Whereas technically the usual iPhone 12 isn’t essentially the most inexpensive choice within the vary (that’s the iPhone 12 mini), it’s the clearest iOS various to the Galaxy S21.
The iPhone 12 and the Samsung Galaxy S21 are equally priced, have comparable display screen sizes, and equally top-end energy, amongst different issues, however additionally they have a complete lot of variations past their working methods. Selecting between them, then, isn’t so simple as selecting iOS or Android.
However to make that alternative clearer and a little bit easier we’ve in contrast these two flagships throughout all a very powerful areas, from design and display screen, to digicam, battery life, specs, options and worth, so you can also make an knowledgeable choice about which – if both – to purchase.
Samsung Galaxy S21 vs iPhone 12 worth and availability
At first look the Samsung Galaxy S21 and iPhone 12 look to be equally priced. In any case, the Galaxy S21 begins at $799 / £769 / AU$1,249, whereas the iPhone 12 begins at $799 / £799 / AU$1,349.
Nonetheless, for that cash you’re getting 128GB of storage with the Samsung Galaxy S21 however solely 64GB with the iPhone 12. For a 128GB mannequin of the iPhone 12 you’ll need to pay $849 / £849 / AU$1,429.
So the Samsung Galaxy S21 is cheaper, and arguably the higher worth proposition, particularly when you consider its additional digicam lens.
As for availability, each telephones are actually on sale. The Galaxy S21 was revealed in January 2021, whereas the iPhone 12 was revealed in October 2020.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 is a premium smartphone but it surely doesn’t have essentially the most premium of builds. It’s clad in ‘Glasstic’, which is mainly a flowery method of claiming plastic that appears like glass.
Nonetheless, it appears the half, and in our overview we discovered that its matte end left it feeling pretty premium too – if not fairly a match for glass. There’s no actual compromise on the entrance of the system although, the place you’ve gotten an all-screen design with a punch-hole selfie digicam.
The iPhone 12 in the meantime has a glass again, so it feels as costly because it appears, however across the entrance there’s Apple’s typical massive notch.
As for the scale and weight, the Samsung Galaxy S21 is available in at 151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9mm and 172g, whereas the iPhone 12 is 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4mm and 164g. So the 2 telephones are comparable in measurement and weight, however the iPhone 12 is marginally shorter, slimmer, and lighter – although it’s a contact wider.
Colour smart, you will get the Samsung Galaxy S21 in Phantom Grey, Phantom White, Phantom Violet, or Phantom Pink, a few of which provide contrasting digicam colours, whereas the iPhone 12 is available in black, white, purple, inexperienced, or blue, and each telephones are IP68 licensed for water and dirt resistance.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 has a 6.2-inch 1080 x 2400 Dynamic AMOLED 2X show with a 120Hz refresh price. The iPhone 12 alternatively has a 6.1-inch 1170 x 2532 Tremendous Retina XDR OLED display screen with a 60Hz refresh price.
Trying past the advertising phrases, these are each OLED screens, and each are very prime quality – in our critiques we have been impressed by each.
We famous slight disappointment that at Full HD+ the S21’s display screen is notably a step down from the QHD+ of the Samsung Galaxy S20, but it surely’s nonetheless akin to the iPhone 12, with that telephone providing 460 pixels per inch, whereas the Samsung Galaxy S21 has 421.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 has a barely larger display screen than the iPhone 12, however the distinction is marginal. The larger distinction is the refresh price, which is twice as excessive on Samsung’s new telephone, that means interactions with the display screen ought to really feel smoother.
Each telephones even have a flat display screen – in the event you’re on the lookout for one thing curved within the Galaxy S21 vary you’ll need to shell out for the Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely.
There’s a triple-lens digicam on the again of the Samsung Galaxy S21, with a 12MP f/1.8 essential digicam, a 64MP f/2.0 telephoto one (with 3x optical zoom), and a 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide. The principle and telephoto snappers even have optical picture stabilization (OIS).
The iPhone 12 in the meantime has a dual-lens digicam, with a 12MP f/1.6 essential snapper and a 12MP f/2.4 ultra-wide. So it misses out on a telephoto digicam, and solely the primary lens has OIS.
That stated, in our overview we discovered that the cameras – whereas much like the iPhone 11’s – carried out nicely, even dealing with tough low gentle scenes higher than many rivals.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 has a prime digicam as nicely although. This too is much like its predecessor’s, however in our overview we have been impressed with the zoom potential and the wealth of recent modes on supply, comparable to Director’s View, which helps you to shoot with entrance and rear cameras on the identical time. These modes plus the additional lens means Samsung’s digicam needs to be a little bit extra versatile.
On the entrance, you get a 10MP f/2.2 digicam on Samsung’s telephone and a 12MP f/2.2 one on Apple’s. Once more, each labored nicely in our exams.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 has a a lot larger battery than the iPhone 12, with the previous coming in at 4,000mAh, whereas the latter is simply 2,815mAh.
You would possibly suppose that will result in for much longer life from the Galaxy S21 than the iPhone 12, however in our exams we discovered that whilst you ought to typically get a day of life from both, you are unlikely to get way more. The 120Hz refresh price on the Galaxy S21 has a noticeable detrimental impact on the battery, in order that’s a giant a part of why the additional measurement does not imply a lot additional life.
Each telephones assist quick charging and wi-fi charging although, with the Samsung Galaxy S21 moreover providing Wi-fi Energy Share, which helps you to use the S21 as a wi-fi charging mat for different units.
It is price noting although that neither of those telephones include a charger within the field.
Specs and options
Each of those telephones are packed filled with energy. Within the case of the Samsung Galaxy S21 you get both a Snapdragon 888 chipset (within the US) or an Exynos 2100 (within the UK and most different areas). These are each the highest of their respective ranges, and among the many best you’ll discover in a telephone. The Galaxy S21 additionally has 8GB of RAM, and a alternative of 128GB or 256GB of storage.
The iPhone 12 is equally highly effective, with a top-end A14 Bionic chipset, and a alternative of 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB of storage. It solely has 4GB of RAM, however that’s by no means held Apple’s telephones again.
In apply we discovered each telephones have been as quick as you’d hope, however on the extra unfavorable aspect notably neither of them has a microSD card slot – that is all the time the case in Apple telephones, however Samsung’s usually do have one.
Each telephones additionally assist 5G, however they’ve some totally different options. The obvious and arguably greatest distinction is the working system, with the Galaxy S21 operating Android 11, whereas the iPhone 12 runs iOS 14.
Nonetheless, additionally they have totally different safety choices – with the iPhone 12 the main focus is on Face ID, whereas the Samsung Galaxy S21 has an in-screen fingerprint scanner. These each work nicely, although Samsung’s in-screen answer is not fairly as speedy as a bodily fingerprint scanner.
The Galaxy S21 additionally has DeX mode. That is supplied by plenty of Samsung flagships and lets you join the telephone as much as an exterior display screen and have it show a extra desktop-like interface.
The iPhone 12 in the meantime advantages from MagSafe, which lets you magnetically connect equipment (comparable to instances, wallets, and wi-fi chargers) to the again of the telephone.
Past simply attaching them although, the telephone can be in a position to inform what you’ve related to it by way of MagSafe. On the time of writing the forms of obtainable MagSafe accessories are restricted, however the choice is probably going to enhance.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 has extra cameras than the iPhone 12, plus extra RAM, an even bigger battery, a barely bigger display screen, the next refresh price, and extra storage within the entry-level mannequin.
The iPhone 12 in the meantime solely actually has MagSafe and a glass again to assist it stand out over the S21 when it comes to back-of-the-box bullet factors, however each telephones are packed filled with energy, and have all-round spectacular specs.
After all, specs don’t all the time inform the entire story, as evidenced by the truth that the iPhone 12 nonetheless has a fantastic digicam regardless of it simply being dual-lens, and clean efficiency regardless of simply 4GB of RAM.
So on paper the iPhone 12 may not fairly appear a match for the Samsung Galaxy S21, however in apply our overview discovered it to be a superb telephone. In actual fact, we gave it 4 stars – the identical score as we gave the Samsung Galaxy S21, so there is no clear winner, it is extra a case of selecting which is best for you.