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Apple iPhone 11 vs iPhone 12: Which iPhone Should You Buy?

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Apple iPhone 11, Apple iPhone 12

Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

Luis Silva (October 2020, updated: February 2021)


Whether you're considering an upgrade or both of them, or you just want to check out what Apple did add to the iPhone 12, welcome. You've come to the right place.

While Apple's iPhone 12 hit stores in October of 2020, Apple's iPhone 11 went on sale in September of 2019.

Here you can look at the iPhone 11 and the iPhone 12, compare each other's features, and decide which one is best for you. Let us delve into the finer details.

If you have the time, click here to skip the spoilers and continue to the full comparison.

Bottom Line

Is the iPhone 12 better than the iPhone 11?

The iPhone 12 comes at a higher price, but considering its features, it is the best option.

It features better performance (+22%) and a better display. But the iPhone 11 features better battery life.

What else stands out?

The iPhone 12 also features an AMOLED display, a lightweight body (30 g./1.06 oz less), and faster wireless charging (15w vs. 5w).

How much more are you willing to spend on the iPhone 12?

If you're not considering subscribing to a service provider, you're going to shell out an extra amount of about $180.

Is it worth getting the iPhone 11 in 2021?

No problem. Just take a look at its performance, and you'll see.

Is it worth getting the iPhone 12 in 2021?

Yes! It's currently one of the best in the market.

You'll never find the iPhone 12 at the price of the iPhone 11. Remember that when you're comparing the two models.

For each featured section, there's a "Tek-Score" for you to check. We evaluated every quantifiable specification, so you can better understand the difference between the two. We'll also provide a global score for comparison if you're curious about other models aside from these two.

That score is research-based. It's from Globalwebindex.com on what buyers are looking for when purchasing a smartphone.

For additional information regarding our smartphone comparisons, check this FAQ.

Some features are underlined with a red or green progress bar. It's for you to know how well they fare against other smartphones at the same price range.

If you click here:, you'll see our list, but basically, we've excluded every smartphone that's not within a 20% (above or below) price range.

Some items are underlined, and you can tap to access the related top 10 listings for up to seven different budgets.

Price* vs.
Device iPhone 11 iPhone 12
Release Date 2019, September 2020, October 1y.
OS Updates 6 years 6 years 0y.
Security Updates 6 years 6 years 0y.

*Reference: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.


Regarding their chipset, while the Apple iPhone 12 comes with the Apple A14 SoC, the Apple iPhone 11 has the Apple A13 SoC.

Apple improved its GPU for sure, but most likely decided to just keep the same name.

In terms of performance, Geekbench 5 scores the iPhone 12 22% ahead of its sibling on the multi-core rankings. It's something to consider, but it shouldn't be a deal-breaker.

The iPhone 12 also has a performance above the average if you consider its rivals. About 37% above.

We can label both of them as high-end.

iOS 13 runs out-of-the-box on the iPhone 11, while the iPhone 12 comes with iOS 14.1.

Performance* vs.
Features iPhone 11 iPhone 12
SoC Apple A13 Apple A14
Graphics Apple GPU Apple GPU
Geekbench 5 Score 3328
OS iOS 13 iOS 14.1

*Reference: Apple iPhone 12.


Apple iPhone 11 front transparent png Apple iPhone 12 front transparent png

Both feature the same (LCD and AMOLED) 6.1" display size. You'll likely have set your preferences already on the display type and size. Me, I'd go for an AMOLED screen, but a remarkable LCD is honestly as good.

If you're looking for the most high-resolution display, the iPhone 12 is a winner here.

The iPhone 11 also falls behind the rest of its class: It is 31% below the average pixel density.

Just a small drop may shatter your phone, so you need to know about their glass protection. The iPhone 12 features the latest Gorilla Glass Victus display. The iPhone 11 has a Corning toughened glass.

Unfortunately, none of them support the Always-On display feature.

If you set these displays for auto-brightness, they share a maximum brightness of 644 nits.

The iPhone 12 can play HDR10 videos.

It goes without saying, the iPhone 12 has a much better display.

Given the iPhone 11, 89% of its rivals can play HDR content, 96% have an AMOLED screen, and 93% of them have an Always-On display.

Regarding the iPhone 12, as a reference, 94% of its rivals can play HDR content and have an Always-On display. Plus, all of them have an AMOLED screen, and 82% have Gorilla Glass 6 or better.

Display Density (DPIs)* vs.
Features iPhone 11 iPhone 12
Size 6.1
Screen Type LCD AMOLED
Resolution (px) 828x1792
Refresh Rate 60hz 60hz 0
Dots per Inch 323.61
Always-On-Display No No
Notch Wedge Wedge
Peak Brightness 644 nits
639 nits
Sub Tek-Score
Protection Corning toughened glass Corning Gorilla Glass Victus

*Reference: Sony Xperia 1.


Apple iPhone 11 back transparent png Apple iPhone 12 back transparent png

Flip the phones over, let's start the cameras' battle. The iPhone 11's primary camera has a 12 MP sensor, with an aperture of f/1.8, a 26mm wide-angle lens, four flash LEDs, HDR abilities, and Optical Image Stabilization. Videos on its shooter have a maximum resolution of 2160p.

Next to its primary camera, it also has another 12 MP shooter with an aperture of f/2.4 plus a 13mm ultra-wide-angle lens.

The selfie camera is a 12 MP sensor with an f/2.2 aperture complemented with a 23 mm wide-angle lens.

DxOMark gave this shooter a rate of 132. Then, if you consider its wide-angle lens, it'll get 138** points. For an in-depth review, click here.

To put things in perspective: all of its rivals can record videos in 4K or more, have an ultra-wide-angle lens, and feature Optical Image Stabilization. Nevertheless, only 19% of them feature a macro lens.

The standard camera on the back of the iPhone 12 has a 12 MP sensor and a 26mm, f/1.6 aperture, wide-angle lens. It also has four flash LEDs, HDR capabilities, and Optical Image Stabilization. When it comes to recording videos, it can do 2160p. Its second shooter has a 12 MP sensor with an aperture of f/2.4 plus a 13mm ultra-wide-angle lens.

The selfie camera has the same 12 MP, an f/2.2 aperture, and the same 23 mm wide-angle lens.

On DxOMark's reviewing article, they gave this shooter 132 points. By considering its wide-angle lens, we get a score of 139 points. If you want to know more about every tidbit, click here.

Last (but not least), if you must know, just like the other device, all of its rivals can record videos in 4 or 8K, have an ultra-wide-angle lens, and feature Optical Image Stabilization. Additionally, none of them feature a macro lens.

Be aware that the iPhone 11's picture quality is, on average, 50% above its adversaries in its class. Nevertheless, these two have similar rates, so...

If you're not a numbers person, we can tag these two as high-end.

If you love optical zoom like I do, it might be time to consider smartphones like the iPhone 12 Pro.

**Consider this as an estimative, especially with cameras with less than 40MP and no telephoto lens. These guys recently updated their test protocol, and they don't have enough reviews for me to refine the pre-update camera rates.

Picture Quality* vs.
Primary Camera iPhone 11 iPhone 12
Megapixels 12
Aperture 1.8
Lens 26mm
Lens Type Wide-Angle Wide-Angle
Flash 4 4 0
HDR Yes Yes
OIS Yes Yes
Video 2160 2160 0
Score 138

*Reference: Huawei Mate 40 Pro.

Extra Camera(s) iPhone 11 iPhone 12 vs.
Megapixels 12
Aperture 2.4
Lens 13mm 13mm 0
Lens Type Ultra-wide-Angle Ultra-wide-Angle
Score 6 7 1

Selfie Camera iPhone 11 iPhone 12 vs.
Megapixels 12
Aperture 2.2
Lens 23mm 23mm 0

iPhone 11 iPhone 12 vs.


The iPhone 11 is 150 mm (5.91 inches) tall and 75 mm (2.96 inches) wide. Apple's iPhone 12 is a bit smaller, precisely 4 mm (0.16 inches), and a bit narrower too, about 4 mm (0.16 inches).

The former has about 8 mm (0.32 inches) of thickness, while the latter has 7 mm (0.28 inches).

All of that goodness is presented in a sleek glass body. The iPhone 11 is 30 g. (1.06 oz) heavier than the other, weighing about 164 g. (5.78 oz). If you want a big screen in a light phone, the "weight to display size" rate of the iPhone 11 is 3.3, which means it's kind of weighty for a 6.1 inches screen. In the meantime, the iPhone 12 has 6.9, which is pretty nice.

We do like having some color options. You get Black, Yellow, Green, White, Red, and Purple in the iPhone 11. But you can get Black, Red, White, Green, and Blue with the iPhone 12.

What about a fingerprint scanner? You're out of luck. None of them have one.

You'll still get a second-best on both of them. Wisely, Apple included a Face ID scanner.

The iPhone 11 is resistant to water up to 1 to 3 meters, and the same goes for the iPhone 12. It should be for less than 30 minutes, in standby and freshwater only, so no saltwater or pools here.

Looks* vs.
Body iPhone 11 iPhone 12
Size 150 x 75 x 8 mm
(5.29 x 2.65 x 0.28 in)
146 x 71 x 7 mm
(5.15 x 2.50 x 0.25 in)
Weight 194 g. (6.84 oz)
164 g. (5.78 oz)
Build Front and back glass Front and back glass
Colors Black, Yellow, Green, White, Red, and Purple Black, Red, White, Green, and Blue
Screen To Body Ratio 81.25%
Disp.Size To Weight Score 3.3 6.9 3.5
Looks 8.6/10
Waterproof IP68 IP68
Biometrics Face ID Face ID

*100% = 4+ colors + front and back glass + S2BR: 86+%.


When it comes to battery life, in theory, the Apple iPhone 11, with its 3110 mAh of battery capacity, wins over the Apple iPhone 12, with only 2815 mAh of battery capacity. But what does everyday usage have to say about that? By charging them up and testing them out, that's what you can expect from the iPhone 11:

  • By talking for 1 hour, browsing the web for 1 hour, and playing videos for 1 hour, you'll still have 83% left.
  • If you do 1 hour of talking, 3 hours of web browsing, and 1 hour of video playback, you'll probably have 71% left for the rest of the day.
  • For 1 hour of talking, 1 hour of web browsing, and 3 hours of video playback, you'll still get 73% to spend doing other things.

And these are iPhone 12's patterns:

  • By talking for 1 hour, browsing the web for 1 hour, and playing videos for 1 hour, you'll still have 79% left.
  • After 1 hour of talking, 3 hours of web browsing, and 1 hour of video playback, this phone should end up with 64%.
  • If you do 1 hour of talking, 1 hour of web browsing, and 3 hours of video playback, you'll be with 64%.

The iPhone 11 clearly wins the battery life contest.

Fast-charging's here, and both iPhones support it. The iPhone 12 can go up to 20w, and the iPhone 11 up to 18.

It's good to know that both iPhones support wireless charging at up to 5w vs. 15w. The new iPhones also feature magnetic wireless charging. That's great, but it's yet another proprietary solution.

Why would Apple go for a smaller battery? Who knows...

Battery* vs.
Features iPhone 11 iPhone 12
Capacity (mAh) 3110 2815 -295
1h Talk + 1h Web + 1h Video 83% left
79% left
1h Talk + 3h Web + 1h Video 71% left
64% left
1h Talk + 1h Web + 3h Video 73% left
64% left
Bat. To Phone Size Score 5.6 6.4 0.8
Sub Tek-Score
Fast Charging 18w
Wireless Charging 5w

*Reference: Samsung Galaxy A31.


The iPhone 11 has 64GB of internal storage and 4GB of RAM. There's no MicroSD slot. It may not be a deal-breaker, but it sure is something to keep in mind. Be aware that at this price segment, others offer more RAM and more storage. Right now, the average is 154Gb of storage and 8GB of RAM.

On the iPhone 12, you'll also find 64GB of internal storage and 4GB of RAM. You'll also have a problem if you want to add storage later. This may not be enough for serious smartphone users. Again, chances are that you'll have more RAM and more storage from almost all of their competitors. 10Gb of RAM and 139Gb of storage: that's the average, not the best you can find.

Neither storage nor RAM should be an issue on both iPhones. However, if you love to have or record tons of videos, 64 GB may be too short for you.

Storage* vs.
Features iPhone 11 iPhone 12
Internal (GB) 64GB
Micro SD No No

*Internal Storage + 256GB Memory Card (Max: 512GB).


Both phones have Bluetooth 5.0, so nothing special here. Both phones also have NFC, so nothing special here.

Do you still favor wired headphones? None of them will help you with that. You can try an adapter if you want, but the wireless buds are the way to go here.

You can find the iPhone 12 in the (LTE and) 5G variant.

Connectivity vs.
Features iPhone 11 iPhone 12
Network LTE 5G
Bluetooth 5.0
NFC Yes Yes
3.5mm jack No No


The Apple iPhone 11 may not be the best bang for your buck. That, of course, depends on the place and the deals that you'll eventually find. The Apple iPhone 12, on the other hand, is usually more costly, but I think that you can find some additional value in it.

Let's see if it really worths it or not.

Here's what we've found out:

I earn a small fee from qualifying purchases. It doesn't affect the price you pay nor my opinions, but it will mean a lot if you click on one of these buttons before purchasing your next phone. You'll be helping to take this to the next level.

Prices on eBay are in $US but Europe-based. You can click to check the prices in your country.

Prices marked with ! are from renewed/refurbished/carrier-locked phones (except eBay prices that, as a last resort, can be from bids or used devices).

How much of a "phone" can your money buy?
That's how much "score" you can get with $100 based on the global score that you'll see in the next section (higher is better).

Have you found better prices elsewhere? The formula is simple: score/price*100.

Value for money iPhone 11 iPhone 12 VS
Amazon - ! - ! -
eBay - 0.77 -
Best Buy - 0.85 -
Wallmart 0.53 - -

And this is the "The Best Smartphones On A Budget" list.

Want to know about that global rate? First, let me mention the average at their price range. They usually sit close to 6.9 (for the iPhone 11) and 7.2 (for the iPhone 12).

Verdict: What Makes the Apple iPhone 12 Stand Out?

Well, sure isn't its battery life, but at least you'll get a considerable performance increase compared to the already smooth iPhone 11. The iPhone 12 did get a considerably better display. It now is AMOLED with HDR10 support, and it got an increase of 133 pixels per inch. If you add the new Victus protection by Corning, it all sounds like a nice upgrade. Their cameras are pretty much the same. You can argue that the iPhone 12 has slightly better picture quality if that's your thing. With a smaller battery, the iPhone 12 did manage to lose some weight and is now able to wirelessly charge three times faster. And that's about it. There's obviously the looks too, but that's up to your personal taste.

Pros iPhone 11 iPhone 12
#1 Performance Performance
#2 Cameras AMOLED
#3 Battery Life Cameras
#4 Fast Charging Fast Charging
#5 Wireless Charging Wireless Charging
#6 Glass Protection Glass Protection

Cons iPhone 11 iPhone 12
#1 Screen Resolution Always-On-Display
#2 AMOLED MicroSD Slot
#3 Always-On-Display 3.5mm Jack
#4 MicroSD Slot Price
#5 Weight
#6 3.5mm Jack
#7 Price

Relative Score* vs.
Global Score iPhone 11 iPhone 12
Gaming Score

*Reference: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

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Hello there!

I'm Luis Silva, and this is the place where I nerd out about technology. I've been a tech enthusiast for 25 years, and I have a degree in computer management.

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Apple iPhone 11 Related Comparisons

Apple iPhone 12 Related Comparisons


Tek-Score explained

Every spec has it's own weigh on the global score.

Feature: Value
Battery Life: 1.28
Fast Charging: 0.31
Wireless Charging: 0.19
Reverse Charging: 0.08
Storage: 1.97
Performance: 1.86
Camera: 1.35
Glass protection: 1.08
Weight: 0.35
Waterproof: 0.35
AMOLED: 0.04
Always-On-Display: 0.31
DPI: 0.12
Refresh Rate: 0.04
Nits: 0.04
Notch: 0.04
Bluetooth: 0.08
NFC: 0.12
3.5mm jack: 0.19
Looks: 0.23
Total: 10

But there are a few things that I don't consider, like price, brand value, size, resell value, OS (iOS or Android), user experience, updates, RAM (included on performance), battery to phone size, display size to weight, and biometrics.


Progress bars explained

#1: A big red progress bar means that this value is way below the average. In this case, it's 28.85MP, and the iPhone XR is 16.85MP below the average.

#2: In this example, the XR is just 0.36mm below the average, that's why the red bar is almost unnoticeable.

#3: On the other hand, the SE 2 is 1.8mm above (hence, the green bar) the 26.2mm of average.

#4: Performance-wise, the SE 2 is well above the average (of 2512) for its price range. That's the reason the green bar is that long.


"Display size to phone weight" ratio explained

This indeed is a "display size to phone weight" ratio, but because every phone ended up somewhere between 0.0272 and 0.0421, I've amplified (adapted) those values so they would fit in a 0-10 scale. As of now, the best smartphone is the Samsung Galaxy A40, with 140g. (4.94 oz) for a 5.9 inch display. It got a score of 9.92. While the worse device is the iPhone 8 Plus, which weighs 202 g. (7.13 oz) and has a 5.5-inch display. It ended up with a score of 0.75.

Please, be aware that this score is subject to change if and when a new smartphone comes along that ends up being outside of this scale.


"Battery to device size" ratio explained

This score should give you an idea about the energy footprint of the devices you're considering. It reflects not only the hardware and the energy that it requires but also the amount of energy that the battery can deliver.

The major spenders on any device should be the display and the SoC. But everything from a notification led to its modems need to be optimized, or else, the OEM should simply include a bigger battery as a compensation. Unfortunately, it isn't always possible due to size limitations. But in the end, if a particular OEM can do a good job and give you excellent battery life on a small device, so should everyone else. That's why I've added a "battery to device size" ratio. But since the real scale went from 119 (for the Galaxy S10e, Snapdragon variant) and up to 164 (for the iPhone 7 Plus), I've decided to convert them so they would fit in a 0-10 scale, being 0 the worst device, (the iPhone 7 Plus) and 10 the one every OEM should look up to.

As an example, Apple did an excellent job on the iPhone 7. It has a score of 8. Despite having a small capacity, the hardware is well optimized, and it still gives you decent battery life considering its size. The iPhone 7 Plus, on the other hand, with those bezels shrinking its display size, clearly could've been the #1 in our top 10 list of best battery devices if Apple simply filled all that empty space with a bigger battery.

As a side note: I haven't included the dept of the devices in this formula because even if a device ended up being 1mm/0.03 inches thicker, it wouldn't matter that much to those who really value battery life.

Please, be aware that this score is subject to change if and when a new smartphone comes along that ends up being outside of this scale.



As of now, these are the rivals that were considered for each of them. They may change every time its prices are updated.

These are the lowest prices found on any of the usual stores.

 Apple iPhone 11 
  • Sony

    Xperia 1

  • Apple

    iPhone X

  • Apple

    iPhone XS Max

  • Apple

    iPhone 11 Pro Max

  • Samsung

    Galaxy S10

  • Samsung

    Galaxy Note 10

  • Samsung

    Galaxy S10 Plus

  • Samsung

    Galaxy S10+ EX

  • Samsung

    Galaxy S10+ SD

  • Samsung

    Galaxy S20 EX

  • Samsung

    Galaxy S20 SD

  • Samsung

    Galaxy S20+ SD

  • Samsung

    Galaxy S10 SD

  • OnePlus

    7T Pro

  • Huawei

    P30 Pro

  • Google

    Pixel 4 XL

  • Huawei

    Mate 20 Pro

  • Huawei


  • OnePlus

    8 Pro

  • OnePlus


  • Samsung

    Galaxy S10 Lite

  • Xiaomi

    Mi 10 Pro

  • Samsung

    Galaxy S20 FE

  • Samsung

    Galaxy S20 FE 4G

  • Samsung

    Galaxy S20 FE 5G

  • Oppo

    Find X2 Neo

  • Google

    Pixel 5

  • Xiaomi

    Mi 10T Pro

  • OnePlus


  • Xiaomi

    Mi 10

  • Oppo

    Reno4 Pro

 Apple iPhone 12 
  • Sony

    Xperia 1

  • Sony

    Xperia 5

  • Apple

    iPhone 11 Pro

  • Samsung

    Galaxy S20 EX

  • Samsung

    Galaxy S20 SD

  • Samsung

    Galaxy S20+ EX

  • Samsung

    Galaxy S20+ SD

  • Samsung

    Galaxy S20 U.EX

  • Samsung

    Galaxy S20

  • Samsung

    Galaxy S20 Plus

  • Samsung

    Galaxy S20 Ultra

  • Huawei

    Mate 30 Pro

  • Huawei

    P40 Pro

  • Huawei


  • Xiaomi

    Mi 10 Ultra

  • Oppo

    Find X2 Pro

  • Apple

    iPhone 12 Mini

  • Sony

    Xperia 1 II


Battery results

The battery score is based on Gsmarena's endurance rating and is taken with a screen brightness of 200 nits and a refresh rate of 60hz.

Assumptions: The display is off during a call, there's a web page refresh every 10 seconds, and the video playback is in Airplane mode.

You can click here for more information.


Formula deviation

Since the guys at DxoMark don't review every camera out there, I've come up with a formula based on the ones that they do rate, so I could get an equivalent score for the ones they don't review. After testing it against these cameras, I got the deviation between that and their DxO score.

Device: DxOScore Deviation
Samsung Galaxy A50: 88 -1
Apple iPhone XR: 104 1
Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro: 108 -7
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro: 87 1
Sony Xperia 1: 99 -1
Sony Xperia 5: 101 1
Samsung Galaxy Note 8: 100 0
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus: 126 2
Apple iPhone 8 Plus: 96 -3
Xiaomi Pocophone F1: 92 -1
Apple iPhone 7 Plus: 90 -1
Apple iPhone X: 101 3
Apple iPhone 11: 112 -1
Samsung Galaxy Note 8: 100 0
Samsung Galaxy Note 9: 107 1
Apple iPhone XS Max: 110 -2
Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max: 124 1
Samsung Galaxy S10: 124 2
Apple iPhone XS: 110 -1
Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus: 120 -2
OnePlus 7 Pro: 122 0
OnePlus 7T Pro: 122 0
Huawei P30 Pro: 125 -1
Google Pixel 4: 117 0
Google Pixel 3: 103 0
Google Pixel 2: 100 0
Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus: 127 -2
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra: 132 2
OnePlus 6: 100 0
OnePlus 6T: 101 1
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus: 105 -1
Huawei Mate 20 Pro: 120 0
Xiaomi Mi 9: 115 0
Huawei Mate 30 Pro: 132 0
Huawei P40 Pro: 140 -1
Apple iPhone SE 2: 101 0
OnePlus 8 Pro: 126 0
Xiaomi Mi 8: 105 1
Samsung Galaxy A71: 89 1
Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro: 134 0

As you can see, most cameras sit between 1 and -1, while a few of them go up to 2 or -2. That means it's reasonable to assume other similar cameras that they don't review to, in the worst-case scenario, be anywhere from -2 to 2 points from the score that the formula gets.

For example: Given that the Pixel 4 got 117 points and that the Pixel 4 XL share the same year and camera specs, it's reasonable to expect a score of 117 too. But in reality, if they do review that camera, it may end up anywhere between 115 and 119.

Be aware that at DxO, they give a score based on their opinion, not based on any formula. That's why I think there's an odd difference of 6 points between the iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X. In theory, they should have the same camera.

I'm guessing that the Mi 9T Pro got a deviation of 7 points because they tested its Chinese variant (the K20 Pro).

Update: They just changed their protocol to include preview image evaluation and trustability. I'm keeping the old table (for now) for reference purposes, and I'll be adding a new one as soon as they review at least a couple of new mid-range cameras.

You can expect the same (or a bit bigger) deviation for high-end cameras, but anything with a score below 100-110 should be taken with a grain of salt.

This is valid for all cameras tested with the previous protocol. For those that they didn't test, the deviation may be up to twice as much.



With regards to AMOLED screens, sometimes OEMs claim higher maximum brightness. That's because an AMOLED screen can push its brightness progressively higher as its white area gets smaller.

These values are from the lab tests made by GSMArena, and their white test pattern takes up 75% of the physical size of the screen.


About GeekBench 5

This is just a quick note to let you know that, if, by any chance, the smartphone you're looking for isn't on the GeekBench site yet, you can check on GsmArena.com, as they also usually test smartphones with that benchmark tool.

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