology promises to bring the quality of night shooting to a new level.

Samsung Galaxy S21, S21 + and S21 Ultra camera

The flagship smartphone has the ability to shoot in HDR 12-bit, which makes it possible to use colors 64 times more than usual and three times expands the dynamic range.

The ultra wide-angle camera has received autofocus and can now be used for macro photography. Pro mode can shoot in RAW format.

All models can shoot 8K video at 24 frames / s. But the demand for this “feature” is a matter of the future, and obviously not for the next year or two. And the Galaxy S21 Ultra can shoot 4K video at 60 fps for all modules.

Among the new features, we note the Cinema mode, which allows you to display an image from all cameras at once, including the front one. The Night mode has been improved, and artificial intelligence is actively involved in Portrait mode. The Galaxy S21 line includes the ability to record from a variety of microphones, including a connected headset. You can even write from two microphones at the same time. Photo processing in Multi-shot mode is noticeably accelerated. When shooting at a zoom, shaking was reduced, which is helped by artificial intelligence – at a large zoom, you can activate Zoom Lock and stabilize the picture for two seconds. This will be especially relevant on the S21 Ultra with its 100x zoom.

Camera zoom Samsung Galaxy S21, S21 + and S21 Ultra

In Super Steady stabilization mode, artificial intelligence helps when shooting video, turning your smartphone into a real action camera.

The front camera of the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 + received a resolution of 10 megapixels with f / 2.2 and a 1 / 3.4-inch matrix with a pixel size of 1.22 microns.

Front camera Samsung Galaxy S21, S21 + and S21 Ultra

The top model Galaxy S21 Ultra has a front camera resolution increased to 40 megapixels. Artificial intelligence also helps to create high-quality selfies. The front camera has autofocus and allows you to create various interesting effects.

Samsung Galaxy S21, S21 + and S21 Ultra cameras compared

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Additional features of the Galaxy S21 line

The modem of smartphones of the Samsung Galaxy S21 series can work with 5G networks, but in Russia this is not relevant yet due to the lack of infrastructure. And the S21 Ultra supports Wi-Fi 6E, but we won’t be able to work with this technology either – the 6 GHz frequency is occupied by the state. But in other countries, these modules can work at full speed.

The Galaxy S21 + and S21 Ultra have Ultra Wide Band (UWB) support for fast, close-range data transfers similar to NFC. Thus, smartphones become part of the SmartThings system, which allows you to track branded gadgets even offline. The technology is being developed in collaboration between Apple and Samsung, and SmartTags will be on sale in the near future.

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Samsung Galaxy S21, S21 + and S21 Ultra Bundle (What’s in the Box)

Samsung Galaxy S21, S21 + and S21 Ultra Box

No matter how the Koreans criticized Apple, accusing it of greed, they themselves decided to follow the same path. Now bundled with flagship smartphone there will be no charging adapter or headphones… Samsung attributes this to support for recycling technologies and the refusal to release an additional unnecessary accessory. But behind the big words about the protection of nature, there is a banal desire to save money. The smartphone comes with only a charging / data cable, a clip for the SIM tray and documentation. The S Pen is also missing, although it is supported by the S21 Ultra.

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Samsung Galaxy S21, S21 + and S21 Ultra Key Specifications

Dimensions: 151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9 mm on S21, 161.5 x 75.6 x 7.8 mm on S21 +, 165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm on S21 Ultra

Weight: 172, 228 and 228 g respectively for S21, S21 + and S21 Ultra

Display: 6.2 “S21, 6.7” S21 + with 2400 x 1080, 6.8 “S21 Ultra with 3200 x 1440. Dynamic AMOLED 2X, AoD, HDR 10+, 120Hz.

Camera: S21 and S21 + 3 rear cameras 64 + 12 + 12 MP, incl. two wide-angle. 10 MP front camera. The S21 Ultra has 4 modules 108 + 12 + 10 + 10, a front camera of 40 megapixels.

CPU: 8-core Exynos 2100, made on 5 nm technology. A model based on Snapdragon 888 will enter the US market.

Memory: S21 / S21 + has 8GB RAM and 128/256 GB internal storage. The S21 Ultra has 12/16 GB RAM and 128/256/512 storage options. Memory cards are not supported.

Battery: 4000 mAh for S21, 4800 mAh for S21 +, 5000 mAh for S21 Ultra. Fast charging, wireless charging, reversible wireless charging

Safety: Built-in ultrasonic fingerprint scanner and 2D face recognition.

Dust and water resistant: IP68 standard.

Samsung Galaxy S21, S21 + and S21 Ultra cameras compared

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Samsung Galaxy S21, S21 + and S21 Ultra pricing

Samsung is offering to purchase its new flagships at the following prices:

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