Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Google Pixel 5

When it concerns huge names in the mobile phone cam video game, Google has among the much better credibilities. Its most current Google Pixel 5 flagship might not all the hardware bells and whistles we see on more pricey smart devices, however it takes some amazing images. By contrast, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra features among the most thorough cam bundles we have actually ever seen in a mobile phone and a price to match. So how do the 2 compare in a real-world shootout?

We’re clearly not anticipating the $699 Google Pixel 5 to finest an ultra-premium flagship that costs nearly double its rate. However if it can come close to matching the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra in more than a handful of the most typical shooting situations, we’ll chalk it up as a significant win for Google’s computational photography expertise.

If you desire a closer take a look at these image samples striven this contrast, you can view the full-res files here.

Our decisions: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review |Google Pixel 5 review

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Google Pixel 5: Video camera specifications

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Google Pixel 5
Main Cam 108 MP (12 MP binned)
f/1.8 aperture
24 mm focal length
1/1.33″ sensing unit
122 MP
f/1.7 aperture
27 mm focal length
1/2.55″ sensing unit
double pixel PDAF, OIS
Wide-angle 12 MP
f/2.2 aperture
13 mm focal length
1/2.55″ sensing unit
double pixel PDAF
16 MP
f/2.2 aperture
Telephoto zoom 10 MP
f/2.4 aperture
70 mm focal length
1/3.24″ sensing unit
double pixel PDAF, OIS
3x zoom
Periscope zoom 10 MP
f/4.9 aperture
240 mm focal length
1/3.24″ sensing unit
double pixel PDAF, OIS
10 x zoom
Focusing Laser AF system

Daytime, colors, and direct exposure

Samsung has a credibility for greatly saturated colors and the Galaxy S21 Ultra is no exception. The business has actually called its result back a little this generation and the worst offenses can mainly be prevented by disabling the Scene Optimizer function, which tends to go a bit overboard when taking a look at particular scenes. Still, Samsung’s images pack in some major color punch.

The Google Pixel 5, on the other hand, sticks really near to realism in basically every situation. Although this can have the disadvantage of leaving some images and topics looking a little flat and rinsed. See the example listed below, where the Pixel 5 is a little too dark and does not rather provide the pop and punch you desire from a scrumptious food photo.

However, both phones have exceptional white balance and direct exposure in essentially all images taken with them, so you can quickly modify colors in your editor of option must you so desire.

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The very same patterns use to outside shots too. Colors, direct exposure, and white balance are all usually terrific on both phones. Nevertheless, the Pixel 5 will once again often underexpose the odd darker image, such as the forest scene listed below. It’s challenging shots like this where the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s bigger primary image sensing unit assists to record that bit more light and color, that make a visible distinction.

The bottom line is you will not be disappointed with images from either of these 2 phones in broad daytime. A minimum of not without glimpsing more detailed at the100 %crops. There are some advantages to be acquired from the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s more pricey hardware plan, however they’re barely night and day.


Like me, you might presume the Samsung Galaxy S(***************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************** )Ultra has a significant benefit in the information department thanks to its bigger108 MP primary cam. However to do so does a significant injustice to the Google Pixel 5’s computational photography abilities and overstates the level of information that can be pulled from Samsung’s pixel binned cam plan.(***************************************** )

Glimpsing in on the100 % crops exposes a little bit of additional sound with the Pixel 5, leading to a loss of information in the shadows. The example listed below highlights this distinction as a severe case. You can likewise see some green and purple tint on the white walls, where the little image sensing unit has a hard time to record precise colors in this roughly lit scene. Still, it takes a severe HDR example to find these artifacts and both images come out quite well.

HDR Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Google Pixel 5

Credit: Robert Triggs/ Android Authority

The Samsung Galaxy S(***************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************** )Ultra ekes out a little benefit in HDR image quality however this isn't unexpected providing the phone's bigger image sensing unit. It's extremely outstanding simply how close the Pixel 5 features a much smaller sized and older cam setup. Google's image processing abilities assist the Pixel 5 punch well above its weight here.

Shooting in low light

The very same Pixel 5 image sensing unit hardware constraints from our HDR shots appear once again in low light. The example listed below highlights the light capture distinctions in between the 1/1.33- inch Galaxy S21 Ultra and the 1/2.55- inch Pixel 5 primary sensing units with Night mode handicapped. Samsung has a clear benefit when wishing to take a fast breeze in low light, while Google's flagship is loud and underexposed.

Nevertheless, allowing Night mode closes this space substantially, with the Pixel 5 supplying direct exposure, colors, and even information to match the Galaxy S21 Ultra. The Pixel 5 is certainly still the noisier of the 2, however the Galaxy S21 Ultra is a little too aggressive on the denoise, which ravels a few of its information. A perfect outcome would most likely be best in between the 2.

So strong is Google's faith in its Night processing innovation that it markets astrophotography abilities too. While the outcome is satisfactory on a dark night, the image is a little loud. Samsung's bigger sensing unit once again showcases the constraints of Google's hardware, catching the light from far-off stars that the Pixel 5 merely can't construct out. Once again both are excellent, however the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is even much better.(***************************************** )

The Pixel 5 continues to trade blows with the even more pricey Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra in other low light shots. Emphasizes and shadows are simply as well balanced, however Samsung clocks in a somewhat much better vibrant variety. Information sensible, the 2 are likewise really close. The Pixel 5 is softer and noisier while the Galaxy S21 Ultra is much heavier on the honing pass and can show odd artifacts on texture information.

Related:6 tips for improving smartphone low light photography

It's just when we take images in nearly pitch black that the Pixel 5 battles to maintain, handing in a blurred, loud, and unfocused photo in our last example. Similar to our HDR face-off, the Pixel 5 comes close to matching the bulk of the Galaxy S(***************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************** )Ultra's abilities at a portion of the rate.

Focusing on information

We will not harp on zoom abilities excessive, as it's rather clear from the hardware requirements that the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra outplays the Pixel 5 here, which has neither atelephoto or periscope zoom camera

At 2x Google's Super Res Zoom software application in fact hands in remarkable information versus Samsung's software application zoom innovation. Nevertheless, as soon as Samsung's telephoto lens begins at 3x the Ultra begins taking a quality lead. Although you'll be hard-pressed to find a lot of significant information distinctions at full-frame. The Pixel 5 holds up fairly well provided its absence of zoom hardware.

At 5x and beyond the distinctions end up being more noticable, especially when taking a look at intricate textures like tree zone. The Pixel 5 taps out at 7x zoom while the Galaxy S21 Ultra begins its periscope zoom at10 x for a significant increase in zoom quality at long variety. Samsung boasts as much as100 x abilities, however we would not advise taking images much beyond20 x or you'll discover a significant drop off in quality.

Taking a look at full-frame outcomes, both cam hand in excellent looking wide-angle shots that follow the appearance of their primary cams. Once again, the S21 Ultra uses vibrant colors and brighter direct exposures, while wide-angle images from the Pixel 5 can once again look a little rinsed and doing not have vibrancy.

Find Out More:The complete guide to ultra-wide camera phones

Neither wide-angle cam records much in the method of information. The Pixel 5 is noisier and softer, and appears out of focus at some ranges. While Samsung's processing leads to harsher edges and unpleasant textures. However pixel-perfect quality is not actually the goal of the video game with wide-angle photography.

Credit: Robert Triggs/ Android Authority

Regrettably, both wide-angle lenses experience chromatic aberration( purple halos )when shooting into a brilliant light. This result is more noticable with the Pixel 5. Edge distortion is quite comparable in between both phones, with less and less information recorded at the image edges.

General quality come down to a familiar argument about overzealous post-processing from Samsung and a softer however noisier technique from Google. Google's technique would most likely look much better total, however the Pixel 5 cuts corners on a more affordable lens setup and a narrow field of vision, which are 2 crucial credit to premium wide-angle photography.

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Bokeh and pictures(************************************************** )

Samsung has another hardware technique to provide it a benefit when it concerns picture shots and bokeh blur-- its laser focusing system. With additional depth details at its disposal, the Galaxy S21 Ultra should, in theory, use its bokeh result a little bit more properly.(***************************************** )(************************************************************************** )

This is undoubtedly the case in our very first 2 examples. We can find edge detection mistakes with the Pixel 5 in both the flower and figurine examples that do not appear to the very same level with the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. Otherwise, both phones provide extremely precise colors, direct exposure, white balance, and blur quality. The images are more alike than one would anticipate.

(************************************* )The very same uses to picture images. The Galaxy S21 Ultra carries out much better edge detection, especially when it concerns intricate edges like hair and furs. Although Samsung's application isn't without its faults in these locations. Outdoors, the 2 deal really comparable facial information, complexion, and textures that are once again extremely similar. Although the Pixel 5 is, once again, a little noisier.

Indoor lighting exposes a larger distinction in between the 2, however once again you need to look carefully at the images to construct out the distinction. The Pixel 5 struggles with more sound, which consumes into the level of information the phone has the ability to record on face textures and so on. Samsung's processing is soft and does not produce a lot more information, however it's a partially much better appearance

(********************************************************************************** )Portrait Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Google Pixel 5Portrait Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Google Pixel 5

Credit: Robert Triggs/ Android Authority

As Soon As once again, the outcomes are more detailed than we may anticipate provided the rate distinction in between these smart devices. Samsung's more thorough hardware plan produces partially much better outcomes, however you need to pixel peek to actually discover.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Google Pixel 5 cam test: The decision(************************************************** )Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Pixel 5 camera bright

Credit: Robert Triggs/ Android Authority

After taking a look at a substantial variety of images, it's clear that the Samsung Galaxy S 21 Ultra triumphes in a couple of crucial locations. Its bigger image sensing unit triumphes in HDR and low light scenes, especially when it concerns a fast breeze. The thorough zoom plan likewise uses quality at a range that Google's flagship can't take on.(***************************************** )

Nevertheless, the Google Pixel 5 carries out similarly well in a variety of situations, showcasing that computational photography can keep older hardware in the video game. General information is still remarkably excellent and although the phone's colors can look a little controlled, the Pixel 5 still looks terrific in daytime and even low light. Offering you have the perseverance to wait a couple of seconds for Night mode to do its thing. Its wide-angle cam is likewise really competitive, regardless of not providing rather the very same prolonged field of vision.

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If you remain in the marketplace for a spending plan flagship with a strong cam, the Pixel 5 is still among the very best choices in the market. As this shootout has actually plainly revealed. Nevertheless, it's clear that the handset's hardware plan isn't rather in the very same league as more pricey flagships on the marketplace. Personally, I 'd be really thrilled to see what the Pixel 6 might do witheven just a small update to its camera hardware, as Google's computational photography abilities are still a few of the very best in business.

What do you think of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Google Pixel 5 cam test? Does Samsung do enough to validate an additional$(************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************** )when it concerns photography abilities?

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