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What is better iPhone 12 or Samsung Galaxy S21?

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Recently, Samsung released its latest flagship smartphone: the new Galaxy S21. This modern device makes a serious contender for the iPhone 12, already considered one of the best phones available since its release last fall.

For a fair comparison, I am going to have a look at the two high-end models from both tech companies: the iPhone 12 Pro Max vs Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. So, let’s compare the two ultra-premium handsets.

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Device Spec

iPhone 12 Pro MaxSamsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
ScreenSuper Retina XDR OLED, 1284 x 2778 pixels, 458ppi, 60Hz, 1,200 nits, HDR supportOLED, 1440 x 3200 pixels, 516ppi, 1,500 nits, HDR support
Size6.33 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches6.5 x 2.97 x 0.35 inches
CPUA14 BionicExynos 2100
5GSupports 5G connectivitysub-6 GHz and mmWave
Storage128GB, 256GB, 512GB128GB, 256GB, 512GB
Rear Camera12MP wide (f/1.6), 12MP ultrawide (f/2.4), 12MP telephoto (2.5x zoom, f/2.2)108MP wide (f/1.8), 12MP ultra wide (f/2.2), 10MP telephoto (3x zoom, f/2.4), 10MP telephoto (10x zoom, f/4.9), laser AF sensor
Front Camera12MP TrueDepth (f/2.2)40MP (f/2.2)
Additional SensorsLidar SensorLaser autofocus
Water ResistanceIP68 up to 6 metersIP68 up to 1.5 meters
Battery Size3,678 mAh5,000 mAh
Weight228 g229 g

Display & Design

Both the Galaxy S21 Ultra and iPhone 12 Pro Max have premium designs and extra-large screens. If we look at the specs, the S21 is actually a little bit bigger. But not too much because the 0.1 inches difference is barely noticeable.

iPhone 12 vs Samsung Galaxy S21

The design chosen by Samsung is actually better. The reason I say that is the fact that it successfully integrates the rear camera bump into the device’s frame. It’s not that prominent as we see it at iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Both smartphones have almost the same weight, even though Samsung is slightly bigger and thicker than the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Samsung’s screen has a higher resolution and it’s amazing for sharper detail. It comes in hand especially when reading text. Also, it can run at a 120Hz refresh rate, which is twice as fast as the iPhone. The interesting thing about the refresh rate is that the full 120Hz is used only when needed. The rest of the time the Samsung Galaxy S21 can switch to a lower and more power-efficient refresh rate. Quite impressive.

iPhone 12 Pro MaxSamsung Galaxy S21
4 stars out of 54 stars out of 5


The Galaxy S21 Ultra uses a quad camera, while the iPhone 12 Pro Max brings a triple camera. Both are very distinct and easily recognizable. Apart from the differences in style, there are other big differences in the amount and specs of the cameras.

Samsung’s main camera is 108 MP and ultra-wide 12 MP. It comes also with two telephoto cameras, both with 10 MP, but with different apertures, f/4.9 and f/2.4. The front sensor is a 40 MP camera.

The sensors of the iPhone 12 Pro Max are distributed between main, ultra-wide, and a telephoto camera, and all of them come with 12 MP. The Lidar sensor allows you to create a depth map of the surroundings and also improves the night portrait mode effects. Like the rear cameras, the front one also offers 12 MP.

iPhone 12 Pro MaxSamsung Galaxy S21
4 stars out of 55 stars out of 5

Performance & Storage

When talking about performance, I was expecting Apple‘s smartphone to dominate. But the new chipset introduces by Samsung could be a serious competitor to the A14 Bionic. The Exynos 2100 is a premium 5G-integrated mobile processor built on the most advanced 5-nanometer (nm) extreme ultra-violet (EUV) process node. Very similar to the A14 Bionic seen on the iPhone 12 line devices.

The two gadgets have three storage possibilities: 128, 256, and 512 GB. With previous devices, Samsung provided the option to expand the space for data with the SD card. Unfortunately, now both devices lack the memory card slot.

When it comes to RAM, Apple does not disclose this specification. Some specialized sites report that the smartphone has 6 GB. The Galaxy S21 Ultra comes with options of 12 GB and 16 GB of RAM.

iPhone 12 Pro MaxSamsung Galaxy S21
3 stars out of 54 stars out of 5

Battery life

There are no official details about the battery capacity of the iPhone 12 Pro Max. However, experts say that the Apple device has a 3,687 mAh battery. The tech specs from Apple’s website promise that the gadget has an autonomy that delivers 20 hours of video playback, 12 hours of streaming, and 80 hours of audio playback.

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra has a few things working in its favor. One is its massive 5,000 mAh battery. Another thing is the 5-nanometer Exynos 2100 chipset which consumes less power than its predecessor.

iPhone 12 Pro MaxSamsung Galaxy S21
4 stars out of 54 stars out of 5


Even though Samsung has cut down the price on its S21 gadgets by $200, Apple still holds the pricing edge. The iPhone 12 Pro Max starts at $1,099 which is $100 cheaper than the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

iPhone 12 Pro MaxSamsung Galaxy S21
Starting Price$1,099$1,199
iPhone 12 Pro MaxSamsung Galaxy S21
5 stars out of 54 stars out of 5


iPhone 12 vs Samsung Galaxy S21

iPhone 12 Pro MaxSamsung Galaxy S21
20 stars out of 2521 stars out of 25

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