iPhone 12 vs Samsung S21: which is better? - Communications Plus

iPhone 12 vs Samsung S21: which is better?

If you’re looking to upgrade your business phone for 2021 with one of the newest releases, the main competitors are the iPhone 12 and Samsung Galaxy S21.

Both Apple and Samsung have introduced their latest ranges, all with 5G connectivity for the fastest download and streaming speeds.

While Samsung doesn’t offer an S21 mini version like the iPhone 12 mini, both smartphone lines have more or less equal standard and deluxe versions:

Apple iPhone 12Samsung Galaxy S21
Apple iPhone 12 ProSamsung Galaxy S21 Plus
Apple iPhone 12 Pro MaxSamsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

iPhone 12 vs Samsung S21: at a glance

SpecificationsApple iPhone 12Samsung Galaxy S21
Dimensions146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4 mm151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9 mm
Weight164 g169 g
BuildCeramic Shield frontGorilla Glass backAluminium frameGorilla Glass Victus front Plastic back Aluminium frame
Screen size6.1 inches6.2 inches
DisplaySuper Retina XDR OLEDDynamic AMOLED 2X
Resolution1170 x 2532 pixels1080 x 2400 pixels
OSiOS 14.1Android 11
ChipsetApple A14 BionicExynos 2100 (International)Qualcomm SM8350 Snapdragon 888 (China and US)
SIMSingle Nano-SIM or eSIMSingle Nano-SIM or eSIMDual Nano-SIM and/or eSIM stand-by
Memory64GB / 4GB RAM128GB / 4GB RAM256GB / 4GB RAM128GB / 8GB RAM256GB / 8GB RAM
Battery2815 mAhFast charging 20WMagnetic wireless 15W4000 mAhFast charging 25WWireless 15WReverse wireless 4.5W
Rear camera12MP wide12MP ultrawide12MP wide64MP telephoto12MP ultrawide
Front camera12MP10MP
Rear video4K at 24/30/60fps1080p at 30/60/120/240fps8K at 24fps4K at 30/60fps1080p at 30/60/240fps720p at 960fps
Front video4K at 24/30/60fps1080p at 30/60/120fps4K at 30/60fps1080p at 30fps
SoundStereo speakersNo jackStereo speakersNo jack
SensorFace IDFingerprint (ultrasonic under display)
ColoursBlackWhiteRedGreenBluePhantom GrayPhantom WhitePhantom VioletPhantom Pink
Price£699£769

iPhone 12 Pro vs Samsung S21 Plus specs

SpecificationsApple iPhone 12 ProSamsung Galaxy S21 Plus
Dimensions146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4 mm161.5 x 75.6 x 7.8 mm
Weight189 g200 g
BuildCeramic Shield frontGorilla Glass backStainless steel frameGorilla Glass Victus frontGorilla Glass Victus backAluminium frame
Screen size6.1 inches6.7 inches
DisplaySuper Retina XDR OLEDDynamic AMOLED 2X
Resolution1170 x 2532 pixels1080 x 2400 pixels
OSiOS 14.1Android 11
ChipsetApple A14 BionicExynos 2100 (International)Qualcomm SM8350 Snapdragon 888 (China and US)
SIMSingle Nano-SIM or eSIMSingle Nano-SIM or eSIMDual Nano-SIM and/or eSIM stand-by
Memory128GB / 6GB RAM256GB / 6GB RAM512GB / 6GB RAM128GB / 8GB RAM256GB / 8GB RAM
Battery2815 mAhFast charging 20WMagnetic wireless 15W4800 mAhFast charging 25WWireless 15WReverse wireless 4.5W
Rear camera12MP wide12MP telephoto12MP ultrawide12MP wide64 MP telephoto12 MP ultrawide
Front camera12MP10MP
Rear video4K at 24/30/60fps1080p at 30/60/120/240fps8K at 24fps4K at 30/60fps 1080p at 30/60/240fps720p at 960fps
Front video4K at 24/30/60fps1080p at 30/60/120/240fps4K at 30/60fps1080p at 30fps
SoundStereo speakersNo jackStereo speakersNo jack
SensorFace IDFingerprint (ultrasonic under display)
ColoursSilverGraphiteGoldPacific BluePhantom BlackPhantom SilverPhantom VioletPhantom PinkPhantom GoldPhantom Red
Price£999£949

iPhone 12 Pro Max vs Samsung S21 Ultra specs

SpecificationsApple iPhone 12 Pro MaxSamsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
Dimensions160.8 x 78.1 x 7.4 mm165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm
Weight228 g227 g
BuildCeramic Shield frontGorilla Glass backStainless steel frameGorilla Glass Victus frontGorilla Glass Victus backAluminium frame
Screen size6.7 inches6.8 inches
DisplaySuper Retina XDR OLEDDynamic AMOLED 2X
Resolution1284 x 2778 pixels1440 x 3200 pixels
OSiOS 14.1Android 11
ChipsetApple A14 BionicExynos 2100 (International)Qualcomm SM8350 Snapdragon 888 (China and US)
SIMSingle Nano-SIM or eSIMSingle Nano-SIM or eSIM Dual Nano-SIM and/or eSIM stand-by
Memory128GB / 6GB RAM256GB / 6GB RAM512GB / 6GB RAM128GB / 12GB RAM256GB / 12GB RAM512GB / 16GB RAM
Battery3687 mAhFast charging 20WMagnetic wireless 15W5000 mAhFast charging 25WWireless 15WReverse wireless 4.5W
Rear camera12 MP12 MP telephoto12MP ultrawide108MP wide10MP telephoto10MP periscope telephoto12MP ultrawide
Front camera12 MP40 MP
Rear video4K at 24/30/60fps1080p at 30/60/120/240fps8K at 24fps4K at 30/60fps1080p at 30/60/240fps720p at 960fps
Front video4K a t24/30/60fps1080p at 30/60/120fps4K at 30/60fps1080p at 30fps
SoundStereo speakersNo jackStereo speakersNo jack
SensorFace IDFingerprint (ultrasonic under display)
ColoursSilverGraphiteGoldPacific BluePhantom BlackPhantom SilverPhantom TitaniumPhantom NavyPhantom Brown
Price£1,099£1,329
iPhone 12 Pro Max vs Samsung S21 Ultra specs
iPhone 12 Pro Max vs Samsung S21 Ultra specs

iPhone 12 vs Samsung S21 performance

Where the iPhone 12 range comes out on top is in processing power, with the A14 Bionic chipset being one of the best in the world.

The S21s are some of the first Android phones to use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chip in the US and China, but it uses the Exynos 2100 chipset everywhere else.

Both of these chips have a 5G modem, but the Exynos chip isn’t quite as fast as the Snapdragon chip, despite being better than previous Exynos versions.

In terms of operating systems, both iOS 14 and Android 11 have plenty of unique upgrades going for them, so it really just comes down to user preference.

For storage purposes, both ranges have phones available with 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB, depending on the model.

However, regarding memory, the iPhone 12s only have 4GB or 6GB RAM, whereas S21s offer 8GB, 12GB, or even 16GB for the Ultra.   

All the phones in both ranges have an IP68 rating, meaning they’re all dust-proof and waterproof to a certain extent.

Apple claims that iPhone 12s are waterproof in up to 6 metres of water for up to 30 minutes, while it’s only 1.5 metres for Samsung S21s.

Overall, the performance is generally fast and smooth for both types of phone, with good camera quality, decent battery life, and durable design.

iPhone 12 vs Samsung S21 battery

If you’re the type who gets a lot done in between charges, you’ll need to consider the battery life of your phone to make sure it doesn’t run out of juice while you’re on the go.

Both ranges have decent battery capacities, though Samsung outguns Apple again with bigger batteries in every model: 

  • iPhone 12 vs S21: 2815mAh vs 4000mAh
  • iPhone 12 Pro vs S21 Plus: 2815mAh vs 4800mAh 
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max vs S21 Ultra: 3687mAh vs 5000mAh

Bear in mind that although Samsung phones offer a longer battery life, this can be shortened depending on how much you use the device with the 120Hz refresh rate on.

To help prolong battery life, S21s come with an Intelligent Battery feature which uses AI to track usage and optimise the battery accordingly.

Apple removing chargers from the iPhone box to reduce electronic waste was a controversial move, but Samsung has also removed a charging plug from its phone boxes.

Both ranges are compatible with wireless charging, though iPhone12s are capable of up to 15W wireless charging while S21s are capable of 10W. 

On the flipside, Samsung phones also offer 4.5W reverse wireless charging, in addition to S21s having 25W fast charging over the slower 20W fast charging for iPhone 12s.

What gives iPhone 12s a potential edge over S21s is the new MagSafe technology, which uses magnets to automatically align the phone on the MagSafe wireless charging pad (more below).

iPhone 12 vs Samsung S21 design
iPhone 12 vs Samsung S21 design

iPhone 12 vs Samsung S21 design

Looks aren’t everything, but the design of a smartphone can be the final deciding factor, so let’s compare the look and feel of each phone.

For the iPhone 12, Apple swapped curved edges for smooth flat ones, dropping LCD screens in favour of OLED displays and adding new Ceramic Shield front screen protection.

This extremely durable material on the front and the familiar Gorilla Glass on the back sandwich an aerospace-grade aluminium frame in the iPhone 12, with the Pro and Pro Max editions upgraded to surgical-grade stainless steel.

The iPhone 12 also comes with a glossy finish on the back, changing to a frosted backplate on the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max.

As for the Samsung Galaxy S21, it’s also switched to a more flat OLED display, with only the S21 Ultra’s display having curved edges.

The S21 frame is also aluminium, but it has less of a premium feel than the iPhone 12 because its backplate is made of matte-finish plastic. 

Luckily, the S21 Plus and S21 Ultra upgrade to a higher-quality Gorilla Glass Victus back as well front, which is the toughest version yet.

The most unique design aspect of the Samsung S21 range is the aesthetic contour-cut camera housing on the back, integrating its multiple cameras within a distinctive but sleek gold, silver, or black module. 

Finally, each phone range offers a variety of colours to choose from.

  • Apple iPhone 12 colours: Blue, Green, Red, White, Black
  • Apple iPhone 12 Pro colours: Pacific Blue, Gold, Graphite, Silver
  • Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max colours: Pacific Blue, Gold, Graphite, Silver

The iPhone 12 comes in brighter colours, while the Pro and Pro Max are available in more subdued professional tones.

It’s worth noting that the silver model actually only has silver edges, with a white back.

  • Samsung Galaxy S21 colours: Phantom Violet, Phantom Pink, Phantom White, Phantom Gray
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus colours: Phantom Black, Phantom Violet, Phantom Silver
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra colours: Phantom Silver, Phantom Black

Samsung has gone with Phantom colours that have a muted matte finish, though the Violet and Pink models are still quite eye-catching.

The colour of the phone also determines the colour of the rear camera housing, with a rose gold module for Violet and Pink, silver for White and Silver, and black for the Gray and Black shades.

Samsung also offers more exclusive colourways, including Phantom Red for the S21 Plus and Phantom Navy and Phantom Brown for the S21 Ultra.

Overall, the iPhone 12 range has more premium materials, while the Samsung S21 range has a more visually interesting design.

iPhone 12 vs Samsung S21 display

Previously, Samsung’s OLED screens gave its flagship phones an edge over Apple’s LCD screens, but Apple finally caught up with the iPhone 12.

The new OLED displays have a high resolution of 460 pixels per inch, incorporated into screens ranging from 6.1 inches in the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro to 6.7 inches in the Pro Max.

However, the iPhone 12 range still has a relatively low refresh rate of 60Hz – so while the visuals are crisp, they’re not as smooth as they could have been.

Meanwhile, the Samsung S21 range uses dynamic AMOLED displays with a higher refresh rate of up to 120Hz, making them the better choice for smoother scrolling and video play.

The screen sizes and resolutions vary far more in the S21 range than the iPhone 12 range, as follows:

  • S21 – 6.2 inches and 421 pixels per inch
  • S21 Plus – 6.7 inches and 394 pixels per inch
  • S21 Ultra – 6.8 inches and 515 pixels per inch

Though the resolution is lower than the iPhone 12s in the S21 and S21 Plus, the higher refresh rate still gives Samsung’s phones an edge.

On the other hand, Apple’s phones offer HDR support for Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HLG, while Samsung supports HDR10 Plus.

If you want a brighter display with a higher resolution, an iPhone 12 might win out, but you might prefer an S21 for smoother visuals.

iPhone 12 vs Samsung S21 camera

Camera quality and capability is another huge factor swaying smartphone choices, depending on how you expect to use your phone’s camera.

The iPhone 12 comes with a 12 megapixel dual camera with both a wide and ultra-wide lens, while the Pro and Pro Max add a 12MP telephoto lens.

These iPhones offer an excellent automatic ‘night mode’ setting which makes taking great photos in low light situations a breeze.

Along with the additional telephoto lens, the Pro and Pro Max have upgraded zoom capabilities and LiDAR sensors for overall better quality photography.

However, Samsung smartphones continue to outgun Apple in the camera department.

The S21 and S21 Plus may have a weaker front camera at 10MP compared to the 12MP front camera on iPhone 12s, but the S21 Ultra beats them all with a 40MP front camera.

Like iPhone 12s, the S21 and S21 Plus also come with 12MP wide and ultra-wide lenses, but bump it up with a 64MP telephoto lens.

The S21 Ultra has a 10MP telephoto lens, but adds another 10MP periscope telephoto lens and has a 108MP wide lens.

All S21s have better zoom capabilities than iPhone 12s, with 30x space zoom going up to 100x on the S21 Ultra, compared to 2-2.5x optical zoom and 10-12x digital zoom on the Pro and Pro Max models only.

When it comes to video, iPhone 12s can record video at a maximum of 4K quality, while S21s can record up to 8K at 24 frames per second.

Though the greater camera array and power gives the S21 range the edge, Apple’s iPhone 12s still offer some of the best quality cameras in the smartphone market.

If you want to watch videos on the phone, neither Apple nor Samsung provides earphones with the handset anymore as their newer models don’t have a headphone jack, so you’ll have to purchase them separately.

iPhone 12 vs Samsung S21 special features

When smartphones are on a more or less equal footing, the small things can make all the difference, whether it’s an extra accessibility feature or a new piece of hardware.

Apple has focused on hardware this time, creating a new kind of smash-proof screen protection called Ceramic Shield and investing in magnetic connections.

The iPhone 12 phones include a ring of magnets used to snap the phone into place for perfectly aligned faster wireless charging (on Apple’s compatible MagSafe charger only, though).

This MagSafe technology is exciting because of the possibilities for magnetic accessories and mounts, which Apple and third parties have already begun expanding on.

As a neat additional feature, iPhone 12s can recognise Apple’s own MagSafe accessories and will adjust the digital clock to match the colour.

The iPhone 12 range also offers advantageous Night Mode time lapse and selfie photography, plus a Smart Data Mode to toggle between 5G and 4G when necessary to save battery.

Samsung doesn’t have its own version of MagSafe to compete, but the S21 Ultra has the useful feature of being compatible with the S Pen.

Like the Galaxy Note phones, the S21 Ultra allows you to use the separately sold Wacom-powered stylus for more precise creation, including activities such as signing documents.

Otherwise, apart from the high-quality cameras, S21s focus more on clever little features like the Eye Comfort Shield to adjust blue light levels and compatibility with the SmartThings system for locating devices via Bluetooth.

When it comes to biometric sensors, the iPhone 12s only enable facial recognition, but it’s sophisticated and highly secure.

Though S21s do offer face ID, they uniquely incorporate an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor under the front display.

Should you get the iPhone 12 or Samsung Galaxy S21?

Apple’s iPhone 12 range and Samsung’s Galaxy S21 range are both snazzy, top-of-the-line smartphones for business or personal use.

They’re both fast, sturdy, reliable device lines with a few unique hardware features to consider when choosing your new phone.

If you want something more lightweight with the latest technologies incorporated, an iPhone 12 is ideal, though you’ll have to invest more in one of the Pro models if you want a better camera.

The S21 range is slightly heavier but still sleek, with some of the best cameras on the market along with greater memory and battery life, but these are reflected in its usually higher price point.

Whether you’re more interested in the Apple iPhone 12 collection or Samsung’s latest models, the final choice is yours.

Want to talk about business phone upgrades? Contact us today to discuss which smartphone is best for your business and which deals are available now.

Still not sure which is the better option for a business phone

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