Samsung Galaxy S21 vs. iPhone 12: Can Samsung Take a Bite of Apple?

Samsung announced last year the Samsung Galaxy S21, the successor to the Galaxy S20. It improves on its predecessor in several key areas, offering improved software, a refreshed design, 5G as standard, and the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor. It certainly looks like what kind of smartphone you’d expect to encounter in 2021, but that’s not to say that it doesn’t have competition to buy the latest and biggest flagship.

Chief among its rivals is the iPhone 12, Apple’s latest showcase for its smartphone tech and wizardry. Like the S21, earlier Apple phones improve the iPhone 12, giving 5G the standard, a new high-powered processor and an enhanced camera system. However, we need to figure out which one is best for you. To do this, we compare the two phones in several categories, which help you decide which are your money.


iphone 12Samsung galaxy s21
Shape146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4 mm (5.78 x 2.81 x 0.29 in)151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9 mm (5.97 x 2.80 x 0.31 in)
Weight164 grams (5.78 ounces)171 grams (6.02 oz)
Screen size6.1 inch Super Retina XDR is OLED6.2 inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X
screen resolution2532 x 1170 pixels (460 pixels per inch)2400 x 1080 pixels (421 ppi density)
Operating SystemiOS 14Android 11
Storage64GB, 128GB, 256GB128GB, 256GB
MicroSD card slotNoNo
Tap to pay ServicesBig paySamsung Pay
The processorApple A14 BionicQualcomm Snapdragon 888 (Exynos 2100 outside US and China)
The cameraDual lens 12-megapixel wide and 12MP ultrawide rear, 12MP true depth frontTriple lens 12MP wide, 12MP ultrawide and 64MP telephoto rear, 10MP dual-pixel front
Video4K up to 60 fps, 1080p at 240 fps8K up to 30 KPS, 4K at 60 FPS, 1080p at 120 FPS
Bluetooth versionBluetooth 5.0Bluetooth 5.0
Portslightning connectorUSB C, Type 3.2
Fingerprint sensorInstead, FaceIDYes, in-display
water resistanceIP68IP68
The battery2,815mAh

Fast charging (20W charger sold separately)

Qi wireless charging

Is 4,000mAh

Fast charging (25W charger sold separately)

Qi wireless charging

App market Apple App StoreGoogle play store
Network supportAll major carriersAll major carriers
colour’sBlack, Blue, Green, White, and RedPhantom Gray, Phantom White, Phantom Violet, Phantom Pink
The prices$ 799 +$ 799 +
Review issue4.5 stars out of 5news

Design, performance, and durability

The Samsung Galaxy S21 and iPhone 12 are both feature designs that offer subtle development over their predecessors, without too much shaking the boat. The iPhone 12 comes with an angular, flat-sided body, including an aluminum frame and a glass back with a nice matte finish. It also has a smaller pedestal than before, although you will be hard pressed to notice a significant difference, which the S21’s pinhole selfie camera finds all the more impressive.

The S21 looks similar to the S20, although its edge-to-edge screen bezels are thinner. It looks sharp and sleek, and with a good camera module that slopes around the edge of the phone, it certainly looks more attractive than its Apple counterpart. However, it is made of plastic, which is a major drawback on the $ 800 phone.

The S20 has also taken a step back with a 6.2-inch display. It packs 2400 x 1080 pixels, not only the S20, but less than the iPhone 12’s 2532 x 1170. This will cause a slight drop in picture crisp, although the use of dynamic AMOLED technology, as well as support for 120Hz refresh. The rate will largely compensate for any difference.

Both smartphones come with an IP68 rating, allowing you to submerge them in 1.5 meters of water for half an hour. Apple has also suggested that its ceramic guard glass will provide greater protection against falls and damage, although Samsung is using the new Victus range of Gorilla Glass, so it will offer greater durability than previous iterations.

It’s a close round, but the plastic back on the S21 suggests favoring the iPhone.

Winner: iPhone 12

Performance, battery life and charging

iPhone 12 MagSafe Stuff

The iPhone 12 is powered by the new A14 Bionic chip, which Apple claims it “defies the laws of physics”. Hyperbole aside, it’s still one of the best chips on any phone today, and when you pair it with 4GB of RAM, it will handle every task you need to handle.

In contrast, the Samsung Galaxy S21 has 8 GB of RAM, making it a more impressive paper. It also includes a new Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, unless you live outside the US, China or Japan, in which case you get a slightly less agile Exynos 2100. Either way, you can assume that the S21 eclipses the iPhone 12 with its 8GB of RAM. However, this would not be in practice, as the A14 chip and the iPhone’s RAM are used in different ways, both devices should perform equally.

The iPhone 12 offers only 64GB of internal memory as standard, while the S21 will give you twice as standard. Both phones have a 256GB version for more money, while the iPhone 12 also has a 128GB model. This gives Samsung’s phones a distinct advantage, although the opportunity to take an even greater lead is because the S21 does not have the usual microSD card slot, so there is no ability to upgrade your storage further.

For the battery, the iPhone 12 gives a 2,815mAh cell. Again, it doesn’t sound very much on paper, but the fine balance of Apple’s software and the efficiency of the A14 chip means it comfortably lasts for another day under moderate to heavy use. Unfortunately, we haven’t had a chance to fully test the S21, so we’re not sure how its 4,000mAh battery will compare. That said, our review of the S20 – which also came with a 4,000mAh battery – shows that it won’t last as long as the iPhone 12, even if it takes a second day before requiring refills. Will make in

In light of this, we are announcing another tie, although this may change after reviewing the S21.

Winner: Tie

The cameras

The iPhone 12’s rear camera setup features a 12-megapixel wide and ultraviolet lens, while the S21 does a better job, combining 64MP telephoto lenses. As before, this superficially indicates that the S21 will have a distinct advantage, although in practice you are likely to outperform the iPhone 12, if not better.

Our review found that the iPhone 12 takes excellent shots during the day, as well as highly usable shots in low light and night conditions. It is a remarkably versatile camera, using Smart HDR 3 and AI-based Deep Fusion technology to ensure that your photos are balanced and colorful, without being bright or saturated.

With the S21, we are likely to see something similar to the S20, which also gave a great all-round camera experience. Its hardware is largely similar to its predecessor, with three rear lenses, plus plenty of the same core technology. However, the S21 has some software upgrades, including improved AI and the introduction of Single Tech 2.0. So we should expect a slight improvement, even though there is a possibility that the iPhone 12 may take a slight lead.

It’s tough to call it, but for now, we’re going to give it to the iPhone 12. Even without fully testing the S21, we’re pretty sure the iPhone will come out on top, though we’ll make sure to revise it after our review.

Winner: iPhone 12

Software and updates

iOS 14

Each operating system has its own strengths and weaknesses, and needless to say that both the iPhone 12 and the Samsung Galaxy S21 come with the latest versions of each running on them. The S21 OneUI 3, however, comes for Samsung’s Android 11.

On the other hand, there is no doubt that Apple is better at rolling out software updates on time than Samsung. Given that it develops iOS, users of the iPhone 12 will receive new versions and updates very quickly. Samsung, by contrast, has an incredible track record in terms of delivering new versions of Android, so users may find they have to wait a while before updating. They may also find that Samsung does not support the S21 unless Apple will support the iPhone 12.

In light of this modest yet significant advantage, this round is a win for the iPhone 12.

Winner: iPhone 12

special features

Samsung Galaxy S21 and iPhone 12 both support 5G. This is great for anyone living around the 5G network, although unfortunately for non-US iPhone 12 owners, the faster mmWave 5G band will only be available on models sold in the US. The S21 supports the main 5G bands sold in almost all regions. .

In addition to the 5G, the iPhone 12 also benefits from MagSafe charging (and accessories), allowing you to simply place wireless chargers and various other add-ons on the back of your phone. This is clearly not a ground-breaking innovation, but should improve convenience (and safety) once enough third-party manufacturers release a critical mass of compatible accessories.

The S21 also introduces some new special features. Most notably, it brings a “vlogger view” to its camera, allowing users to capture video with their front and rear cameras. It also adds the Director View, which provides picture-in-picture thumbnails of feeds from the S21’s separate camera lenses, so you can transition from one to another while shooting video. These are not large-scale inclusions, but they are good to look at.

As mentioned above, the S21 also supports a liquid-smooth 120Hz refresh rate, while the iPhone 12 offers the ever-reliable Face ID. That said, both phones also have a “United Nations Special” feature: neither ships with a charger (you’ll have to supply yours). These two have many characteristics, so this round is a tie.

Winner: Tie

Price and availability

The iPhone 12 starts at $ 799 for the 64GB version, while the 128GB and 256GB versions will cost $ 849 and $ 949 respectively. It is available from the vast majority of every major carrier and major retail outlets other than Apple.

The Samsung Galaxy S21 also starts at $ 799 for the 128GB model, and the 256GB version will set you back $ 849. With the iPhone 12, it will be supported by all major carriers and pretty much every major retailer, while you can also order it from Samsung. It is available for pre-order from 14 January, while it will be officially put on sale from 29 January.

Overall Winner: iPhone 12

iPhone 12 Pro Blue

Due to the pre-release status of the Samsung Galaxy S21, it may be a bit early to call, but the iPhone 12 seems to be a better phone overall. Its main advantage is its software and in particular, its updates, which will be delivered to users more quickly than the S21. It will also most likely be supported for longer, meaning you can buy it now and not have to worry about upgrading to a new model for three or four years, or perhaps longer.

In addition, the two smartphones are equally matched. The S21 certainly looks better, while the iPhone 12 offers a higher resolution display. They both provide the same level of performance, with the A14 bionic chip compensating for the iPhone 12’s low RAM count. They also have comparatively versatile cameras, even if the iPhone 12 is one touch better (save for the lack of telephoto lenses).

Of course, if you prefer Android to iOS, you can naturally prefer the Galaxy S21 on iPhone 12 and vice versa. Either way, you’re not likely to be disappointed by either phone, so in the end, you probably shouldn’t stress too much and just go with what you like the most.

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