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Google Pixel 5 vs Apple iPhone 12: Which should you buy?

We take a look at the Pixel 5 vs iPhone 12 to see which one of these two smartphones is a better buy for you.

Published onMay 8, 2021

Google Pixel 5 display 1
David Imel / Android Authority

The Google Pixel 5 was announced in the fall of 2020. 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. Apple also announced the iPhone 12 just a few weeks afterward. It also has some impressive hardware and software inside a phone that costs $100 more at $799. But which one is better: the Pixel 5 vs iPhone 12?

Read more: iPhone 12 series comparison

We have now reviewed both devices in full, so now we can give your our full thoughts and opinions on how these two mid-range phones compare with each other. Here is our look at the Google Pixel 5 vs iPhone 12.

Google Pixel 5 vs iPhone 12


Google Pixel 5Apple iPhone 12
Google Pixel 5
6-inch OLED
2,340 x 1,080 resolution
90Hz refresh rate
19.5:9 aspect ratio
>1,000,000:1 contrast ratio
Apple iPhone 12
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
Google Pixel 5
Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
2x Cortex-A76
6x Cortex-A55
Titan M Security Module
Apple iPhone 12
Apple A14 Bionic
Google Pixel 5
Apple iPhone 12
Google Pixel 5
No microSD slot
Apple iPhone 12
64 / 128 / 256GB
No microSD slot
Google Pixel 5
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
Apple iPhone 12
-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
Headphone jack
Google Pixel 5
Apple iPhone 12
Google Pixel 5
18W charging
12W wireless charging
Reverse wireless charging
Apple iPhone 12
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
Magnet array
Alignment magnet
Accessory Identification NFC
IP rating
Google Pixel 5
Apple iPhone 12
Google Pixel 5
Android 11
Apple iPhone 12
iOS 14
Dimensions and weight
Google Pixel 5
144.7 x 70.4 x 8mm

Apple iPhone 12
146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4mm
Google Pixel 5
Just Black, Sorta Sage
Apple iPhone 12
Black, White, Product Red, Green, Blue


iPhone 12 Mini back in hand 1 1
David Imel / Android Authority

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.

See also: Google Pixel 5 vs Pixel 4a 5G vs Pixel 4a — Which should you buy?

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 Pixel 5 grey back
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

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. It’s safe to say the Apple A14 Bionic blows 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. The iPhone 12 has just 4GB of RAM, 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.  The iPhone 12 has a 2815mAh battery yet. We also 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.

In our testing, the iPhone 12 gave us six hours of screen-on time, while the Pixel 5 offered us nearly eight hours of screen-on time. One thing the iPhone 12 does not have is a direct charging brick. It just has a USB-C to lightning charging cable. That means you will have to use an older USB-C charging brick or buy a separate USB-C to Lightning charger for the phone.


iPhone 12 Mini side rails and part of screen 1
David Imel / Android Authority

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 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. It supports HDR and Dolby Vision HDR video recording at up to 30fps. It also allows users to edit their Dolby Vision HDR video clips on the phone. The Phone adds night mode time-lapse support, along with night mode on the ultra-wide camera and front camera. In our review, we noted that overall we were impressed by the photos we took with the iPhone 12, with solid colors and dynamic range, and taking videos also offers very good colors and stabilization.


Google Pixel 5 Android norification tray 1
David Imel / Android Authority

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

The Pixel 5 is available now for $699 in the US via the Google Store, Google Fi, Verizon, and retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart. The iPhone 12 is also now available. 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 taking a photo 4 1
Google Pixel 5 (New)
Google's first 5G smartphone
The Google Pixel 5 may not be the high-end Pixel we were expecting, but it's a pretty compelling mid-range option. Google is going back to basics with the Pixel 5, ditching higher-end features like face recognition and the quirky Motion Sense gestures.
iPhone 12 Pro holding bakc of phone against sunset
Apple iPhone 12 series
Four to choose from
There are a total of four new iPhones in Apple's iPhone 12 lineup: the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max. Brighter displays, faster processors, and more durable build quality are what you can expect with all four of these new phones.

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, 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 blows 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. However, battery life is definitely better on the Pixel 5 by a large margin.

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 has some impressive specs as well, but it is at least $100 more expensive than the Pixel 5. Ultimately, it’s up to you if you want to spend that much more money on the iPhone 12, even with its lower amount of battery life.

Read more: 5 best Android alternatives to the iPhone 12

Which phone would you choose?

2825 votes

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