Battle Of The Flagships – Apple iPhone 12 vs. Samsung S21


If you have been on the market for a new flagship device in 2021, Apple’s iPhone 12 and Samsung’s Galaxy S21 have probably crossed your radar. How couldn’t they? These are some of the best smartphones currently out there, it is impossible not to notice them. However, buying them can also put a huge dent in your budget. Fortunately, in this day and age, smartphone manufacturers and retailers are all about offering options to their customers. And one of the options they graciously offer us is refurbished smartphones.
Refurbished smartphones are pre-owned devices that have been sent back to the manufacturer because they were faulty and repaired for resale. They work like new, but if this still doesn’t give you the confidence to buy them, you will be happy to know that they tend to come with the usual smartphone accessories and a warranty on top in case of any future problems. Wondering why you should even remotely consider a refurbished iPhone 12 or refurbished Samsung Galaxy S21, here are some of the features that make these devices so great, stacked up against each other for your comparison.


Like with all newly released flagship devices, you will need to pay top-dollar to acquire the iPhone 12 or Galaxy S21. On release, the S21 base model went for AU$1,249, with the S21 Plus coming in at AU$1,549 and the Galaxy S21 Ultra at AU$1,849. The iPhone 12 range features four devices, the base model being the iPhone 12, which is available at $1,349 for the 64GB model. The iPhone 12 mini is the cheapest variant coming in at $1,199 for the 64GB model, and the iPhone 12 Pro Max is the most expensive at $1,849 for the 128GB model.
As you can see, the iPhone 12 and Galaxy S21 are similarly priced. However, the S21 comes up as the clear winner here for the features you get at each price point. Now that it has been a couple of months since these phones were released, you can expect some slight price declines. But the prices might still prove hefty for most; hence the reason you should consider getting a refurbished or preowned iPhone 12 or Galaxy S21.


The iPhone 12 and Galaxy S21 match up when it comes to displaying size. The S21 is slightly larger at 6.2 inches compared to the iPhone 12’s 6.1 inches – you are unlikely to notice any difference. The S21 has an AMOLED display, but it’s with the 120Hz adaptive refresh rate where it truly shines. Comparatively, the iPhone 12 packs a Super Retina XDR OLED display, with a refresh rate of 60HZ but a slightly sharper 2532×1170 resolution. That said, the S21 feels noticeably faster and snappier.


The iPhone 12 comes with Apple’s typical large notch, which Apple more than makes for with a glass back that gives it a premium, classier feel. Samsung swamped the rear glass panel of its predecessor with plastic. You will still get the more premium glass back on the Plus model. You also get plenty of colour options with both devices that basically comes down to personal preference.


In true Samsung fashion, the S21’s camera does not disappoint. It features a triple rear camera system, identical to the S20s, composing of 12MP main sensors, 12MP ultra-wide-angle sensors, and 64MP vs. 12MP zoom cameras, giving this phone better zoom capabilities. Apple also opted to stick with the same camera hardware as that of its predecessor, the iPhone 11. It has a 12MP camera boasting of bright f/1.6 focal aperture and outstanding video recording performance. The selfie cameras stack at 12MP for the S21 and 10MP for Apple, with both supporting 4K video recording.

Storage and Processor

As expected, both smartphones come with the latest chip tech. The iPhone 12 is powered by Apple’s very own A14 Bionic processor, while the S21 features either the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 or Samsung Exynos 2100. When it comes to storage space, the S21 and iPhone 12 are available in different configurations. With the former, you get either 128GB or 256GB, both with an 8GB RAM combo, while the latter comes with a choice of 64GB, 128G, or 256GB, with 4GB of RAM. Despite this difference, the iPhone 12 and Galaxy S21 are equally powerful.

Battery Life

This is one of the areas where the iPhone 12 and Galaxy S21 have the biggest difference. The S21 boasts a massive 4,000 mAH battery, while its competitor comes in at just 2,815mAh. They both support fast charging and wireless charging, with the S21 offering Wireless Power Share, a handy feature when you need to wirelessly charge other devices.


As the giants in the smartphone manufacturing industry, Apple and Samsung have been quick to innovate with 5G, as evidenced by these devices. They both support 5G connectivity, with the iPhone 12 notably being the first iPhones to support 5G networks. This means you should enjoy streaming high-quality videos, downloading movies, and Facetime in HD at superfast speeds.

Final thoughts

The iPhone 12 and Galaxy S21 are both great devices, with a lot to offer and stack pretty well in terms of functionality and productivity. But which one should you go for, especially as refurbished? It’s a fierce battle indeed, but the ultimate winner truly comes down to the features you value most and which works best for you. Whichever you decide to choose, you can be guaranteed that you are getting a powerful device and significant value if you were to buy it refurbished.

David Peter

David Peter is an editor for HotAppleNews, he is a tech enthusiast and an avid Apple fan for the best part of a decade. David Peter brings you the latest news, big announcements, leaks and rumours of everything Apple-related. He has reviewed and tested thousands of devices and worked with leading tech brands. In his spare time, David Peter likes to play footy and Xbox with the boys to unwind.

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