Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra Specs: The Ultimate Showdown
You’re here because you’re torn between two titans: the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. Both are powerhouses, but which one is right for you? Let’s dive into the specs and find out.
KEY TAKEAWAYS 📝
- Design 📱: S23 Ultra is sleeker. Small changes, but they make a difference.
- Display 🖥️: Both are great, but S23 Ultra is brighter and more efficient thanks to LTPO 3.0 tech.
- Processor 🚀: S23 Ultra wins with Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. Faster and more efficient.
- Storage & RAM 💾: S23 Ultra offers more flexibility. Goes up to 1TB storage.
- Camera 📸: S23 Ultra is a photographer’s dream with 8K at 30fps and a 200MP sensor.
- Battery 🔋: Both have 5000mAh, but S23 Ultra charges faster.
- Connectivity 📶: Both are 5G ready. You’re future-proof with either.
- Price 💰: S23 Ultra is pricier but offers more bang for your buck.
Where To Buy
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
If you’re on the hunt for a new smartphone and find yourself torn between the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, you’re in the right place. Both phones are great options in 2023 but the differences between them are varied, so it is important to understand how these two models compare before pulling the trigger on a purchase.
When it comes to choosing one, the devil is in the details. And this post will break down the following key differences:
- Screen performance and tech
- CPU performance and differences
- Storage and RAM performance + differences
- Camera tech
From design nuances to camera capabilities, we’ve broken down the key specs to give you a quick, digestible guide to help you make the best choice. Let’s dig in…
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra Specs
|Feature||Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra||Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra|
|Design Dimensions (mm)||163.4 x 78.1 x 8.9||165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9|
|Display Size||6.8-inch AMOLED||6.8-inch AMOLED|
|Display Brightness (nits)||1750||1500|
|Processor||Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC||Snapdragon 888 SoC|
|RAM Options (GB)||8, 12||12, 16|
|Storage Options (GB)||256, 512, 1TB||128, 256, 512|
|Camera Video (fps)||8K at 30||8K at 24|
|Camera Sensor (MP)||200||108|
|Battery Capacity (mAh)||5000||5000|
|Peak Brightness (nits)||1750||1500|
|Price Range (USD)||$1,199 – $1,399||From $289.00|
Design: Sleek vs Sleeker
The S23 Ultra is a bit sleeker than its predecessor. It measures 163.4 x 78.1 x 8.9 mm and weighs 234g. The S21 Ultra? Slightly bulkier at 165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9mm and 229g.
Small refinements, but they matter.
This isn’t something that I’d consider a deal-breaker but it is definitely worth considering. They’re both big phones, so going with a lighter more compact model – that still have the same size display – brings with it obvious benefits.
Me? I’d be inclined to go with the Galaxy S21 Ultra for the simple reason that it can now be picked up for FAR less than the Galaxy S23 Ultra – go refurbished and you can save even more (over 40%)
Display: A Battle of Brilliance
Key Takeaways 📝
- Peak Brightness ☀️: S23 Ultra’s 1750 nits make it easier to use in bright outdoor conditions, outshining the S21 Ultra’s 1500 nits.
- LTPO 3.0 Tech 🔋: S23 Ultra’s ability to drop to a 1Hz refresh rate means better battery efficiency, especially during low-activity tasks like reading.
- Advanced Vision Booster 👁️: S23 Ultra adapts to different lighting conditions for an optimized viewing experience, setting it apart from the S21 Ultra.
Both the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and the S21 Ultra come equipped with 6.8-inch AMOLED displays, featuring Quad HD+ resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate.
These specs alone make for a stunning visual experience, whether you’re scrolling through social media or watching high-definition videos. However, the S23 Ultra elevates the display game in several key areas.
Firstly, the S23 Ultra boasts a peak brightness of 1750 nits, compared to the S21 Ultra’s 1500 nits. In real-world terms, this means that the S23 Ultra’s screen will be easier to read in bright outdoor conditions, like when you’re trying to read an email on a sunny day at the park.
Secondly, the S23 Ultra incorporates LTPO 3.0 technology, which allows the phone’s refresh rate to drop as low as 1Hz when not in active use. This is a significant advantage for battery life. Imagine reading an e-book or looking at a static image; the lower refresh rate means your phone isn’t working as hard, thereby conserving battery.
Lastly, the S23 Ultra features Samsung’s Advanced Vision Booster technology, which adapts the display’s settings to different lighting conditions more effectively. For instance, if you’re watching a movie in a dimly lit room, the Advanced Vision Booster will adjust the display for optimal viewing, enhancing your overall experience.
Processor: Speed Matters
Key Takeaways 📝
- Chipset Performance 🚀: S23 Ultra’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 offers better performance, making demanding tasks like gaming smoother.
- Energy Efficiency 🔋: The newer chipset in the S23 Ultra is more energy-efficient, translating to longer battery life during heavy usage.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is powered by the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC (System on Chip), while the S21 Ultra runs on the older Snapdragon 888 SoC. Both are high-performance chipsets designed to handle a variety of tasks, from gaming to multitasking. However, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 in the S23 Ultra provides a noticeable bump in both performance and efficiency.
In real-world scenarios, this means that the S23 Ultra can handle more demanding applications and games with greater ease. For example, if you’re into mobile gaming, you’ll find that games load faster and run more smoothly on the S23 Ultra. The improved efficiency also translates to better battery life, especially when running applications that require a lot of processing power.
Additionally, the newer chipset is designed to be more energy-efficient, which means you’ll likely get more screen-on time before needing to recharge. This could be particularly beneficial during long flights or commutes when you’re away from a power source for extended periods.
RAM and Storage: Choose Your Power
Key Takeaways 📝
- RAM Choices 🧠: S21 Ultra offers up to 16GB RAM for heavy multitasking, while S23 Ultra starts at a lower 8GB for those who may not need as much.
- Storage Flexibility 💾: S23 Ultra wins with a 1TB storage option, ideal for those who need ample space for media and files.
When it comes to RAM and storage options, both the S23 Ultra and the S21 Ultra offer a range of choices to suit different needs. The S23 Ultra comes with either 8GB or 12GB of RAM and provides storage capacities of 256GB, 512GB, or a whopping 1TB.
On the other hand, the S21 Ultra offers a bit more RAM at 12GB or 16GB but falls short in storage options, capping at 512GB.
In practical terms, this means that the S23 Ultra offers more flexibility for users who may not need as much RAM but want more storage space. For instance, if you’re someone who likes to store a lot of high-resolution photos, videos, or even entire movie collections on your phone, the 1TB option on the S23 Ultra would be a godsend.
Conversely, the S21 Ultra’s higher RAM options could be more appealing to those who frequently run multiple demanding applications simultaneously. For example, if you’re editing a video while also running a slew of other apps, the extra RAM could help keep things running smoothly.
Camera: A Leap in Photography
Key Takeaways 📝
- 8K Video 🎥: S23 Ultra offers smoother 8K video at 30fps, while S21 Ultra caps at 24fps. Those extra frames matter for video quality.
- Megapixel Count 📸: S23 Ultra’s 200MP sensor is a game-changer for photo detail, outclassing the S21 Ultra’s 108MP sensor.
- Optical Zoom 🔍: Both phones offer 10x optical zoom, but the S23 Ultra’s superior sensor makes zoomed images even crisper.
When it comes to camera capabilities, the S23 Ultra truly sets a new standard in mobile photography. Its ability to shoot 8K video at 30 frames per second is a significant leap forward, offering smoother, more lifelike footage compared to the S21 Ultra, which caps its 8K video at 24 frames per second.
This difference may seem subtle, but for those who are serious about video quality, those extra frames can make a world of difference.
But it’s not just about video. The S23 Ultra also boasts a staggering 200-megapixel sensor, a feature that puts it in a league of its own. This high-resolution sensor allows for incredibly detailed photos, making it a dream come true for photography enthusiasts.
In contrast, the S21 Ultra’s 108-megapixel sensor, while impressive, falls short when compared to the sheer detail and clarity offered by the S23 Ultra.
Optical zoom is another area where both phones excel, offering a 10x optical zoom that brings distant subjects closer without losing image quality. However, when combined with the S23 Ultra’s superior sensor, this zoom capability allows for even more detailed and crisp images.
So, while the S21 Ultra is certainly a strong contender in the camera department, the S23 Ultra takes it up a notch, offering features that are not just incremental upgrades but significant improvements.
Whether you’re a casual photographer or someone who demands the best in mobile photography, the S23 Ultra’s camera setup offers capabilities that are hard to match.
Battery and Charging: The Long Haul
Key Takeaways 📝
- Battery Capacity 🔋: Both phones offer a robust 5000mAh battery, ensuring long-lasting power.
- Charging Speed ⚡: The S23 Ultra charges faster, making it more convenient for quick top-ups when time is of the essence.
Both the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and the S21 Ultra are equipped with a 5000mAh battery, providing ample power to get you through the day. The fact that the batteries are not user-replaceable means that you’ll likely need to visit a service center for any battery-related issues, which is pretty standard for modern smartphones.
Where the S23 Ultra gains an edge is in its faster charging capabilities. Imagine you’re at an airport with only a short layover, and you realize your phone’s battery is running low.
With the S23 Ultra’s faster charging, you can plug in and get a significant battery boost in just a matter of minutes, ensuring you have enough power to last through your next flight.
Or perhaps you’re heading out for a night on the town and realize your phone is nearly dead. A quick charge while you’re getting ready can give the S23 Ultra enough juice to capture all those memorable moments without worrying about running out of battery.
In contrast, the S21 Ultra would take a bit longer to reach the same level of charge, potentially leaving you in a lurch when you need your phone the most. The faster charging speed of the S23 Ultra could be a lifesaver in situations where every minute counts.
Connectivity: 5G Ready
Key Takeaways 📝
- 5G Capabilities 📶: Both phones are 5G ready, ensuring you’re equipped for the next generation of mobile connectivity.
- Advanced Modem 🚀: The S23 Ultra’s newer modem offers faster and more stable 5G speeds, making it a better choice for heavy data usage.
- Future-Proofing 🛡️: The S23 Ultra is more likely to support future advancements in 5G technology, giving it a longer connectivity lifespan.
Both the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and the S21 Ultra come with 5G capabilities, ensuring that you’re well-prepared for the next generation of mobile connectivity. This means faster download and upload speeds, lower latency, and a more seamless online experience whether you’re streaming, gaming, or video conferencing.
However, it’s worth noting that the S23 Ultra, being the newer model, is equipped with an advanced modem that offers better performance and efficiency in 5G connectivity.
In real-world terms, this could mean a noticeable difference in data speeds. For instance, if you’re downloading a large file or streaming a high-definition movie, the S23 Ultra’s advanced modem could provide faster and more stable speeds, reducing buffering times and making for a smoother experience.
This could be particularly beneficial if you’re in a setting where multiple devices are connected to the same network, such as a busy airport or a crowded event. The S23 Ultra’s advanced modem is designed to handle such high-traffic scenarios more efficiently, ensuring that your connection remains stable and fast.
The newer modem in the S23 Ultra is likely to be more future-proof, supporting upcoming advancements in 5G technology that the older modem in the S21 Ultra may not be able to handle.
This means that as 5G networks continue to evolve, the S23 Ultra is better positioned to take advantage of new features and improvements, giving it a longer lifespan in terms of connectivity.
Price: Quality Comes at a Cost
Key Takeaways 📝
- Cost Savings 💰: The S21 Ultra offers flagship features at a fraction of the cost, especially if you opt for a refurbished model.
- Eco-Friendly Choice 🌍: Buying refurbished reduces e-waste, making it a more sustainable option.
- Still Powerful 💪: Despite being older, the S21 Ultra continues to receive updates and offers robust performance.
When it comes to pricing, the S23 Ultra starts at $1,199 and goes up to $1,399 for the top-tier 1TB model. On the other hand, the S21 Ultra, being a few generations older, is now available at a significantly reduced price.
You can snag a refurbished model for around $300, which is an incredibly attractive proposition for budget-conscious consumers.
Why is this such a great deal? Firstly, the S21 Ultra is still a powerhouse of a phone. It’s packed with features that can easily rival newer models, and it continues to receive Android updates, ensuring that you’re not missing out on the latest software enhancements.
This makes it a highly viable option for those who want premium features without the premium price tag.
Secondly, opting for a refurbished model is not just a win for your wallet but also for the environment. E-waste is a growing concern, with detrimental impacts on both human health and the planet. By choosing a refurbished phone, you’re reducing your contribution to this problem, making it a more sustainable choice.
In my own experience, I’ve always opted for the outgoing flagship model as my daily driver. Buying it refurbished offers dual benefits: I get to minimize my environmental impact and save a considerable amount of money. Typically, I find that I save around 40% off the original price, sometimes even more, without compromising on performance or features.
Conclusion: The Verdict
In conclusion, both the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and the S21 Ultra are formidable contenders in the smartphone market, each with its own set of advantages and trade-offs.
The S23 Ultra, being the newer model, naturally comes with several enhancements, including a brighter display, a more powerful processor, and advanced camera capabilities. Its faster charging and improved 5G modem also make it a compelling choice for those who want the latest and greatest features, even if it comes at a premium price starting at $1,199.
On the flip side, the S21 Ultra, although a few generations older, still holds its own remarkably well. Its performance is robust, and it continues to receive Android updates, ensuring it remains relevant.
The significantly lower price point, especially for refurbished models around $300, makes it an excellent choice for budget-conscious consumers. Plus, opting for a refurbished model is not only cost-effective but also an eco-friendly choice, reducing e-waste and its associated environmental impact.
In my personal experience, going for an older flagship model like the S21 Ultra has often resulted in substantial savings without compromising on performance or features. It’s a strategy that has allowed me to stay updated with high-quality tech while also being mindful of sustainability.
So, the ultimate choice between the S23 Ultra and the S21 Ultra boils down to what you prioritize more—cutting-edge features or value for money and sustainability. Either way, you’re getting a device that’s packed with features, capable of high performance, and ready for the future of mobile technology.
The S21 Ultra, although a few generations older, still holds its own remarkably well. Its performance is robust, and it continues to receive Android updates, ensuring it remains relevant. The camera is great and it will run the latest version of Android and One UI. And it's $300! That's outstanding value for money.
- Great looking design, masses of performance, stunning display, camera is still very impressive, solid battery life
- Not as potent as newer models, lacks some advanced features
Bleeding-edge specs? Check. Amazing design? Check. Masses of power and a brilliant camera? Check, check! The Galaxy S23 Ultra is by far and away the best Android phone you can buy right now. It delivers heaps of performance, has excellent battery life, and it runs like a dream. If you can handle the price, this is the phone to get in 2023…
- Amazing camera, outrageous performance, 45W fast charging, best in class display, great software
- It's pretty expensive (but totally worth it)