The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Sony Xperia 1 II comparison makes a lot of sense at this point, despite the fact the Galaxy S21 Ultra is a generation newer device. The Xperia 1 III is expected to arrive soon (at the time of writing this article), but it’s not here yet. Therefore, we’ll compare Sony’s current flagship that got released last year, with the newest and best Samsung has to offer.
Both of these phones are quite large, and extremely powerful at the same time. They’re both boasting about their compelling camera offerings, and sleek designs. As per usual, we’ll kick things off by comparing their specifications, and move to other aspects of the two phones, such as their designs, displays, performance, and so on. This comparison will hopefully aid you in making a purchasing decision.
|Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra||Sony Xperia 1 II|
|Screen size||6.8-inch WQHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X display (120Hz adaptive refresh rate)||6.5-inch 4K OLED display (60Hz)|
|Screen resolution||3200 x 1440||3840 x 1644|
|SoC||Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 / Samsung Exynos 2100||Qualcomm Snapdragon 865|
|Storage||128GB/256GB, non-expandable (expandable in some countries)||256GB; Expandable|
|Rear cameras||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)
|12MP (f/1.7 aperture, OIS, Dual Pixel PDAF, 24mm lens)
12MP (f/2.4 aperture, PDAF, 70mm telephoto lens, 3x optical zoom, 1.0um pixels size)
12MP (f/2.2 aperture, Dual Pixel PDAF, 16mm ultrawide lens, 124-degree lens)
0.3MP ToF 3D (depth sensor)
|Front cameras||40MP (f/2.2 aperture, 80-degree FoV, 0.7um pixel size, PDAF)||8MP (f/2.0 aperture, 24mm lens, 1.12um pixel size)|
|Battery||5,000mAh, non-removable, fast battery charging (USB PD 3.0), Fast Wireless Charging 2.0, Wireless PowerShare||4,000mAh, non-removable, 21W fast battery charging (USB-C PD)|
|Dimensions||165 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm||165.1 x 71.1 x 7.6mm|
|Weight||229 grams||181 grams|
|Connectivity||5G, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C||5G, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.1, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C|
|Security||In-display fingerprint scanner (ultrasonic)||Side-facing fingerprint scanner|
One UI 3.0
|Android 10 (upgradable)|
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Sony Xperia 1 II: Design
When it comes to the design, the two devices are quite different, even though they use similar materials. Both of these phones are made out of metal and glass, what you’d call a glass sandwich design. They do feel completely different in the hand, though. What they do have in common, however, is how slippery they are. Both of these phones are large and slippery, and that is something you should note, and probably get a case.
Having said that, the Galaxy S21 Ultra is a considerably larger and heavier smartphone than the Xperia 1 II. Due to its tall display aspect ratio and bezels, the Xperia 1 II is exactly the same height as the Galaxy S21 Ultra, but it’s a lot narrower. It is also noticeably thinner than what Samsung has to offer. On top of that, you’ll notice the added weight on the Galaxy S21 Ultra, as it’s over 40 grams heavier.
The Sony Xperia 1 II does have a noticeably smaller display, though, so it’s a smaller phone overall. The Xperia 1 II utilizes a side-facing fingerprint scanner, while the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s is under the display. The Galaxy S21 Ultra has extremely thin bezels, and a display camera hole. The display camera hole is not included on the Xperia 1 II, nor is the display notch, but the phone does have noticeable bezels above and below the display. The rear camera housing is also noticeably different in comparison, between these two phones.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Sony Xperia 1 II: Display
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra features a 6.8-inch QHD+ (3200 x 1440) Dynamic AMOLED 2X display. That panel comes with a high refresh rate (120Hz), and it’s adaptive refresh rate, by the way. It’s the best Samsung Display has to offer, basically. That display is protected by the Gorilla Glass Victus. On top of everything, the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s display is also curved. It’s not heavily curved, but it’s noticeable.
The Xperia 1 II comes with a flat display. It features a 6.5-inch 4K (3840 x 1644) OLED display. That panel utilizes a 21:9 aspect ratio, and it is protected by the Gorilla Glass 6. It is a flat display, by the way. HDR content can be reproduced on this display, though it doesn’t seem to have support for HDR10+, like the Galaxy S21 Ultra. The Xperia 1 II doesn’t have a high refresh rate display, it is a 60Hz panel.
Both of these displays look excellent, though, no matter how you look at it. The colors are vivid, the blacks are deep, and the viewing angles are excellent. The picture that both provide is high quality, and it’s great. The Galaxy S21 Ultra’s panel does have an advantage in terms of adaptive refresh rate, so scrolling will be smoother, along with various other operations. It also looks a bit more vivid in comparison, but only barely. Both phones offer excellent panels.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Sony Xperia 1 II: Performance
As far as performance is concerned, both of these phones truly shine. That is to be expected, though. Both of these are high-end smartphones, and the best that their respective companies have to offer. The Galaxy S21 Ultra is technically a more powerful handset, due to a newer SoC, and some other internals. Still, that is not something you’ll notice in everyday use. They both fly through regular everyday tasks.
They’re excellent when it comes to browsing, multitasking, opening / closing apps, taking pictures / videos, consuming multimedia, and so on. Even gaming is excellent on both smartphones. The Galaxy S21 Ultra is capable of opening games a bit sooner, due to a newer SoC, but when it comes to gameplay, they’re both excellent, and can play the most demanding games you’ll find in the Play Store. There’s really nothing to complain about here, when it comes to performance, and chances are it will stay that way for a long time.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Sony Xperia 1 II: Battery
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra has a considerably larger battery than the Xperia 1 II. That is to be expected as it also has a larger display. Still, the display is 0.3 inches larger, while you’re getting 1,000mAh more in terms of battery capacity with the Galaxy S21 Ultra. A larger battery doesn’t necessarily mean better battery life, does it in this case? Well, yes, it does, as the Galaxy S21 Ultra offers more in that regard.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra is one of the best flagship smartphones in terms of battery life we’ve used in quite a while. The phone can easily cross the 7-hour screen-on-time mark, and then some. This could be a two-day battery smartphone if you’re not a heavy user. If you are, it’ll provide you with a full day’s worth of use, presuming you’re not gaming all day or something of the sort. Having said that, the Xperia 1 II also offers good battery life, as it can cross the 6-hour screen-on-time mark under regular use. Still, it cannot compare to the Galaxy S21 Ultra in this regard. Your mileage may vary, of course.
When it comes to charging, both offer fast wired and wireless charging. The Galaxy S21 Ultra supports 25W fast wired charging, though do note that the charger is not included in the box. It also supports 15W wireless charging, and even Wireless PowerShare aka reverse wireless charging. The Xperia 1 II does support 21W fast wired charging, and 11W wireless charging. So, the Galaxy S21 Ultra does have the upper hand in this regard.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Sony Xperia 1 II: Cameras
Both of these smartphones are really compelling when it comes to cameras, it all depends on what you prefer. The Sony Xperia 1 II is more oriented towards professionals, in a way, due to a bevy of advanced features and the Cinema pro app. There are tons of options here. The downside is the camera UI, which needs work. Also, if you prefer images with more flare right out of the box, the Xperia 1 II keeps things modest, it’s not heavy on processing.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra is the polar opposite of that. Images that come out of this device are visibly processed, and they look really good as a result, if that’s something you like. The colors become a bit more vivid, and sharpening is sometimes obvious. It’s pushing the limits, though, as the Galaxy S21 Ultra is a major improvement over some older phones from Samsung. It’s not too heavy on processing at all.
Both phones can capture great-looking images in all lighting conditions, basically. Images during the day end up looking quite sharp, while they do a good job during the night as well. The Galaxy S21 Ultra may be a better choice for regular consumers, though, mainly due to the fact it produces images that regular users will probably find more appealing out of the box. The ultra-wide cameras are excellent on both phones, though they produce visibly softer images than main sensors.
In terms of audio, well, you’ll be good to go no matter what phone you choose. Both come with a set of stereo speakers, and those speakers do provide really loud and clear sound. The Galaxy S21 Ultra’s speakers are tuned by AKG, and that goes for the audio performance of the device itself. There’s not much difference in the audio department there, especially when it comes to speakers, they’re both really good.
Now, if you do need a 3.5mm headphone jack, the Sony Xperia 1 II is your only option here. The Galaxy S21 Ultra does not include an audio jack. You can always use its Type-C USB port to hook up headphones, though, or simply use Bluetooth. When you do hook up a solid pair of headphones to either of these devices, you’ll get well-balanced sound. Not many people will complain, that’s for sure.