Home : Smartphones

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs S21 Ultra: The Best Of The Best

author Luis Silva (February 2021 Updated: March 2022 - 6 min. reading time)

The Galaxy S21 Ultra will cost you more, but it isn't the better device of the two considering their specs.

You'll get better performance (+24%). But the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra brings more internal storage (256GB vs. 128GB) and external storage.

What else do they have to offer?

The Galaxy S21 Ultra also comes with a telephoto lens (+120 mm) and Bluetooth 5.2.

How much more will the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra cost me?

If you ignore carrier offers, you can spare close to $204. You don't need to pay more to get more.

Is it still worth buying the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra in 2022?

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra isn't the most cutting-edge device in 2022, but it's still a powerful phone. You can consider the Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max, but we should praise it because it features good cameras, good battery life, tons of storage, excellent glass protection, and optical zoom.

Is the Galaxy S21 Ultra still worth getting in 2022?

Of course, I still recommend the Galaxy S21 Ultra in 2022. You can thank Samsung for its good battery life, excellent glass protection, optical zoom, tons of RAM, and 8K recordings. It doesn't mean you can't take a quick peek at (again) the Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max, though.

Read on so you can learn more about their differences, how they rival their competition, and you'll know how the tech experts evaluate their specs.

Check prices on Amazon Check prices on Amazon
Click here or scroll down to check prices on eBay, BestBuy, and Walmart.

I earn a small fee from qualifying purchases. It doesn't affect the price you pay nor my opinions.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

CONTENTS

Click on one of these
shortcuts and then tap
"back" to return here

Introduction

In January of 2021, Samsung started selling its Galaxy S21 Ultra, while Samsung's Galaxy Note 20 Ultra hit the stores in August 2020.

With this article, you'll be able to compare every feature of the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Then, you can decide what model better suits your needs. Let's start.

The weight of each section

For additional information regarding our smartphone comparisons, check this FAQ.

to check who their rivals are.

Price*
vs.
Device Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Galaxy S21 Ultra
Release Date 2020, August 2021, January 1y.
OS Updates 3 years 3 years 0y.
Security Updates 4 years 4 years 0y.

*Reference: 100: Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max.

Which One Has The Best Performance?

As for performance, Geekbench 5 scores the Galaxy S21 Ultra 24% ahead of its sibling in the multi-core ranking. You should notice that it is a bit faster if you test them side by side.

When it comes to performance, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is way under the average against similarly priced phones. While they got a score of about 3437, it has 2561. That puts it 25% below them.

We can label the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra as a lower high-end and the Galaxy S21 Ultra as a high-end device.

PS: The Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ (with the Adreno 650 GPU) and the Exynos 990 (with the Mali-G77) are market-dependent.

There's a considerable performance increase of about 20% on the 865+ for the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

Performance*
vs.
Features Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Galaxy S21 Ultra
SoC Exynos 990 Exynos 2100
Graphics Mali-G77 MP11 Mali-G78 MP14
Geekbench 5 Score 2561
3176
615
OS Android 10 and OneUI Android 11 and OneUI
Tek-Score
6.1
7.1
1.0

*Reference: 100: Apple iPhone 13.

Which Phone Has The Best Display?

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra front transparent png Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra front transparent png

There isn't a winner here, so you can pick any of them.

Given the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, 96% of its rivals can play HDR content. Plus, all have an AMOLED screen, 83% offer you more than 60hz of refresh rate, and 78% have an Always-On display.

For the Galaxy S21 Ultra, just so you know, 94% of its rivals can play HDR content. Plus, all have an AMOLED screen, 82% offer you more than 60hz of refresh rate and have Gorilla Glass 6 or better, and 76% have an Always-On display.

Display Density (DPIs)*
vs.
Features Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Galaxy S21 Ultra
Size 6.9
6.8
-0.1
Screen Type AMOLED AMOLED
Resolution (px) 1440x3088
1440x3200
161280
Refresh Rate 120hz 120hz 0
Dots per Inch 493.80
516.04
22.24
Always-On-Display Yes Yes
Notch Hole Hole
Peak Brightness 1024 nits
1023 nits
-1
HDR HDR10+ HDR10+
Sub Tek-Score
9.8
9.8
0.1
Protection Corning Gorilla Glass Victus Corning Gorilla Glass Victus
Tek-Score
9.9
9.9
0.0

*Reference: 100: Sony Xperia 1 II.

Which Phone Has The Best Cameras?

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra back transparent png Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra back transparent png

You should note that the Galaxy S21 Ultra is in the neighborhood of 33 points above its rivals in its class. But between these two, it doesn't matter.

The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is also known for its impressive 50x hybrid Space Zoom. In theory, that's a step down from the S20 Ultra 100x, but since it's an "AI-powered" zoom, it shouldn't matter much.

About the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: This camera came out of DXOMARK's labs with a score of 122. If you also consider the telephoto and wide-angle lenses, it can go up to 136 points. You can check their review if you click here.

PS: all of its rivals can record videos in 4K or more, have an ultra-wide-angle lens, and feature Optical Image Stabilization, and 87% feature a telephoto lens. On the other hand, only 4% of them feature a macro lens.

About the Galaxy S21 Ultra: DXOMARK has rated this camera with a score of 128. Plus, combining with the telephoto and wide-angle lenses, we'll get to the final score of 142 points. You can click here to check it out.

Finally, just so you know, just like the other device, all of its rivals can record videos in 4 or 8K, feature a telephoto lens, have an ultra-wide-angle lens, and feature Optical Image Stabilization. Regardless, only 6% of them feature a macro lens.

Considering this score, we can classify these two as high-end.

As a side note, the Galaxy S21 Ultra zoom lens is 145mm above what you'll commonly find for its price range.

Picture Quality*
vs.
Primary Camera Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Galaxy S21 Ultra
Megapixels 108
108
0
Aperture 1.8
1.8
0.0
Lens 26mm
24mm
-2
Lens Type Wide-Angle Wide-Angle
Flash 1 1 0
HDR Yes Yes
OIS Yes Yes
Video 4320 4320 0
Score 136
142
6

*Reference: 100: Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra.

Extra Camera(s) Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Galaxy S21 Ultra vs.
Megapixels 12
10
-2
Aperture 3.0
4.9
1.9
Lens 120mm (4.6x zoom)
240mm (10x zoom)
120
Lens Type Telephoto lens Telephoto lens
Megapixels 12 10 -2
Aperture 2.2 2.4 0.2
Lens 13mm 70mm (2.9x zoom) 57
Lens Type Ultra-wide-Angle Telephoto lens
Megapixels - 12
Aperture - 2.2
Lens - 13mm
Lens Type - Ultra-wide-Angle
Score 14 14 0
Selfie Camera Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Galaxy S21 Ultra vs.
Megapixels 10
40
30
Aperture 2.2
2.2
0.0
Lens 26mm 26mm 0
Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Galaxy S21 Ultra vs.
Tek-Score
8.0
8.4
0.4

Who has the best frame?

There isn't a clear winner, so any will do.

The Galaxy S21 Ultra is 19 g. (0.75 oz) heavier than its sibling, which sits at 208 g. (7.34 oz). If you're curious, I've come up with an adapted "display size to phone weight ratio" score. The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra got 4.4, meaning it has an acceptable score for its display size. In the meantime, the Galaxy S21 Ultra has 2.4, which indicates it's oddly heavy.

You can drop the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra into the water, up to 1 to 3 meters deep, identical to the Galaxy S21 Ultra. That shouldn't last over half an hour, on standby, and freshwater only.

Looks*
vs.
Body Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Galaxy S21 Ultra
Size 164 x 77 x 8 mm
(5.78 x 2.72 x 0.28 in)
165 x 75 x 8 mm
(5.82 x 2.65 x 0.28 in)
-2024
Weight 208 g. (7.34 oz)
227 g. (8.01 oz)
19
Build Front and back glass Front and back glass
Colors Mystic Bronze, Mystic White, and Mystic Black Phantom Black, Phantom Titanium, Phantom Silver, Phantom Navy, and Phantom Brown
Screen To Body Ratio 93.17%
90.21%
-2.95
Disp.Size To Weight Score 4.4 2.4 -2.0
Looks 9.1/10
10.0/10
0.8
Waterproof IP68 IP68
Biometrics Under Display Fingerprint Under Display Fingerprint
Tek-Score
6.8
6.5
-0.3

*100% = 4+ colors + front and back glass + S2BR: 86+%.

Which has the best battery?

The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has a 4500 mAh battery, and the Galaxy S21 Ultra has a 5000 mAh. But GSMArena did test them out, and there's no real difference between them.

OK, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra isn't winning any battery contest. Samsung didn't care that much about it. That's what a "battery to smartphone size" rate of 2.1 shows.

What's even better, the Galaxy S21 Ultra can also beat almost all devices I've analyzed. Actually, it may even be on our best-of listing.

The Snapdragon 865+ variant also has better battery efficiency, about 7% of additional screen-on-time.

Battery*
vs.
Features Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Galaxy S21 Ultra
Capacity (mAh) 4500 5000 500
1h Talk + 1h Web + 1h Video 83% left
85% left
2
1h Talk + 3h Web + 1h Video 69% left
72% left
3
1h Talk + 1h Web + 3h Video 72% left
74% left
2
Bat. To Phone Size Score 2.1 3.3 1.1
Sub Tek-Score
7.5
7.7
0.2
Fast Charging 25w
25w
0
Wireless Charging 15w
15w
0
Reverse Charging 4.5w
4.5w
0
Tek-Score
7.2
7.3
0.1

*Reference: 90: Samsung Galaxy A42.

Which has more storage?

The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. Twice as much.

The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra features 256GB of internal storage and 12GB of RAM. Also, similarly priced adversaries usually have less RAM and less storage. Right now, the average is 167Gb of storage and 9GB of RAM.

Storage*
vs.
Features Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Galaxy S21 Ultra
RAM (GB) 12GB
12GB
0
Internal (GB) 256GB
128GB
-128
Micro SD microSDXC (shared SIM slot) No
Tek-Score
10.0
6.0
-4.0

*Internal Storage + 256GB Memory Card (Max: 512GB).

Which is the most connectivity-friendly?

I'd go for the Galaxy S21 Ultra if you really value Bluetooth 5.2.

You can connect the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra to LTE or (LTE and) 5G networks.

Connectivity
vs.
Features Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Galaxy S21 Ultra
Network 5G (also available in LTE) 5G
Bluetooth 5.0
5.2
NFC Yes Yes
3.5mm jack No No
Tek-Score
4.6
5.1
0.5

Which is more affordable?

Here are the prices that we've come across recently:

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

Reference: $995

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Reference: $1,199

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

I earn a small fee from qualifying purchases. It doesn't affect the price you pay nor my opinions, but it will mean a lot if you click on one of these buttons before purchasing your next phone (or whatever else you end up buying). You'll be helping to take this to the next level.

Prices on eBay are in $US but Europe-based. You can click to check the prices in your country.

Prices marked with ! are from renewed/refurbished/carrier-locked phones (except eBay prices that, as a last resort, can be from bids or used devices).

How much of a "phone" can your money buy?
That's how much "score" you can get with $100 based on the global score that you'll see in the next section (higher is better).

Have you found better prices elsewhere? The formula is simple: score/price*100.

Value for money Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Galaxy S21 Ultra VS
Amazon - - -
eBay 0.51 0.69 0.18
Best Buy 0.67 0.63 -0.04
Walmart - - -

Also, don't forget to check the latest deals from these four stores, and the state of the art on mobile technology, if you don't want to overpay on your next smartphone.


Related articles:


Best smartphone deals


The Best Unbiased Smartphones For All Budgets


Smartphone Specs Statistics: The State Of The Art (Q1 2021)

Want to know about that global score? For reference purposes, I'll tell you where most of its rivals average. They're in the ballpark of 7.5 for the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and 7.6 for the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

Verdict: What Makes the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Stand Out?

In the end, you can easily pick any of them, and I'm sure you won't be disappointed. Still, if you're more inclined into having tons of storage, the Note 20 Ultra is the one for you, as you'd get 256GB and external storage.

If you prefer having a powerful SoC that is as fast as it can get, the Galaxy S21 Ultra should be your choice. After all, 128Gb of storage should be enough for most of us. As a bonus, you'll also get an astonishing 10x optical lens and Bluetooth 5.2.

Pros Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Galaxy S21 Ultra
#1 Performance Performance
#2 AMOLED AMOLED
#3 Always-On-Display Always-On-Display
#4 Cameras Cameras
#5 Battery Life Battery Life
#6 Fast Charging Fast Charging
#7 Wireless Charging Wireless Charging
#8 MicroSD Slot Glass Protection
#9 Storage
#10 Glass Protection
Cons Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Galaxy S21 Ultra
#1 Weight MicroSD Slot
#2 3.5mm Jack Weight
#3 Price 3.5mm Jack
#4 Price
Relative Score*
vs.
Global Score Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Galaxy S21 Ultra
Gaming Score
8.3
8.1
-0.2
Tek-Score
8.05
7.52
-0.53
Your Score

*Reference: 100: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

Scroll the sliders down below to get your own personalized score. Let's suppose you value performance and battery life, and you don't really care about anything else. Then, just set the "Performance" and the "Battery" sliders up to 5 (5+5=10), and then the other sliders down to 0. You'll know what's the best phone for you.

Performance 1.9
Display 1.7
Cameras 1.4
Frame 0.9
Battery 1.9
Storage 2.0
Connectivity 0.4
Total Should be 10 or as close as possible: 9.6

For suggestions and bug reports, click here. Your help is appreciated. Thank you.

If you want to know more about them, click here:

About me

Hello!

My name is Luis Silva, and I have a degree in computer management. Ever since I was a teenager, I've loved everything to do with tech. Music, pictures, video editing, I've done it all! This site is a place for me to share some of the knowledge I have, as well as keep up-to-date with current trends. This is a wonderful place for tech-geeks and everyone else that just want to learn more about tech and smartphones in general.


Keep in touch


pinterest logo Follow us on Pinterest

facebook logo Join our Facebook group







No spam, I promise. You can unsubscribe at any time and I'll never share your email without your permission.



Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Related Comparisons


Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Related Comparisons

×

"Display size to phone weight" ratio explained

This indeed is a "display size to phone weight" ratio, but because every phone ended up somewhere between 0.0272 and 0.0421, I've amplified (adapted) those values so they would fit in a 0-10 scale. As of now, the best smartphone is the Samsung Galaxy A40, with 140g. (4.94 oz) for a 5.9 inch display. It got a score of 9.92. While the worse device is the iPhone 8 Plus, which weighs 202 g. (7.13 oz) and has a 5.5-inch display. It ended up with a score of 0.75.

Please, be aware that this score is subject to change if and when a new smartphone comes along that ends up being outside of this scale.

×

"Battery to device size" ratio explained

This score should give you an idea about the energy footprint of the devices you're considering. It reflects not only the hardware and the energy that it requires but also the amount of energy that the battery can deliver.

The major spenders on any device should be the display and the SoC. But everything from a notification led to its modems need to be optimized, or else, the OEM should simply include a bigger battery as a compensation. Unfortunately, it isn't always possible due to size limitations. But in the end, if a particular OEM can do a good job and give you excellent battery life on a small device, so should everyone else. That's why I've added a "battery to device size" ratio. But since the real scale went from 119 (for the Galaxy S10e, Snapdragon variant) and up to 164 (for the iPhone 7 Plus), I've decided to convert them so they would fit in a 0-10 scale, being 0 the worst device, (the iPhone 7 Plus) and 10 the one every OEM should look up to.

As an example, Apple did an excellent job on the iPhone 7. It has a score of 8. Despite having a small capacity, the hardware is well optimized, and it still gives you decent battery life considering its size. The iPhone 7 Plus, on the other hand, with those bezels shrinking its display size, clearly could've been the #1 in our top 10 list of best battery devices if Apple simply filled all that empty space with a bigger battery.

As a side note: I haven't included the dept of the devices in this formula because even if a device ended up being 1mm/0.03 inches thicker, it wouldn't matter that much to those who really value battery life.

Please, be aware that this score is subject to change if and when a new smartphone comes along that ends up being outside of this scale.

×

Rivals

As of now, these are the rivals that were considered for each of them. They may change every time its prices are updated.

These are the lowest prices found on Amazon, eBay, BestBuy, and Walmart.


 Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 
  • ApplerivaliPhone 12 Pro
    $1120
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 SD
    $799
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20+ SD
    $799
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 U.EX
    $955
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 U.SD
    $1049
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 20 U.EX
    $999
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 20 U.SD
    $1160
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 Ultra
    $955
  • HuaweirivalMate 30 Pro
    $849
  • HuaweirivalP40 Pro
    $799
  • OnePlusrival8 Pro
    $799
  • HuaweirivalMate 40 Pro
    $1065
  • XiaomirivalMi 10 Ultra
    $846
  • OpporivalFind X2 Pro
    $950
  • ApplerivaliPhone 12 Pro Max
    $1180
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S21 Ultra
    $1100
  • XiaomirivalMi 11 Ultra
    $1079
  • VivorivalX60 Pro Plus
    $1177
  • VivorivalX60 Pro
    $900
  • OpporivalFind X3 Pro
    $1149
  • ApplerivaliPhone 13
    $829
  • ApplerivaliPhone 13 Pro
    $999
  • ApplerivaliPhone 13 Pro Max
    $1099

 Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 
  • ApplerivaliPhone 12 Pro
    $1120
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 U.EX
    $955
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 U.SD
    $1049
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 20 U.EX
    $999
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 20 U.SD
    $1160
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 Ultra
    $955
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 20 U.
    $995
  • HuaweirivalMate 40 Pro
    $1065
  • OpporivalFind X2 Pro
    $950
  • ApplerivaliPhone 12 Pro Max
    $1180
  • SonyrivalXperia 1 II
    $1198
  • XiaomirivalMi 11 Ultra
    $1079
  • VivorivalX60 Pro Plus
    $1177
  • VivorivalX60 Pro
    $900
  • OpporivalFind X3 Pro
    $1149
  • ApplerivaliPhone 13 Pro
    $999
  • ApplerivaliPhone 13 Pro Max
    $1099
×

Formula deviation

Since the guys at DxoMark don't review every camera out there, I've come up with a formula based on the ones that they do rate, so I could get an equivalent score for the ones they don't review. After testing it against these cameras, I got the deviation between that and their DxO score.

Device: DxOScore Deviation
Samsung Galaxy A50: 88 -1
Apple iPhone XR: 104 1
Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro: 108 -7
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro: 87 1
Sony Xperia 1: 99 -1
Sony Xperia 5: 101 1
Samsung Galaxy Note 8: 100 0
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus: 126 2
Apple iPhone 8 Plus: 96 -3
Xiaomi Pocophone F1: 92 -1
Apple iPhone 7 Plus: 90 -1
Apple iPhone X: 101 3
Apple iPhone 11: 112 -1
Samsung Galaxy Note 8: 100 0
Samsung Galaxy Note 9: 107 1
Apple iPhone XS Max: 110 -2
Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max: 124 1
Samsung Galaxy S10: 124 2
Apple iPhone XS: 110 -1
Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus: 120 -2
OnePlus 7 Pro: 122 0
OnePlus 7T Pro: 122 0
Huawei P30 Pro: 125 -1
Google Pixel 4: 117 0
Google Pixel 3: 103 0
Google Pixel 2: 100 0
Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus: 127 -2
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra: 132 2
OnePlus 6: 100 0
OnePlus 6T: 101 1
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus: 105 -1
Huawei Mate 20 Pro: 120 0
Xiaomi Mi 9: 115 0
Huawei Mate 30 Pro: 132 0
Huawei P40 Pro: 140 -1
Apple iPhone SE 2: 101 0
OnePlus 8 Pro: 126 0
Xiaomi Mi 8: 105 1
Samsung Galaxy A71: 89 1
Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro: 134 0

As you can see, most cameras sit between 1 and -1, while a few of them go up to 2 or -2. That means it's reasonable to assume other similar cameras that they don't review to, in the worst-case scenario, be anywhere from -2 to 2 points from the score that the formula gets.

For example: Given that the Pixel 4 got 117 points and that the Pixel 4 XL share the same year and camera specs, it's reasonable to expect a score of 117 too. But in reality, if they do review that camera, it may end up anywhere between 115 and 119.

Be aware that at DxO, they give a score based on their opinion, not based on any formula. That's why I think there's an odd difference of 6 points between the iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X. In theory, they should have the same camera.

I'm guessing that the Mi 9T Pro got a deviation of 7 points because they tested its Chinese variant (the K20 Pro).

Update: They just changed their protocol to include preview image evaluation and trustability. I'm keeping the old table (for now) for reference purposes, and I'll be adding a new one as soon as they review at least a couple of new mclass-range cameras.

You can expect the same (or a bit bigger) deviation for high-end cameras, but anything with a score below 100-110 should be taken with a grain of salt.

This is valid for all cameras tested with the previous protocol. For those that they dclassn't test, the deviation may be up to twice as much.

×

About GeekBench 5

This is just a quick note to let you know that, if, by any chance, the smartphone you're looking for isn't on the GeekBench site yet, you can check on GsmArena.com, as they also usually test smartphones with that benchmark tool.



Top 10 Smartphones