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Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Galaxy S21 Plus vs Galaxy S21: which is for you?

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The Samsung Galaxy S21 and Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus are among the very best phones in 2021. You can’t go wrong if you want a top-of-the-line handset.

This is true even as we enter the tail end 2021. While newer competitors like the OnePlus 9 Pro, and the Oppo Find X3 Pro offer some competition, it fails to overtake the Galaxy S21 Ultra at the top of our smartphone charts.

Even if you have settled on one model from the Galaxy S21 range, it can be difficult to choose which one, since they share many similarities as well as many differences. We’ve taken a close look at the three Samsung Galaxy S21 models to show you how they compare.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Galaxy S21 Plus Price and Availability

The Samsung Galaxy S21 starts at $799 / PlayStation769 / AU$1,249, while Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus starts from $999 / Ps949 / AU$1,549, while Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus starts starting at $999 / AU$1,549, while Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus starts around $999 / Ps949 / AU$1,549, and Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra starts about $1,199 /PS1,149 / AU$1,849.

All cases are for 128GB storage. Prices will rise if you need more. Each model step up will have a starting price increase of around $200/PS200/AU$300.

Although you can find phones cheaper in some stores as of July 2021, they are still quite expensive and there is still a large price difference between them.

All three models are now available in the US, UK, Australia and other countries.

Today’s best Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus and Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus deals

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Design

The Samsung Galaxy S21 is the most affordable. (Image credit: TechRadar)

The front of all three Samsung Galaxy S21 models has an all-screen screen front with a single lens punch-hole camera at the top center. They look very similar. However, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra’s display is curved, while the two other models are flat.

You can flip them over to see the similarities, at least at first glance. Although the backs of the three phones look similar, the Galaxy S21 Ultra, Galaxy S21 Plus and Galaxy S21 Plus are made from glass. The standard Galaxy S21 uses glasstic plastic, which is plastic that looks like glass.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra has a larger camera block than the others, but it is still located in the top left corner of all three.

The dimensions and weight of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra are 165.1×75.6x 8.9mm, 228g and the Galaxy S21 Plus 161.5×75.6x 7.8mm, 202g and 161.5x respectively, while the Galaxy S21 Plus measures 161.5×75.6x 7.8mm, 161.5×75.6x 7.8mm, and 202g. The standard Samsung Galaxy S21 measures 151.7×71.2x 7.9mm, and 172g.

From left to right: The S21 Ultra, S21 Plus and Galaxy S21. (Image credit: Samsung)

All this means that the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus looks a lot like the Galaxy S21 but with a premium build. The Galaxy S21 Ultra, on the other hand, looks and feels significantly different thanks to its larger camera block and curved screen.

There are also three different color options for the Galaxy S21 Ultra, S21 Plus, and S21 Plus. The S21 Plus is available in Phantom Black and Phantom Silver, while the S21 Plus is available in Phantom Black, Phantom Silver and Phantom Violet. The Samsung Galaxy S21 can be purchased in Phantom Gray, Phantom White and Phantom Violet. However, there may be variations depending on where you live.

The more affordable the phone, the more colors you have. However, there are some additional colors available for the more expensive models if they are purchased directly from Samsung.

All three models have the same dust and water resistance. They all have IP68 certification.

Screen

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra has the largest screen. It has a 6.8 inch curved 1440×3200 (WQHD+), while the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus has the 6.7-inch flat screen. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus has the 6.2-inch flat screen. Both models have 1080×2400 (FullHD+) resolution.

Only Full HD+ is available on the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus. (Image credit: Future)

The three phones all have a refresh rate of 120Hz. In a first for Samsung the Galaxy S21 Ultra supports this refresh rate while running at QHD+ resolution. This means you don’t have either a high resolution or a high refreshrate.

All three phones feature ‘Dynamic AMLED 2X’ displays with an in-screen fingerprint reader.

The Galaxy S21 Plus and Galaxy S21 Plus are largely about size. However, the Galaxy S21 Ultra will offer the most stunning Samsung screen. Despite this, it was difficult to see the differences in resolution between Ultra and other models in our reviews.

Camera

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus and Galaxy S21 Plus have very similar cameras. They are actually identical with the triple-lens setup of both the S21 and S21 Plus cameras consisting of a 12MP main camera, a 12MP ultra-wide and 64MP telephoto.

The telephoto snapper can zoom in at 3x, and it is compatible with the main lens. Both lenses have optical image stabilization (OIS).

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra has a different setup. It features a quad-lens system with a 108MP main snapper and a 12MP ultra-wide snapper. There are also a pair 10MP telephoto cameras. One is f/2.4, which allows for optical zoom of 3x, while the other is f/4.9, which extends optical zoom distance to 10x. OIS is available on both the main camera and the telephoto lenses.

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra features a quad-lens sensor. (Image credit to Aakash Jhaveri

The S21 Ultra is a different model from the rest of the range. However, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra has an ultra-high resolution 40MP front camera, while the Galaxy S21 Plus and S21 Plus have 10MP ones.

All three phones can record video at 60fps in 4K quality. They also have the same camera modes: single take, night mode and live focus.

We praised all three phones’ cameras in our reviews, but the Ultra is the best for photography, especially optical zoom. Its snappers were described as “phenomenally strong” and providing “the best camera zoom.”

Battery life

It is possible to guess the battery situation here. Capacity increases with increasing smartphone sizes and prices.

The Samsung Galaxy S21 comes with a 4,000mAh, 4,800mAh, and 5,000mAh batteries, respectively.

The S21 and S21 Plus are both larger than the S21 Ultra, but this is due to the large jump in screen size. However, the Galaxy S21 Ultra has a slightly smaller screen (and therefore a bigger battery) than the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus.

Our tests have shown that the Galaxy S21 Plus lasts longest. (Image credit: Future)

All three phones were able to last for a day with moderate use. However, the S21 Ultra’s 120Hz refresh rate and the S21 Ultra’s QHD+ resolution had an impact. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus performed the best with moderate usage, lasting up to two days.

The three phones also support wireless power share, wireless charging and fast charging at 25W, 15W, and 15W, respectively. You will not receive a charger with the phones.

Specifications and features

The chipsets of all three Samsung Galaxy S21 models are the same, but it depends on where you live. The Snapdragon 888 is used in the US, while most models in the UK and other countries use the Exynos 2110. Both are extremely powerful.

All three phones scored as high as we expected in our tests, placing them among the most powerful handsets.

Both the Galaxy S21 Plus and Galaxy S21 Plus have 8GB RAM. They also come with 128GB and 256GB storage. However, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra has both RAM and storage options. It comes with either 12GB or 16GB RAM and can store 128GB, 128GB, or both. All the phones do not have microSD card slots.

A stylus is supported by the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. (Image credit: Future)

The phones all support 5G and run Android 11. The main difference between the three phones is that the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra supports Samsung’s S Pen stylus. This allows you to use the phone as a Galaxy Note.

But, unlike the Note range, you must purchase the S Pen separately. There is no slot in the phone for the S Pen (though it may be in some covers).

Takeaway

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus and the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus have very similar screens. They share the same resolution screen, camera configuration and amount of RAM. Apart from the price difference, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus comes with a larger screen and a larger battery. The standard S21 has glasstic back and a glassback.

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is quite a different beast. It is the largest and most expensive model of all three. However, it has a different camera setup. A larger screen resolution, a larger battery, a premium build, more RAM and support for the S Pen stylus.

This year’s Galaxy S model is perhaps even more impressive than usual.

This gulf was evident in our experience with the phones: while we gave the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus and Galaxy S21 Plus four stars reviews, we gave S21 Ultra 4.5 stars. At the time of writing, it is our favorite phone.

It’s not for everyone, however. The base model has 128GB of storage and is lacking a microSD card slot. You will find the S21 and the standard S21 phones less expensive.

 

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