The differences between the Samsung Galaxy S21, S21 Plus and S21 Ultra

The Samsung Galaxy S21 consists of three phones and the price difference between the most affordable and most expensive model is no less than 400 euros. What do you get for that extra price? These are the main differences between the Samsung Galaxy S21 phones.

Differences in the Samsung Galaxy S21 series

Samsung has presented direct successors to the Samsung Galaxy S20, S20 Plus and S20 Ultra. Just like last year, the Ultra is the most extensive and the Plus model bridges the gap with the entry-level variant. Although the devices largely resemble each other in terms of design, there are indeed differences. We list the most important points.

Screen: not made for small hands

The first thing that strikes you are the different screen sizes. The Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 Plus, with their 6.2 and 6.7 inch screen sizes, are just as big as their predecessors, the Samsung S20 and Samsung S20 Plus. The successor to the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, on the other hand, has become slightly smaller. The S21 Ultra measures 6.8 inches, namely 0.1 inches less than the top model of 2020.

Because the screen sizes differ, the dimensions are also different. The S21 has the smallest display and is therefore logically the most compact. Don’t be mistaken, however, because the device is still large and operating with one hand is not possible for everyone. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is of course the largest.

Speaking of the Ultra, this device also takes the cake in terms of screen quality. It has a QHD resolution with a pixel density of 515 ppi, while the S21 and Plus variant come out at 421 and 394. This means that the Ultra model produces the sharpest images.

Fortunately, all devices have a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz. The image refreshes 120 times per second, so that animations roll over the display very smoothly. The S21 Ultra can also handle the S Pen, the iconic pen that we know from the Samsung Galaxy Note phones. Unfortunately, the stylus on the S21 Ultra has fewer functions than on the Note line.

We also encounter differences in the housing. The Samsung Galaxy S21 has a plastic back, while the Plus and Ultra model with Gorilla Glass Victus are made of glass. According to many, this looks more stylish.

Cameras: Samsung focuses on Ultra

An important difference between the Samsung Galaxy S21 devices are the cameras. The entry-level model and the Plus variant have three lenses on the back; the Ultra sticks with another copy here. The mutual distribution of cameras also varies.

Starting with the Samsung S21 and S21 Plus. These devices have a 12-megapixel wide-angle lens and 12-megapixel main camera for taking normal snapshots and group photos. You use the 64 megapixel telephoto lens, on the other hand, to zoom in. Thanks to the 3x optical zoom, you can do this with little or no loss of quality.

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra also has a 12 megapixel wide-angle lens, but that’s where the camera similarities end. Samsung has done a lot more in the camera area with this smartphone. The device includes a 108 megapixel main camera that shoots pictures in 27 megapixels because the pixels are compressed. The consequence? Photos contain more detail and therefore look better. This also makes zooming in afterwards easier.

Furthermore, the most expensive Samsung Galaxy S21 has a 10 megapixel telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom. The quartet is complemented by the addition of a fourth lens. This second 10-megapixel telephoto lens has a whopping 10x optical zoom, so you can also take decent photos from a distance.

The S21 Ultra is also the only one that has laser autofocus. This comes in handy when taking portrait photos and all kinds of augmented reality apps, such as the possibility to place virtual furniture in your living room with the IKEA app. Also not unimportant: the selfie camera. The entry-level S21 and S21 Plus take self-portraits with a quality of 10 megapixels. Selfies are taken in 40 megapixels on the S21 Ultra.


All three devices run on the Exynos 2100, Samsung’s brand new processor. This chip is lightning fast and aimed at demanding users. We also have little to complain in terms of RAM and storage, because the S21 and S21 Ultra have 8GB RAM and 128 / 256GB storage space on board.

Samsung Galaxy S21 official

The S21 Ultra starts with 12GB RAM, but the most extensive model with 512GB storage has 16GB of RAM. Read carefully in advance, because the S21 devices do not have a micro-SD card slot. So you cannot put an extra memory card in the smartphones afterwards.

Another point of attention: do you want to open your car (in the future) with your smartphone? Then you should go for a Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus or Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. The middle and most expensive model are equipped with ultra wideband, a very precise location technology. By keeping your phone close to the door of your car, you can open the door without keys. Audi and BMW, among others, have announced that they will be working with this technology.

Battery and charging

The larger the screen, the heavier a smartphone battery has. It is therefore logical that Samsung has gradually built up the battery capacity of the new devices. The Samsung Galaxy S21 has a battery capacity of 4000 mAh, the S21 Plus has to do with 4800 mAh and the Ultra variant takes the cake with 5000 mAh.

Fortunately, the trio has fast charging with a maximum of 25 watts of power. Depending on the model, the S21 smartphones are therefore about half full in 30 minutes. This may be a setback for Samsung fans, because the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra could be fast-charged with a maximum of 45 watts of power.

The S21 series can also charge wirelessly, but that is of course slower than with a cable. Thanks to Wireless Powershare, you can also power other devices (such as the matching Galaxy Buds Pro earbuds) by placing them on the back of an S21 phone.

This comparison of the Samsung Galaxy S21 is incomplete without talking about Samsung’s most controversial decision. The series is supplied without a charger as standard. The company claims to do this for environmental reasons. So don’t you have a charger at home yet? Then you have to purchase it yourself.

Software, 5G and colors

The Samsung Galaxy S21 series runs on Android 11 with One UI 3.1, Samsung’s own Android version on top. The company promises to release version updates for three years. So it seems that you are baked up to Android 14, whether you purchase the S21, Plus or Ultra.

samsung galaxy s21 differences 2

Samsung will also support the entire S21 series with security updates for four years. Unlike version updates, these do not introduce new functions, but do close holes in the security of your smartphone. Furthermore, all three devices can handle 5G, the new telecom standard that will be rolled out more widely in the Netherlands in the coming years.

Do you want a colorful smartphone? Then you should go for the Samsung Galaxy S21. This is available in four colors: gray, purple, pink and white. The S21 Plus is available in purple, silver and black and the Ultra is only available in black and silver.


The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is by far the best of the bunch, but also the most expensive. It starts at 1249 euros. For the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus you have lost 1049 euros and the Samsung Galaxy S21 has a starting price of 849 euros. The pre-order has started and the first devices will be delivered on January 29. From that date, the entire series will be available everywhere.

Do you want to buy one of the Samsung Galaxy S21 smartphones? Then use the comparators below to filter all offers from online stores and providers by price, storage capacity, color and more. We will soon publish our reviews of the devices, so that you know whether they are worthwhile. Stay informed of this via the Android Planet-app or newsletter.

Samsung Galaxy S21

Samsung Galaxy S21

Which Samsung Galaxy S21 do you want?

Samsung Galaxy S21 with subscription

Device once € 0,00

€ 39,00 p/m Abo: € 8,00 p/m Device: € 31.00 p / m

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Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus

Which Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus do you want?

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus puts subscription

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€ 52,50 p/m Abo: € 17,50 p/m Device: € 35.00 p / m

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Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Which Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra do you want?

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra with subscription

Device once € 0,00

€ 61,00 p/m Abo: € 19,50 p/m Device: € 41.50 p / m

Sim only nodig?

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