Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra leak just revealed killer upgrade iPhone 12 can't beat

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
(Image credit: OnLeaks)

Don't look now, but the Samsung Galaxy S21's launch isn't as far off in the distant future as you might expect. Samsung typically launches its Galaxy S series flagships in March, but the S21 could be revealed as soon as January. In fact, we're already receiving details surrounding specs for the range-topping Galaxy S21 Ultra.

Tipster Ishan Agarwal and 91mobiles have shared that the S21 Ultra will pack a 6.8-inch display, potentially with a higher 144Hz refresh rate; a 5,000-mAh battery and a 108MP primary rear camera paired with a 40MP shooter for selfies. 

The Galaxy S21 Ultra will supposedly launch with Android 11-based One UI 3.0 out of the box, and according to Agarwal, Samsung's internal codename for the device is O3.

One of the most interesting details related here is that if the S21 Ultra's display indeed measures 6.8 inches across, that'll actually be a tenth of an inch smaller than the Galaxy S20 Ultra's 6.9-inch screen.

Of course, a fraction of an inch doesn't make all that much difference in the world, though it's strange to envision Samsung moving backwards from or at least maintaining the current form factor — particularly when the phone maker has pushed to dramatically increase screen sizes over the previous two generations of its handsets.

It's floated that perhaps Samsung will increase the device's peak refresh rate to 144Hz, though if it does, we we really hope the company at least lifts the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra's LTPO dynamic refresh technology so that the S21 Ultra won't fire at 144Hz at all times, which would drain its battery very, very quickly.

Meanwhile, the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro both have a 60Hz display. Apple reportedly considered adopting a 120Hz display for the iPhone 12 Pro lineup but may have backed off due to power concerns.

Speaking of battery, you may recall last year's S20 Ultra had a 5,000-mAh power pack of its own, just like the S21 Ultra is said to employ. That device lasted 9 hours and 13 minutes in Tom's Guide's custom web-surfing battery test over data when set to its 120Hz mode. However, it lasted 12 hours and 13 minutes at 60Hz — three whole hours longer. It's difficult to imagine battery life won't continue to suffer should Samsung increase the S21's refresh rate even further.

The report on 91mobiles goes onto suggest that Samsung will once again opt for an Infinity-O center-mounted hole-punch front-facing camera design for the S21 series, which is admittedly a little disappointing.

At this point, one might've expected the company to launch a true under-display camera solution, which would allow for a truly all-screen design the likes of which we've never seen, outside of on concept devices from select Chinese phone makers. Nevertheless, it seems the technology isn't quite ready for prime time yet, which means the next smartphone design revolution may be still at least another year out.

All in all, we're told to expect three Galaxy S21 series models, between the base S21, the S21 Plus and S21 Ultra. If these phones are indeed arriving as soon as January, we could be as little as three months away from their debut — so expect rumors to really ramp up between now and the end of 2020.

Adam Ismail is a staff writer at Jalopnik and previously worked on Tom's Guide covering smartphones, car tech and gaming. His love for all things mobile began with the original Motorola Droid; since then he’s owned a variety of Android and iOS-powered handsets, refusing to stay loyal to one platform. His work has also appeared on Digital Trends and GTPlanet. When he’s not fiddling with the latest devices, he’s at an indie pop show, recording a podcast or playing Sega Dreamcast.