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Motorola DROID Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy S4

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Motorola DROID Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy S4

Introduction


Without a doubt, the Motorola DROID Ultra and Samsung Galaxy S4 are top tier smartphones from these respective companies, and carry the same $199.99 on-contract price from Verizon. But that is where most similarities end, as both devices have their own strong-points and short-comings, while trying to get your purchasing attention. The Galaxy S4 has been out for a couple of months now, and has a strong following, with an impressive 5” 1080x1920 display, 13MP camera, and quad-core processor. While the DROID Ultra has just been released, and continues the “DROID” branding, with Kevlar construction, 5” 720x1280 display, 10MP Clear Pixel camera, and uses the new Motorola X8 processor.

Now let’s take a closer look at these two smartphones and see how they stack-up next to each other.


Design


Both the Motorola DROID Ultra and Samsung Galaxy S4 are stylish in their own rite, though there are some differences. Most notably, the Galaxy S4 is slightly smaller in height and width, and has more curved edges, allowing it to fit more comfortably in your hand, while the DROID Ultra is the thinner of the two at only 7.18mm. The DROID Ultra is constructed out of Kevlar, making it more durable than the plastic polymer used by the Galaxy S4. Even though both devices have a glossy finish on the back, the DROID Ultra takes this to an even higher level, making it magnet for fingerprints and smudges.
The Motorola DROID Ultra (left) and the Samsung Galaxy S4 (right) - Motorola DROID Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy S4
The Motorola DROID Ultra (left) and the Samsung Galaxy S4 (right) - Motorola DROID Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy S4
The Motorola DROID Ultra (left) and the Samsung Galaxy S4 (right) - Motorola DROID Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy S4

The Motorola DROID Ultra (left) and the Samsung Galaxy S4 (right)


Motorola DROID Ultra
5.41 x 2.8 x 0.28 inches
137.5 x 71.2 x 7.18 mm
4.83 oz (137 g)

Motorola DROID Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S4
5.38 x 2.75 x 0.31 inches
136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm
4.59 oz (130 g)

Samsung Galaxy S4

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page.

Left sides - The sides of the Motorola DROID Ultra (bottom, left) and the Samsung Galaxy S4 (top, right) - Motorola DROID Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy S4
Top - The sides of the Motorola DROID Ultra (bottom, left) and the Samsung Galaxy S4 (top, right) - Motorola DROID Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy S4
Right - The sides of the Motorola DROID Ultra (bottom, left) and the Samsung Galaxy S4 (top, right) - Motorola DROID Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy S4

Left sides

Top

Right

Bottom - The sides of the Motorola DROID Ultra (bottom, left) and the Samsung Galaxy S4 (top, right) - Motorola DROID Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy S4
Backs - The sides of the Motorola DROID Ultra (bottom, left) and the Samsung Galaxy S4 (top, right) - Motorola DROID Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy S4
Rear cameras - The sides of the Motorola DROID Ultra (bottom, left) and the Samsung Galaxy S4 (top, right) - Motorola DROID Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy S4

Bottom

Backs

Rear cameras

The sides of the Motorola DROID Ultra (bottom, left) and the Samsung Galaxy S4 (top, right)




Display


Since the DROID Ultra and Galaxy S4 both make use of a 5” Super AMOLED display, we are treated to nice saturated colors and excellent viewing angles. The key difference is that the display resolution on the Galaxy S4 is 1080x1920, while the DROID Ultra is 720x1280. Because of this, the Galaxy S4 has a higher pixels-per-inch count of 441, allowing for sharper text and images, while the DROID Ultra coming in at a lower 294 pixels-per-inch count. When looking at both phones next to each other, the difference is quite noticeable, and we are drawn instantly to the higher resolution display on the Galaxy S4.

Additionally, the Galaxy S4 comes with Samsung’s Air View feature, allowing it to track your finger movement as you hover over the display. But the DROID Ultra comes with Motorola’s new Active Display notifications, allowing only the center part of the display to turn on when checking the time, or if a new notification arrives, which is said to help conserve battery life.

Viewing angles of the Motorola DROID Ultra (left, top) and the Samsung Galaxy S4 (right, bottom) - Motorola DROID Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy S4
Viewing angles of the Motorola DROID Ultra (left, top) and the Samsung Galaxy S4 (right, bottom) - Motorola DROID Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy S4
Viewing angles of the Motorola DROID Ultra (left, top) and the Samsung Galaxy S4 (right, bottom) - Motorola DROID Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy S4
Viewing angles of the Motorola DROID Ultra (left, top) and the Samsung Galaxy S4 (right, bottom) - Motorola DROID Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy S4
Viewing angles of the Motorola DROID Ultra (left, top) and the Samsung Galaxy S4 (right, bottom) - Motorola DROID Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy S4
Viewing angles of the Motorola DROID Ultra (left, top) and the Samsung Galaxy S4 (right, bottom) - Motorola DROID Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy S4

Viewing angles of the Motorola DROID Ultra (left, top) and the Samsung Galaxy S4 (right, bottom)



Motorola DROID Ultra 360-Degrees View:



Samsung Galaxy S4 360-Degrees View:



32 Comments
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posted on 28 Aug 2013, 05:39 7

1. AnTuTu (Posts: 884; Member since: 14 Oct 2012)


Both are good devices but S4 is better because of Software and all other extra features.

posted on 28 Aug 2013, 06:07 3

4. PunyPoop (Posts: 741; Member since: 18 Jan 2013)


High end vs Mid-range? This is a no brainer! I'd go for MOTO! :D

posted on 28 Aug 2013, 11:46 2

12. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8614; Member since: 14 May 2012)


Beg to differ. S4 is in my opinion better all around.

posted on 28 Aug 2013, 22:31 1

19. iushnt (Posts: 666; Member since: 06 Feb 2013)


s4 better for me as well

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 15:24

29. n1naz (Posts: 1; Member since: 07 Oct 2013)


The S4 does not support texting over Blue tooth, along with the fact that you
cant change the blue tooth ID.
When used with the hands free system on my vehicle the Motorola Droid Ultra sends and receives text messages through blue tooth, the S4 does not. The Ultra displays as Ultra on the cars display the S4 shows SCH-I545 very cryptic.
I understand this is a very isolated issue but...

posted on 28 Aug 2013, 05:55 8

2. WHoyton1 (Posts: 1625; Member since: 21 Feb 2013)


Im sorry no competition...S4 wins

posted on 28 Aug 2013, 05:55 6

3. tech2 (Posts: 2183; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)


Galaxy S3 vs Droid Ultra would have been a better comparison !

posted on 28 Aug 2013, 15:06 1

15. Penywyz (banned) (Posts: 255; Member since: 13 Aug 2013)


LoL that was a good one!

posted on 28 Aug 2013, 06:23

5. mottykels (Posts: 372; Member since: 15 May 2013)


P.A should do a demo of each features not just discussing it :/

posted on 28 Aug 2013, 06:36 3

6. itsdeepak4u2000 (Posts: 2691; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)


S4 anyday.

posted on 28 Aug 2013, 07:51 1

7. AfterShock (Posts: 2812; Member since: 02 Nov 2012)


I'll never use cdma again.
Outside of that, I'd rock the Moto if it twas gsm.
It's ok to be a bit behind when you got your own thing going on.

posted on 30 Aug 2013, 16:49

26. rabidhunter (Posts: 90; Member since: 05 Jul 2013)


Reports show that you can trim down the SIM card from AT&T or T-Mo and it works just fine in the DROID Ultra. AT&T gets HSPA+ connectivity, T-Mo gets 4G connectivity. Yes, the Ultra is Global GSM compliant.

posted on 28 Aug 2013, 08:24 2

8. newbey123 (Posts: 431; Member since: 19 Mar 2012)


Between those, would have to go with the Droid, hands down.

posted on 28 Aug 2013, 09:10 1

9. bodzio1809 (Posts: 68; Member since: 28 Aug 2013)


S4 look so ugly and so boring. I hope that Samsung will change design next year. I got S3 now and definetly I want to change it to something from other company like HTC ONE, Sony Z1/ZL1 or LG G2.

posted on 28 Aug 2013, 22:32 1

20. iushnt (Posts: 666; Member since: 06 Feb 2013)


why u buy a phone for its design? don't judge a book by its cover

posted on 29 Aug 2013, 02:21

22. bodzio1809 (Posts: 68; Member since: 28 Aug 2013)


Not only design. Also I want well-optimized software and Samsung has some problems with it. Maybe software is better optimized on S4, but on S3 I had to change launcher thanks to a lot of lags. For my opinion Samsung done just one thing really good, Amoled screens. This is the future. In addition if u are benchmark or spec guy after release LG G2, Sony Z1 and Note 3, S4 won't be the best device on the market. I preffer smooth experience on device and well-optimized software so I am waiting for next Nexus device and I hope it will be hight end even with "hight end" price. Also I want to write about a lot of additional features that Samsung offer. I don't use any of them :).

Sorry for my english. I am still learning.

posted on 28 Aug 2013, 09:44

10. joey_sfb (Posts: 3003; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)


I hoping to see qwerty keyboard on droid without it no competition to s4. Which already sold tens of millions...despite Samsung regular trolls best effort. Samsung trolls, You have Fail!

posted on 28 Aug 2013, 10:10

11. Lboogey6 (Posts: 266; Member since: 31 Jan 2012)


To each his own I understand for those voting for the droid but.... There's literally nothing about the phone that's impassive at all

posted on 28 Aug 2013, 12:13 2

13. chazking99 (Posts: 12; Member since: 09 Feb 2012)


I have actually used both phones and prefer the ultra over the S4. The biggest thing for me is usability and the phone does not overheat like the S4. Both are nice phones just enjoy the ultra more

posted on 28 Aug 2013, 14:37 5

14. MorePhonesThanNeeded (Posts: 629; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


This comparison was a hard biased read, I swear all they could come up with was 1080P screen...forget the bloody Quad-Core Snapdragon 600 as you can see it means nothing since it gives no advantages over the dual core cpu of the Moto offering. This is the crap I do not understand, we have one phone which actually bucks the trend of just shoving moar powah under the hood and actually utilizing a weaker and older design CPU and it runs just the same as the big bad new processor.
What does the S4 bring to the table? Not much considering that it not much of a step above the S3 and not worth ditching your S3 over. Droid Ultra like the Moto X actually does things that no other device can do to the same level. Giving it a technological edge, now if this idea pays off, we'll see a lot more incredible devices that utilize unused cores...since we know that the S4 won't actually be using 2 of it's four CPU core 99% of the time. Cut the bull, you can only enjoy touting numbers, which is why Apple laughs all this talk of power and you wield it like a careless kid with his first sports car.
Both phones are High End devices, but only one actually steps out and does something different to see what gains can be made, no it's not Samsung, they are just bringing the same thing they bring every year, bigger and with more powah. Check out the battery life, same thing 2600mAh battery and S4 gets 2 more hours versus the Droids 2130mAh battery. Carrying a spare battery, how many people do you know have spare batteries for every device they purchase? GTFO! Trying to give Samsung props over the decidely better overall put together and performing Droid is ridiculous.
I have a Droid DNA and 1080p is great for bragging rights but little else since it drains the battery like hell. I want to see what other advances Motorola can make. I'm tired of the I got the bigger e-peen these manufacturers keep going head to head with it's boring as hell. I want some more adaptive software, I want a phone that can charge my phone only when I want it to charge when it's plugged in and also I want it to turn switch from battery power to ac power when plugged in so I won't destroy my battery when gaming or have it connected to the dock.Perhaps ability to make a copy of states so if I accidentally unplug while running on ac power I can get back to that last state. Come on do something better you lazy bastards.

posted on 28 Aug 2013, 19:00 1

17. joey_sfb (Posts: 3003; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)


Good effort in trying to slam S4. I really don't understand why one would bother. Most android user jump from brands to brands anyway.

That the advantage of having an android and a google account. I think the primary reason for Samsung to develop Tizen to lock their fans in. Samsung might compete fiercely with Apple but they really admire Apple position now, once the user is in for awhile its hard for a Apple user to leave the iOS ecosystem.

posted on 29 Aug 2013, 12:19 1

23. SupermanayrB (Posts: 177; Member since: 20 Mar 2012)


Not this android user; more specifically, not this DROID user. I've had the DROID, DROID 2, DROID X2 & the DROID RAZR Maxx. The DROID MAXX will be my next phone. Compared it with my AT&T (work phone) S4 & I was in love. Didn't see any difference between the 720 vs 1080 using Chrome & testing picture messages. Couldn't really test the camera since it was on the alarm thing but IMO the DROID MAXX works better for ME, damn what Phone Arena thinks.

posted on 28 Aug 2013, 22:38 2

21. iushnt (Posts: 666; Member since: 06 Feb 2013)


too long comment, didn't read all but i got your point that you don't prefer s4. If you think that s4 is no major improvement to s3 then how is droid ultra different better than last years s3? and yes you say apple laughs..so you think moto will laugh as well? apple and Samsung are big boys. Moto is just a small player, why comparing them. I think Samsung is laughing over moto because moto don't sell.

posted on 29 Aug 2013, 13:38 1

25. SupermanayrB (Posts: 177; Member since: 20 Mar 2012)


how is droid ultra different better than last years s3?

Battery, display, camera & features.

apple and Samsung are big boys. Moto is just a small player,

Okay, guy. Motorola has been making phones light years before these guys. Truth is, within the last few years Apple & Samsung finally caught up to Motorola. Nice try though.

posted on 03 Dec 2013, 21:02

31. HatefulxxDesign (Posts: 2; Member since: 03 Dec 2013)


This guy has it right. Motorola is a phone-production giant and has been in the game much longer than most of the others. And in my personal opinion, they have only gotten better since Google took over.

posted on 03 Dec 2013, 20:58

30. HatefulxxDesign (Posts: 2; Member since: 03 Dec 2013)


I completely agree with you. Not to mention that everyone seems to forget that the Ultra has a 400MHz quad-core GPU that you can actually feel the power of while playing higher end games. Both phones will do just about anything you need them to, but I believe the Ultra ultizes what it has in it much better than the S4. Many people I know who own the S4 say that it is pretty much just an S3 with extra crap slapped on. (Such as the "quad-core" and higher definition screen) As well as the fact that not too many things on android use full 1080p anyhow. It boils down to things like some youtube videos which arent true 1080p in the first place, and video content that you put onto the phone yourself. The Ultra, and all newer droids, have features like Droid Zap and Touchless Control, which I find quite useful and worth the choice.

posted on 28 Aug 2013, 15:11 1

16. Penywyz (banned) (Posts: 255; Member since: 13 Aug 2013)


I love my Droid Ultra and will take functionality over Samsung's Galaxy S3S(S4) any day. And Samsung Fan boys have the balls to say that Apple people are buying the same product year after year. Not to mention the feel of the Samsungs screams "cheap plastic crap" to me.

posted on 28 Aug 2013, 22:25 1

18. 9thWonderful (Posts: 232; Member since: 24 Jan 2013)


the only knock against the Droid Ultra is the lack of a microSD slot. i understand there's Google Drive but i'd much rather monitor my storage locally. other than that, i'd say Ultra over S4. seems like Motorola approached their new line up focusing on the quality of their hardware/software instead of trying to play the spec numbers game. fresh look, fresh internals, fresh UI (in terms of what Moto normally does), fresh features. Can't say the same for S3 to S4 transition.

posted on 29 Aug 2013, 12:22

24. SupermanayrB (Posts: 177; Member since: 20 Mar 2012)


I agree. I wish it still had an SD slot, but I guess that's what my RAZR Maxx will be for.

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 01:57

27. logdz00 (Posts: 1; Member since: 13 Sep 2013)


I work at a store that sells both. I've helped customers over the past few weeks that have bought droid over s4 pretty much every single time. I've done 15 s4 returns in the past 10 days alone due to battery issues or other complaints and problems having to do with all the new "super cool Samsung features" its all a crock of crap. I'd rather have A. Phone that's cheaper. B. Phone thats reliable that will last longer with battery life. And C. A phone that won't have a flop rate that almost surpassed HTC evo 3d. S4=overated, over priced, and leaving people unsatisfied. All the companies are screwed once the BOX phone comes out anyway... look it up. Insane concept

posted on 30 Sep 2013, 23:32

28. Sandee (Posts: 1; Member since: 30 Sep 2013)


I've had Droid Eris, RAZR 912, RAZR M, RAZR 926, Samsung Stratosphere, Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4 on Verizon. I had trouble with the Samsung's loading data, and dropping calls -even at home with a strong secure Wi-Fi connection. The Motorola's all performed flawlessly, had the connection and maps in remote areas, etc. i just returned the Galaxy S4, although I love the camera, which is my complaint with the Droid's. Thinking I would really love the Sony Xperia Z - but can't get it on Verizon. Considering the Moto X - Just wish it had the resolution and camera of the S4.Looking for the perfect phone :)

posted on 27 Jan 2014, 07:17

32. thecomputergenius (Posts: 1; Member since: 27 Jan 2014)


I had the Samsung S3. Ever since that phone I swore I'd never get another Samsung again. It slips though my hand like butter the reception was bad and so on. I saw the S4 and I must admit there is an improvement but I still won't buy a Samsung because it's like holding a stick of butter. I own a Droid Maxx. I will Admit Samsung has a 1080P Screen, a 13 mega pixel camera removable battery SD card BUT SO WHAT !!! WHAT GOOD IS IT IF I CAN'T UNDERSTAND THE CALLER ON THE OTHER END.

I love My Droid Maxx. I love the voice command, the Battery, (I can keep my screen on bright during the day and it won't kill the battery) My Camera is very good to. I can take night pics with low lighting and it's very focused and I can read the letters on the awnings that have very little lighting around them with the pic taken across the street. My games play very fast, After 15 hours of tethering, bright screen, Miracasting, Talking for hours and picture taking along with Video I still had 30% left. I can also text with no hands in my car while driving and it understands me even with noise in a moving car. I have one better for you if you get the Lumina 928 after you say your text the lumina will read your text back to confirm Will a Samsung do that?

My point where it's important the Motorola wins. My camera is fine. the reviewer was wrong the light does adjust in the Motorola you have to move the focus point around. I will agree the Samsung has a better Camera and you can manually control it for certain shots. But my camera has one of the best automatic adjusting programs in there and also takes great pics. Ok the sky might not be as blue, but it's blue and very focused. the blue sky won't help if your battery is dead because you went hiking on a trip and you got lost and you didn't have a car charger, or if you drop a call in a rual area, or if you drop your phone because of the slippery surface. I'll take moto.

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