Galaxy S21 5G vs. iPhone 12: The top models in check

Galaxy S21 5G vs. iPhone 12: The top models in check

Samsung has presented its new top model with the Galaxy S21 5G. Here you can find out what the smartphone offers compared to Apple's iPhone 12. We show the differences and similarities between the two high-end cell phones.

Design and display: Galaxy S21 with slight advantages


The Galaxy S21 scores with its 120 Hz display. Image: © Samsung 2021

Both the Galaxy S21 and the iPhone 12 rely on the classic mix of glass and aluminum – and an almost borderless design. But while the iPhone 12 still has an extremely bulky notch at the top of the screen, Samsung has done without the notch, preferring the Infinity-O design instead.

Means: The display is interrupted by a hole for the front camera. As always, it is in the eye of the beholder which design you like better. The same goes for the main camera on the back: With the iPhone 12, the dual camera is integrated in a square area, with the Galaxy S21, on the other hand, the camera contour is color-coded and literally hugs the frame of the device.

iPhone 12

The iPhone 12 plays content at 60 frames per second. Picture:

In terms of display, both phones are quite similar: the iPhone 12 measures 6.1 inches diagonally, while that of the Galaxy S21 is only slightly larger at 6.2 inches. The resolution is 2,532 x 1,170 pixels or 2,400 x 1,080 pixels – the iPhone 12 thus achieves a slightly higher pixel density. Both screens are OLED screens, but the Galaxy S21 has a refresh rate of 120 Hz compared to the 60 Hz of the iPhone 12. Only the iPhone 13 will probably get a 120 Hz screen. A higher refresh rate ensures a sharper display of movement, which makes a noticeable difference when scrolling and gaming, for example.

Galaxy S21 Buy now at

Performance, memory and battery: every cell phone has its strengths


Under the hood of the Galaxy S21 is the brand new Exynos 2100. Image: © Samsung 2021

The iPhone 12 scores with the A14 Bionic – the most powerful smartphone chip ever. The Galaxy S21 comes with the in-house Exynos 2100, benchmark tests remain to be seen. Samsung speaks of a 19 percent higher performance in single-core mode, i.e. when using one computing core, compared to the previous chip. One thing is clear: the Galaxy S21 will work sufficiently quickly and be well prepared for all tasks. But it will hardly come close to the performance of the Apple chip. Both cell phones also use the fast 5G cellular network.

iPhone 12 Buy now at

The Galaxy S21 has a decent 8 GB of RAM under the hood (the Galaxy S21 Ultra even has up to 16 GB of RAM), while the iPhone 12 only has 4 GB of RAM. The bare numbers shouldn't make a big difference in performance, however, as iPhones are known to deliver a strong performance even with comparatively little memory.

Galaxy S21 iPhone 12
6.2-inch AMOLED display 6.1-inch OLED display
2,400 x 1,080 pixels 2,532 x 1,170 pixels
Playback at up to 120 Hz Playback at 60 Hz
Exynos 2100 A14 Bionic
8 GB of RAM 4 GB RAM
4,000 mAh battery 2.815 mAh battery
Triple camera (12 MP + 12 MP + 64 MP) Dual camera (12 MP + 12 MP)
Front camera with 10 MP 12 MP front camera
from 849 euros from 899 euros

When it comes to storage space, you can choose between 128 GB and 256 GB for both smartphones, the iPhone 12 is also available with 64 GB storage space. The Galaxy S21 with 4,000 mAh offers significantly more battery capacity, at least on paper. On the other hand, the iPhone 12 only has an energy storage device with 2,815 mAh. This will get you through the day well, but power users have to charge the device every day. The first tests will have to show how long the battery in the Galaxy S21 lasts.

Cameras: triple cam vs. dual cam


The main camera of the Galaxy S21 comes with three lenses. Image: © Samsung 2021

On paper, the Galaxy S21 has the edge when it comes to the main camera; Samsung has installed a triple camera here, while the iPhone 12 can fall back on only two lenses. The iPhone 12 has two 12-megapixel lenses for snapshots, while the Galaxy S21 scores with an additional 64-megapixel wide angle.

In practice, you have more options to snap pictures according to your wishes. Both manufacturers also improve the recordings with the help of artificial intelligence, for example in night mode and taking photos in difficult lighting conditions.

When it comes to the selfie camera, however, Apple has the lead with 12 megapixels compared to Samsung with 10 megapixels. However, if you like to use the front camera frequently, you can take a look at the Galaxy S21 Ultra – and get a whopping 40 megapixels. Ideal for sharp portraits full of details. In theory at least, actual tests remain to be seen.

iPhone 12

The iPhone 12 only has a dual camera installed. Picture:

Features: S Pen unfortunately only for S21 Ultra, iPhone 12 with MagSafe


It's a shame – the S Pen is only available for the Galaxy S21 Ultra, not for the normal Galaxy S21. Image: © Samsung 2021

Both smartphones score with special features, although this only applies to the Galaxy S21 Ultra in the case of the new Samsung phones – this scores with support for the S Pen. You can use it to draw on the large display or make handwritten notes. Unfortunately, the Galaxy S21 is not compatible with the S Pen. After all, it scores with 8K video recording and an action cam-like image stabilization for particularly smooth recordings.

The iPhone 12, however, scores with the new MagSafe system. This is a solution for easily attaching accessories to the back of the device. For this reason, Apple has installed strong magnets in the iPhone 12, which – in the truest sense of the word – show their strengths in cooperation with the corresponding accessories. The feature is a little playful. For example, Apple has launched various wireless charging models to which the iPhone 12 automatically aligns itself thanks to its magnets. Numerous third-party suppliers will also sell accessories that use the MagSafe system, such as gimbals or car mounts.

iPhone 12

Apple relies on magnets – the new MagSafe system of the iPhone 12 series. Picture:

Prices and colors

The release is due on January 29, 2021. The Galaxy 21 is available in the following colors:

  • Phantom Gray
  • Phantom White
  • Phantom pink
  • Phantom Violet
Galaxy S21 price
128 GB, 8 GB RAM 849 euros
256 GB, 8 GB RAM 899 euros

Galaxy S21 Buy now at

You can buy the iPhone 12 in the following colors:

  • White
  • black
  • blue
  • green
  • red
iPhone 12 price
64 GB 899 euros
128 GB 949 euros
256 GB 1,069 euros

iPhone 12 Buy now at

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