Sony Xperia 1 III Vs Samsung S21 Ultra – When the Sony Xperia 1 III hits stores at the beginning of summer, its powerful chipset and the beautiful display will rival some of the best phones available. For buyers considering a pre-order, let’s compare it to the best of the best: the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra.
Both give you tons of screen real estate, powered by the same state-of-the-art chipset at a comparably high price. Gamers who want a fast-refreshing screen or power Android users who like to share advanced apps probably can’t go wrong with these two phones.
We can’t say exactly how the Xperia 1 III will fare until we get our hands on a test device. For now, we’ll focus on Sony’s official Xperia specs to break down the comparison of the two phones.
Sony Xperia 1 III vs Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Price and Availability
The Samsung Galaxy S21 debuted at $1,199 / £1,149 / AU$1,849. Since then, Samsung has often sold it at a discount; Less than three months after the S21’s release date, you can already find multiple S21 Ultra deals for $200 to $300 off.*
Sony has not yet revealed what the Xperia 1 III will cost, but its predecessor (the Xperia 1 II) was priced at $1,199 / £1,099 / AU$1,840*. It’s a good bet that Sony’s initial price for its new flagship will remain constant and match Samsung’s original price for its best-performing phone.
We also know that the Xperia 1 III will arrive in early summer, but we don’t have a firm date from Sony yet. Assuming it ships at the end of June or July, the Galaxy S21 Ultra will be in use for five to six months by then. It originally shipped in late January 2021.
Sony Xperia 1 III vs Samsung S21 Ultra Design
Both the Galaxy S21 Ultra and Xperia 1 III have a glass front and back that surround an aluminum frame. Each has IP68 water/dust resistance and Gorilla Glass Victus protection for the respective panels; on the back, the Ultra has a light protective edge with GG Victus, while the Xperia uses GG 6.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra has an edge-to-edge curved display that maximizes screen space and hides the edges, while the Xperia 1 III is traditionally flat and rectangular.
The Sony phone also has large bezels on the top and bottom that house the selfie camera and stereo speakers. This keeps the display unobstructed by cutouts or notches and the forward-facing sound is stronger, but it also makes the phone very large.
For comparison, Samsung uses a single-lens perforated camera with a speaker hole near the USB-C port – quite traditional for most modern phones.
Assuming you can find them in stock, the Galaxy S21 Ultra can be bought in Phantom Black, Phantom Silver, Phantom Titanium, Phantom Navy, or Phantom Brown. So far, Sony has announced two colors: Frosted Black and Frosted Purple.
Sony Xperia 1 III vs Samsung S21 Ultra Screen
As mentioned, Samsung and Sony tend to be on opposite sides of the curved versus flat-panel debate. In any case, we can say that the Ultra feels nice in the hand and is nice to look at during our tests, but the bulging effect gets weaker when you buy a protective case.
The more noticeable difference between these phones is the aspect ratio: Sony’s 6.5-inch OLED display has a 21:9 ratio, while Samsung’s 6.8-inch OLED display has a traditional 16:9 ratio.
On previous Xperia phones, some video apps like Netflix automatically optimize their movies or images to 21:9, while others, like YouTube, usually use 16:9 by default and leave black bars around your content. If you’re looking for a gaming phone, most gaming apps will happily stretch out for that extra space.
Samsung has made the Galaxy S21 Ultra the only phone that can achieve Quad HD (3200 x 1440) at 120 Hz. But Sony went one step further and gave the Xperia 1 III a 4K display (3840 x 1644) that can reach 120 Hz. This gives the Xperia 643 pixels per inch compared to 515 ppi in the Ultra at the same refresh rate, a significant improvement in visual quality.
Sony claims that the Xperia 1 III will have more accurate color reproduction than its older phones. We’ll have to test this for ourselves and see how bright it can get compared to the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s maximum 1500 nits.
Samsung uses an in-screen fingerprint sensor for the S21 Ultra, while Sony sticks to a fingerprint sensor on the side of the power button.
Sony Xperia 1 III vs Samsung S21 Ultra Camera Compare
The Galaxy S21 Ultra certainly won our vote for the best camera phone. It has a 108MP f/1.8 main camera, 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle, a 10MP f/2.4 telephoto camera plus a second 10MP f/4.9 telephoto camera with 10X optical zoom and a 40MP selfie camera.
With the main camera in ideal lighting conditions, the Galaxy S21 Ultra allows you to zoom 30x or 100x, making it the best option for photography without buying a powerful standalone camera. Overall, our tester was very impressed with the shooting quality and improved autofocus of the S20 series.
We haven’t tested the Xperia 1 III’s triple rear cameras yet, but we know how the raw data fits together: it has a 12 MP / 24 mm / f / 1.7 main camera, 12 MP / 16 mm / f / 2.2 Ultrawide angle, a 3DoF sensor and a variable 12-megapixel telephoto camera. The latter can automatically switch between 70mm/f/2.3 and 105mm/f/2.8 for the best focus.
While the Galaxy S21 Ultra outperforms the Xperia 1 III in terms of pixels and zoom, it has some neat tricks for professional photographers.
There is a special embossed photo button on the side of the phone. It has a professional mode for experts or a basic mode for beginners that allows you to customize or automate things based on your skill level. There’s also a new real-time tracking feature for people trying to take pictures of fast-moving kids or pets, keeping the focus on that person wherever they go.
Sony Xperia 1 III vs Samsung S21 Ultra Ultra Battery life
In terms of capacity alone, the battery of the Galaxy S21 Ultra only slightly outperforms the battery of the Xperia 1 III at 5,000 mAh to 4,500 mAh.
In our tests, the Galaxy S21 Ultra could last all day for everyday tasks, but it used up its capacity much faster when the QHD/120Hz mode was active.
With a smaller battery, the same Snapdragon chipset, and a more advanced 4K display with the same refresh rate, the Xperia 1 III can run out of battery even faster when using media applications on high settings.
Both phones have fast charging technology when empty. The Galaxy S21 Ultra can be charged specifically at 25W or wirelessly at 15W. The Sony press release states that the included Xperia 1 III charger can be charged to 50 percent in 30 minutes or that you can use a separate 30W accessory. buy for a current charge.
Sony Xperia 1 III vs Samsung S21 Ultra Specifications and Features
Whether you choose Samsung or Sony, you’ll get a phone with the new super-powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 888. However, we can’t guarantee that the two phones will be equally powerful or fast.
RAM could play a big part in benchmark differences. The Galaxy S21 Ultra started with 12GB of RAM and can be upgraded to 16GB, while the Xperia 1 III will be either 8GB or 12GB, which is a minor drawback unless you pay extra.
Likewise, both phones will run Android 11, but our reviewer noted that Samsung’s spin-off – One UI 3.0 – was generally more efficient than the stock Android.
This is all speculative until we get our hands on the phone. What we do know is that Sony is sticking with some popular features that Samsung almost left behind: a 3.5mm headphone jack and a microSD card slot for expandable storage. A certain type of Android user will be happy with their inclusion.
Another advantage of the Xperia 1 III over the Galaxy S21 Ultra: stronger stereo speakers on the front. Sony claims these are 40 percent louder than the Xperia 1 II’s speakers, which were respectable in their own right.
For everyday productivity, consider the Galaxy S21 Ultra for its S Pen support.
Sony Xperia 1 III vs Samsung S21 Ultra Conclusion
We can have a more definitive answer to the Sony Xperia 1 III vs Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra debate once we write our Xperia review later this year. But until then, unless you’re looking for a very specific feature, the Galaxy S21 Ultra still seems like a better buy.
Even if the Xperia 1 III lives up to Sony’s hype, it will take some time for the costs to drop to match the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s discounted price tag. And while Sony has done its best to improve the Xperia’s battery and cameras, the Ultra still seems overwhelmed by comparison.
If you prefer widescreen or gaming, or if you like 4K with a 120Hz refresh rate, the Xperia 1 III might be the phone for you. When we tested the S21 Ultra, the difference between HD and QHD didn’t surprise us. We hope the 4K jump on the Xperia 1 III will be more impressive.