The iPhone 12 and Google Pixel 5 are not the major flagship phones that are the standard bearers of iOS and Android, the two major smartphone platforms in the world.
In fact, comparing these two phones means marketing the two largest tech companies in the world to each other. Both Apple and Google have set their stalls about what an ideal smartphone should look like, from software to hardware.
So how do the actions of these two headlines compare to each other? There are many similarities and many more, which is a really compelling comparison.
IPhone 12 and Pixel 5 pricing and availability
iPhone 12 was released on October 23, 2020. Prices start at $ 799 / A $ 799 / A $ 1,349 for the 64GB model and rise to $ 849 / A $ 849 / A $ 1,429 for the 128GB model and $ 949 / A $ 949 / A $ 1,599 for the 256GB model.
Google Pixel 5 was launched on October 15, 2020, just a week ago. There is only one Pixel 5 model and it’s available from the official Google Store for RRP $ 699 / £ 599 / AU $ 999.
Comparing the entry models, the iPhone 12 premium is $ 100 / £ 200 / AU $ 359, but if you’re considering a strict spec combination, the 128GB iPhone 12 will cost $ 150 / £ 250 / AU $ more than the 128GB Pixel 5. 430 will be higher. ..
These two phones have little resemblance in terms of external design, but both go against the trend in their own way.
For the iPhone 12, it moves away from the obsession with smooth curves and rounded edges that seem to dominate the wider smartphone industry. The iPhone 12 goes back to the era of flat surfaces and sharp edges. No such thing has been seen on top-level phones since the iPhone 5S.
On the other hand, with the Pixel 5, that’s important. There’s no glass rear panel here, nor is it the type of hybrid plastic found on the Galaxy S21. Instead, Google puts things back in metal, wrapping cool yet premium materials around the sides.
This metal also has an interesting matte finish that makes it feel more like polycarbonate than a regular aluminum frame. The device is available in two shades, Sorta Sage and Just Black. These are next to the iPhone 12s Silver, Graphite, Gold and Pacific Blue options.
iPhone 12 (Image credit: Apple) Image 2/2
Google Pixel 5 (Image credit: Future)
Still, the metal is metal, and the Pixel 5 will look stronger than the glass-lined iPhone 12. But it’s worth pointing out that Apple’s phone has a new nanocrystalline ceramic shield screen on the front. It is four times stronger than competing materials. It also has an excellent IP68 rating for up to 30 minutes and up to 6 meters deep.
In terms of proportions, the iPhone 12 is 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4mm (HWD) next to the Pixel 5s 144.7 x 70.4 x 8mm. This means that Google phones are shorter and narrower than Apple phones, but 0.5 millimeters thicker. These are also two of the lightest flagship phones on the market, but the iPhone 12 is a 164g heavier unit compared to the 151g Pixel 5.
In our review, we weren’t a big fan of the hard, confusing side buttons on the Pixel 5s. Conversely, the iPhone 12 includes a premium metal switch and its amazing Apple alert slider. The Pixel 5s speaker is a stereo like the iPhone 12, but it seems to be a step back.
Another design difference is related to different approaches to biometrics. The Pixel 5 has a fairly archaic back-mounted fingerprint sensor, and the iPhone 12 has a prominent screen notch for Face ID. It’s arguable that Apple’s approach goes a step further, but these days, the ability to wear a mask to unlock your phone is very useful.
Overall, we prefer the more striking iPhone 12 design to the fairly practical Pixel 5. However, they are clear enough that this can be a matter of taste.
Unlike what these phones look like, they both opt for a compact OLED display as well.
The iPhone 12 comes with a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED screen with a resolution of 2532 x 1170. It is one of the most balanced displays on the market in terms of color accuracy, with 600 knits under normal conditions, which can reach a peak brightness level of 1200 knits.
In the other corner, the Pixel 5 offers a similarly bright 6-inch OLED with a slightly lower resolution of 2340 x 1080.
The Pixel 5 wins at the refresh rate. At 90Hz, Google’s flagship doesn’t reach the 120Hz main pack, but it’s ultimately 50% more liquid than the 60Hz iPhone 12. To be honest, there are some oversights on the Apple side.
The iPhone 12 wins in image fidelity, while the Pixel 5 gets a big score in liquidity. Based on the result of the latter, pass the victory to Google’s mobile phone.
Google Pixel 5 (Image credit: Future)
Both phones believe they are photography champions with stripped dual-camera products. And the first glance suggests a similar approach.
The iPhone 12 includes a pair of 12-megapixel sensors. One is an example of a large aperture main wide of f / 1.6, and the other is an example of an ultra wide aperture of f / 2.4. Google’s Pixel 5 offers a 12.2 megapixel main sensor with an aperture of f / 1.7 and an ultra-wide 16 megapixel f / 2.2.
Both main sensors offer the same 1.4 µm pixel size and both are supported by OIS. Neither camera setting provides a dedicated telephoto lens and relies on a clever trimming algorithm for zoomed shots.
Google’s approach to mastering smartphone cameras has long supported the Pixel line. A resource-intensive approach that inevitably impacts prices as it advances through its formidable image processing algorithms, preferring to use the same older sensors rather than upgrading their hardware every year.
Of course, Apple has also made great strides in recent years with its unique image processing technology. As a result, both Apple and Google are very good at creating balanced smartphone camera images.
Sure enough, these are two of the best camera phones in the business. Both devices take crisp, balanced shots during the day and eerily clear shots at night. Google’s night shots are probably a bit brighter, but the iPhone 12 can apply night mode to all cameras, including selfie cams.
We like the wider nature of the iPhone 12s 120 degree ultra-wide camera. This fits much better than the Pixel 5’s fairly bright 107 degree field of view. Still, how Google balances normal distortion and its ultra-wide-angle color balance issue feels magical.
The iPhone 12, on the other hand, blows the Pixel 5 (and almost all non-Apple phones) out of the water when it comes to video capture quality. Both can shoot 4K video at 60fps, but the iPhone 12s is better.
Overall, we need to give Apple an overall victory. It has made more progress in more areas and achieved a better camera experience overall, but it’s getting pretty close.
Specifications and performance
iPhone 12 (Image credit: TechRadar)
One really indisputable area is performance. The iPhone 12 completely blows the Google Pixel 5 out of this front water.
Of course, the A14 Bionic chip, which powers the iPhone 12, blows all Android flagships out of the water. After all, it’s the most powerful mobile processor in the business.
But the Pixel 5 didn’t even contend with Google’s groundbreaking decision to compromise power in the name of cost-effectiveness. If you want to know that the Pixel 5 is much cheaper than the iPhone 12, using the Snapdragon 765 CPU is the best exhibit.
This is a mid-range Qualcomm chip, just below the Snapdragon 865, which powers most 2020 Android flagship phones, and even behind the Snapdragon 888, which powers the 2021 class.
The difference is detailed in the Geekbench 5 multi-core benchmark test, with a Pixel 5 score of 1,617 compared to 3,859 on the iPhone 12s. That’s more than twice the output.
Google phones may be backed up with twice as much RAM as iPhone 128GB and 4GB, but given the different memory usage of Android and iOS, this is largely irrelevant.
In fact, the Pixel 5 makes it easy to perform a variety of tasks, from browsing the web to playing games and media. Call of Duty: After a persistent bout of Mobile, there was actually a noticeable performance drop, not during gameplay.
But the iPhone 12 has plenty of room, so I’m sure it will feel fast for years. The same cannot be said with some certainty for the Pixel 5, especially given Apple’s excellent track record of ongoing hardware support.
The Pixel 5 is partially counterattacking by offering 128GB of storage as standard. The iPhone 12 gets 64GB, which isn’t enough anymore. Of course, you can specify 128GB or 256GB, but at a cost.
Both phones come standard with 5G, so there is no advantage to talking there. Also, when it comes to software, it’s not a winner.
Apple definitely has an edge here over literally all other Android makers, but not on the Pixel. Even the most sophisticated Android UI is a change in the core Google OS, so even if you prefer the Samsung (or OnePlus, Xiaomi) method, it’s not a pure or fully optimized experience. Just as the iPhone 12 is always Apple, it’s not the case with Google’s exhaustive Pixel 5.
The iPhone 12s 2,815mAh battery looks pathetic next to the Pixel 5s 4,080mAh unit.
However, iOS is generally simpler than Android, so it’s not that simple. The iPhone 12 also features a better, more efficient processor and a less power-consuming 60Hz display.
Ultimately, the stamina of both phones is good, but not noticeable. Water brings significant improvements to the Pixel 5, especially compared to the Pixel 4, but both phones are firmly in the “Solid Days of Use” category, from light to very heavy use.
The iPhone 12 supports 20W wired charging compared to the Pixel 5s 18W, which gives it a slight advantage when it comes to charging. But at least the Pixel comes with that charger. You will need to purchase an iPhone quick charger (or, for that matter, any charger) separately.
The iPhone 12 also supports 15W Qi wireless charging next to the Pixel 5s 12W.
iPhone 12 (Image Credit: TechRadar) Image 2/2
Google Pixel 5 (Image credit: Future)
The iPhone 12 and Pixel 5 bring a fascinating Apple-Google showdown on the surface, but it’s very difficult to make a direct comparison.
Apple has chosen a bold, premium design statement for the iPhone 12, with many Pros on the mainstream line. Conversely, the Pixel 5 removes things from the Pixel 4 and offers a near-flagship experience at a mid-range price.
As a result, the Pixel 5 is much cheaper than the iPhone 12, making it a better choice for those on a £ 500 (ish) budget. With that money, you’ll have a camera system, display, and clean software experience that is competitive with Apple.
If you’re willing to pay more, the iPhone 5 definitely feels like a more premium phone, and its performance is in a completely different league.
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