Is Google Pixel 5 Better Than iPhone 12?

May 04, 2021

In 2020, the two brands released two phones that managed to attract the limelight for their very good value for money: the iPhone 12 on one side and the Pixel 5 on the other. But which is the most interesting smartphone? Which is the best phone for you? Is Google Pixel 5 Better Than iPhone 12? We compare them here point by point to answer these questions.

Design

In their own ways, Google and Apple have made a kind of flashback with the design of their smartphones this year. The most talked about is, of course, the iPhone 12, whose straight aluminum edges are very reminiscent of the iPhone 4 and its successors, larger of course, and with bezel space.

Everything looks extremely well finished out of the box and the front and back design allows wireless charging. Some testers highlighted rapid wear of the aluminum edges, which was not noticed during our tests, but which should be kept in mind if you want to keep your smartphone for several years and then sell it for a good price. Above all, despite its 6.1-inch screen, unfortunately still marked with a large notch used to house the sensors necessary for facial recognition, the iPhone 12 is relatively compact and above all remains a featherweight (only 164 grams).

For its part, Google is getting back to basics after trying exuberance in 2019. The Pixel 5 is a flat smartphone with rounded edges. It is also even more compact and lighter (151 grams) than the iPhone 12. At the front are thin and uniform borders, and a single lens that discreetly slips through the screen in the upper left corner.

What highlights it the most is certainly the back. While Google claims it is a metal frame pierced through its center for wireless charging, the whole thing is covered with a homemade bioresin (plastic). Exit the glass therefore, we are here on a warmer feeling to the touch. Once again, it will take several months to see if this material ages properly. Despite this, it remains IP68 too.

Screen

On paper, both iPhone 12 and Pixel 5 have fairly similar OLED displays, with Full HD + definition and advertised coverage of the entire DCI-P3 space. One difference sets them apart - a refresh rate of 90 Hz on the Pixel 5 against only 60 Hz for that of iPhone.

In addition, under our probe, the Pixel 5 managed to demonstrate some other advantages, such as its peak brightness (in SDR) at 715 cd/m² against 605 for the iPhone, but above all a wider representation of the different color spectrum for better variation in color reproduction.

Both screens are very beautiful, but looking at details, the Pixel 5 still remains well ahead.

Operating systems

Both systems offer a large number of features and often draw inspiration from each other, like the iOS 14 apps library which is reminiscent of the Android app drawer, for example. Fans of a system will argue that Android allows more customization and offers more possibilities, while others will prefer the advanced curation of the App Store and a better ecosystem once you have different devices of the brand (communication with macOS, with the Watch App, task continuity, etc.).

So this is a matter of preference.

Performance

In terms of performance, Apple and Google have made diametrically opposed choices this year. On the one hand, Apple offers the best of the best by pushing the power and efficiency of its chip a little further with an A14 CPU engraved in 5 nm. On the other hand, Google wanted to cut costs with a mid-range chip, the Snapdragon 765G, which does most of the work without playing the game of benchmark-hungry big-bills.

As a result, the Pixel 5 does well on a daily basis and can even run a few big games as long as you don't push all the graphics settings to the limit. The iPhone 12, for its part, remains arguably the most powerful smartphone at the moment, behind the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max, of course, which have an additional 2 GB of RAM.

On this point, the iPhone 12, therefore, remains unbeatable.

Camera

At a time when manufacturers are multiplying the number of photosensors on the back of their phones, the iPhone 12 and Pixel 5 have gone for simplicity. In both cases, there are two sensors in everything and for everything. But what really makes the difference between these two smartphones is the software processing sprinkled with a healthy dose of computational imagery. No matter how good the photo comes out of the sensor, artificial intelligence transforms it to make it pleasing to the eye.

By day, both phones offer the best with very good dynamic and color management. At night, the result immediately loses quality, with a good result on the phone screen, but we quickly notice that the colors drool from one side to the other when zooming a little in the image and that the outlines lose their sharpness.

Compared to the previous generation, the two smartphones have also improved their clipping for portrait mode, which is now thinner. Both are doing quite well in transcribing colors, but can sometimes struggle to manage certain light sources that are a little too strong, such as urban lighting for example.

In the video, the two are among the best with a recording in 4K at 60 frames per second and above all a very good stabilization. The iPhone 12 is however enriched with a Dolby Vision HDR mode in 4K at 30 frames per second.

Battery

While the iPhone and Pixels weren't known for battery life not too long ago, it looks like things are getting better eventually. The first has a less energy-consuming OLED screen and a more efficient chip, while the second has a larger battery and a much less power-hungry SoC.

The lack of (very) fast charging is still felt. With 18W on the Pixel 5 and 20 on the iPhone 12, you have to wait for a little over 1h40 for a full tank of both. However, you can use a wireless charger if you feel like it.

Is Google Pixel 5 better than iPhone 12?

The main difference is more in terms of power and OS. If you're a fan of food-guzzling games, the iPhone 12 is the one for you, but if you prefer efficiency in everyday use, battery life, or photos, the Pixel 5 can compete with Apple's smartphone without worry.

Of course, Pixel 5 costs 50% less than iPhone 12, and that part is as important as any other aspect. By saving over $400, you can even invest some of it into making your Pixel 5 even better, like adding several i-Blades components, such as screen protector, leather wallet, phone case, and additional storage memory and battery life! And still have $300 left in your pocket! Good bargain.