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Here’s how Samsung’s Galaxy S21 compares to the iPhone 12

Here’s how Samsung’s Galaxy S21 compares to the iPhone 12

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It’s a 21 versus 12 head-to-head-to-head comparison

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Samsung’s Galaxy S-series 2021 updates are here, and they’re debuting a little earlier in the year than usual. Interestingly, the Galaxy S21, S21 Plus, and S21 Ultra represent slightly diverging strategies for the devices. The S21 includes some cost-saving measures, like a polycarbonate back, to bring it closer to midrange. Meanwhile, Samsung has pulled out any remaining stops with its top-end S21 Ultra, loading it with five cameras and adding S Pen support.

To be sure, there are still plenty of flagship-level features on the 6.2-inch S21. Like the Plus and Ultra, it uses a top-of-the-line Snapdragon 888 processor (or 5nm Exynos chipset outside the US). It features the same rear triple camera array as the S21 Plus and is built with IP68 waterproofing. The S21 Plus offers a couple of upgraded specs not included in the S21 that you’ll see in the table below, like a slightly bigger battery. It’s also, of course, the bigger device with a 6.7-inch screen, but the S21 and S21 Plus are more similar than not.

The S21 Ultra, S21 Plus, and S21, side by side by side.
The S21 Ultra, S21 Plus, and S21, side by side by side.

The S21 Ultra is another story — even at a glance, its flagship-iness is obvious. Its prominent camera bump includes two telephoto cameras in addition to a 108-megapixel standard wide and an ultrawide. It has a slightly bigger 6.8-inch screen with higher resolution, a bigger battery, more RAM, and a 40-megapixel selfie camera.

All of this will likely make it more clear to the prospective buyer which Galaxy S21 phone is the right one for them. But how do they stack up against the iPhone? Take a look at a detailed spec-by-spec comparison below. Note that for simplicity’s sake, we left the iPhone 12 mini out — it offers essentially the same specifications as the 12, just with a smaller form factor.

Samsung S21 series vs. iPhone 12, 12 Pro, and 12 Pro Max

CategorySamsung Galaxy S21Samsung Galaxy S21 PlusSamsung Galaxy S21 UltraiPhone 12iPhone 12 ProiPhone 12 Pro Max
OSAndroid 11 (One UI)Android 11 (One UI)Android 11 (One UI)iOS 14iOS 14iOS 14
Display6.2-inch AMOLED6.7-inch AMOLED6.8-inch AMOLED6.1 inches, OLED6.1 inches, OLED6.7 inches, OLED
Resolution2400 x 10802400 x 10803200 x 14402532 x 11702532 x 11702778 x 1284
Refresh rateup to 120Hzup to 120Hzup to 120Hz60Hz60Hz60Hz
Dimensions (mm)71.2 x 151.7 x 7.975.6 x 161.5 x 7.875.6 x 165.1 x 8.971.5 x 146.7 x 7.471.5 x 146.7 x 7.478.1 x 160.8 x 7.4
Weight171g202g229g164g189g228g
Battery capacity4,000mAh4,800mAh5,000mAh2,815mAh2,815mAh3,687mAh
ProcessorUS: Snapdragon 888US: Snapdragon 888US: Snapdragon 888A14 BionicA14 BionicA14 Bionic
RAM8GB8GB12GB / 16GB4GB6GB6GB
Storage128GB, 256GB 128GB, 256GB 128GB, 256GB / 512GB64GB, 128GB, 256GB128GB, 256GB, 512GB128GB, 256GB, 512GB
PortsUSB-C charging portUSB-C charging portUSB-C charging portLightning portLightning portLightning port
Rear cameras12MP (f/1.8, OIS, Dual Pixel AF, 1.8µm) wide angle, 12MP (f/2.2, 1.4µm) ultrawide, 64MP (f/2.0, OIS, 0.8µm) 3X hybrid optic telephoto12MP (f/1.8, OIS, Dual Pixel AF, 1.8µm) wide angle, 12MP (f/2.2, 1.4µm) ultrawide, 64MP (f/2.0, OIS, 0.8µm) 3X hybrid optic telephoto108MP (f/1.8, OIS, 0.8µm) wide angle, 12MP (f/2.2, Dual Pixel AF, 1.4µm) ultrawide, 10MP (f/2.4, OIS, Dual Pixel AF, 1.22µm) 3X optical telephoto, 10MP (f/4.9, OIS, Dual Pixel AF, 1.22µm) 10X optical telephoto12MP (f/1.6, OIS, Dual Pixel AF, 1.4µm) wide angle, 12MP (f/2.4) ultrawide12MP (f/2.4) ultrawide, 12MP (f/1.6, Dual Pixel AF, OIS, 1.4µm) wide, 12MP (f/2.0, OIS, 1.0µm) 2X telephoto12MP (f/2.4) ultrawide, 12MP (f/1.6, Dual Pixel AF, IBIS) wide, 12MP (f/2.2, OIS, 1.0µm) 2.5X telephoto
Front cameras10MP (f/2.2, autofocus)10MP (f/2.2, autofocus)40MP (f/2.2, autofocus)12MP (f/2.2)12MP (f/2.2)12MP (f/2.2)
BiometricsFingerprint, face recognitionFingerprint, face recognitionFingerprint, face recognitionFace IDFace IDFace ID
WaterproofIP68IP68IP68IP68IP68IP68
Wireless chargingYesYesYesYesYesYes
5GmmWave and sub-6GHzmmWave and sub-6GHzmmWave and sub-6GHzmmWave and sub-6GHzmmWave and sub-6GHzmmWave and sub-6GHz
Starting price$799$999$1,199$829$999$1,099

Samsung S21 vs. iPhone 12