Samsung Galaxy S21 vs S21+ vs S21 Ultra: What's the rumoured difference?

(Pocket-lint) – Samsung is expected to announce the Galaxy S21 series on 14 January during its Unpacked event, with three devices rumoured to appear.

The Galaxy S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra have all leaked heavily over the last couple of months, with little left to be revealed if the rumours are accurate. Here is how the three devices are expected to compare, based on the speculation.

Design

  • S21: TBC
  • S21+: 161.55 x 75.6 x 7.86mm
  • S21 Ultra: 165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9mm

All three Galaxy S21 models are expected to share the same design principles, though their physical sizes will of course differ, and there are reports that the materials will differ between the models too. 

The Galaxy S21 will likely be the smallest, followed by the S21+ and the Ultra will be the largest. It’s said the S21 and S21+ could have plastic backs and flat displays though, while the Ultra is said to stick to a glass rear and offer a curved display.

The rear camera housing is expected to be similar across the three models, though the Ultra is shown in leaks to have a wider housing in order to accommodate the extra lenses. 

All three devices are said to be IP68 water and dust resistant and all three are expected to sport a centralised punch hole front camera at the top of their display. 

Display

  • S21: 6.2-inches, Full HD+, 120Hz
  • S21+: 6.7-inches, Full HD+, 120Hz
  • S21 Ultra: 6.8-inches, Quad HD+, adaptive 120Hz, S Pen

According to reports, the Galaxy S21 will have a 6.2-inch display, the S21+ will have a 6.7-inch display and the Galaxy S21 Ultra will have a 6.8-inch display. 

It’s claimed both the S21 and S21+ will have Full HD+ resolutions and 120Hz refresh rates, while the S21 Ultra is said to have a Quad HD+ resolution, an adaptive 120Hz refresh rate and support for the S Pen. 

Sources also say the S21 and S21+ will offer displays with a peak brightness of 1400nits, while the S21 Ultra will have a peak brightness of 1600nits. 

As mentioned above, the S21 and S21+ are rumoured to have flat displays, while the S21 Ultra is expected to retain the curves Samsung has popularised over the last few years.

Hardware and specs

  • S21: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 or Exynos 2100, 128/256GB, 4000mAh
  • S21+: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 or Exynos 2100, 128/256GB, 4800mAh
  • S21 Ultra: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 or Exynos 2100, 128/256/512GB, 5000mAh

All three Galaxy S21 devices are expected to run on either the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, or the Exynos 2100 depending on the region. They are all expected to be 5G devices too. 

Rumours suggest the Galaxy S21 and S21+ will come in 128GB and 256GB storage options and there is said to be 8GB of RAM on board the base model of the S21. It is not yet clear from the leaks if there will be a higher RAM model option in either.

The Galaxy S21 Ultra meanwhile, is rumoured to come in 128GB, 256GB and 512GB storage options. RAM is said to be 12GB or 16GB depending on the model, and there has also been talk of no microSD support for this model.

In terms of battery, the Galaxy S21 is said to have a 4000mAh cell under its hood, the S21+ a 4800mAh battery and the Galaxy S21 Ultra a 5000mAh battery. It’s claimed the S21 and S21+ will support 25W charging and come with a 15W charger in the box, while the S21 Ultra is said to support 45W charging and come with a 25W charger in the box.

Camera

  • S21: Triple rear (12MP + 12MP + 64MP)
  • S21+: Triple rear (12MP + 12MP + 64MP)
  • S21 Ultra: Quad rear (108MP + 12MP + 10MP + 10MP), 40-megapixel front camera 

The camera is expected to be the main point of differentiation between the Galaxy S21 and S21+ models and the S21 Ultra.

Reports suggest the S21 and S21+ will both have a triple rear camera, made up of a 12-megapixel main sensor with 1.8µm pixel size, f/1.8 aperture and optical stabilisation (OIS), a 12-megapixel ultra-wide sensor with 1.4µm and f/2.2, and a 64-megapixel telephoto sensor with 0.8µm, f/2.0 and OIS. 

The Galaxy S21 Ultra meanwhile, is said to come with a quad rear camera made up of a 108-megapixel main sensor with 0.8µm pixels, f/1.8 aperture, OIS and laser autofocus, a 12-megapixel ultra wide sensor (1.4µm, f/2.2) and two 10-megapixel telephoto lenses, one with 1.22µm, f/2.4 and the other with 1.22µm, f/4.9. It is also expected to have a 40-megapixel selfie camera.

Based on the rumours, it looks like the S21 Ultra will focus on zoom capabilities, as well as quality but we will confirm when we have the official specs. You can read more about what is expected for the S21 cameras in our separate feature

All models are also expected to come with features including the cameras automatically switching between 30fps and 60fps depending on the lighting conditions, a dual recording mode, improved night mode, more manual controls and improved moon mode, though nothing is confirmed yet.

Price

  • From around £790 in the UK?

The Samsung Galaxy S21 is expected to be the entry model to the range, followed by the Galaxy S21+, while the Galaxy S21 Ultra will sit at the top of the range, as was the case with the Galaxy S20 range

According to rumours, the Galaxy S21 will start at €879, which would be around $1080 in the US and £790 in the UK. The Galaxy S21+ is said to start at €1079, which would be around $1325 in the US and £970 in the UK. 

The Galaxy S21 Ultra is reported to cost between $1259 and $1299, which is around €1025 in Europe and £920 in the UK, so the rumoured numbers aren’t right somewhere as the Ultra will be the most expensive. 

Conclusion

Based on the rumours, the Samsung Galaxy S21 and S21+ will be very similar in terms of their offerings, with the main difference being their physical size and therefore display size, as well as a larger battery capacity in the Plus model.

The S21 Ultra meanwhile, is rumoured to offer a more substantial camera offering, a larger and sharper display, an adaptive refresh rate, a brighter display, a more premium build quality and appearance and more RAM. 

This is all based on rumour for now, but we will be sure to update this feature as soon as the official details are in.

Writing by Britta O’Boyle.

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