Best Smartphone Camera: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

What is the best smartphone camera available? Right now, there's little doubt that the title must go to the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra.
The recipe for a great smartphone camera in 2021 is straightforward, from a wide lens aperture to a growing number of all-important control options. Wrap these and several other must-haves up in a handset with a large, bright, high-resolution display, and you're all set.
Most smartphone manufacturers have this down to an art. What's crucial, then, is what takes a smartphone camera from great to the best on the market. Samsung has long been celebrated for its excellent smartphone cameras. Yet, the brand has constantly come up against stiff competition, especially from Apple.
However, released earlier this year, the latest Galaxy smartphone from the South Korean technology giant takes picture-taking more seriously than ever.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Rated Top Smartphone Camera

For the past six months or so, praise for the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra's camera has been consistent across the board. In terms of picture-taking abilities, the device is currently the smartphone of choice for Digital Camera World, TechRadar, PCMag, Creative Bloq, PetaPixel, and countless others.
Almost all agree that the Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max takes second place, too. That said, what's interesting is that it isn't necessarily a close second. By and large, the camera on the S21 Ultra is considered to be miles ahead of even its closest competition.
So, why is this phone considered the best smartphone camera on the market? Samsung has significantly elevated its smartphone camera offering on the handset in several areas. Examples include the massive 10x optical zoom, a whopping 6.8-inch screen, and HDR10+ support. It also boasts a 108-megapixel sensor, putting it well ahead of even some of the best professional non-smartphone cameras out there.
Any one of these features alone could've seen the device blow away much of the competition. But put them all together, and the result is something that's on another level entirely.

Full Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Camera Specs

To fully appreciate why the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is the best smartphone camera available today, a closer look at its specs is necessary. In the past, few professional photographers would look at any smartphone's credentials and be overly impressed. More recently, this has begun to change, and the S21 Ultra is now very much leading the charge.
With four lenses on the rear and one on the front, the S21 Ultra's camera specs are as follows:
  • 108MP f/1.8 main camera
  • 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera
  • 10MP telephoto camera with f/2.4 aperture and 3x optical zoom
  • 10MP telephoto camera with f/4.9 aperture and 10x optical zoom
  • 40MP front-facing camera
Various other figures will likely interest more photography-focused individuals, too. For starters, there's the handset's near-7-inch OLED display with 1440×3200 resolution and 1500-nit peak brightness. Add in things like a 120Hz refresh rate and HDR10+ support, and it's not hard to see why even the professionals are impressed.

Other Considerations Surrounding the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Feedback and reviews for the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra are overwhelmingly positive. However, even the top-rated smartphone camera currently available isn't quite perfect. With that, there are a few important considerations to bear in mind.


As one might expect, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is an expensive handset. Prices start at $1,199 – almost twice the cost of the popular $699 Google Pixel 5, another device with a top-rated camera.

Lack of microSD Card Slot

Those used to having a microSD card slot on their smartphone will be disappointed by this option. A lack of a memory card slot is one of the few criticisms widely highlighted in reviews.


While the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra's 6.8-inch display will be a selling point for many, its sheer size may be a problem for others. Those with smaller hands or used to carrying their phone in their pocket may find that the handset is simply too large for their liking.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Conclusion

All told, if the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra's high price isn't a concern, there's no better smartphone camera on the market. However, it's vital that it also stacks up in terms of its ability as a phone, first and foremost. Thankfully, there's no need for concern there.
Past Samsung Galaxy owners will find the S21 Ultra experience familiar overall. Fans of other manufacturers, meanwhile, are unlikely to be disappointed. Brand allegiances aside, the S21 Ultra is up there with the very best from Apple, Google, and Sony when it comes to overall ability.
At the same time, with the addition of cutting-edge technology, as is the case with Samsung's new smartphone camera offering, comes the potential for problems. In fact, none of the big smartphone manufacturers' latest models are easily fixable if something goes wrong.
With a total of five individual cameras now in the mix, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is certainly no exception. Also, taking into account the handset's roughly $1,200 purchase price, some form of extended warranty or service contract is always advisable.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Warranty

Upsie offers a smartphone subscription warranty that includes comprehensive coverage for the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. Upsie's Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra subscription warranty costs just $9.99 per month. Benefits include protection against manufacturing defects, screen cracks, drops, spills, and more.
In addition, the Upsie warranty protects the S21 Ultra's camera from mechanical malfunctions and cracked lenses, broken zooms, and other accidental damage. Accordingly, the phone's biggest asset, the camera, is safe from almost anything that life has to throw at it.

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* This article is over 6 months old and may or may not be updated.