You knew this battle was coming. Gary Sims has pitted the Snapdragon 888 version of the Galaxy S21 against the iPhone 12 in a realistic speed test, giving you an idea of which flagship should emerge triumphant in practice, not just in theory. As it turns out, this was a close fight — but there was still a clear winner.
Like it or not, the iPhone 12 beat the Galaxy S21 in all three tests. Apple only edged out Samsung by one to two seconds each case, but there was never any doubt as to which one was in front. That’s despite the transition animations that theoretically hold the iPhone back.
Related: Speed Test: iPhone 12 vs OnePlus 8T
It’s a somewhat humbling outcome for Qualcomm — the poster child for the Snapdragon 888 couldn’t outperform the iPhone’s A14 Bionic despite arriving a few months later and boasting double the RAM. Apple may hold on to the smartphone performance crown for much of 2021, and that’s before factoring in the A15 chip that will likely power the next iPhone in the fall.
With that said, the difference is slight. You’ll most likely be happy with the speed of either the Galaxy S21 or iPhone 12. Your choice may boil down to the cameras, your tastes in operating systems, and other harder-to-quantify features. And that’s a good thing. You can buy the phone that makes you truly happy without worrying that you’re missing out on significantly speedier hardware.