Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra leak shows mystery sensor next to four rear cameras

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
(Image credit: Future)

A new Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra render has leaked, and it has something we haven’t seen before: a new sensor on the rear camera block.

The extra sensor appears alongside four rear cameras in the render, which tipster Steve Hemmerstoffer (better known as OnLeaks) posted on Voice. He created the new render to reflect info he’d collected from sources who had told him that the latest pre-production Samsung S21 Ultra models included the extra sensor:

Samsung Galaxy S21 leak

(Image credit: OnLeaks / Voice)

This could end up being another camera, adding up to the previously rumored penta-camera system, but Hemmerstoffer thinks it more likely to be an additional sensor, though it’s unclear what it would do.

In any case, the new render supports the five-camera (or four cameras and a sensor) huge camera block we saw in Hemmerstoffer's previous render in a separate post. In appearance, at least, both Samsung Galaxy S21 leaks suggest a massive camera block that extends to the sides of the phone, taking up a full corner of the back cover of the Ultra version. 

2020 camera sensors...and beyond

Last year’s Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus and S20 Ultra phones packed an extra sensor over the baseline Galaxy S20 rear cameras: a time of flight sensor that measures distance with light. Ideally, this improves depth-related photos taken with portrait-style Live Focus mode, as well as speeding up focus and making photos more accurate.

The iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max were heavily rumored to have their own additional sensor, but it turned out to be a LiDar sensor previously seen on the iPad Pro 2020. While LiDar is a type of time of flight sensor, it works well in low-light, actually enabling the new iPhone line to take Portrait Mode photos with the illuminating effects of Night Mode. It also speeds up and improves AR capabilities. 

Whether the additional Galaxy S21 Ultra ends up following the iPhone 12 with its own LiDar sensor, that advancement may not come to the standard Galaxy S21: a previous OnLeaks render suggests it will have a much smaller rear camera block with only three rear cameras...and no extra sensors in sight.

Via Android Central

David Lumb

David is now a mobile reporter at Cnet. Formerly Mobile Editor, US for TechRadar, he covered phones, tablets, and wearables. He still thinks the iPhone 4 is the best-looking smartphone ever made. He's most interested in technology, gaming and culture – and where they overlap and change our lives. His current beat explores how our on-the-go existence is affected by new gadgets, carrier coverage expansions, and corporate strategy shifts.