Camera test: S21 Ultra vs. Note20 Ultra

15 February 2021


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dragserb, 16 Feb 2021I have the snapdragon versions of the 21 Ultra and my wife ... moreYou just nailed it man!!

Anonymous, 17 Feb 2021Pixel peeping on those 10x zoom images the Note 20 Ultra 10... moreYes. I find 10x pictures from Note 20 Ultra more appealing than those from S21U.

  • Anonymous

Pixel peeping on those 10x zoom images the Note 20 Ultra 10x hybrid looks better than S21 Ultra 10x Optical. What's up with that Samsung??

Anonymous, 16 Feb 2021Look who's talking.. If I make same critics against... more"If I make same critics against HTC, Samsung, LG, Asus, Sony, Apple and Motorola; you would never get grumpy"
Lol, that's a big "if". All right, go ahead and prove it then. Has there been any instance where they showcased a similar video technology as the one on Mi 11 and GSMArena made an article about it? I don't think so. So where is your assumption (that I'm only reacting because it's a Chinese brand) coming from, huh?

"Xiaomi simply is boosting ISO"
Not really because that would lead to substantial colour degradation and increase in noise level. BlinkAI uses machine learning to analyse each frame and enhance it without degrading their quality (Go check out their demo video), and runs on SD888's NPU for real-time processing. If a simple ISO boost works better then many companies would've done it in the first place.

"many phones today get spanked by old Lumia 808"
808 captures better details thanks to a 41MP Bayer sensor, but that's pretty much it. Take it to more challenging situation and you will see it quickly falling apart.

  • Crak o Jack

dragserb, 16 Feb 2021I have the snapdragon versions of the 21 Ultra and my wife ... moreI really like your review and appreciate your comment and find it to be more comprehensive thanks for a brilliant comment.

Anonymous, 16 Feb 2021I think you missed a crucial thing when comparing. Are yo... moreThat does not matter, not anymore

Alex, 16 Feb 2021Has it been officially confirmed that Exynos produces worse... moreYes especially in video, something to do with lack of optimizations.
But a big company like Samsung shouldn't be rolling out optimized camera for Snapdragon and fail to do so for their own homegrown chip.

  • Alex

Love my camera, 16 Feb 2021I was planning on moving away from Samsung this year, refu... moreROG is a weird choice if you are looking for a camera. Have you tried at least one from Arena 2020 cameraphone list? Why didn't S20 or Note20 work for you?

  • Alex

Anonymous, 16 Feb 2021I think you missed a crucial thing when comparing. Are yo... moreHas it been officially confirmed that Exynos produces worse picture quality that SD?

  • Anonymous

Nick Tegrataker, 16 Feb 2021How could you tell if it is horrible or not when you have n... moreLook who's talking..

If I make same critics against HTC, Samsung, LG, Asus, Sony, Apple and Motorola; you would never get grumpy. It is all because it is chinese phone.

Brighter does not mean better. The footage is unusable. Look like video done by old Galaxy S.
I can easily tell by looking at the tree and turf.
It is all mushed.
Xiaomi simply is boosting ISO, making it brighter at expense of quality.
It is like if you set on your phone ISO 6400 and Shutter slower than 1/10s.
Bright, but worse than VGA quality.

This reminds me what redator of Phone Arena said about that sony phone with dual cam ( monochrome).

" - Who's gonna take photos in completely dark places?"

Even the Panasonic GH5s (very popular camera used for videography) has issues at darker places. Camera with 4/3 sensor.
Imagine phones that lose lots of quality when they do not work at base ISO.

Brands should slap a single 1" sensor instead many weak cameras just to satisfy dxomark.
No wonder why many phones today get spanked by old Lumia 808.



  • dragserb

I have the snapdragon versions of the 21 Ultra and my wife has the snapdragon version of the Note 20 Ultra. I also have a Pixel 4a 5g. I have compared hundreds of pictures between the 3 in various situations, taking the same picture. In general, the S21 Ultra takes a better picture in both details and with more neutral colors than the Note 20 Ultra. It's not a huge difference but it is better. And it definitely leaves the Pixel in the dust in details, color and camera flexibility. Stop posting nonsense here that the Note 20 Ultra takes better pictures. Making this determination here by just looking at a few choice photos does not make it so. I've stopped believing in most camera tests from sites because so many have inherent biases against manufacturers. What they say is so ends up being completely opposite from what I see in my own everyday usage.

  • Anonymous

Nick Tegrataker, 16 Feb 2021Except a simple crop from the 12MP image won't have an... moreI know that crop from main camera does not solve the issue.
My comment was to explain that few brands choose to do it because their " zoom" cameras have hardware weak even for daylight.

This move is done because the higher capacity to grab light.

I agree it is bad idea, because you lose quality.

  • Anonymous

I think you missed a crucial thing when comparing.
Are you sure you didn't compare a snapdragon Note20 against a Exynos S21?

  • Neutral

Anonymous, 16 Feb 2021This night video mode of mi11 is horrible. I saw samples w... moreIf the Mi 11 night mode video is terrible, the S21 Ultra's video in the dark is just plain unusable. Let's not forget that the Mi 11 is just the starting model of the series while S21 Ultra is the fully-specced model of the S21 series. There is still the Mi 11 Pro and possibly Mi 11 Ultra to improve on the Mi 11.

  • Neph

I'd love to see similar comparison between the S21 Ultra vs the S21/S21+.
How much would people get by purchasing the Ultra model. What would they lose by purchasing the vanilla S21.

Anonymous, 16 Feb 2021This night video mode of mi11 is horrible. I saw samples w... moreIt's not horrible at all... where many phones struggle in pitch dark conditions and give dark unusable video, this one lights up everything.
If this was just using higher iso values, this feature would have existed on previous flagships as well.

This is like gcam, but for videos.

It's only unlocked because of the image processing capabilities of the Snapdragon 888 chip.
Probably the reason why they omitted it out at Exynos ISP might not be supporting it.

Nick Tegrataker, 16 Feb 2021While I'm glad that this year Samsung turned down the ... moreSince 2017 there was dozens of phones with cameras better than s9+

Anonymous, 16 Feb 2021My Sony mirrorless camera gives terrible skin tones.In actual camera world, Sony are the worse when it comes to color science, except a7siii & a1.

  • Anonymous

Anonymous, 16 Feb 2021Xenon flash is better than LED. It is gonna help have bet... moreMy Sony mirrorless camera gives terrible skin tones.

  • Andrew

I have the Note 20 Ultra and am totally satisfied with its performance.