Interface and Functionality


Android is all about choices, and that is clearly what we have here. Even though both devices are running Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, the interface looks different, as the Motorola DROID Ultra is pretty close to stock Android as possible with a simplistic approach, 5 homes screens and a basic widget selection. Though there are some Motorola exclusives included, such as the Touchless Control, which is voice recognition with the Google Now experience, Motorola Assist, Droid Zap for sharing images and videos to other nearby phones, Motorola Migrate to transfer setting from your old phone to your new phone, and Wireless Display.


Meanwhile, the TouchWiz Nature UX experience on the Galaxy S4 has its own features and functionality, such as the Air View and Air Gestures, Smart Screen with Smart Stay, Rotation, Pause, and Scroll, S Beam for sharing files, S Health tracking, and Screen Mirroring – not to mention a larger selection of desktop widgets.


Needless to say, both offer a unique experience, depending on if you are looking for something close to stock Android, or a more customized user interface. You really have to weight your options here as to which one you prefer.

Processor and Memory


When it comes to sheer specs, the 1.9 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor with 2GB of RAM on the Samsung Galaxy S4 is a beast. But Motorola manages to compete well using its new X8 SoC Mobile Computing System with 2GB of RAM, which combines a modified 1.7 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 application processor, 400 MHz quad-core graphics processor, a natural language processing core, and a contextual computing core. When looking at the benchmark results, the Galaxy S4 does bring in higher results when running Quadrant and AnTuTu as those focus more on application performance, while the DROID Ultra does better with GLBenchmark and Vellamo, since those are more graphically intense. Still, in real-world use, both devices are plenty fast, and it’s difficult to notice much of a speed or performance difference between them.

For storing your data, both smartphones come equipped with 16GB of internal memory, but the added bonus to the Galaxy S4 is that it comes sporting a microSD card slot, allowing you to add up to a 64GB memory card – something that the DROID Ultra can’t do.

Quadrant Higher is better
Motorola DROID Ultra 8609
Samsung Galaxy S4 12078
AnTuTu Higher is better
Motorola DROID Ultra 19384
Samsung Galaxy S4 24701
GFXBench Egypt HD 2.5 onscreen (fps) Higher is better
Motorola DROID Ultra 53
Samsung Galaxy S4 39
Vellamo Metal Higher is better
Motorola DROID Ultra 768
Samsung Galaxy S4 704
Vellamo HTML 5 Higher is better
Motorola DROID Ultra 2455
Samsung Galaxy S4 1702


Internet and Connectivity


Since the Motorola DROID Ultra is pretty close to stock Android, it only comes equipped with the Chrome web browser, while the Galaxy S4 comes with Chrome and Samsung’s own standard browser. It’s really personal preference here, as the web browsing experience on both devices are pretty much the same, and you can always install another 3rd party browser you want, such as Dolphin. But like we mentioned earlier, the 1080p display on the Galaxy S4 does allow for fine text and images to look sharper and less jagged, which is always a plus.



No surprise here, as Verizon’s 4G LTE network is also supported. When using the Speedtest.net app, both devices achieved around 20Mbps download speeds, but the DROID Ultra got up to 13Mbps for uploads, while the Galaxy S4 was less at 8Mbps for uploads. Since both smartphones are Global Roaming ready, they can be used in other countries with EDGE/GSM (850/900/1800/1900MHz), HSPA/UMTS (850/900/1900/2100MHz), supporting HSDPA 42.2 Mbps (Category 20) and HSUPA 5.76 Mbps speeds.

Naturally, there is also Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4GHz and 5GHz bands), Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC. Going a step further, we have video-out functionality with the aid of an MHL adapter on the Galaxy S4, plus an IR blaster that turns it into a universal remote.

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32 Comments

1. AnTuTu

Posts: 1621; Member since: Oct 14, 2012

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

4. PunyPoop

Posts: 752; Member since: Jan 18, 2013

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

12. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

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

19. iushnt

Posts: 3151; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

s4 better for me as well

29. n1naz

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 07, 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...

2. WHoyton1

Posts: 1635; Member since: Feb 21, 2013

Im sorry no competition...S4 wins

3. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

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

15. Penywyz

Posts: 255; Member since: Aug 13, 2013

LoL that was a good one!

5. mottykels

Posts: 387; Member since: May 15, 2013

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

6. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

S4 anyday.

7. AfterShock

Posts: 4147; Member since: Nov 02, 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.

26. rabidhunter

Posts: 90; Member since: Jul 05, 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.

8. newbey123

Posts: 702; Member since: Mar 19, 2012

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

9. bodzio1809

Posts: 407; Member since: Aug 28, 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.

20. iushnt

Posts: 3151; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

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

22. bodzio1809

Posts: 407; Member since: Aug 28, 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.

10. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 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!

11. Lboogey6

Posts: 281; Member since: Jan 31, 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

13. chazking99

Posts: 12; Member since: Feb 09, 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

14. MorePhonesThanNeeded

Posts: 645; Member since: Oct 23, 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.

17. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 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.

23. SupermanayrB

Posts: 1188; Member since: Mar 20, 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.

21. iushnt

Posts: 3151; Member since: Feb 06, 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.

25. SupermanayrB

Posts: 1188; Member since: Mar 20, 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.

31. HatefulxxDesign

Posts: 2; Member since: Dec 03, 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.

30. HatefulxxDesign

Posts: 2; Member since: Dec 03, 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.

16. Penywyz

Posts: 255; Member since: Aug 13, 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.

18. 9thWonderful

Posts: 232; Member since: Jan 24, 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.

24. SupermanayrB

Posts: 1188; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

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

27. logdz00

Posts: 1; Member since: Sep 13, 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

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