Mobile Phones

Samsung Galaxy S21 vs. iPhone 12: which one should you buy?

Samsung just announced the new Galaxy S21 and improves on its predecessor in a number of key areas: it features improved software, a revamped design, 5G as standard, and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor. It's the kind of phone you'd expect to find in 2021. but that does not mean that it has no competition. Its Nemesis is the iPhone 12 , which – like the S21 – improves on the Apple phones that preceded it. But which one will be better for you? Samsung Galaxy S21 vs. iPhone 12: We compare the two phones in various categories to help you choose which one is worth your money.


iPhone 12 Samsung Galaxy S21
Size 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4 mm (5.78 x 2.81 x 0.29 inches) 151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9 mm (5.97 x 2.80 x 0.31 inches)
Weight 164 g (5.78 oz) 171 g (6.02 oz)
Screen size 6.1 inch OLED Super Retina XDR 6.2 inches Dynamic AMOLED 2X
Screen resolution 2532 x 1170 pixels (460 ppi) 2400 x 1080 pixels (421 ppi)
OS iOS 14 Android 11
Storage 64GB, 128GB, 256GB 128GB, 256GB
MicroSD slot No No
Tap to Pay service Apple Pay Samsung Pay
Processor Apple A14 Bionic Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 in the United States and China

Exynos 2100 in the rest of the world

Camera Rear: 12MP Ultra Wide, Dual Wide Angle Lens

Front: 12 MP TrueDepth Lens

Rear: 12 MP wide-angle, 12 MP ultra-wide and 64 MP telephoto lens

Front: 10 MP Dual Pixel Lens

Video 4K up to 60fps, 1080p at 240fps 8K up to 30 fps, 4K up to 60 fps, 1080p at 240 fps
Bluetooth version Bluetooth 5.0 Bluetooth 5.0
Ports Lightning USB C
Fingerprint sensor No, FaceID instead Yes, on the screen
Waterproof IP68 IP68
Drums 2,815mAh

Fast charging 20 W (Does not include charger in the box)

Qi wireless charging


Fast charging 25 W (Does not include charger in the box)

Qi wireless charging

App store Apple App Store Google Play Store
Network support All companies All companies
Colors Black, blue, green, white and red. Phantom Gray, Phantom White, Phantom Violet, Phantom Pink
starting price $ 799 dollars $ 799 dollars

Design, display and durability

Samsung Galaxy S21 vs. iPhone 12

Both the Samsung Galaxy S21 and iPhone 12 feature designs that offer subtle changes over their predecessors, without shaking the boat too much. The iPhone 12 comes with a flat-sided, angular body, an aluminum frame, and a glass back with a nice matte finish. It also has a smaller notch than before (although it will be difficult to notice a significant difference), making the S21's pinhole front camera look even more impressive.

The S21 looks a lot like the S20, although the bezels around its edge-to-edge display are thinner. This makes it look sharper and sleeker, and with the camera module sloping to the adjacent edge of the phone, it arguably looks more attractive than its Apple counterpart. However, it is made of plastic, which is a huge drawback on an $ 800 phone.

The S21 has also taken a step back with its 6.2-inch screen. It includes 2400 x 1080 pixels, a lower resolution than that of the S20 and also that of the iPhone 12, which has 2532 x 1170 pixels. This will result in a slight drop in image sharpness, although the dynamic AMOLED technology and the 120Hz refresh rate will largely make up for any differences.

Both phones have an IP68 rating, so they can be submerged in up to 1.5 meters of water for a full half hour. Apple also claims that its Ceramic Guard glass will provide greater protection against drops and damage, although Samsung is making use of the new Gorilla Glass Victus range of protective glass, so it will also offer more durability than previous versions.

This is a fought round, but the S21's plastic back tips it in favor of the iPhone 12.

Winner: iPhone 12

Performance, battery life and charging

Samsung Galaxy S21 vs. iPhone 12

The iPhone 12 is powered by the new A14 Bionic chip, which Apple ridiculously claims performs tasks that "defy the laws of physics." Hyperbole aside, it's still one of the best chips on any phone today. Combined with 4 GB of RAM it will take care of practically all the tasks you need.

By contrast, the Samsung Galaxy S21 has 8GB of RAM, which seems somewhat more impressive. It also houses the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, unless you live outside of the United States, China or Japan, because in that case the phone will include the Exynos 2100, which is slightly less nimble. Either way, you can assume that the S21 outshines the iPhone 12 with its 8GB of RAM, but that's not the case, as with the A14 chip and the different way the iPhone uses RAM, both devices should perform as well. Similarly.

While both phones offer 128GB and 256GB versions for more money, the base model of the iPhone 12 is 64GB, while the S21 is the 128GB version. This gives the Samsung phone a clear advantage, although the opportunity to take an even bigger advantage is wasted by not having a MicroSD card slot as usual, so it is not possible to increase the storage further.

As for batteries, the iPhone 12 offers a 2,815 mAh. Again, this doesn't seem like much on paper, but the proper balance of Apple's software and the efficiency of the A14 chip allows the phone to run comfortably for up to a second day with moderate to heavy use. Unfortunately, we haven't had a chance to fully test the S21, so we're not sure exactly how its 4000mAh battery will compare. That said, based on our review of the S20 , which also comes with a 4,000mAh battery, it wouldn't last as long as the iPhone 12, even if it manages to get to a second day before needing a recharge.

In light of this, we declare another tie, although this may change once we have reviewed the S21.

Winner: Tie


Samsung Galaxy S21 vs. iPhone 12

The rear camera on the iPhone 12 consists of a wide-angle and an ultra-wide-angle lens, both 12 megapixels. The S21 offers the same, but also has a 64 MP telephoto lens. This superficially implies that the S21 will have a distinct advantage, although in practice you are likely to see the iPhone 12 perform just as well, if not better.

In our review we found that the iPhone 12 takes excellent photos during the day, as well as good photos in low light conditions and at night. Using Smart HDR 3 and Deep Fusion technology with artificial intelligence, which ensures your photos are balanced and colorful without being too bright or saturated, the iPhone 12 camera is remarkably versatile.

With the S21, we are likely to see something very similar to the S20, which also offered a great camera experience in all respects. Its hardware is largely the same as its predecessor, with the same three rear lenses and much of the same core technology. However, the S21 has some software updates, including artificial intelligence and the introduction of Single Take 2.0 mode. Therefore, we should expect a slight improvement, even if the iPhone 12 has a slight advantage.

It is difficult to define a winner in this section, but for now, we will give it to the iPhone 12. Even without fully testing the S21, we are sure that the iPhone will be the winner, although we will confirm this when we have the S21 in our hands and can perform its review.

Winner: iPhone 12

Software and updates

Samsung Galaxy S21 vs. iPhone 12

Each operating system has its strengths and weaknesses, and it goes without saying that both the iPhone 12 and the Samsung Galaxy S21 come with the latest versions of each. However, the S21 comes with One UI 3.0, Samsung's skin for Android 11 .

On the other hand, Apple is far better than Samsung at implementing one-off software updates. As it works with iOS , iPhone 12 users will receive new versions and updates very quickly. By contrast, Samsung has an unenviable track record in terms of offering new versions of Android, so users have to wait a while before they can update. It's also likely that Samsung won't offer support for the S21 for as long as Apple will for the iPhone 12.

In light of this slight but significant advantage, this round is a victory for the iPhone 12.

Winner: iPhone 12

Special features

Both the Samsung Galaxy S21 and iPhone 12 support 5G, which is great for anyone who lives close to a 5G network. However, unfortunately for non-US iPhone 12 owners, the faster 5G mmWave band will be available only on models sold in the US. The S21 is compatible with the two main 5G bands in almost every territory in which it is sold.

In addition to 5G support, the iPhone 12 also benefits from MagSafe charging (and its accessories). This allows you to connect wireless chargers and various other accessories just by bringing them closer to the back of your phone. It's clearly not a game-changing innovation, but it should improve convenience (and security) once enough third-party manufacturers release compatible accessories in droves.

The S21 also features a couple of special features. In particular, it includes a Vlogger View mode on its camera, allowing users to capture video with the front and rear cameras simultaneously. It also adds Director View, which provides picture-in-picture thumbnails of what each S21's camera lens captures, so you can make nifty transitions from one to the other while recording video. These are not all that big inclusions, but they are nice features to watch.

As we mentioned earlier, the S21 offers a smooth 120Hz refresh rate, while the iPhone 12 offers its always reliable Face ID feature. That said, both phones have their own characteristics, but they are not very “special”, plus neither comes with a charger (you'll have to get yours), so this round is a draw.

Winner: Tie

Price and availability

The iPhone 12 starts at $ 799 for the 64GB version, while the 128GB and 256GB versions cost $ 849 and $ 949, respectively. It is available in all the main operators and in the vast majority of points of sale, in addition to Apple .

The Samsung Galaxy S21 also starts at $ 799 with the 128GB model, while the 256GB version costs $ 849. Like the iPhone 12, it will be compatible with all major carriers and will be available in virtually all large stores. For now, it is available to pre-order at Samsung , as it will go on sale officially on January 29.

Overall winner: iPhone 12

Samsung Galaxy S21 vs. iPhone 12

As the Samsung Galaxy S21 is in pre-release, it may be too early to give a verdict, but for now, the iPhone 12 seems to be the best phone overall. Its main advantage is its software and, in particular, its updates, which will be delivered to users more quickly, unlike the S21. It's also very likely to be supported for longer, which means you can buy it now and not worry about swapping it out for a new model for another three or four years.

That realm aside, both phones are evenly matched. Arguably the S21 looks better, but the iPhone 12 offers a higher resolution screen. They both provide similar levels of performance, with the A14 Bionic chip making up for the lower amount of RAM in the iPhone 12. They also have comparatively versatile cameras, even if the iPhone 12 may be slightly better (save for the lack of a telephoto lens).

Of course, if you prefer Android over iOS, you can naturally stick with the Galaxy S21. Also, if you prefer Apple products, you can stick with the iPhone 12. Either way, chances are you won't be disappointed with either phone. In the end, it all depends on your tastes and needs.

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