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Apple iPhone 12 vs Google Pixel 5 in 2021: Apples vs Robots

author Luis Silva (November 2020 Updated: August 2021 - 6 min. reading time)

The iPhone 12 comes at a higher price, but it isn't the better device of the two considering their specs.

It gives you better performance (+147%), a glass back, and more OS updates (3 additional years). But the Pixel 5 features more internal storage (128GB vs. 64GB).

What else sets them apart?

The Pixel 5 also features a higher refresh rate, Always-On display, reverse wireless charging, and more RAM (8GB vs. 4GB).

Still, you'll have to decide for yourself because they ended up with similar scores.

But how much more will I have to pay for the Pixel 5?

If you ignore carrier offers, you can be saving up to around $198, so think about it.

Is it worth getting the iPhone 12 in 2021?

Overall, you'll still get a pretty decent smartphone if you go for the iPhone 12 in 2021, especially now that it's cheaper. That doesn't mean you should ignore other devices like the iPhone 12 Pro since it has more storage and more RAM.

Is the Pixel 5 still worth getting in 2021?

Just because the Pixel 5 was released last year doesn't mean I won't recommend it. You'll love it for its good cameras, good battery life, and excellent glass protection. But if you've been dreaming about other phones, the Samsung Galaxy S20 should also be one of them.

Read on so you can learn more about their differences, how they fare against their competition, and you'll know what the industry thinks about their specs.

Check prices on Amazon Check prices on Amazon
Click here or scroll down to check prices on eBay, BestBuy, and Walmart.

I earn a small fee from qualifying purchases. It doesn't affect the price you pay nor my opinions.

Apple iPhone 12, Google Pixel 5

Photo by Emma Matthews Digital Content Production on Unsplash

CONTENTS

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Introduction

Both phones were launched in October 2020.

Here you can look at the iPhone 12 and the Pixel 5, compare each other's features, and decide which one is best for you. Let us delve into the finer details.

The weight of each section

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

to check who their rivals are.

Price*
vs.
Device iPhone 12 Pixel 5
Release Date 2020, October 2020, October 0y.
OS Updates 6 years 3 years -3y.
Security Updates 6 years 3 years -3y.

*Reference: 100: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

Which One Has The Best Performance?

Geekbench 5 (IOS)(Android) scores the iPhone 12 147% ahead of its rival in the multi-core ranking. Do keep this number in mind, so you don't regret it later. Since iPhones run on their own operating system, apps do run quicker because Apple did their work to keep it fit.

When it comes to performance, the Pixel 5 is way under the average against similarly priced phones. While the average sits at 2726, this one is 66% below them.

We can classify the iPhone 12 as high-end and the Pixel 5 more like mid-range.

Performance*
vs.
Features iPhone 12 Pixel 5
SoC Apple A14 Snapdragon 765
Graphics Apple GPU Adreno 620
Geekbench 5 Score 4067
1647
-2420
OS iOS 14.1 Android 11
Tek-Score
8.8
4.7
-4.0

*Reference: 100: Apple iPhone 12.

Which Phone Has The Best Display?

Apple iPhone 12 front transparent png Google Pixel 5 front transparent png

The Pixel 5 is the title-holder here, and the difference is considerable.

Do you despise big screens? Then, the Pixel 5 is the one. It really is short compared to most similarly priced phones.

If you value a clean, almost notch-free screen, there's one more reason to consider the Pixel 5.

Given the iPhone 12, 88% of its rivals can play HDR content. Plus, all have an AMOLED screen, and 96% have an Always-On display.

Concerning the Pixel 5, 88% of its rivals can play HDR content and have an Always-On display, and 96% have an AMOLED screen.

Display Density (DPIs)*
vs.
Features iPhone 12 Pixel 5
Size 6.1
6.0
-0.1
Screen Type AMOLED AMOLED
Resolution (px) 1170x2532
1080x2340
-435240
Refresh Rate 60hz 90hz 30
Dots per Inch 457.25
429.53
-27.72
Always-On-Display No Yes
Notch Wedge Hole
Peak Brightness 639 nits
699 nits
60
HDR HDR10 HDR10+
Sub Tek-Score
2.9
8.7
5.8
Protection Corning Gorilla Glass Victus Corning Gorilla Glass 6
Tek-Score
7.5
7.9
0.4

*Reference: 100: Sony Xperia 1 II.

Which Phone Has The Best Cameras?

Apple iPhone 12 back transparent png Google Pixel 5 back transparent png

You should note that the Pixel 5 is in the neighborhood of 48% above other smartphones at about this price tag. But you can pick either one.

About the iPhone 12: DXOMARK tested this camera and gave it a score of 132. Then, if you consider its wide-angle lens, that will go up to 139. You can check their review if you click here.

PS: you'd probably like to know that all of its rivals can record videos in 4K or more and have an ultra-wide-angle lens, and 96% feature Optical Image Stabilization. Although only 8% of them feature a macro lens.

About the Pixel 5: On DXOMARK's reviewing article, they gave this shooter 129 points. And by adding its wide-angle lens, we get a score of 138 points. You can click here to check it out.

Furthermore, just so you know, all of its rivals can record videos in 4 or 8K and have an ultra-wide-angle lens, and 92% feature Optical Image Stabilization. That said, only 19% of them feature a macro lens.

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

A telephoto lens would've been a great addition. If you agree with me, none of these will help you. Just pick something like the Samsung Galaxy S10 or the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus instead.

Picture Quality*
vs.
Primary Camera iPhone 12 Pixel 5
Megapixels 12
12
0
Aperture 1.6
1.7
0.1
Lens 26mm
27mm
1
Lens Type Wide-Angle Wide-Angle
Flash 4 1 -3
HDR Yes Yes
OIS Yes Yes
Video 2160 2160 0
Score 139
138
-1

*Reference: 100: Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra.

Extra Camera(s) iPhone 12 Pixel 5 vs.
Megapixels 12
16
4
Aperture 2.4
2.2
-0.2
Lens 13mm 17mm 4
Lens Type Ultra-wide-Angle Wide-Angle
Score 7 9 2
Selfie Camera iPhone 12 Pixel 5 vs.
Megapixels 12
8
-4
Aperture 2.2
2.0
-0.2
Lens 23mm 24mm 1
iPhone 12 Pixel 5 vs.
Tek-Score
8.2
8.1
-0.1

Who has the best frame?

None of them stands out, so there is no wrong choice here.

In addition to that, the Pixel 5 is (about 12%) also smaller than most similarly priced devices.

The iPhone 12 is 13 g. (0.46 oz) heavier than its rival, which sits at 151 g. (5.33 oz). If you're looking for a lightweight device, the "weight to display size" score of the iPhone 12 is 6.9, and that's another way of saying a pretty nice weight for its screen size. The Pixel 5, however, has 8.4, which suggests exceptional work from Google.

The iPhone 12 truly is water-resistant. It can be submerged 1 to 3 meters deep, on par with the Pixel 5. That should be for up to 30 minutes, in standby and freshwater only, so no saltwater or pools here.

Looks*
vs.
Body iPhone 12 Pixel 5
Size 146 x 71 x 7 mm
(5.15 x 2.50 x 0.25 in)
144 x 70 x 8 mm
(5.08 x 2.47 x 0.28 in)
8078
Weight 164 g. (5.78 oz)
151 g. (5.33 oz)
-13
Build Front and back glass Front glass and aluminum back
Colors Black, Red, White, Green, and Blue Just Black and Sorta Sage
Screen To Body Ratio 88.18%
87.67%
-0.51
Disp.Size To Weight Score 6.9 8.4 1.6
Looks 10.0/10
9.1/10
-0.8
Waterproof IP68 IP68
Biometrics Face ID Fingerprint
Tek-Score
8.6
9.1
0.5

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

Which has the best battery?

The iPhone 12 features a 2815 mAh battery, while the Pixel 5 has 4080 mAh. And as claimed by GSMArena, the winner is the Pixel 5.

There's a reason it has this battery life. Google just showed us how good they can be. That's what a "battery to smartphone size" rate of 7.9 shows.

On any of the new iPhone 12 siblings, wireless charging is also magnetic. It's nice but not as good as USB-C charging.

Battery*
vs.
Features iPhone 12 Pixel 5
Capacity (mAh) 2815 4080 1265
1h Talk + 1h Web + 1h Video 79% left
82% left
3
1h Talk + 3h Web + 1h Video 64% left
66% left
2
1h Talk + 1h Web + 3h Video 64% left
69% left
5
Bat. To Phone Size Score 6.4 7.9 1.5
Sub Tek-Score
6.9
7.2
0.3
Fast Charging 20w
18w
-2
Wireless Charging 15w
12w
-3
Reverse Charging No 5w
5
Tek-Score
6.6
6.9
0.3

*Reference: 90: Samsung Galaxy A31.

Which has more storage?

The Pixel 5, for sure.

The iPhone 12 features 64GB of internal storage and 4GB of RAM. Be aware that at this price segment, others offer more RAM and more storage. They're closer to 143Gb of storage and 8GB of RAM.

Storage shouldn't be an issue on any of these phones. However, if you plan to store some movies or record tons of videos, 64 GB alone won't get you there.

Storage*
vs.
Features iPhone 12 Pixel 5
RAM (GB) 4GB
8GB
4
Internal (GB) 64GB
128GB
64
Micro SD No No
Tek-Score
2.8
6.0
3.3

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

Which is the most connectivity-friendly?

They don't stand out on any of these features.

If you got used to counting on the good-old 3.5mm headphone jack, forget about it. You can buy an adapter, but the wireless buds are your only option. There also are other options out there if you just ignore these two. Either the Samsung Galaxy S10 or the Oppo Find X3 Lite can give you a headphone jack.

Both have a single network variant: (LTE and) 5G.

Connectivity
vs.
Features iPhone 12 Pixel 5
Network 5G 5G
Bluetooth 5.0
5.0
NFC Yes Yes
3.5mm jack No No
Tek-Score
4.6
4.6
0.0

Which is more affordable?

Here are the best deals on some major online stores:

Apple iPhone 12

Reference: $880

Apple iPhone 12

Google Pixel 5

Reference: $682

Google Pixel 5

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 (or whatever else you end up buying). 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 12 Pixel 5 VS
Amazon - ! - -
eBay 0.98 1.17 0.19
Best Buy 0.93 - -
Walmart - - -

Also, don't forget to check the latest deals from these four stores, and the state of the art on mobile technology, if you don't want to overpay on your next smartphone.


Related articles:


Best smartphone deals


The Best Unbiased Smartphones For All Budgets


Smartphone Specs Statistics: The State Of The Art (Q1 2021)

Are you ready for that final score? We're almost there. Just so you have an idea, take a look at where its adversaries average. The iPhone 12 class is at 7.0, and the Pixel 5 6.9.

Verdict: Does any of them really stand out?

That's tough.

If someone told me: "Here, pick one. It's yours."

I'd be having a hard time picking between any of these.

On the one hand, I'd have performance, lots of it.

On the other hand, I'd get higher refresh rates in an Always-on display (that I do fancy), reverse charging (that can be handy at times), lots of internal storage, and lots of RAM.

And I'm not even considering size, user experience, looks, years of updates, resell value, and all those subjective things.

I guess I'd go for the iPhone 12 because that performance is just insane. What about you?

Pros iPhone 12 Pixel 5
#1 Performance AMOLED
#2 AMOLED Always-On-Display
#3 Cameras Cameras
#4 Fast Charging Fast Charging
#5 Wireless Charging Wireless Charging
#6 Glass Protection Glass Protection
Cons iPhone 12 Pixel 5
#1 Always-On-Display MicroSD Slot
#2 MicroSD Slot 3.5mm Jack
#3 3.5mm Jack Price
#4 Price
Relative Score*
vs.
Global Score iPhone 12 Pixel 5
Gaming Score
6.3
6.6
0.3
Tek-Score
6.76
6.78
0.02
Your Score

Scroll the sliders down below to get your own personalized score. Let's suppose you value performance and battery life, and you don't really care about anything else. Then, just set the "Performance" and the "Battery" sliders up to 5 (5+5=10), and then the other sliders down to 0. You'll know what's the best phone for you.

Performance 1.9
Display 1.7
Cameras 1.4
Frame 0.9
Battery 1.9
Storage 2.0
Connectivity 0.4
Total Should be 10 or as close as possible: 9.6

*Reference: 100: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

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About me

Hello!

My name is Luis Silva, and I have a degree in computer management. Ever since I was a teenager, I've loved everything to do with tech. Music, pictures, video editing, I've done it all! This site is a place for me to share some of the knowledge I have, as well as keep up-to-date with current trends. This is a wonderful place for tech-geeks and everyone else that just want to learn more about tech and smartphones in general.


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Apple iPhone 12 Related Comparisons


Google Pixel 5 Related Comparisons

×

"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.

×

Rivals

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 Amazon, eBay, BestBuy, and Walmart.


 Apple iPhone 12 
  • SonyrivalXperia 1
    $688
  • SonyrivalXperia 5
    $649
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 10+
    $565
  • ApplerivaliPhone X
    $579
  • ApplerivaliPhone 11
    $575
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 9
    $598
  • ApplerivaliPhone 11 Pro
    $684
  • ApplerivaliPhone XS Max
    $650
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10 Plus
    $689
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10+ EX
    $689
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 EX
    $697
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 U.EX
    $789
  • HuaweirivalP30 Pro
    $599
  • GooglerivalPixel 4 XL
    $780
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20
    $697
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 Plus
    $600
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 Ultra
    $809
  • HuaweirivalP40 Pro
    $799
  • HuaweirivalP40
    $666
  • OnePlusrival8 Pro
    $799
  • XiaomirivalMi 10 Pro
    $600
  • GooglerivalPixel 5
    $580
  • ApplerivaliPhone 12 Mini
    $739
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S21
    $729
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S21 Plus
    $600
  • OpporivalReno4 Pro
    $594
  • SonyrivalXperia 1 II
    $650
  • XiaomirivalMi 11
    $698
  • OpporivalFind X3 Lite
    $554

 Google Pixel 5 
  • ApplerivaliPhone 12
    $689
  • SonyrivalXperia 1
    $688
  • SonyrivalXperia 5
    $649
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 10+
    $565
  • ApplerivaliPhone X
    $579
  • ApplerivaliPhone 11
    $575
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 9
    $598
  • ApplerivaliPhone 11 Pro
    $684
  • ApplerivaliPhone XS Max
    $650
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10
    $499
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10 Plus
    $689
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10e SD
    $499
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10+ EX
    $689
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 SD
    $535
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20+ SD
    $535
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10 SD
    $499
  • OnePlusrival7T Pro
    $503
  • HuaweirivalP30 Pro
    $599
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 Plus
    $600
  • HuaweirivalP40
    $666
  • OnePlusrival8
    $480
  • XiaomirivalMi 10 Pro
    $600
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S21 Plus
    $600
  • XiaomirivalMi 10T Pro
    $480
  • OnePlusrival8T
    $549
  • XiaomirivalMi 10
    $529
  • OpporivalReno4 Pro
    $594
  • SonyrivalXperia 1 II
    $650
  • OnePlusrival9
    $551
  • OpporivalFind X3 Lite
    $554
×

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 mclass-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 dclassn't test, the deviation may be up to twice as much.

×

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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