iPhone 12 vs Galaxy S20; which line is the best? | Cell phone

The lines iPhone 12 and Galaxy S20 launched in 2020, but eight months apart. The most recent crop is Apple’s, announced in October, with major changes in features for photo and video, processing, in addition to compatibility with 5G. On the other hand, Samsung’s S20, S20 + and S20 Ultra cell phones were introduced to the world in February, with a new design, 120 Hz refresh rate screen, Exynos 990 and improved cameras.

Comparison: iPhone 12 vs Galaxy S20 (Image: Vitor Pádua / Tecnoblog)

But which smartphone should you choose? Well, it depends on what you prioritize in relation to the technical sheet and the functions. To help in the decision, we set up a comparison between the Galaxy S20 and iPhone 12 lines. See below.

Price of iPhone 12 and Galaxy S20 in Brazil

Let’s go to the first big filter: if you want to get an excellent cost-benefit, you will be frustrated with the price of the iPhone 12 line and the Galaxy S20 line in Brazil.

Taxes and the rise in the dollar contributed to a significant increase in the amounts charged by smartphones in the national market – which reached the category in general, making what was already expensive even more expensive.

Still, for being on the market for longer, the Galaxy S20 line has already suffered a reduction in the suggested price. See the table below:

Model Suggested price Launch in Brazil
Galaxy S20 R $ 4,999 (128 GB) March 2020
Galaxy S20 Plus R $ 5,499 (128 GB) March 2020
Galaxy S20 Ultra R $ 7,499 (128 GB) April 2020
Galaxy S20 FE
  • R $ 4,499 (128 GB)
  • R $ 4,999 (256 GB)
November 2020
iPhone 12 Mini from R $ 6,999 (64 GB) November 2020
iPhone 12 from R $ 7,999 (64 GB) November 2020
iPhone 12 Pro from R $ 9,999 R $ (128 GB) November 2020
iPhone 12 Pro Max from R $ 10,999 (R $ 128 GB) November 2020

* Prices charged at official Apple and Samsung stores on 12/07/2020.

Design and construction: elegance, with some caveats

Both lines deliver a premium look, with a sophisticated and elegant finish, each in its own way. The Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20 Plus and Galaxy S20 Ultra arrived with less color options and more sober tones: gray, black, blue and pink.

For those who enjoy more striking colors, Samsung launched the Galaxy S20 FE in lavender, orange, red, dark blue, green (mint) and white. However, unlike all other models in this comparison, it has a plastic back – something that doesn’t quite match a phone so expensive.

Colors of the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE (Image: Press Release / Samsung)

Colors of the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE (Image: Press Release / Samsung)

Apple left the most restrained tones for the most expensive models: iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max are sold in silver, graphite, gold and Pacific blue. The most “cool” options are with the iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 12: black, white, red, blue and green.

In terms of construction, the Galaxy S20 line features a rounded bezel, while Apple models return to a characteristic look of old iPhones, with flattened metal frames. In both cases there is protection against water and dust (IP68).

iPhone 12 with 5G in store in China (Image: Disclosure / Apple)

iPhone 12 with 5G in store in China (Image: Disclosure / Apple)

Apple has a nice option for those who have smaller hands or simply want a small phone that fits in their pocket: the iPhone 12 Mini, which has the smallest dimensions among the models in this comparison, and is the lightest smartphone.

Model Dimensions Weight
Galaxy S20 151.7 x 69.1 x 7.9 163 g
Galaxy S20 Plus 161.9 x 73.7 x 7.8 mm 186 g
Galaxy S20 Ultra 166.9 x 76 x 8.8 mm 220 g
Galaxy S20 FE 159.8 x 74.5 x 8.4 mm 190 g
iPhone 12 Mini 131.5 x 64.2 x 7.4 mm 133 g
iPhone 12 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4 mm 162 g
iPhone 12 Pro 146.7 x 71.5 x 74 mm 187 g
iPhone 12 Pro Max 160.8 x 78.1 x 7.4 mm 226 g

120 Hz screen only on the Galaxy S20 line

Going to the screens – and to one of Apple’s “blunders” this year. Many people expected an iPhone that brought a higher refresh rate, for more fluid graphics. But no 120 Hz (not even 90 Hz) for the iPhone 12 line.

Samsung already includes the 120 Hz screen in all models of the S20 line, including the “most basic” Galaxy S20 FE. It is a nice upgrade for those who are more demanding, but the onus is battery consumption, which is very high in this mode. You can change the panel settings to the default 60 Hz if you want to save energy.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra screen (Image: Paulo Higa / Tecnoblog)

Goodbye, IPS displays

Apple has launched all new iPhones 12 with Super Retina XDR (OLED) screens, which deliver vivid colors and great levels of contrast. The pixel density is quite high on all models in the line (approximately 460 ppi), which means an exceptional level of detail.

In addition, there is the Ceramic Shield protection that promises up to four times more resistance to drops than the iPhone 11.

iPhone 12 Pro (Image: Paulo Higa / Tecnoblog)

iPhone 12 Pro (Image: Paulo Higa / Tecnoblog)

Returning to Samsung, we are left with dynamic AMOLED screens on all Galaxy S20, except for the Fan Edition, which has a Super AMOLED display. The “FE” also has a lower resolution: maximum Full HD +, against Quad HD + of the others.

Model Screen size
Galaxy S20 6.2 inches
Galaxy S20 + 6.7 inches
Galaxy S20 Ultra 6.9 inches
Galaxy S20 FE 6.5 inches
iPhone 12 Mini 5.4 inches
iPhone 12 6.1 inches
iPhone 12 Pro 6.1 inches
iPhone 12 Pro Max 6.7 inches

A14 Bionic promises the best performance

All cellphones in the iPhone 12 line feature the A14 Bionic chip, Apple’s first in 5 nanometers. According to the manufacturer, it can offer up to 50% better performance than competing processors.

The RAM is 6 GB for “Pro” models and 4 GB for iPhones 12 and 12 Mini. In the tests of Tecnoblog, smartphones got top marks in performance, running even the most demanding applications with their feet on their backs.

iPhone 12 Pro (Image: Paulo Higa / Tecnoblog)

iPhone 12 Pro (Image: Paulo Higa / Tecnoblog)

But the Galaxy S20 Ultra didn’t do too well around here either. With the Exynos 990 and 12 GB RAM, the cell phone achieved a score of 10 in this regard – a score that extended to all the analyzed technical data points.

Samsung’s processor also comes embedded in the S20, S20 +, S20 FE – which indicates that these smartphones should have great performance, even though technically the chip is inferior to the A14 Bionic. In the S20 and S20 +, the RAM is 8 GB, and in the FE it is 6 GB or 8 GB, depending on the model.

Cameras: Apple delivers more consistent results

Samsung has camera specifications to impress. The S20 Ultra comes with a 108 megapixel main sensor and can record up to 8K. But you can opt for other simpler models, with triple or quadruple camera, depending on the need – the fourth rear camera, in the most expensive models, is a ToF sensor that can help with depth mapping.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra - Camera test

Photo taken with Galaxy S20 Ultra (Image: Paulo Higa / Tecnoblog)

The iPhone 12, meanwhile, received significant improvements in the camera, although on paper it does not look so impressive. The main lens now allows more light to enter, which results in sharper images. In addition, the Night mode also operates on the ultrawide lens and the selfie sensor.

Photo with the iPhone 12 Pro ultrawide rear camera (Image: Paulo Higa / Tecnoblog)

Photo with the iPhone 12 Pro ultrawide rear camera (Image: Paulo Higa / Tecnoblog)

In the iPhones 12 Pro and Pro Max, we have a triple set at the rear, with a telephoto lens, for zooming, in addition to a LiDAR scanner that provides faster focus in low light conditions and portraits with Night mode.

These models also feature the Apple ProRAW, a tool that combines attributes of the RAW format with Apple’s computer photography capabilities on the iPhone 12 Pro to deliver even more details.

In practice, Apple delivers the most consistent results. But the difference is only noticeable for the most demanding and detailed users.

Model Frontal camera Back camera videos
iPhone 12 Mini 12 MP (f / 2.2) Dual (12 MP wide f / 1.6 + 12 MP ultra-wide f / 2.4) 4K at up to 60 fps / HDR recording with Dolby Vision at up to 30 fps
iPhone 12 12 MP (f / 2.2) Dual (12 MP wide f / 1.6 + 12 MP ultra-wide f / 2.4) 4K at up to 60 fps / HDR recording with Dolby Vision at up to 30 fps
iPhone 12 Pro 12 MP (f / 2.2) 12 MP triple (wide, ultra-wide and telephoto), LiDAR scanner 12 MP triple (wide, ultra-wide and telephoto), LiDAR scanner
Galaxy S20 FE 32 MP (f / 2.2) Triple (12 MP f / 1.8 + 12 MP f / 2.2 + 8 MP f / 2.4)
  • 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) @ 60fps
Galaxy S20 10 MP (f / 2.2) Triple (12 MP f / 1.8 + 64 MP f / 2.0 + 12 MP f / 2.2)
  • 8K UHD (7680 x 4320) @ 24fps
  • 4K @ 30 / 60fps
Galaxy S20 Plus 10 MP (f / 2.2) Quadruple (12 MP f / 1.8 + 12 MP f / 2.2 + 64.0 MP f / 2.0 + VGA f / 1.0)
  • 8K UHD (7680 x 4320) @ 24fps
  • 4K @ 30 / 60fps
Galaxy S20 Ultra 40 MP (f / 2.2) Quadruple (108 MP f / 1.8 + 12 MP f / 2.2 + 48 MP f / 3.5 + VGA f / 1.0)
  • 8K UHD (7680 x 4320) @ 24fps
  • 4K @ 30 / 60fps

Battery (and chargers …)

Apple reduced the battery capacity on the iPhone 12, 12 Mini and Pro – in practice, it is not a bad autonomy (especially due to the energy efficiency of the A14 Bionic), but the company has been getting it right in the last releases, gradually improving your smartphone batteries. Well, it is a minimally inconvenient setback for a cell phone that costs so much.

And since we are talking about it, there is the big question of the chargers that are not included in the box (you can use an old one or pay more money to get a new one).

iPhone 12 Pro and charger approved by Anatel (Image: Paulo Higa / Tecnoblog)

iPhone 12 Pro and charger approved by Anatel (Image: Paulo Higa / Tecnoblog)

Oh, and it wasn’t this time that Apple includes USB-C ports on iPhones, Lightning inputs continue to reign among the brand’s phones. But here we have MagSafe, a solution resurrected by the company, which provides fast charging (up to 15 W) by induction for the entire iPhone 12 line.

The Galaxy S20 line, on the other hand, still comes with a charger in the box – something that will not be repeated with the S21, by the way. Battery life is good in general, but not when the 120 Hz display is active – the variable refresh rate, which could avoid so much power consumption, arrived only on the Note 20 Ultra, released a few months later.

Model Battery capacity
iPhone 12 Mini 2,227 mAh
iPhone 12 2,815 mAh
iPhone 12 Pro 2,815 mAh
iPhone 12 Pro Max 3,687 mAh
Galaxy S20 FE 4,500 mAh
Galaxy S20 4,000 mAh
Galaxy S20 + 4,500 mAh
Galaxy S20 Ultra 5,000 mAh

The 5G

Apple has embarked on the 5G wave and the iPhone 12 line is the first to take advantage of it. The models that arrive in Brazil are compatible with the fifth generation of mobile networks here in Brazil. This factor should not be decisive, for now, since technology is still taking its first steps here.

Still, for those who have kept the same iPhone for many years, it may be something to consider. The Galaxy S20 models that arrive in Brazil do not have 5G.

Interface and operating system

IPhones 12 arrive with iOS 14, version of Apple’s operating system that has widgets on the Home Screen and greater flexibility to use third-party applications as standard (in email and browser). It’s an important step for the brand’s ecosystem, even though Android fans may be laughing right now.

But in compensation, Apple usually updates its system for a longer time, which gives smartphones more longevity.

iOS on iPhone 12 Mini (image: Emerson Alecrim / Tecnoblog)

iOS on iPhone 12 Mini (image: Emerson Alecrim / Tecnoblog)

The Galaxy S20 models left the factory with Android 10 and now begin to receive the latest system from Google, Android 11, with Samsung’s new interface, One UI 3.0. Among the novelties are the notification system with a focus on chat and e-mail conversations and improvements in privacy, in addition to a renewed design.

iPhone 12 vs Galaxy S20: which of the lines is the best?

The iPhone 12 line brings together the best performance on the market, great screens and cutting-edge photo / video quality (especially on “Pro” models). In addition, it is a “democratic” series in screen sizes and general dimensions: there is a small to large cell phone, so you can choose what you prefer (or what your pocket allows you to buy).

Some features are frustrating, such as a higher refresh rate on the display, but let’s say this is easily forgiven. Other points are more critical, such as the extremely high price, the lack of charger in the box and the battery that leaves something to be desired.

iPhone 12 (Image: Darlan Helder / Tecnoblog)

iPhone 12 (Image: Darlan Helder / Tecnoblog)

In turn, the Galaxy S20 line has models cheapest less expensive, with some cuts in the technical file, but in general it offers excellent performance, incredible photos (although they are technically behind those taken with the Pro models of iPhone) and screens that display graphics with greater smoothness.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition (Image: Paulo Higa / Tecnoblog)

Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition (Image: Paulo Higa / Tecnoblog)

In the end, it is a real giant fight, and the choice is in the details and personal taste of the user. Points such as the preference for the operating system should also be taken into account when making a decision.

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