Galaxy S21 vs. iPhone 12 in the test: There is a surprise when compared

Sever since Galaxy S20 the name runs in Samsung’s Galaxy S-Class in time with the year. So in January it’s time again for a new generation. “Computer picture” would have Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21 Plus and Galaxy S21 Ultra already in the test.

Now the namesake of the family has to show whether he can stand up to the strengthened iPhones. Clear the stage for the test duel Samsung Galaxy S21 vs. Apple iPhone 12.

Galaxy S21 vs. iPhone 12: design and handiness

The length of the case of the Galaxy S21 is practically identical to that of the S20, but the S21 is 3.2 millimeters wider at 71.2 millimeters and thus comes very close to the iPhone 12 at 71.5 millimeters. The back of the S21 is no longer made of glass, but made of matt plastic. Thus, on the one hand it is more prone to scratches, but on the other hand it is a bit more handy. A matter of taste.

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The screen diagonal of the iPhone 12 is a tiny bit smaller at 6.1 inches. Although the edge of the iPhone 12 has become significantly narrower compared to its predecessor and it belongs to the best handy smartphones heard, it is a bit wider despite the smaller display diagonal. In addition, what is just a small hole on the Galaxy is a fat notch on the iPhone 12. It has it all (see biometrics).

Apple / Samsung / Montage: Computer picture

The Samsung Galaxy S21 is longer (151.7 to 146.7 mm) and a little narrower (71.2 to 71.5 mm) than the iPhone 12. The display diagonal is comparable to 6.2 to 6.1 inches

Source: Apple / Samsung / Montage: Computer Bild

Both smartphones are waterproof. All in all, the iPhone 12 has become more contemporary and the S21 more classic. The S21 still looks a bit more modern in the end, but the difference is too small for a clear point. We start with a draw.

Intermediate result: 1: 1 draw

Galaxy S21 vs. iPhone 12: Display

The 6.2-inch screen on the Samsung Galaxy S21 is now flat. In 2021, only the S21 Ultra or its predecessors will have a spectacularly curved display in super high resolution (3200×1440 pixels).

In the S21, “only” 2400×1080 pixels shine. The iPhone 12 is the “basic model” for the first time on a high-contrast OLED screen. At Samsung, this has been standard in the Galaxy S class since the first Galaxy S from 2010!

Computer image / Michael Huch / Samsung

This is how the display diagonal has developed over the years for Samsung’s Galaxy S class

Source: Computer Bild / Michael Huch / Samsung

The S21 scores with an adaptive screen refresh rate between 48 and 120 Hertz and an excellent brightness of 1,140 candela per square meter. When the sun comes out, the iPhone 12 is too dark at just 627 candelas per square meter. Despite the top contrast and the small sharpness advantage for the iPhone 12 (462 to 422 ppi), the display section is just as good as the S21 thanks to the great brightness and high screen change frequency.

The result: 2: 1 for Samsung

Galaxy S21 vs. iPhone 12: Kamera

Im Cell phone photo test The iPhone 12 delivered convincing results in daylight (1.9), with flash (1.4) and in poor lighting (1.9). At 4x zoom it was only sufficient (3.9). The daylight visual test was also good (1.5). At least in good lighting, the S21 does even better (1.4; 2.2; 2.2; 1.7 and 1.0).

Apple / Samsung / Montage: Computer picture

The S21 has a triple camera with ultra wide angle (12 MP) and a high-resolution telephoto lens (64 MP). The iPhone has a dual camera with an ultra-wide-angle lens and 12 MP each

Source: Apple / Samsung / Montage: Computer Bild

That’s what he goes for Visual test of the front camera clearly similar to the iPhone 12 (1.4 to 2.5). Overall, the iPhone 12 got an intermediate grade of 1.8 in the camera chapter and the S21 a 1.6. The iPhone 12 takes good photos, but the point goes to Samsung.

The result: 3: 1 for Samsung

Galaxy S21 vs. iPhone 12: Biometrie

Like the S20, the Galaxy S21 offers several biometric functions: the fingerprint sensor is invisibly integrated into the display, the front camera recognizes your own face. Samsung has slimmed down the technology, so a small hole is enough. And unlike the S20, we were unable to unlock the S21 with a photo.

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Apple is drifting along Face ID even more effort. That is the reason for the fat notch, but the result is very safe. However, especially under pandemic conditions, it is uncomfortable that the iPhone does not have a fingerprint sensor.

That means: mask down or enter code. You unlock the S21 with a finger scan. Since the S21 was not so easily tricked and also offers a finger scan, we awarded a draw despite the better security of Face ID.

The score was now 4: 2 for Samsung

Galaxy S20 vs. iPhone 12: battery and charging

With 4000 mAh to 2815 mAh, the endurance chapter should be a walk in the park for the S21. But the measurements in the test laboratory gave a completely different result. The iPhone 12 lasted 9:10 hours of intensive use. Intermediate grade: 1.5.

Im „ComputerBild “mobile phone battery test our robot pressed and swiped the Galaxy S21 empty in 6:58 hours. Even the S20 lasted about half an hour longer. The battery life is the Achilles heel of the S21 and is only enough for the intermediate grade 2.7.

The S21 is not Super fast charger, but it is full in a good 1:37 hours. The iPhone 12 treats itself and its small but efficient battery to 2:21 hours on the charging cable. Regarding the power supply discussion: If Apple leaves out the power supply for environmental reasons and not for reasons of sales protection, they should just enclose a voucher.

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iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro

Samsung now blows the same horn and also saves a power supply in the scope of delivery. It is forgiving that both smartphones wireless charging master how it should be for a top model. At Apple, fans can optionally squander several euros on MagSafe accessories. In the end, the iPhone 12 clearly wins the endurance rating.

The result: 4: 3 for Samsung

Galaxy S21 vs. iPhone 12: Security and Updates

Apple’s update policy has been exemplary for years: iPhone models from the past five years always receive the latest iOS version promptly. Apple usually reacts quickly to security vulnerabilities. It is difficult for Samsung with Android to claim this point for themselves. Because until a new Android version is distributed for the models, it often takes several months.

The Galaxy S21 comes with the factory Android 11. Two jumps to Android 12 and Android 13 can be expected with Samsung’s top devices. Security updates pop up monthly. That brings Samsung close, but the point goes to Apple.

Intermediate score: 4: 4 – equalization

Galaxy S21 vs. iPhone 12: speed and operation

The Exynos 2100 in the S21 provides more speed (than in the S20). Grade work speed: 1.3 (1.9); Note operating speed 1.4 (1.4). However, the iPhone 12 scores even better in terms of both working speed (1.0) and operating speed (1.3), making it one of the fastest mobile phones. Point for apple.

The result: 5: 4 for Apple

Galaxy S21 vs. iPhone 12: value for money

Galaxy S21 and iPhone 12 are not Value for money hits. The cheapest iPhone 12 with 64 gigabytes of device memory has an MSRP of 899 euros. In the price comparison, the offers start at 739 euros, with 128 gigabytes at 809 euros.


Experience has shown that Samsung’s Galaxy S models give more in price than Apple’s iPhones. Here you can see the idealo’s price forecast

Source: Idealo

At the start, the Galaxy S21 is only available slightly below the RRP of 849 euros. Experience has shown that this changes quickly. So Apple decides the cost chapter for the time being. An unexpected point for Apple.

The score was 6: 4 for Apple

Galaxy S21 vs. iPhone 12: reception and storage

With LTE and WLAN, both Apple and Samsung offer top level. 5G can do both. For large budgets there are iPhone 12 and S21 with 256 GB device memory. Here, too, Samsung is unfortunately again orienting itself towards Apple: There is only a memory card slot in the predecessors.

Works with the iPhone Dual-SIM per e.g, Samsung offers a second card slot. So the bottom line is hardly any differences – a draw.

Final score: 7: 5 for Apple

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Conclusion: The iPhone 12 wins the test comparison. This is surprising because that Samsung Galaxy S20 compared with the iPhone 12 got another draw. The Galaxy S21 loses out due to the weak battery life and the high price, at least at the start.

The S21 has gotten better in chapters such as biometrics or speed, but ultimately it is not enough for a victory in the not so practical, but prestigious duel against the iPhone. It is astonishing that the new S21 does notother S20 can trump.

The defeat against the iPhone is easier to get over, because if you want an iPhone, you buy an iPhone anyway, but if you want the best little Galaxy S model, the S20 may be better, but definitely cheaper. The S20 consequently ranks in the big cell phone comparison test in front of the S21.

Apple presents its new iPhone 12 with 5G

Apple CEO Tim Cook presented the new iPhone 12 with 5G at an event broadcast online from the Cupertino headquarters in California. The newly designed smartphone should then be available for around 680 euros.


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