Home : Smartphones

Sony Xperia 1 II vs Samsung Galaxy S21: Which to Pick?

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

The Xperia 1 II will cost you more, but it's the smartphone you should pick.

It features a glass back, more internal storage (256GB vs. 128GB), and external storage. But with the Galaxy S21, you can get a better display and better battery life.

What else sets them apart?

The Xperia 1 II also gives you a larger (+0.3") display, a telephoto lens (+41 mm), Bluetooth 5.1, and a headphone jack. But the Galaxy S21 also features a higher refresh rate display, better peak brightness, and reverse wireless charging.

How much will the additional specs cost me?

If you're going off-contract, it should be about $400 more expensive.

Is the Xperia 1 II still worth buying in 2021?

The Sony Xperia 1 II is clearly worth buying in 2021, even if there are better phones out there. You can consider the Apple iPhone 12, but with the Xperia 1 II, at least you'll get good performance, tons of storage, and excellent glass protection.

Just keep reading if you want to know everything about them, how they differ from their competition, and how other specialists evaluate them.

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.

Sony Xperia 1 IISamsung Galaxy S21

CONTENTS

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

Introduction

While Samsung's Galaxy S21 hit stores last January, Sony's Xperia 1 II went on sale in May 2020.

In this article, we see how the Xperia 1 II and the Galaxy S21 compare to each other to help you decide and see which one of these is the right one for you.

The weight of each section

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

to check who their rivals are.

Price*
vs.
Device Xperia 1 II Galaxy S21
Release Date 2020, May 2021, January 1y.
OS Updates 2 years 3 years 1y.
Security Updates 2 years 4 years 2y.

*Reference: 100: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

Which One Has The Best Performance?

About performance: Geekbench 5 scores the Galaxy S21 7% ahead of its rival in the multi-core ranking. Overall, you wouldn't feel that much of a difference between them.

One can entitle the Xperia 1 II as a lower high-end and the Galaxy S21 as high-end.

Performance*
vs.
Features Xperia 1 II Galaxy S21
SoC Snapdragon 865 Exynos 2100
Graphics Adreno 650 Mali-G78 MP14
Geekbench 5 Score 2901
3113
212
OS Android 10 Android 11 and OneUI
Tek-Score
6.8
7.2
0.4

*Reference: 100: Apple iPhone 12.

Which Phone Has The Best Display?

Sony Xperia 1 II front transparent png Samsung Galaxy S21 front transparent png

The Galaxy S21 is the winner here, and it should be noticeable.

The Xperia 1 II also beats other similarly priced phones: Its display has a high pixel density.

Given the Xperia 1 II, 88% of its rivals can play HDR content. Plus, all have an AMOLED screen, and 92% have an Always-On display.

Compared to the Galaxy S21, as a reference, 92% of its rivals can play HDR content and have an Always-On display, and all have an AMOLED screen.

Display Density (DPIs)*
vs.
Features Xperia 1 II Galaxy S21
Size 6.5
6.2
-0.3
Screen Type AMOLED AMOLED
Resolution (px) 1644x3840
1080x2400
-3720960
Refresh Rate 60hz 120hz 60
Dots per Inch 642.63
424.48
-218.15
Always-On-Display Yes Yes
Notch - Hole
Peak Brightness 607 nits
856 nits
249
HDR HDR BT.2020 HDR10+
Sub Tek-Score
8.3
9.2
0.9
Protection Corning Gorilla Glass 6 Corning Gorilla Glass Victus
Tek-Score
7.7
9.7
2.0

*Reference: 100: Sony Xperia 1 II.

Which Phone Has The Best Cameras?

Sony Xperia 1 II back transparent png Samsung Galaxy S21 back transparent png

Be aware that the Xperia 1 II's picture quality is, on average, 29% above other competitors at about this price tag. Although the Galaxy S21 is the clear winner.

About the Xperia 1 II: DXOMARK tested this camera and gave it a score of 114. And if you take into account the telephoto and wide-angle lenses, that will go up to 125. You can check their review if you click here.

Last (but not least), keep in mind that all of its rivals can record videos in 4K or more and have an ultra-wide-angle lens, and 92% feature Optical Image Stabilization. On the other hand, only 15% of them feature a macro lens.

About the Galaxy S21: On DXOMARK's reviewing article, they gave this shooter 123 points. By adding its wide-angle lens, we end up with a score of 137 points. For an out-and-out review, check their article.

Last (but not least), all of its rivals can record videos in 4 or 8K, have an ultra-wide-angle lens, and feature Optical Image Stabilization. That said, only 4% of them feature a macro lens.

If you're not a numbers person, we can tag the Xperia 1 II as a lower high-end and the Galaxy S21 in the high-end ballpark.

Picture Quality*
vs.
Primary Camera Xperia 1 II Galaxy S21
Megapixels 12
12
0
Aperture 1.7
1.8
0.1
Lens 24mm
26mm
2
Lens Type Wide-Angle Wide-Angle
Flash 1 1 0
HDR Yes Yes
OIS Yes Yes
Video 2160 4320 2160
Score 125
137
12

*Reference: 100: Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra.

Extra Camera(s) Xperia 1 II Galaxy S21 vs.
Megapixels 12
64
52
Aperture 2.4
2.0
-0.4
Lens 70mm (3x zoom)
29mm -41
Lens Type Telephoto lens Regular
Megapixels 12 12 0
Aperture 2.2 2.2 0.0
Lens 16mm 13mm -3
Lens Type Wide-Angle Ultra-wide-Angle
Megapixels 0.3 -
Lens Type Depth Sensor -
Score 11 14 3
Selfie Camera Xperia 1 II Galaxy S21 vs.
Megapixels 8
10
2
Aperture 2.0
2.2
0.2
Lens 24mm 26mm 2
Xperia 1 II Galaxy S21 vs.
Tek-Score
7.4
8.1
0.7

Who has the best frame?

There isn't a clear winner, so there is no wrong choice here.

The Galaxy S21 weighs 169 g. (5.96 oz), while its rival is 12 g. (0.42 oz) heavier. But because this is a bit relative, I've come up with an adapted "display size to phone weight ratio" score. The Xperia 1 II got 6.1, and that's another way of saying a pretty nice weight for its screen size. The Galaxy S21, on the other hand, has 6.6, which is pretty nice too.

You can drop the Xperia 1 II into the water, up to 1 to 3 meters deep, identical to the Galaxy S21. But remember: it's for a maximum period of half an hour, and it's in standby mode only. So don't take photos underwater.

Looks*
vs.
Body Xperia 1 II Galaxy S21
Size 165 x 71 x 7 mm
(5.82 x 2.50 x 0.25 in)
151 x 71 x 7 mm
(5.33 x 2.50 x 0.25 in)
-6958
Weight 181 g. (6.38 oz)
169 g. (5.96 oz)
-12
Build Front and back glass Front glass
Colors Black, Mirror Lake Green, and Purple Phantom Gray, Phantom Violet, Phantom White, and Phantom Pink
Screen To Body Ratio 84.18%
86.57%
2.38
Disp.Size To Weight Score 6.1 6.6 0.5
Looks 8.5/10
6.5/10
-1.9
Waterproof IP68 IP68
Biometrics Fingerprint Under Display Fingerprint
Tek-Score
7.6
7.7
0.1

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

Which has the best battery?

In theory, they should have about the same battery life because they have the same capacity: about 4000 mAh. And as reported by GSMArena, the Galaxy S21 does have better battery life.

Battery*
vs.
Features Xperia 1 II Galaxy S21
Capacity (mAh) 4000 4000 0
1h Talk + 1h Web + 1h Video 78% left
81% left
3
1h Talk + 3h Web + 1h Video 57% left
62% left
5
1h Talk + 1h Web + 3h Video 63% left
67% left
4
Bat. To Phone Size Score 3.0 6.2 3.2
Sub Tek-Score
6.6
7.0
0.4
Fast Charging 21w
25w
4
Wireless Charging 11w
15w
4
Reverse Charging No 4.5w
4.5
Tek-Score
6.0
6.9
0.9

*Reference: 90: Samsung Galaxy A31.

Which has more storage?

The Xperia 1 II has about two times more storage.

The Xperia 1 II comes equipped with 256GB of integrated storage and 8GB of RAM. Furthermore, other devices from this budget usually have less storage but more RAM. They're closer to 130Gb of storage and 8GB of RAM.

Storage*
vs.
Features Xperia 1 II Galaxy S21
RAM (GB) 8GB
8GB
0
Internal (GB) 256GB
128GB
-128
Micro SD microSDXC (uses 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?

The Xperia 1 II is your better option, as it features Bluetooth 5.1 and a headphone jack.

You can find these two in the (LTE and) 5G variant.

Connectivity
vs.
Features Xperia 1 II Galaxy S21
Network 5G 5G
Bluetooth 5.1
5.0
NFC Yes Yes
3.5mm jack Yes No
Tek-Score
10.0
4.6
-5.4

Which is more affordable?

Here are their recently updated prices:

Sony Xperia 1 II

Reference: $1,198

Sony Xperia 1 II

Samsung Galaxy S21

Reference: $798

Samsung Galaxy S21

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 Xperia 1 II Galaxy S21 VS
Amazon - 0.82 -
eBay 1.19 1.02 -0.18
Best Buy - 1.14 -
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)

Are you ready for that final score? We're almost there. Let me point out the average of its competitors. The Xperia 1 II class is at 6.9, and the Galaxy S21 7.0.

Verdict: What Makes the Sony Xperia 1 II Stand Out?

What can the Sony Xperia 1 II give you that the Samsung Galaxy S21 can't:

- More DPIs

- A larger display (+0.3")

- A telephoto lens (+41 mm)

- Front and back glass

- More internal storage (256GB vs. 128GB)

- External storage

- Bluetooth 5.1

- A headphone jack

What can the Samsung Galaxy S21 give you that the Sony Xperia 1 II can't:

- More affordable

- Better peak brightness

- Higher refresh rates

- Better display

- Front glass

- Better battery life

- More OS updates (2 additional years)

- Reverse wireless charging

Pros Xperia 1 II Galaxy S21
#1 Performance Performance
#2 AMOLED AMOLED
#3 Always-On-Display Always-On-Display
#4 Cameras Cameras
#5 Fast Charging Fast Charging
#6 Wireless Charging Wireless Charging
#7 MicroSD Slot Glass Protection
#8 Storage
#9 3.5mm Jack
#10 Glass Protection
Cons Xperia 1 II Galaxy S21
#1 Weight MicroSD Slot
#2 Price 3.5mm Jack
#3 Price
Relative Score*
vs.
Global Score Xperia 1 II Galaxy S21
Gaming Score
6.9
7.6
0.7
Tek-Score
7.76
7.42
-0.34
Your Score

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

*Reference: 100: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

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.



Sony Xperia 1 II Related Comparisons


Samsung Galaxy S21 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.


 Sony Xperia 1 II 
  • ApplerivaliPhone 12
    $689
  • SonyrivalXperia 1
    $688
  • SonyrivalXperia 5
    $649
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 10+
    $565
  • ApplerivaliPhone X
    $579
  • ApplerivaliPhone 11
    $575
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 9
    $598
  • ApplerivaliPhone 11 Pro
    $684
  • ApplerivaliPhone XS Max
    $650
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10 Plus
    $689
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10+ EX
    $689
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 EX
    $697
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 SD
    $535
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20+ SD
    $535
  • HuaweirivalP30 Pro
    $599
  • GooglerivalPixel 4 XL
    $780
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20
    $697
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 Plus
    $600
  • HuaweirivalP40
    $666
  • XiaomirivalMi 10 Pro
    $600
  • GooglerivalPixel 5
    $580
  • ApplerivaliPhone 12 Mini
    $739
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S21
    $729
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S21 Plus
    $600
  • OnePlusrival8T
    $549
  • XiaomirivalMi 10
    $529
  • OpporivalReno4 Pro
    $594
  • XiaomirivalMi 11
    $698
  • OnePlusrival9
    $551
  • OpporivalFind X3 Lite
    $554

 Samsung Galaxy S21 
  • ApplerivaliPhone 12
    $689
  • SonyrivalXperia 1
    $688
  • SonyrivalXperia 5
    $649
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 9
    $598
  • ApplerivaliPhone 11 Pro
    $684
  • ApplerivaliPhone XS Max
    $650
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10 Plus
    $689
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10+ EX
    $689
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 EX
    $697
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 U.EX
    $789
  • HuaweirivalP30 Pro
    $599
  • GooglerivalPixel 4 XL
    $780
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20
    $697
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 Plus
    $600
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 Ultra
    $809
  • HuaweirivalMate 30 Pro
    $849
  • HuaweirivalP40 Pro
    $799
  • HuaweirivalP40
    $666
  • OnePlusrival8 Pro
    $799
  • XiaomirivalMi 10 Pro
    $600
  • XiaomirivalMi 10 Ultra
    $846
  • ApplerivaliPhone 12 Mini
    $739
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S21 Plus
    $600
  • OpporivalReno4 Pro
    $594
  • SonyrivalXperia 1 II
    $650
  • XiaomirivalMi 11
    $698
×

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