The Apple iPhone 12 series is the biggest yet. From the $699 iPhone 12 Mini to the $1,099 iPhone 12 Pro Max, the Cupertino company has a variety of devices on offer, all supporting 5G and offering OLED screens.
Like the idea of the iPhone but prefer Android? Or maybe you’re an iPhone owner looking at the competition? Then we’ve got you covered with our rundown of the best Android alternatives to the iPhone 12 family.
The best iPhone 12 alternatives
1. Samsung Galaxy S21 series
- Powerful Android flagship phones stuffed with a ton of features.
- Samsung promises three years of system updates for its phones.
- Available in a wide variety of markets.
Samsung is Apple’s arch-rival in the mobile space, and the Galaxy S21 range is the Korean firm’s latest offering. All of these phones pack 120Hz OLED screens, Snapdragon 888 or Exynos 2100 processors, water resistance, and wireless charging.
The $1,200 Galaxy S21 Ultra is the most feature-packed model of the bunch, delivering a QHD+ screen, 108MP main camera, 3X and 10X zoom cameras, a 5,000mAh battery, and up to 16GB of RAM. Those wanting the best specs on paper will want to look at this model. Otherwise, the S21 and S21 Plus share an FHD+ screen, a 12MP main camera, a hybrid telephoto camera, and offer smaller batteries.
Our verdict: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review — Ultra refined
Samsung’s phones offer a higher refresh rate than Apple’s 60Hz iPhones, which should result in a more responsive screen and animations. But not everyone can spot the difference between a 60Hz screen and a 90Hz or 120Hz panel. Furthermore, the 3X and 10X cameras on the Ultra should also deliver much better zoom quality than even the top-end iPhone. In any case, the $800 starting price and three years of system updates makes the S21 series one of the more attractive iPhone 12 alternatives.
2. Xiaomi Mi 11
- A powerful flagship phone with a top-notch screen.
- Lacks a telephoto camera and IP rating, although the Ultra variant offers this.
- Available in Europe and coming to India (no US release though).
Xiaomi launched the Mi 11 in China back in December, with a global release coming the following month. At €799 in Europe, the phone is actually €50 cheaper than the base Galaxy S21 in Europe (although the S21 costs $800 in the US). Either way, you’re getting a top-class Snapdragon 888 processor, a slick QHD+ 120Hz OLED screen, and a 4,600mAh battery.
The Mi 11 also serves up ultra-fast charging, featuring 55W wired top-ups and 50W wireless charging. Our own Eric Zeman found that the phone could reach full capacity in just 47 minutes. This is faster than Apple’s solutions, and you’re actually getting the 55W charger in the box.
There are a few downsides to the phone though, such as the lack of a telephoto camera (you’re getting a 108MP main camera, 13MP ultra-wide, and 5MP telemacro sensor though). Another major downer is the lack of an IP rating.
Fortunately, the recently launched Mi 11 Ultra offers water resistance, a bigger battery, a 5X periscope zoom camera, and even faster wired/wireless charging. The Ultra model is gunning for Apple’s Pro Max phone, coming in at €1,200.
3. OnePlus 9 Pro
- Water resistance and wireless charging for the Pro model.
- OnePlus tends to support its phones for as many as three versions of Android.
- Available in the likes of Asia, Europe, and North America (sorry, Africa and Latin America).
OnePlus has delivered a pretty compelling iPhone 12 alternative in the OnePlus 9 Pro, bringing flagship power, an IP68 rating, and 50W wireless charging to the table. In fact, the latter means that this phone charges faster wirelessly (50 minutes) than iPhones do with a cable.
The OnePlus 9 Pro also serves up a 120Hz QHD+ OLED screen, a flexible camera setup (48MP main, 50MP ultra-wide, 8MP 3X, 2MP monochrome), and a 4,500mAh battery. At a starting price of $929, the Pro variant is going up against the iPhone 12 Pro.
Our verdict: OnePlus 9 Pro review — Gunning for Apple and Samsung
Looking for something a little cheaper? Then the $729 OnePlus 9 is also worth considering. You miss out on ultra-fast wireless charging (and wireless charging entirely in India), a QHD+ screen, and telephoto zoom. You also don’t get water resistance if you buy an unlocked variant. But you still get plenty of power, a 120Hz OLED screen, high resolution main and ultra-wide cameras, and fast wired charging.
4. LG V60
- Packs plenty of features for the price (including a headphone jack!).
- Getting three years of system updates now that LG is shutting its mobile unit.
- Available in many countries around the world.
Was the LG V60 one of the more underrated high-end smartphones of last year? I wouldn’t vote against it. In addition to the expected Snapdragon 865 and 5G combo, the phone packs a huge 5,000mAh battery, a headphone port, IP68 water/dust resistance, and wireless charging support.
LG’s phone is pretty spartan in terms of the number of cameras, foregoing a zoom-focused shooter in favor of a 64MP main/13MP ultra-wide combination. This is on par with the iPhone 12 and Mini model though. It also packs 8K recording support and LG’s suite of features (ASMR mode, voice bokeh, cinemagraphs, and manual video). The phone does lack a few other features found on rival devices, however, such as a high refresh rate and super-fast charging. But iPhones lack this feature too, to be fair.
The V60 also offers an optional Dual Screen case (seen above), essentially turning your phone into a dual-screen foldable. It’s a very thick and hefty combo though. But it gives you a pseudo-foldable experience without actually having to buy a foldable. And many carriers and retailers are offering this accessory with a purchase of the V60.
Of course, the other elephant in the room is that LG has announced its exit from the mobile business. But the company has since promised to deliver three years of Android version updates to high-end phones from 2019 or later. Another upside is that the V60 retails for under $500 on the likes of Amazon as of writing. That’s a massive steal in our book.
5. Google Pixel 5
- Ditches high-end horsepower in favor of a mid-range 5G chipset.
- Also features an ultra-wide rear camera and software support for three years.
- Available in Australia, Europe, North America, Japan, and Taiwan.
Google’s Pixel series has usually been heralded as the Android equivalent of the iPhone, and this is still true in many ways with the Pixel 5. You’ve got three years of system updates, stock Android with exclusive features, and a reliable and fantastic camera experience. In fact, the new Pixel just pipped Apple to the post by launching low-light portraits first.
Google’s new phone also swaps out the Pixel 4’s secondary telephoto camera in favor of an ultra-wide camera, lining up quite well with the cheaper iPhone 12 models. Otherwise, the addition of a 90Hz OLED screen, water resistance, and wireless charging make for a well-rounded premium experience. And yes, the rear fingerprint scanner is back in lieu of face unlock — perfect for these mask-wearing times.
What we thought: Google Pixel 5 review — The best premium Pixel
It’s not all fantastic though, as the Pixel 5 uses a mid-range 5G chipset to reach this price point. Furthermore, the Galaxy S20 FE has the same $700 price but offers plenty more features (e.g. triple cameras instead of dual rear cameras, 120Hz OLED instead of 90Hz).
Like the idea of the Pixel 5 but want something cheaper? Well, the $500 Pixel 4a 5G ditches the high refresh rate, water resistance, and wireless charging. But you still get the same cameras, chipset, and commitment to updates.
That’s it for our look at the best iPhone 12 alternatives! Are there any other smartphones you can recommend? Let us know via the comments below. Still keen on the iPhone 12? Hit the links below to get yours.