It is that point of 12 months once more. The 2 smartphone behemoths, Samsung and Apple, face off to see which has the most effective smartphone you should purchase. The iPhone 12 has already confirmed to be a powerful contender, with its OLED show, highly effective A14 Bionic processor, and digital camera upgrades.
However Samsung hasn’t taking this one mendacity down with the discharge of its new Galaxy S21 flagships. The Galaxy S21 is among the greatest Android telephones accessible proper now, with the most recent Snapdragon 888 CPU from Qualcomm, a stunning show with a excessive refresh price, and a few of Samsung’s greatest digital camera choices.
It is a fierce battle with each telephones placing up sturdy performances. The final word winner actually comes right down to which works greatest for you, Android or iOS. Both approach you go, you are getting extraordinarily succesful telephones right here.
The place one cellphone does effectively, the opposite is not far behind. Each are unbelievable units — this is how this Samsung Galaxy S21 vs. iPhone 12 face-off shakes out. (To see how the 2 cellphone makers’ bigger telephones evaluate, we even have a Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely vs. iPhone 12 Professional Max comparability.)
Samsung Galaxy S21 vs. iPhone 12: Specs
|Samsung Galaxy S21||iPhone 12|
|Beginning worth||$799||$799 on contract, $829 unlocked|
|Display screen measurement||6.2-inch AMOLED (2400×1080)||6.1-inch OLED (2532×1170)|
|Refresh price||48Hz – 120Hz||60Hz|
|CPU||Snapdragon 888||A14 Bionic|
|Storage||128GB, 256GB||64GB, 128GB, 256GB|
|Rear cameras||12MP (f/1.eight) vast; 12MP (f/2.2) ultrawide; 64MP (f/2.zero) telephoto 3x optical||12MP (f/1.6) vast; 12MP (f/2.four) ultrawide|
|Entrance digital camera||10MP (f/2.2)||12MP (f/2.2)|
|Water resistance||IP68 as much as 1.5 m||IP68 as much as 6 m|
|Battery measurement||four,000 mAh||2,815 mAh|
|Battery life||09:53 (60Hz) / 06:31 (adaptive)||08:25|
|Dimension||5.97 x 2.eight x zero.31 inches||5.78 x 2.81 x zero.29 inches|
|Weight||5.96 ounces||5.78 ounces|
Samsung Galaxy S21 vs. iPhone 12: Value
Samsung discovered a tough lesson with final 12 months’s overpriced Galaxy S20 sequence. For the S21 household, the corporate lowered costs by $200 throughout the board. The bottom mannequin S21 begins at $799, with the S21 Plus coming in at $999, and the S21 Extremely a lofty $1,199.
Apple technically kicks issues off decrease than the Galaxy S21 with the iPhone 12 mini, which begins at $699. The iPhone 12 prices $799 on contract (or $829 unlocked). The iPhone 12 Professional and iPhone 12 Professional Max spherical out Apple’s lineup, at $999 and $1,099, respectively.
The Galaxy S21 and iPhone 12 are neck and neck in worth, so long as you purchase the latter by means of a service — you pay an additional $30 to get the iPhone 12 unlocked. Nevertheless, the S21 begins at 128GB of storage whereas Apple opted to begin the iPhone 12 at 64GB.
Primarily based on this and the unlocked worth comparability, we predict the S21 wins, because the storage disparity wipes out any worth benefit Apple enjoys with the cheaper iPhone 12 mini choice.
Winner: Galaxy S21
Samsung Galaxy S21 vs. iPhone 12: Design
strict measurements, the Galaxy S21 and iPhone 12 are very related in measurement and weight. The previous measures 5.97 x 2.eight x zero.31 inches with a weight of 5.96 ounces. The iPhone 12, in the meantime is 5.78 x 2.81 x zero.29 inches and 5.78 ounces. The variations are virtually imperceptible in actual world use.
The Galaxy S21’s design is an iteration on the one we noticed with the Galaxy S20, simply with some refinements. Equally, the iPhone 12 seems so much like its predecessors, besides that Apple resolve to forgo the rounded edges and use sharp corners as an alternative. This would possibly not be to everybody’s liking, and we’re torn internally on whether or not we prefer it or not. A few of my colleagues favor the iPhone’s flat edges; I do not, however this comes down to private choice.
Samsung’s largest change with the Galaxy S21 design is the Contour Lower digital camera housing, which aesthetically integrates its trio of cameras into the chassis of the cellphone. The S21 retains the outlet punch cutout for the entrance digital camera within the show, which is definitely ignored when you begin utilizing the cellphone. The iPhone 12’s massive notch closely contrasts this.
The opposite main change within the iPhone 12’s design is one thing you don’t see. There’s a Ceramic Defend show that’s designed to ship 4 occasions the drop safety of earlier iPhones. It holds up very effectively in real-world testing. In the meantime the Galaxy S21 is susceptible to shatter on its first drop.
Ultimately, each telephones are marvels of engineering. Utilizing them each day is a breeze. Nevertheless, one remaining approach that Apple edges forward of Samsung is in water resistance. Each telephones are IP68 rated, however the iPhone 12 can stand up to water as much as six meters for 30 minutes. The Galaxy S21 can survive at depths of 1.5 meters for 30 minutes.
Winner: iPhone 12
Samsung Galaxy S21 vs. iPhone 12: Show
You’ll not be disillusioned with the shows on both the Galaxy S21 or the iPhone 12. Each are OLED screens with punchy colours and deep blacks, they usually have nice brightness ranges. From the informal observer’s perspective, the shows on both cellphone are fairly near equal.
It is moving into the finer particulars the place we see some variations. First up, Samsung’s 6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED show, with its FHD decision of 2400×1080, sports activities an adaptive refresh price that may vary from 48Hz all the best way as much as 120Hz for extremely clean scrolling and gameplay (the place supported). You too can lock the S21’s refresh price at 60Hz if you wish to save on battery life.
The iPhone 12 packs a 6.1-inch Tremendous Retina XDR OLED show with a barely sharper 2532×1170 decision. Apple did not go for a excessive refresh price for the iPhone 12 sequence, so that you’re caught at 60Hz. Whereas iOS feels buttery clean already, Android at as much as 120 frames per second is heaven. It is a distinction that is onerous to unsee when you expertise it.
For additional technical efficiency, we glance to the outcomes every show earned in our lab testing. The Galaxy S21, in its Pure setting, delivers 102.7% of the sRGB colour spectrum and 77.four% of DCI-P3 with a Delta-E colour accuracy rating of zero.29. (The nearer that final quantity is to zero, the extra correct the colours.)
In the meantime, the iPhone 12 delivers 114.5% of the sRGB area and 81.1% DCI-P3 with a Delta-E rating of zero.29. So the iPhone’s show is extra colourful although the screens recreate colours with equal accuracy.
By way of brightness, Samsung’s cellphone outshines the iPhone 12. The Galaxy S21 can stand up to 691 nits, whereas the iPhone 12 manages 569 nits at its highest setting in our mild meter assessments.
Whereas each cellphone shows are very, excellent, Samsung wins right here. Not solely does the Galaxy S21 have that lovely excessive refresh price, however it will get noticeably brighter for out of doors use. them each side-by-side, you would be hard-pressed to select one as higher than the opposite, however we favor the S21.
Winner: Galaxy S21
Samsung Galaxy S21 vs. iPhone 12: Cameras
All 4 iPhone 12 fashions are among the many greatest digital camera telephones you could purchase, no matter whether or not you go for the twin rear lenses discovered on the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 or the triple digital camera setup of the iPhone 12 Professional telephones. That is as a result of hardware solely tells among the story for Apple’s cellular pictures. The neural engine on Apple’s A14 Bionic chip additionally delivers a number of computational pictures options that assist each iPhone 12 produce superior photographs.
For the Galaxy S21, Samsung saved the identical digital camera setup that we noticed on the Galaxy S20 final 12 months — a 12MP principal shooter together with a 12MP ultrawide sensor and 64MP telephoto lens. That is not all. The S21 advantages from what Samsung calls Area Zoom, which might supply 30x zoom photographs. It is outstanding in real-world use, although it is extra of a cool factor than one thing you are probably to make use of commonly.
This Samsung Galaxy S21 vs. iPhone 12 battle largely comes right down to the cameras, because the telephones are pretty equal in any other case. And the cellphone with the most effective digital camera relies upon closely on what you are doing.
Beginning off with max zoom photographs, you possibly can see the Galaxy S21’s full 30x zoom is usable, if a bit noisy. Scaling again to 10x, you possibly can clearly make out particulars on the residence constructing, with even the shingles on the roof seen.
The iPhone’s 12 max zoom, powered solely by software program, is clearly inferior to the S21’s zoom photographs. Not solely do you not get as near the topic, however it’s horribly blurred, regardless of my greatest makes an attempt to stabilize my hand. A ton of element is misplaced, particularly within the foreground.
Heading outdoors, I snapped a fast image of my avenue after we obtained a bunch of snow (for Virginia anyway). Every cellphone took a really completely different method to this scene, as you possibly can see.
The bush within the foreground of the Galaxy S21 shot is a vibrant inexperienced, virtually too vibrant. The blue Mazda off to the left is brighter than it truly is, and that fireplace hydrant within the background may be very pink. Nevertheless, you possibly can clearly make out the person bricks on the townhouse throughout the road. And the sky is true to life, because it was a gray, overcast day.
The iPhone 12 is noticeably completely different, darker in some methods. The bush that the S21 made so verdant is rather more somber on this picture. The Mazda off to the left is a a lot darker blue, a lot nearer to actual life. The hearth hydrant, whereas nonetheless fairly pink, is a tiny bit extra muted. However with these bricks on the townhouse, it is tougher to make out each individually, versus how clear they had been within the S21’s shot.
For the reason that day was overcast, I feel the iPhone comes out on high on this. This picture is way, a lot nearer to what my eyes noticed. The S21 was simply too vibrant.
Transferring onto an indoor shot, this can be a statuette of Merida with loads of small particulars in her costume and paintwork. First up is the Galaxy S21. On this scene, the digital camera warmed every part up, giving my wall a faint reddish tint. The blue of her costume is flat and her hair is extra orange than it’s in actual life. And the candle off to the best is approach an excessive amount of of a heat yellow.
After which there may be the iPhone 12’s shot. Proper off the bat, you possibly can inform that issues are bit cooler than the S21’s model. The wall within the background is more true to kind, Merida’s hair is that deep, fiery pink, and the inexperienced on her skirt seems richer. The iPhone 12 additionally captures the shadows on the wall higher, and the candle on the best is rather more correct. The iPhone 12 is the apparent winner.
A troublesome picture of my cat in her cat tree challenged each telephones. The issue right here is that there was a number of mild streaming in from the window and the cat, who’s already largely black, is within the shadow of her cat home along with her face away from the sunshine. The telephones needed to juggle giving sufficient publicity to see her whereas not blowing out the background.
With the Galaxy S21’s picture, you possibly can see clear particulars within the background by means of the sheer curtain and the scene itself is heat and true to life. You can also make out my cat’s nostril, her ears, and small bits of her white masks with out having to pressure your eyes.
For the iPhone 12, instantly, you may discover the blown-out background. You most likely cannot even inform that there is a window there, not to mention seen particulars past the sheer curtain. The picture itself may be very cool, making the white of my cat’s fur and whiskers a bit extra sensible than they really are. The Galaxy S21 wins this one.
For portrait mode, I took a photograph of the keyboard I take advantage of most frequently. It contains a radiating RGB sample with white pudding keycaps and a black plate. The Galaxy S21’s portrait shot is fairly good, capturing loads of element, even when it feels a tad overexposed.
The iPhone 12, in the meantime, was fairly aggressive with blur radius, however it captured the colours of my keyboard and deskmat superbly. It is onerous to label one because the winner right here, so we’ll name it a draw.
Testing out the night time modes on each telephones, you possibly can see the outcomes above. Each telephones did very effectively making the quantity plate legible and capturing particulars of the sunshine bulb inside its fixture. The iPhone 12 made issues noticeably brighter than the Galaxy S21’s shot. In any other case, I would have to present it to the iPhone 12 if pressed, however each photographs work very effectively.
Lastly, selfies. The Galaxy S21 captures the ruddiness of my face and deeper pink undertones in my beard higher. Though the solar had me squinting a bit, you possibly can see the blue of my eyes behind my glasses.
There’s proof of face smoothing right here, however it’s not too heavy-handed. Lastly, the orange border on the Psycho Bunny emblem on my shirt is true to life within the Galaxy S21 self-portrait, a type of darker salmon colour.
That is the most effective selfie that the iPhone 12 put out. The solar was off to my proper (left from the digital camera’s perspective) and that blew out that aspect of my face. My hoodie seems brighter than it’s in actual life (it is a medium-dark gray) and my beard is way darker than the S21’s selfie. The blue of my shirt can also be a tad too vibrant within the iPhone 12’s shot.
Personally, I favor the S21’s picture over the iPhone 12, and it is the one I would select had been I to put up to social media.
In different phrases, digital camera efficiency relies upon closely on photographs you prefer to take. The Galaxy S21 excels at zoom photographs and portrait photographs, whereas the iPhone handles colours and composition effectively. It is a class, that is too near name total.
Samsung Galaxy S21 vs. iPhone 12: Efficiency
One space the place the Galaxy S21 has bother topping the iPhone 12 is uncooked efficiency. Merely put, the A14 Bionic chip inside the most recent iPhones is the best-performing cellular processor we have examined in a cellphone, setting a excessive bar for every other chipset to clear.
Contained in the S21, you may discover 8GB of RAM and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888. Qualcomm says that the Snapdragon 888 can ship a 25% enhance in total efficiency over the Snapdragon 865; equally, the Adreno 660 GPU ought to enhance the pace of graphics rendering by 35% over the earlier chipset.
In our benchmark testing, although, the S21 cannot match the iPhone 12. For instance, Apple’s A14 Bionic within the iPhone 12 scored a formidable multicore rating of three,859 in Geekbench 5. The S21, in the meantime, topped out at three,302. In our Adobe Premiere Rush check, the place a 4K video is transcoded to 1080p, the Galaxy S21 accomplished the check in 1 minute and three seconds. The iPhone did the identical activity in a blistering 26 seconds.
Benchmarks present a clue to total efficiency, however they do not inform the complete story. Utilizing each telephones collectively, there’s hardly any noticeable distinction in efficiency (not accounting for the smoother show on the S21). Neither cellphone is a slouch, however the iPhone 12 packs extra of a punch.
Winner: iPhone 12
Samsung Galaxy S21 vs. iPhone 12: 5G
Whereas we would must spend an extended time frame testing 5G efficiency, we did pit the Galaxy S21 towards the iPhone 12 on low-band Verizon 5G. The outcomes had been equally underwhelming, however they had been additionally stunning. In our Galaxy S21 Extremely vs iPhone 12 Professional Max face off, Samsung’s cellphone handily beat the iPhone in 5G pace throughout AT&T and T-Cell.
For our testing, we did 5 dry runs and 5 recorded assessments in Ookla’s SpeedTest app. Each telephones had been held in the identical hand in the identical place. Each reported a full sign they usually used the identical Verizon SIM.
The iPhone got here out forward with a imply obtain pace of 12.74 Mbps and the Galaxy S21 trailed with a imply obtain pace of 10.34 Mbps. Once more, neither pace is spectacular — which is extra of a touch upon the state of 5G today — however it was fascinating to see the iPhone 12 barely beat the S21, when the S21 Extremely proved a lot quicker than Apple’s comparable machine.
Winner: iPhone 12
Samsung Galaxy S21 vs. iPhone 12: Battery and charging
As with 4G earlier than it, early 5G tech has confirmed to be onerous on batteries. That is not stunning. iPhones normally fare fairly effectively in battery assessments, however with the iPhone 12 sequence, all fashions however the 12 Professional Max noticed disappointing outcomes. Not at all unusable, the iPhone 12, with its 2,815 mAh battery, is so-so in each day life — use it evenly and you will be advantageous, however push it too onerous and you will be searching for a charger.
Within the Tom’s Information battery check, the place units are left to endlessly load webpages on a cellular broadband connection (5G on this case), the common is round 10 hours. That is thought of good and a few telephones exceed that. That mentioned, the iPhone 12 clocked a mere eight hours and 25 minutes. The Galaxy S21 with its 60Hz mode enabled scored 9 hours and 53 minutes; that point fell to a disappointing 6.5 hours with adaptive mode on.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 has the leg up right here. Sure, it has a bodily bigger battery at four,000 mAh, however Samsung has had a few generations of 5G tech now to get issues proper. The iPhone 12 is Apple’s first 5G lineup, so some rising pains are inevitable.
In a shock transfer, Samsung adopted one in all Apple’s extra controversial choices with the iPhone 12. Identical to Apple’s telephones, the brand new Galaxy S21 telephones ship with no charger, which Apple says is friendlier to the setting. You continue to get USB cables included, so you should purchase quick charging bricks individually. Apple and Samsung are very happy to provide you with one, for a price.
Lastly, we check to see how briskly every cellphone can cost from empty. In 30 minutes, the Galaxy S21 hit 55% whereas the iPhone 12 reached 31% in the identical period of time. It is price noting that our lab used the wi-fi MagSafe charger on a 20W energy brick for the iPhone 12’s cost check, whereas the S21 used a 25W charger.
Winner: Galaxy S21
Samsung Galaxy S21 vs. iPhone 12: Software program and particular options
The Galaxy S21 ships with Android 11 pre-installed, however future updates will probably be touch-and-go. Samsung has launched a brand new coverage to help its units with three main Android updates, however these normally lag behind Google’s releases by a number of months. Android 11 is just now rolling out to earlier Galaxy flagships, for instance, regardless that Google put out the replace in September 2020.
iPhone customers haven’t got that challenge, in fact, since iOS updates can be found on the similar time for everybody. Which means the iPhone 12 runs the most recent iOS 14 software program, and when iOS 15 comes out this fall, it would work with every iPhone 12 mannequin.
With the Galaxy S21, Samsung debuted OneUI three.1. It continues Samsung’s dedication to offering a extra mature, cohesive software program expertise that rivals what Google and OnePlus supply. The three.1 replace provides some new options, like Google Uncover integration on the house display screen, Google House machine controls, Duo integration within the inventory cellphone app, and an excessive amount of extra to record right here. The S21 advantages vastly from these.
The iPhone 12, in the meantime, makes use of iOS 14, the most effective model of Apple’s cellular OS but. The corporate has loosened issues up a bit, letting you select your individual default browser and e-mail shopper. You too can shove your entire apps into the brand new App Library, which is analogous in some methods to Android’s long-standing app drawer. Every little thing simply feels sleeker this time round.
We suggest testing our iOS vs Android face off if you happen to’re on the fence about which cellular OS will probably be higher for you. Each are exceptionally good at a number of issues, so it comes down to private choice, although the provision of iOS updates offers the iPhone the sting by a whisker.
Winner: iPhone 12
Galaxy S21 vs. iPhone 12: General winner
|Galaxy S21||iPhone 12|
|Value (10 factors)||eight||7|
|Design (10 factors)||eight||9|
|Show (15 factors)||15||14|
|Cameras (20 factors)||18||18|
|Efficiency (15 factors)||11||15|
|5G (5 factors)||2||three|
|Battery and charging (15 factors)||12||9|
|Software program and particular options (10 factors)||9||10|
|General (100 factors)||83||85|
It is actually a really, very shut race. The iPhone 12 simply barely eeks out a victory over the Galaxy S21 and it might even be right down to myriad variables. Each telephones are unbelievable and you can not go incorrect with both. Just one could be “the most effective,” although, and that is Apple’s cellphone on this Samsung Galaxy S21 vs. iPhone 12 showdown.
Each telephones value the identical, however you get extra storage with the S21 in alternate for a polycarbonate again. The S21’s show is barely higher due to the upper refresh price, and it is extra dependable within the battery division, if you happen to’re prepared to lock the show at 60Hz.
The iPhone 12, in the meantime, excels in efficiency and its over-the-top water resistance. It additionally beat the S21 in a few of our digital camera assessments, although it additionally fell behind in different photographs.
Finally, which cellphone truly finally ends up being higher for you comes down as to whether you favor Android or iOS. Each the Galaxy S21 and iPhone 12 have superior cameras, nice shows, and 5G help. They’re additionally very pocketable, too. In the event you’re like me and may reside with both OS, then you could have a extremely powerful option to make.