The Google Pixel 5 was just announced a few weeks ago. It offers 5G support and continues the Pixel tradition of having great cameras and innovative features. That’s all inside a phone that costs $699. This week, Apple announced the iPhone 12, which also has some impressive hardware and software inside a phone that costs just $100 more at $799. But which one is better: the Pixel 5 vs iPhone 12?
Read more: iPhone 12 series comparison
We’ve yet to review both devices in full, but we can still offer some initial thoughts and opinions based on their spec sheets and our first-look Pixel 5 review. Here is our early look at the Google Pixel 5 vs iPhone 12.
Google Pixel 5 vs iPhone 12
|Google Pixel 5||Apple iPhone 12|
2,340 x 1,080 resolution
90Hz refresh rate
19.5:9 aspect ratio
>1,000,000:1 contrast ratio
|6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED|
2,532 x 1,170 resolution
HDR, True Tone
Wide color (P3)
2,000,000:1 contrast ratio
625 nits max brightness (typical); 1200 nits max brightness (HDR)
Ceramic Shield front
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G|
Titan M Security Module
|Apple A14 Bionic|
No microSD slot
|64 / 128 / 256GB|
No microSD slot
Main: 12.2MP, f/1.7 aperture, 1.4µm pixels, optical + electronic image stabilization
Secondary: 16MP, f/2.2 aperture, 1 micron pixel, ultra-wide (107-degree FoV)
4K at 60fps/30fps
8MP sensor, f/2.0 aperture, 1.12µm pixels, fixed focus, 83-degree FoV
-Wide-angle 12MP, ƒ/1.6, OIS, 7-element lens
-Ultra-wide 12MP, ƒ/2.4, 120° field of view, 5-element lens, lens correction
2x optical zoom out, digital zoom up to 5x, Night Mode, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 3
HDR video with Dolby Vision up to 30fps
4K video at 24fps, 30fps, or 60fps
1080p HD video at 30fps or 60fps
720p HD video at 30fps
OIS for video (Wide)
2x optical zoom out, digital zoom up to 3x
-TrueDepth 12MP, ƒ/2.2
12W wireless charging
Reverse wireless charging
Qi wireless charging up to 7.5W
Up to 50% charge in around 30 minutes with 20W adapter or higher (sold separately)
Wireless charging up to 15W
Accessory Identification NFC
|Software||Android 11||iOS 14|
|Dimensions and weight||144.7 x 70.4 x 8mm|
|146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4mm|
|Colors||Just Black, Sorta Sage||Black, White, Product Red, Green, Blue|
The Google Pixel 5 has a 6-inch OLED display with a 2,340 x 1,080 resolution and a 90Hz refresh rate. The iPhone 12 has a slightly larger 6.1 inch OLED screen with a 2,532 x 1,170 resolution, but is limited to 60Hz.
For the front-facing camera, the Pixel 5 includes a punch-hole cutout on the top left corner of the screen. Meanwhile, the iPhone 12 continues its use of a large notch on top for its front camera and face-scanning sensors. The notch is bit outdated at this point, but if you’re already using an iPhone you’re probably used to it — plus it enables Apple’s Face ID tech.
The Pixel 5 uses Gorilla Glass 6 on its display, with the iPhone 12 opting for a new material called Ceramic Shield. It’s made with a process that adds nano-ceramic crystals inside the glass. This is supposed to offer better protection against drops compared to previous iPhone models.
Google’s latest flagship uses aluminum for the back of the phone, but still supports wireless charging thanks to a unique design feature. The Pixel 5 has a hole in the chassis that’s covered by a material bio-resin. The iPhone 12 also has an aluminum chassis, and also supports wireless charging.
This year the new Pixel returns to the tried-and-true fingerprint sensor on the back, ditching last year’s Soli motion sense. The iPhone 12 makes use of face-reading sensors inside the aforementioned notch to unlock the phone. Both phones have IP68 water and dust resistance certification, but both lack a headphone jack.
The Pixel 5 comes in Just Black and Sorta Sage colors. The iPhone 12 has more color variety, with its choices of Black, White, Product Red, Green, and Blue.
Google put the mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chip in the Pixel 5, which isn’t top-notch but offers enough power for daily use. Apple offers its latest-and-greatest in-house chip, the Apple A14 Bionic, inside the iPhone 12. While we have yet to test the iPhone 12’s chip performance, we are going to bet that the Apple A14 Bionic will blow away the Snapdragon 765G chip in benchmark testing. Both phones support low-frequency and mmWave 5G networks. The iPhone 12, however, only adds mmWave support for the US market.
Read more: Snapdragon 765G vs Snapdragon 865
The Pixel 5 has 8GB of LPDDR4x RAM and 128GB of onboard storage. We don’t have information yet on the RAM specs for the iPhone 12, but iOS is generally optimized to do more with less. For storage, the phone is available with 64, 128, and 256GB. There’s no option to add storage on either phone.
The Pixel 5 has a 4,080mAh battery and supports 18W wired charging speeds, along with 12W wireless charging. We don’t have the specs for the iPhone 12 battery yet, but do know it supports what Apple calls MagSafe. This feature allows new accessories to attach to the back of the phone via magnets, including cases and wireless chargers. The new Apple MagSafe wireless chargers can boost wireless charging on the iPhone 12 by up to 15W. The phones still support the more widely used Qi wireless charging standard, but they’ll only charge iPhone 12 models up to 7.5W.
The Pixel 5 has the same main 12.2MP camera we have seen in previous Pixel phones for the past two years. However, the secondary camera is a 16MP ultra-wide shooter, ditching the telephoto sensor found on the Pixel 4 series. The phone’s portrait mode now includes Google’s low-light Night Sight feature and adds locked, active, and cinematic pan modes for taking better video clips. There’s also an 8MP selfie camera in the front. In our initial review of the phone, we stated that the Pixel 5 can take solid images, but its continued use of older sensors is starting to show compared to other phones with newer sensors and higher megapixel counts.
The iPhone 12 includes two rear cameras. One is a 12MP wide sensor, while the other is a 12MP ultra-wide camera. It also has a 12MP front-facing camera in that big notch on the top of the display. We will have to wait to see how the iPhone 12’s cameras perform in our full review, but we do know that it supports HDR and Dolby Vision HDR video recording at up to 30fps. It will even allow users to edit their Dolby Vision HDR video clips on the phone. We also know it adds night mode time-lapse support, along with night mode on the ultra-wide camera and front camera.
The Pixel 5 is made by Google, which hopefully you already know also develops and updates the Android operating system. That means that for this phone, it gets the newest OS update, Android 11, out of the box. You won’t have to wait to get the latest Android updates, compared to the vast majority of phones that use Google’s mobile OS. Google says it will provide at least three major OS updates to the Pixel 5.
The iPhone 12, like all the new iPhone models for 2020, will ship with iOS 14, which Apple has already released for older iPhone models. It includes new features like supporting widgets on the phone’s home screen and an App Library that helps to better organize your apps. It also adds picture-in-picture support for watching videos or conducting FaceTime calls, while continuing to use another app on the phone. You can expect to see the iPhone 12 to get a long update cycle as well.
- Google Pixel 5 — $699/£599/€629
- iPhone 12
- 64GB – $799/£799/€909
- 128GB -$849/£849/€959
- 256GB – $949/£949/€1,079
Pre-orders for the Pixel 5 are available now for $699 in the US via the Google Store, Google Fi, Verizon, and retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart. Shipments of the phones are expected to begin in late October.
Pre-orders for the iPhone 12 begin on Friday, October 16, and the phone goes on sale at Apple’s stores on October 23. Pricing begins at $799 for the 64GB model when you purchase them via AT&T or Verizon, or $829 with a fully unlocked phone.
Google Pixel 5 vs iPhone 12: Which one should you choose?
There’s no doubt that the Pixel 5 is an impressive Android phone for its price tag. It has a big 90Hz display, support for Android 11 out of the box, and its camera hardware and software are still solid. However, on paper, the iPhone 12 also has a lot to offer, with a slightly bigger display, more storage choices, and most importantly a new in-house processor that will almost certainly blow away the one inside the Pixel 5. The iPhone 12 also ships with iOS 14 out of the box, and like the Pixel 5 will get updated very quickly with security fixes and major and minor OS updates.
Software and price may be the decider.
If you absolutely want to get an Android phone over an iPhone, the Pixel 5 is perhaps the best to get in this price range just for the OS updates alone. The iPhone 12 sounds like it has some impressive specs as well, but it is at least $100 more expensive than the Pixel 5. We will have to wait for our full review to see if the iPhone 12 is worth your time and money compared to the Pixel 5, but on paper they both look like fantastic buys.