Samsung’s trio of S21 phones — the, Galaxy S21 Plus and — are here, and the lineup starts at a cool $200 less than its predecessor. While the price cut is a welcome change, the smartphone industry is notoriously cut-throat, and (as always) you can bet the S21 will face stiff competition from the iPhone 12 series. So let’s see how the S21 stacks up against its long-time rival.
In a nutshell: The $800 S21 appears to be a slightly better deal for the features you get, on paper at least. Although the iPhone 12 line starts at $829 (£799, AU$1,349) you’ll have to pony up $879 (£849, AU$1,429) for the 128GB version, which is the same amount of storage you get for the entry-level S21.
The S21 also has an extra telephoto lens, and the highest-end, which is sold separately.
It’s also important to note what Samsung removed from its S21 family to allow it to start at that lower price. One of the most controversial changes is the lack of an in-box wall adapter and earphones. The South Korean company is pushing its customers to reuse older accessories in the name of the environment, just like Apple did with the iPhone 12 family. The S21 line also lost expandable local storage, joining last year’s Galaxy Z Fold 2 and Z Flip foldables in ditching the microSD card slot because “usage has markedly decreased.”
One thing you get in the iPhone 12 that’s absent on the S21, however, is. That’s Apple’s proprietary magnetically enabled system that lets you charge your iPhone wirelessly and attach all kinds of accessories to the back of the device. The Pro models also have , which is a depth sensor that’s useful for auto-focusing in low light for taking photos, videos and slow-motion footage, among other things.
For more details on how the phones stack up against each other, check out our specs chart below.
Galaxy S21 line vs. iPhone 12
|Galaxy S21||Galaxy S21 Plus||Galaxy S21 Ultra||Apple iPhone 12|
|Display size, resolution||6.2-inch Flat FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X Infinity-O Display (2,400×1,080 pixels),||6.7-inch Flat FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X (2,400×1,080 pixels)||6.8-inch Edge WQHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X (3,200×1,440 pixels),||6.1-inch OLED; 2,532×1,170 pixels|
|Pixel density||421 ppi||394 ppi||515 ppi||460ppi|
|Dimensions (Inches)||2.80×5.97×0.31 in||2.97×6.35×0.30 in||2.97×6.50×0.35 in||5.78×2.82×0.29 in|
|Dimensions (Millimeters)||71.2×151.7×7.9 mm||75.6×161.5×7.8 mm||75.6×165.1×8.9 mm||146.7×71.5×7.4 mm|
|Weight (Ounces, Grams)||6.03 oz; 171g||7.12 oz; 202g||8.07 oz; 229 g||5.78oz; 164g|
|Mobile software||Android 11||Android 11||Android 11||iOS 14|
|Camera||64-megapixel (telephoto), 12-megapixel (wide-angle), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide)||64-megapixel (telephoto), 12-megapixel (wide-angle), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide)||108-megapixel (wide-angle), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), 10-megapixel (telephoto), 10-megapixel (telephoto)||12-megapixel (wide), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide)|
|Processor||Snapdragon 888 or 64-bit Octa-Core Processor 2.8GHz (Max 2.4GHz +1.8GHz)||Snapdragon 888 or 64-bit Octa-Core Processor 2.8GHz (Max 2.4GHz +1.8GHz)||Snapdragon 888 or 64-bit Octa-Core Processor 2.8GHz (Max 2.4GHz +1.8GHz)||Apple Bionic 14|
|Storage||128GB/256GB||128GB/256GB||128GB/256GB, 512GB||64GB, 128GB, 256GB|
|Battery||4,000 mAh||4,800 mAh||5,000 mAh||Undisclosed; Apple lists 15 hours of video playback|
|Fingerprint sensor||In-screen||In-screen||In-screen||No (Face ID)|
|Special features||IP68 rating, 5G-enabled, 30X Space Zoom, 10W wireless charging,||IP68 rating, 5G-enabled, 30X Space Zoom, 10W wireless charging,||IP68 rating, 5G-enabled, 100X Space Zoom, 10W wireless charging, 10x optical zoom; S Pen support||5G enabled; MagSafe; water resistant (IP68); wireless charging; dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM)|
|Price off-contract (USD)||$800 (128GB)||$1,000 (128 GB)||$1,200 (128 GB)||$829 (64GB), $879 (128GB), $979 (256GB)|
|Price (GBP)||£769||£949||£1,329||£799 (64GB), £849 (128GB), £949 (256GB)|
|Price (AUD)||AU$1,249||AU$1,549||AU$1,849||AU$1,349 (64GB), AU$1,429 (128GB), AU$1,599 (256GB)|
Correction, Jan. 14: A previous version of this story indicated the Galaxy S21 has expandable storage, which is not the case.