Which is Better: Samsung Galaxy S21 Vs iPhone 12

Samsung Galaxy S21 vs iPhone 12, which is better? In the battle for smartphone supremacy, Canstar decides which model delivers the best value.

Samsung Galaxy S21 vs iPhone 12, which is better? It’s something of an understatement to say that the rivalry runs deep between Samsung and Apple. The two tech heavyweights have long set the bar for innovation, and the competition has been cranked up as they again go toe-to-toe.

In one corner is Samsung’s Galaxy S21 range, comprising: the Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21+ and Galaxy S21 Ultra. In the other, Apple’s iPhone 12 line: the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max.

For many consumers the choice between a Samsung or Apple smartphone will simply come down to brand preference. However, it’s worthwhile weighing up the pros and cons of the different smartphones on offer when deciding which model delivers the best value.

In doing so, keep the following in mind:

Design

If design is the determining factor in your smartphone choice, this will likely come down to personal preference. Both the Galaxy S21 and iPhone 12 lines sport a number of distinctive features, and both have features designed to deliver extra durability.

Display

As is to be expected, both the Galaxy S21 and iPhone 12 lines are equipped with premium display tech. The displays on offer measure in at the larger end of the smartphone size scale. Apple’s iPhone 12 mini does, however, offer a point of difference, measuring in at a comparatively small 5.4 inches (13.7cm).

Camera

Both the Galaxy S21 and iPhone 12 lines are replete with camera tech supported by sophisticated software. For photography aficionados, the more expensive models across both lines are equipped with a greater range of options.

Under the hood

Top-of-the-line processors power premium experiences. Internal storage options vary from device to device. There’s no microSD slot on the Galaxy S21 and iPhone 12 lines, meaning users wanting additional storage will need to look to other options, such as cloud storage. Both lines feature sizeable battery capacity, complemented by wired and wireless charging options.

Connectivity

5G connectivity is a headline feature for both the Galaxy S21 and iPhone 12 lines. While the 5G rollout is still in its early stages, this a feature that can be expected to become increasingly common in new-release smartphones.

Price

The Galaxy S21 and iPhone 12 lines come with price tags that match their premium billing. Consumers will need to weigh up their budgets and smartphone requirements in determining what delivers value.

In addition to the above features, the Galaxy S21 line is equipped with an in-display fingerprint sensor, along with facial recognition technology. The iPhone 12 line is decked out with Apple’s Face ID facial recognition system.

Of course, a major distinction between the Galaxy S21 and iPhone 12 lines is the respective operating system each runs. The Galaxy S21 range runs Android 11 and the iPhone 12 range works on iOS 14.

Both Android 11 and iOS 14 are packed to the brim with features, and there is a huge selection of apps available for each operating system. It’s also worthwhile keeping in mind compatibility requirements if you plan on linking your smartphone with other smart devices.

Read on below for a rundown of the respective specs on offer from the Galaxy S21 and iPhone 12 lines.

Design

Galaxy S21

Samsung has notably done away with the curved-edge display of previous Galaxy S models, opting instead for a more traditional flat, entirely front-facing setup (see more on the display specs below).

A striking feature of the range is the contour cut camera housing, positioned in the top right rear corner, which Samsung describes as seamlessly blending into the metal frame.

The S21 models have an IP68 water resistance rating, and the range is protected by the toughest Gorilla Glass yet.

Dimensions and weight:

  • Galaxy S21 – 71.2 x 151.7 x 7.9mm; 171g
  • Galaxy S21+ – 75.6 x 161.5 x 7.8mm; 202g
  • Galaxy S21 Ultra – 75.6 x 165.1 x 8.9mm; 229g

The Galaxy S21 is available in phantom violet, grey, white and pink; the Galaxy S21+ phantom violet, black and silver (phantom gold and red exclusive to Samsung.com); the Galaxy S21 Ultra phantom black and silver (phantom titanium, navy and brown exclusive to Samsung.com).

iphone 12 pro max

iPhone 12

Apple’s iPhone 12 range sports a flat-edge design, as opposed to the rounded edges that have been a feature of recent generations, incorporating an edge-to-edge display (read on below for display specs).

The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini feature a glass back and aluminium design, and the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max a textured matt glass back and stainless steel design.

Each model in the range has an IP68 rating for water resistance. The range’s Ceramic Shield front cover provides increased durability.

Dimensions and weight:

  • iPhone 12 – 71.5 x 146.7 x 7.4mm; 162g
  • iPhone 12 mini – 64.2 x 131.5 x 7.4mm; 133g
  • iPhone 12 Pro – 71.5 x 146.7 x 7.4mm; 187g
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max – 78.1 x 160.8 x 7.4mm; 226g

The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini are available in black, white, red, green and blue; and the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max are available in silver, graphite, gold and Pacific blue.

Compare prepaid mobile plan providers here!

Display

Galaxy S21

The Galaxy S21 range’s respective displays all measure in at in excess of 6 inches (15.2cm). A 120Hz refresh rate (available across all models) delivers smoother scrolling and viewing.

The frame rate is automatically adjusted based on the content being viewed. Samsung’s new Eye Comfort Shield feature automatically adjusts the blue light based on the time of day and content being viewed, helping to reduce eye fatigue.

  • Galaxy S21 – a 6.2-inch Flat FHD+, Dynamic AMOLED 2X Infinity-O Display (2,400 x 1,080; 421ppi); HDR10+ certified
  • Galaxy S21+ – a 6.7-inch Flat FHD+, Dynamic AMOLED 2X Infinity-O Display (2,400 x 1,080; 394ppi); HDR10+ certified
  • Galaxy S21 Ultra – a 6.8-inch Edge QHD+, Dynamic AMOLED 2X Infinity-O Display (3,200 x 1,440; 515ppi), HDR10+ certified

iPhone 12

The iPhone 12 line-up notably includes the iPhone 12 mini, providing consumers the option of a smaller display. The iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max all measure in at over 6 inches (15.2cm).

All of the iPhone 12 models sport edge-to-edge Super Retina XDR displays, which deliver a brighter, more immersive viewing experience.

  • iPhone 12 – a 6.1-inch all-screen OLED display (2,532 x 1,170; 460ppi); HDR
  • iPhone 12 mini – a 5.4-inch all-screen OLED display (2,340 x 1,080; 476ppi); HDR
  • iPhone 12 Pro – a 6.1-inch all-screen OLED display (2,532 x 1,170; 460ppi); HDR
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max – a 6.7-inch all-screen OLED display (2,778 x 1,284; 458ppi); HDR

Compare monthly plan providers here!

Camera

Galaxy S21

The Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21+ feature 8K Snap, allowing users to capture images from 8K video footage. Super Steady video is designed to deliver smooth video at 60fps. Samsung says that the camera system uses AI technology to help users capture better photos.

The Galaxy S21 Ultra camera system provides for users to take 12-bit HDR photos, and to shoot in 4K at 60fps across all lenses. An improved Bright Night sensor offers the best in low-light photography.

  • Galaxy S21 – front-facing: a 10MP selfie camera; rear-facing: a 12MP ultra-wide camera, a 12MP wide-angle camera and a 64MP telephoto camera, 30x space zoom
  • Galaxy S21+ – front-facing: a 10MP selfie camera; rear-facing: a 12MP ultra-wide camera, a 12MP wide-angle camera and a 64MP telephoto camera, 30x space zoom
  • Galaxy S21 Ultra – front-facing: a 40MP selfie camera; rear-facing: a 12MP ultra-wide camera, a 108MP wide-angle camera and two 10MP telephoto cameras, 100x space zoom

iPhone 12

Apple states that Night mode on the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini delivers “brighter pictures and better contrast for photos shot in low-light settings”. The Deep Fusion feature provides for more texture and less noise, while both models can shoot HDR video with Dolby Vision at up to 30fps.

In addition, the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max can shoot HDR video with Dolby Vision at up to 60fps. Apple states a new LiDAR scanner provides for faster and more realistic AR experiences and improves auto-focus by 6x in low-light scenes.

  • iPhone 12 – front-facing: a 12MP TrueDepth camera; rear-facing: a dual 12MP camera system with ultra-wide and wide cameras, digital zoom at up to 5x
  • iPhone 12 mini – front-facing: a 12MP TrueDepth camera; rear-facing: a dual 12MP camera system with ultra-wide and wide cameras, digital zoom at up to 5x
  • iPhone 12 Pro – front-facing: a 12MP TrueDepth camera; rear-facing: a 12MP camera system with ultra-wide, wide and telephoto cameras, digital zoom at up to 10x
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max – front-facing: a 12MP TrueDepth camera; rear-facing: a 12MP camera system with ultra-wide, wide and telephoto cameras, digital zoom at up to 12x

Under the hood

Galaxy S21

The Galaxy S21 series is decked out to deliver speed, energy efficiency and advanced computing capabilities. A 5nm processor allows users to get more done in quick time, while the Galaxy S21 and S21+ come with one internal storage option, and the Galaxy S21 Ultra two options.

Battery capacity varies from model to model, with the range offering support for Super Fast Charging, Fast Wireless Charging 2.0 and Wireless PowerShare.

  • Galaxy S21 – 2.9GHz (maximum CPU speed) octa-core processor; 256GB internal storage; 4000mAh battery
  • Galaxy S21+ – 2.9GHz (maximum CPU speed) octa-core processor; 256GB internal storage; 4800mAh battery
  • Galaxy S21 Ultra – 2.9GHz (maximum CPU speed) octa-core processor; 256 or 512GB internal storage; 5000mAh battery


iPhone 12

The iPhone 12 range runs Apple’s A14 Bionic chip, which Apple states enables console-quality gaming experiences and powerful computational photography. There are a range of different storage capacities available with each of the models.

The range offers MagSafe wireless charging of up to 15W, Qi wireless charging of up to 7.5W and USB charging (fast-charge-capable: up to a 50% charge in 30mins with a 20W adaptor or higher).

  • iPhone 12 – A14 Bionic chip; 64, 128 or 256GB internal storage; battery provides video playback of up to 17 hours, video playback (streamed) of up to 11 hours and audio playback of up to 65 hours
  • iPhone 12 mini – A14 Bionic chip; 64, 128 or 256GB internal storage; battery provides video playback of up to 15 hours, video playback (streamed) of up to 10 hours and audio playback of up to 50 hours
  • iPhone 12 Pro – A14 Bionic chip; 128, 256 or 512GB internal storage; battery provides video playback of up to 17 hours, video playback (streamed) of up to 11 hours and audio playback of up to 65 hours
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max – A14 Bionic chip; 128, 256 or 512GB internal storage; battery provides video playback of up to 20 hours, video playback (streamed) of up to 12 hours and audio playback of up to 80 hours

Connectivity

Galaxy S21

In addition to 5G, the Galaxy S21 line features the following connectivity options:

  • LTE Enhanced 4×4 MIMO
  • Galaxy S21 and S21+ – Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax); Galaxy S21 Ultra – Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax)
  • Galaxy S21 and S21+ – Bluetooth 5.0; Galaxy S21 Ultra – Bluetooth 5.2
  • Ultra-wideband
  • USB type-C

iPhone 12

Along with 5G, the iPhone 12 range provides the following connectivity options:

  • Gigabit LTE with 4×4 MIMO and LAA
  • Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) with 2×2 MIMO
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Ultra-wideband
  • NFC with reader mode
  • Lightning connector

Price

Galaxy S21

The Samsung website lists the following prices(*):

  • Galaxy S21 – available from $1399
  • Galaxy S21+ – available from $1799
  • Galaxy S21 Ultra – available from $2199

iPhone 12

The Apple website lists the following prices(*):

  • iPhone 12 – available from $1499
  • iPhone 12 mini – available from $1349
  • iPhone 12 Pro – available from $1899
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max – available from $2,099


*Further information on pricing can be found at individual retailer websites. This should be used as a starter guide and not considered an actual quote.


Canstar can help

If you’ve got the best and latest phone tech, then you’ll need the best phone plan with plenty of data to make use of all its features. And Canstar Blue is here to help. We rate the best mobile phone providers in the market and award the best our customer satisfaction ratings. All you have to do to find out more is click on the button below.

Compare monthly plan providers here!

Enjoy reading this article?

You can like us on Facebook and get social, or sign up to receive more news like this straight to your inbox.

By subscribing you agree to the Canstar Privacy Policy

Share this article