Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Apple iPhone 12

Here we compared two flagship smartphones: the 6.8-inch Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra (with Exynos 2100) that was released on January 14, 2021, against the Apple iPhone 12, which is powered by Apple A14 Bionic and came out 3 months before. On this page, you will find tests, full specs, strengths, and weaknesses of each of the gadgets.

Key differences

An overview of the main advantages of each smartphone
Reasons to consider the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
  • The rear camera has a 10x optical zoom
  • Comes with 2185 mAh larger battery capacity: 5000 vs 2815 mAh
  • Higher display refresh rate – 120 Hz
  • Has a 0.7 inch larger screen size
  • Modern USB Type-C port
  • Delivers 59% higher peak brightness (1028 against 648 nits)
  • Newer Bluetooth version (v5.2)
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • Slow-motion recording at 960FPS
  • Uses a faster type of memory: LPDDR5 2750 MHz
  • Has 2 SIM card slots
  • 12% higher pixel density (515 vs 460 PPI)
Reasons to consider the Apple iPhone 12
  • Apple releases software updates and supports their phones a few years longer than Samsung
  • Weighs 63 grams less
  • 44% faster in single-core GeekBench 5 test: 1613 and 1118 points

Review

Display
Screen quality, color accuracy, brightness
Performance
CPU/GPU performance in apps and games
Battery
Battery life, charging type and speed
Camera
Photo and video recording quality
Connectivity
Networks, ports, data transmission
NanoReview score
Final comparison evaluation

Value for money

You can enter your local price of these phones (in USD or any other currency) and click on the "Calculate" button to see which one has a better value for money.
Price

Tests and specifications

Comparison table of technical specifications and tests

Display

Type Dynamic AMOLED OLED
Size 6.8 inches 6.1 inches
Resolution 1440 x 3200 pixels 1170 x 2532 pixels
Aspect ratio 20:9 19.5:9
PPI 515 ppi 460 ppi
Refresh rate 120 Hz 60 Hz
Max rated brightness 1500 nits 625 nits
HDR support Yes, HDR10+ Yes, Dolby Vision
Screen protection Gorilla Glass Victus Ceramic Shield
Screen-to-body ratio 89.8% 86%
Display features - DCI-P3
- Always-On Display
- DCI-P3
Display tests
RGB color space - 99.4%
PWM - 226 Hz
Response time - 16 ms
Contrast - ∞ Infinity
Peak brightness test (auto)
1028 nits
648 nits
Sources: NotebookCheck [3], [4]

Design and build

Height 165.1 mm (6.5 inches) 146.7 mm (5.78 inches)
Width 75.6 mm (2.98 inches) 71.5 mm (2.81 inches)
Thickness 8.9 mm (0.35 inches) 7.4 mm (0.29 inches)
Weight 227 gramm (8.01 oz) 164 gramm (5.78 oz)
Waterproof IP68 IP68
Rear material Glass Glass
Frame material Metal Metal
Colors Black, Silver, Gray, Blue White, Black, Blue, Green, Red
Fingerprint scanner Yes, in-display No
Screen-to-body ratio
89.8%
86%

Performance

Tests of Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and Apple iPhone 12 in the benchmarks
SoC
Chipset Samsung Exynos 2100 Apple A14 Bionic
Max. clock 2840 MHz 3100 MHz
CPU cores 8 (1 + 3 + 4) 6 (2 + 4)
Architecture - 4 cores at 2.2 GHz: Cortex-A55
- 3 cores at 2.8 GHz: Cortex-A78
- 1 core at 2.9 GHz: Cortex-X1
- 4 cores at 1.8 GHz: Icestorm
- 2 cores at 3.1 GHz: Firestorm
Lithography process 5 nanometers 5 nanometers
Graphics Mali-G78 MP14 Apple GPU
GPU clock 760 MHz -
Memory
RAM size 12, 16 GB 4 GB
Memory type LPDDR5 LPDDR4X
Memory clock 2750 MHz -
Channels 2 2
Storage
Storage size 128, 256, 512 GB 64, 128, 256 GB
Storage type UFS 3.1 NVMe
Memory card No No

Benchmarks

Geekbench 5 (Single-Core)
iPhone 12 +44%
1613
Geekbench 5 (Multi-Core)
iPhone 12 +15%
4079
AnTuTu Benchmark 9
754660
745129
CPU 191240 197694
GPU 256481 314303
Memory 151369 103330
UX 149052 127922
Total score 754660 745129
3DMark Wild Life Performance
iPhone 12 +46%
7612
Stability 69% 77%
Graphics test 31 FPS 45 FPS
Graphics score 5221 7612
Sources: 3DMark [3], [4]

Software

Operating system Android 11 (Can be upgraded to Android 13) iOS 14.1 (Can be upgraded to iOS 16.1.1)
ROM One UI 5.0 -
OS size 26.4 GB 7 GB

Battery

Specifications
Capacity 5000 mAh 2815 mAh
Charge power 25 W 18 W
Battery type Li-Ion Li-Ion
Replaceable No No
Wireless charging Yes (15 W) Yes (7.5 W)
Reverse charging Yes, (wireless) No
Fast charging Yes (54% in 30 min) Yes (58% in 30 min)
Full charging time 1:11 hr 1:30 hr
Battery life tests
Web browsing 10:13 hr 11:23 hr
Watching video 15:32 hr 12:11 hr
Gaming 05:26 hr 05:11 hr
Standby 98 hr 119 hr
General battery life
31:14 hr
iPhone 12 +4%
32:28 hr

Camera

Specs and camera test of smartphones
Main camera
Matrix 108 megapixels 12 megapixels
Image resolution 12000 x 9000 4032 x 3024
Zoom Optical, 10x Digital
Flash Dual LED Quad LED
Stabilization Optical Optical
8K video recording Up to 24FPS No
4K video recording Up to 60FPS Up to 60FPS
1080p video recording Up to 60FPS Up to 60FPS
Slow motion 960 FPS (720p) 240 FPS (1080p)
Angle of widest lens 120° 120°
Lenses 4 (108 MP + 10 MP + 10 MP + 12 MP) 2 (12 MP + 12 MP)
Wide (main) lens - 108 MP
- Aperture: f/1.8
- Focal length: 26 mm
- Pixel size: 0.8 micron
- Sensor: 1/1.33", Samsung S5KHM3 (ISOCELL Plus CMOS)
- Laser autofocus
- Optical stabilization
- 12 MP
- Aperture: f/1.6
- Focal length: 26 mm
- Pixel size: 1.4 micron
- Sensor: 1/3.4", Sony IMX372 (Exmor-RS CMOS)
- Phase autofocus (Dual Pixel)
- Optical stabilization
Telephoto lens - 10 MP
- Aperture: f/4.9
- Focal length: 240 mm
- Pixel size: 1.22 micron
- Sensor: 1/2.65", Samsung S5K3J1 (ISOCELL CMOS)
- Phase autofocus (Dual Pixel)
- Optical stabilization
-
Ultra-wide lens - 12 MP
- Aperture: f/2.2
- Focal length: 13 mm
- Pixel size: 1.4 micron
- Sensor: 1/2.55", Sony IMX563 (Exmor-RS CMOS)
- Phase autofocus (Dual Pixel)
- 12 MP
- Aperture: f/2.4
- Focal length: 13 mm
- Sensor: 1/3.6" (CMOS)
Camera features - Bokeh mode
- Pro mode
- RAW support
- Bokeh mode
- Pro mode
Samples Photo samples of Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra from DxOMark Photo samples of Apple iPhone 12 from DxOMark
Selfie camera
Megapixels 40 megapixels 12 megapixels
Image resolution 7864 x 5200 4032 x 3024
Aperture f/2.2 f/2.2
Focal length 26 mm 23 mm
Pixel size 0.7 microns -
Sensor type ISOCELL CMOS BSI CMOS
Sensor size 1/2.65" -
Video resolution 2160p (4K) at 60 FPS 2160p (4K) at 60 FPS

DxOMark camera tests

Photo quality
Video quality
Generic camera score

Connectivity

Wi-Fi standard Wi-Fi 6E (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax) Wi-Fi 6 (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax)
Wi-Fi features - Dual Band
- Wi-Fi MiMO
- Wi-Fi Direct
- Wi-Fi Hotspot
- Wi-Fi Display
- Dual Band
- Wi-Fi MiMO
- Wi-Fi Direct
- Wi-Fi Hotspot
- Wi-Fi Display
Bluetooth version 5.2 5
Bluetooth features LE, A2DP LE, A2DP
USB type USB Type-C No
USB version 3.2 -
USB features - Charging
- USB-Storage mode
- USB-Host mode
- OTG
- Charging
- USB-Storage mode
GPS GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS
NFC* Yes Yes
Infrared port No No
Network
Number of SIM* 2 1
Type of SIM card Nano Nano
Multi SIM mode Standby -
eSIM support* Yes Yes
Hybrid slot No No
LTE Cat* 24 18
5G support Yes Yes

Sound

Speakers Stereo Stereo
Headphone audio jack No No
FM radio No No
Dolby Atmos Yes Yes
Speakers test
Max. loudness
88 dB
81.1 dB

Other

Category Flagship Flagship
Announced January 2021 October 2020
Release date February 2021 October 2020
SAR (head) 0.71 W/kg 0.99 W/kg
SAR (body) 1.58 W/kg 0.99 W/kg
Sensors - Hall-effect sensor
- Barometer
- Proximity sensor
- Gyroscope
- Accelerometer
- Ambient light sensor
- Compass
- Fingerprint
- Barometer
- Proximity sensor
- Gyroscope
- Accelerometer
- Ambient light sensor
- Compass
- Face recognition sensor
*Disclaimer! NFC, GSM network support, and some other specs can be different depending on the country.

Conclusion

After analyzing all the data, we think that the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is definitely a better buy.

Cast your vote

So, which phone would you choose?
89 (69%)
40 (31%)
Total votes: 129

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