Apple iPhone 12 vs Samsung Galaxy S21: which is better to choose

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Galaxy S21 vs iPhone 12: display and design

In fact, no matter how antagonistic these models may seem, their displays are very similar. They are based on Samsung OLED panels. Of course, on the iPhone, the calibration is done according to Apple’s specifications – it’s fairly accurate in color, although there is a persistent yellowish tint. Samsung screens allow you to choose from several preset modes. You can choose from super-bright OLED colors or muted and lifelike colors, both great for their respective audiences. The screens are quite comparable in size, although the Galaxy S21 has a slightly larger display. However, the difference is not so great that it becomes a key criterion when choosing a device.

Galaxy S21 screen diagonal – 6.2 inches
IPhone 12 display diagonal – 6.1 inches

Galaxy S21 vs iPhone 12

What’s really important is the Galaxy S21’s Dynamic AMOLED screen. Thanks to this, the display supports a refresh rate of 120 Hz. This makes all animation and device interaction very smooth. The iPhone 12 remains at the standard 60Hz. And while the overall smoothness of iOS alleviates the problem a bit, you can definitely feel the difference.

Display quality

Maximum brightness, nit (higher is better) Minimum brightness, nit (less is better) Color temperature, Kelvin Gamma Delta E RGBCMY
(lower is better)
Delta E Grayscale (below – it is better)
Samsung Galaxy S21 798
2.01 2.59
Apple iPhone 12 619
2.18 2.16

In terms of design, the Galaxy S21 is a pleasant surprise – the camera protrusion that fits into the phone’s frame looks like an ingenious solution, and the curved back of the device provides a very comfortable fit in the palm of your hand.

Samsung galaxy s21 design

Galaxy S21 design

The square design of the iPhone is already a kind of classic, familiar to many. But such a shape seems to hit you on the hand, and the gloss of the frames gives your fingers discomfort. The new design for the iPhone 12 would be great for the iPhone 12 mini, but it looks worse on the larger models.

Which is better Apple iPhone 12 or Samsung Galaxy S21: detailed comparison

IPhone 12 design

But you still need to subtract a few points from the Galaxy S21 for the plastic back. In fact, the problem is small, but it is still unpleasant to buy a phone for 70,000 rubles with the feeling of cheap, albeit soft, matte and tenacious plastic.

Which is better Apple iPhone 12 or Samsung Galaxy S21

The glass on the back on iPhone 12 looks great, and you can’t help but be delighted with the MagSafe accessories that you can magnetically attach to your smartphone.

Which is better Apple iPhone 12 or Samsung Galaxy S21: detailed comparisonMagSafe Wireless Charging for iPhone

The Galaxy S21 is offered in four color options: gray, pink, purple and white.

Samsung Galaxy S21 colors

iPhone 12 is available in five colors: black, white, red, blue, and green.

Which is better Apple iPhone 12 or Samsung Galaxy S21: detailed comparison

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Specifications Galaxy S21 and iPhone 12

In fact, a direct comparison of the characteristics of Android phones and iPhones is always a bit of a dispute over which is better – apples or oranges. This is because Android and iOS work differently with their hardware. Anyway, here are the rough numbers:

Display CPU
and memory
Battery Camera Storage device Operating system
Samsung Galaxy S21 6.2 inches, 2400 × 1080 pixels Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, 8 GB RAM 4000 mAh 2 × 12 Mp,
1 × 64 Mp, front 10 Mp
128 GB non-expandable Android 11
Samsung One UI
Apple iPhone 12 6.1 inches, 2532 × 1170 dots Apple A14 Bionic, 4 GB RAM 2815 mAh 2 × 12 Mp, 12 Mp front 64 GB non expandable iOS 14.x

The Galaxy S21 is powered by the Snapdragon 888 (or Exynos 2100) processor, a 2.84 GHz octa-core chip built on a 5nm process. The smartphone received 8 GB of RAM for the best multitasking experience. What does this mean? The fact that the device will be very, very fast is probably the most powerful Android smartphone available for purchase at the time of this writing.

But the Apple A14 Bionic processor inside the iPhone 12 is in no way inferior in power to the competitor. This is Apple’s own 5nm chip with 6 cores and a maximum frequency of 2.99GHz. The A14 outperformed almost all of its competitors at the time of its late 2020 release, and it’s still slightly ahead of the Snapdragon 888.

The iPhone 12 seems to have only 4GB of RAM, but that’s not a big problem considering how iOS works. This operating system is able to freeze background applications almost instantly and provides the “illusion” of multitasking, forcing you to switch between images of real applications.

Speaking of internal storage, we’re talking about two models that don’t offer any options for expanding storage with a microSD card. So it is important for the buyer to initially choose the volume he needs.

Apple is rightly accused of being stingy, but 64 GB with some limitations will be enough for most users. But if you love taking pictures or playing games, then storage capacity becomes an important parameter. This will become especially evident after a couple of years when you accumulate a lot of files.

The base version of the Galaxy S21 comes with 128GB of storage, giving you a lot more storage space from the start. Plus, for around £ 5,000, you can get the 256GB model, which seems like a very generous offer compared to the iPhone 12.

All in all, both of these phones are very powerful. This is not to say that one of them is clearly superior to the other. You may notice that in some games the graphics on the iPhone are better than on the Galaxy, but this is due to a lot of non-obvious background things: developer tools, APIs, ecosystem, which is not directly related to the speed of the equipment or problems with it.

But the results of some tests, the higher the scores, the better:

AnTuTu GFXBench
Car chase
GFXBench Manhattan Geekbench 5 single-core Geekbench 5 multi-core Jetstream 2
Samsung Galaxy S21 596,684 50 98 1,043 3090 77,243
Apple iPhone 12 558,702 57 59 1539 4123 159,972

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Galaxy S21 vs iPhone 12 camera comparison

Galaxy S21 vs iPhone 12 camera comparison

The Samsung Galaxy S21 proudly boasts three lenses on the back – a 12MP wide-angle camera, a 12MP ultra-wide-angle camera and a 64MP telephoto lens.

Galaxy S21 cameras

On the other side of the scale is the iPhone 12 with its dual cameras on the back – regular wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle.

Which is better Apple iPhone 12 or Samsung Galaxy S21: detailed comparison

How do they photograph in direct comparison?

The main cameras are impressive in terms of dynamics and sharpness. The iPhone does prefer a brighter exposure, even with the risk of some glare burn-in, while the Galaxy S21 struggles to maintain blue skies even if there is a risk of low exposure.

The color calibrations of smartphones are also different. The iPhone sticks to its signature yellow hues, while the Galaxy S21 opts for a bit of purple. But more often than not, it is the photos of the S21 that look closer to what we see in real life at the time of the shot.

Ultra wide-angle lenses are useful for landscape or artistic shots. The S21 and iPhone 12 have ultra-wide-angle cameras that create very soft photos, they have their pros and cons. When comparing specific shots, it seems that the iPhone is a little sharper, but also a little noisier.

Now on to zoom – how well does it work on the Galaxy S21? Technically, the zoom is digital and the results are not particularly impressive. However, this feature on the Korean flagship works better than the iPhone’s 3x digital zoom. It’s worth noting that the iPhone 12 works at a maximum 5x magnification, while the Galaxy S21 can work at a 30x magnification. Yes, the quality drops noticeably, but such scaling is present.

Most importantly, you can take 2x portrait shots on the Galaxy S21 – although the iPhone 12 has portrait mode, it only takes wide-angle (1x zoom) portraits.

In the meantime, there is no need to know about it. ”

As for selfies, we can again talk about similar opportunities. Both smartphones capture crisp, detailed images with excellent dynamic range. iPhone 12 tries to accurately reproduce skin tones in some challenging sunlight conditions – HDR works wonders at times.

Front camera iPhone 12

The Galaxy S21 does a great job in these conditions too.

Galaxy S21 front camera

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Galaxy S21 and iPhone 12 battery life

Both phones have energy efficient 5nm processors that should last longer than previous generations. However, none of them will give you a significant increase in battery life. Little has changed because the new processors, no matter how energy efficient they are, are also more powerful, which also requires increased power consumption.

In any case, both the Galaxy S21 and iPhone 12 are reliable enough and will serve you in active mode with ease for a whole day, or maybe a day and a half. It’s worth noting that gaming has traditionally been the curse of the iPhone battery for many years.

Work in the browser,
60 Hz, hours
Streaming to
3D games,
60 Hz,
Charging time,
working hours,
Samsung Galaxy S21 9 hours
6 minutes
7 o’clock
36 minutes
7 o’clock
9 minutes
70 8 ocloc’k
6 minutes
Apple iPhone 12 12 hours
33 minutes
6 hours
38 minutes
6 hours
46 minutes
118 9 hours
1 minute

Galaxy S21 and iPhone 12 price

Buy Galaxy S21 128 GB – from 67,000 rubles
Buy Galaxy S21 256 GB – 72,000 rubles

Buy iPhone 12 64 GB – 74,000 rubles
Buy iPhone 12 128 GB – 79,000 rubles
Buy iPhone 12 256 GB – 88,000 rubles

Which Galaxy S21 and iPhone 12 to Choose?

Both smartphones are leaders in their lines in terms of price / quality criterion. However, over time, the Galaxy S21 will drop in price much faster than the iPhone 12.

Probably, the deciding factor when choosing a smartphone will still be the user’s general preference for the Apple or Samsung ecosystem.

The main camera module in the Galaxy S21 has 3 lenses – main wide-angle, ultra-wide-angle, telephoto, and many software functions for shooting with which you can and should experiment. On the other hand, the iPhone 12 on the back has an ultra-wide-angle camera in addition to the main wide-angle camera, but lacks a telephoto lens (optical zoom).

Galaxy S21 received support for “smooth screen” with a frequency of 120 Hz. The base storage size is 128GB versus 64GB for the iPhone 12. Samsung’s flagship design also seems better and more ergonomic. The disadvantages of this smartphone can be considered a plastic back panel and a kind of user interface with so many functions and options that it is easy to get confused in them. But in many respects it is solely a matter of personal preference.

IOS has fewer features, switches and settings, but it’s so reliable and easy to use. The iPhone 12 also benefits from MagSafe magnetic wireless charging support.

And the perception of the angular design of the iPhone is a matter of taste, many like the ergonomics of the Galaxy S21 more.

The performance of the Galaxy S21 and iPhone 12 is roughly on par.

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