When the Sony Xperia 1 III goes on sale in early summer, its powerful chipset and stunning display will rival some of the best phones available. So, for buyers who are considering pre-ordering it, we compare it to the best of the best: the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra.
Both give you tons of screen space powered by the same cutting-edge chipset, at an equally huge price tag. Gamers who want a fast-refreshing screen or advanced Android users who like demanding split-screen apps probably can’t go wrong with one of these phones.
We can’t talk specifically about how the Xperia 1 III will perform until we get our hands on a review unit. For now, we’re focusing on the official Sony Xperia specs to explain how the two phones will stack up against each other.
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; Within three months of the S21 release date, you’ll already find several S21 Ultra deals for a reduction of $ 200 to $ 300.
Sony has yet to reveal 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 safe bet that Sony’s initial price for its new flagship will remain constant and match the initial price Samsung asked for its most powerful phone.
We also know that the Xperia 1 III will arrive in ‘early summer’, but we don’t have a tough date with Sony yet. Assuming it ships in late June or July, the Galaxy S21 Ultra will be out for five to six months by then. It was initially shipped at the end of January 2021.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra and Xperia 1 III both have a glass front and back surrounding an aluminum frame. Each has IP68 water / dust resistance and Gorilla Glass Victus protection for their respective panels; on the back, the Ultra has a slight 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 area and hides its bezels, while the Xperia 1 III is more traditionally flat and rectangular.
Sony’s phone also has large top and bottom bezels, which house the selfie camera and stereo speakers. This makes the display free of cutouts or notches and the front trigger sound more powerful, but also makes the phone very high.
Samsung, for comparison, uses a single-lens hole-punch camera and a speaker hole near the USB-C port – pretty traditional for most modern phones.
Assuming you can find them in stock, you can buy the Galaxy S21 Ultra in Phantom Black, Phantom Silver, Phantom Titanium, Phantom Navy, or Phantom Brown. So far, Sony has announced two colors: Frosted Black and Frosted Purple.
As we mentioned before, Samsung and Sony tend to fall on opposite sides of the debate over curved and flat screens. We can at least say that the Ultra was comfortable to hold and attractive to look at during our review, but the curved effect will be muted if you buy a protective case.
The most noticeable difference between these phones is the aspect ratio: the 6.5 inch OLED screen from Sony has a 21: 9 aspect ratio while the 6.8 inch OLED screen from Samsung has a traditional 16: 9 aspect ratio. .
On previous Xperia phones, some video apps like Netflix will automatically optimize their movies or graphics to 21: 9, while others like YouTube will default to 16: 9 primarily and leave black bars around your content. If you are looking for a gaming phone, most gaming apps happily expand on that extra space.
Samsung has made the Galaxy S21 Ultra its only phone capable of achieving Quad HD (3200 x 1440) at 120Hz. But Sony took it a step further and gave the Xperia 1 III a 4K (3840 x 1644) display capable of reaching 120 Hz. That gives the Xperia 643 pixels per inch, up from 515ppi with the Ultra while matching its frame rate. refresh, 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 that out ourselves, as well as test its brightness against the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s 1,500 nits maximum.
Samsung uses an in-display fingerprint sensor for the S21 Ultra, while Sony has blocked a side fingerprint sensor on the power button.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra definitely won our vote for the best camera phone. It has a 108MP f / 1.8, 12MP f / 2.2 ultra-wide main camera, a 10MP f / 2.4 telephoto camera plus a second 10MP f / 4.9 telephoto camera with 10X optical zoom and 40MP selfie camera.
With the main camera in ideal lighting conditions, you can take 30X or 100X zoom photos with the Galaxy S21 Ultra, making it the best option for photography outside of purchasing a powerful camera. autonomous. Overall, our reviewer was very impressed with the quality of his shot and the improved autofocus of the S20 series.
We haven’t tested the Xperia 1 III triple rear cameras yet, but we do know how the raw specs will match: it has a 12MP / 24mm / f / 1.7 main camera, 12MP / 16mm / f / 2.2 ultra-wide, a 3DoF sensor and 12MP variable telephoto lens. The latter can automatically switch between 70mm / f / 2.3 and 105mm / f / 2.8 for the best focus.
While the Galaxy S21 Ultra has the Xperia 1 III beat for pixels and zoom capability, it does have a few useful tips for professional photographers.
There is a dedicated, embossed photo button on the side of the phone. It has a professional mode for experts or a basic mode for beginners which allows you to customize or automate things according to your skill level. Plus, for people who are trying to take pictures of kids or fast-moving pets, there’s a new real-time tracking feature that lets you focus on that person no matter where they go. .
Based on capacity alone, the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s battery barely exceeds the Xperia 1 III’s battery at 5,000mAh to 4,500mAh.
In our testing, the Galaxy S21 Ultra could last all day for mundane tasks, but burn off its capacity much faster when QHD / 120Hz mode was active.
With a smaller battery, the same Snapdragon chipset, and a more demanding 4K display at the same refresh rate, it’s very possible that the Xperia 1 III will burn its battery even faster when using media apps at high settings. .
Both phones have fast charging technology if you run out of power. The Galaxy S21 Ultra can charge specifically at 25W or wirelessly at 15W. Sony’s press release says the included Xperia 1 III charger can help it regain a 50% charge in 30 minutes, or you can purchase a separate 30W accessory for an electric charge.
Specifications and Features
Whether you choose Samsung or Sony, you’ll get a phone powered by the new and super-powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 888. That being said, we can’t guarantee that this will mean that both phones will be equally powerful or fast.
RAM could play a big role in benchmark deviations. The Galaxy S21 Ultra started with 12GB of RAM and could be upgraded to 16GB, while the Xperia 1 III is expected to have 8GB or 12GB, which puts it at a slight disadvantage unless you pay extra.
Likewise, both phones will run Android 11, but our reviewer found that Samsung’s spin-off – One UI 3.0 – tended to be 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 hanging on to some beloved features that Samsung has almost left behind: a 3.5mm headphone jack and a microSD card slot for expandable storage. Some type of Android user will be happy with their inclusion.
Another advantage of the Xperia 1 III over the Galaxy S21 Ultra: more powerful front-facing stereo speakers. Sony claims they are 40% louder than the Xperia 1 II’s speakers, which were respectable in themselves.
For day-to-day productivity, you might want to consider the Galaxy S21 Ultra because of its S Pen support.
We can give a more definitive answer to the Sony Xperia 1 III vs. Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra debate once we have written our Xperia review later this year. But until then, the Galaxy S21 Ultra still seems like the best buy unless you’re looking for a very special feature.
Even if the Xperia 1 III lives up to the Sony hype, it will be some time before its cost drops to match the reduced price of the Galaxy S21 Ultra. And while Sony has done its best to improve the Xperia’s battery and cameras, the Ultra still seems to be overpowered by comparison.
If you prefer to watch or play on the widescreen, or if you’re excited about 4K with a 120Hz refresh rate, the Xperia 1 III might be the phone for you. When we tested the S21 Ultra, we weren’t blown away by the difference between HD and QHD. We hope the jump to 4K will be more impressive on the Xperia 1 III.