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.
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 S20 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
Apple’s arch-rival in the Android space delivered four S-series flagships that are jam-packed with features. All Samsung Galaxy S20 series phones are equipped with a Snapdragon 865 or an Exynos 990 flagship SoC, a 120Hz OLED panel, water resistance, and wireless charging.
The $1,300 Galaxy S20 Ultra is the top-end model here, serving up a 108MP main camera, a 4x periscope zoom camera, a 5,000mAh battery, and up to 16GB of RAM. Those wanting the best specs on paper will want to look at this model.
Samsung’s Galaxy S20 FE is on the other end of the spectrum, retailing for just $700 and making precious few compromises. Some of the cutbacks include a plastic back, no 8K recording, and an FHD+ screen. Nevertheless, you’re still getting the aforementioned features like a 120Hz OLED screen, water resistance, and wireless charging. And yes, you’re also getting a relatively large battery and a flexible triple camera setup.
It’s also worth noting that all S20 models feature a night hyperlapse mode that’s similar to Apple’s night mode timelapse functionality. Samsung has also offered night mode on the ultra-wide camera for over a year now — something Apple only just delivered with the iPhone 12 series.
The Korean company has confirmed that it now offers three years of software support for major devices (including the S10 series and higher and the Note 10 series and higher). It’s not quite as long as Apple owners usually get, but it’s certainly about as good as it gets on Android.
2. Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
- Essentially the Galaxy S20 Ultra with an S-Pen and a few tweaks
- The standard Galaxy Note 20 isn’t really worth it though
- Available in loads of countries around the world
Samsung’s late 2020 flagship continues the trend of obscene flagship pricing, coming in at $1,300 as well. So, what do you get for the price, then?
The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra delivers a flagship SoC, a QHD+ 120Hz OLED screen, water resistance, and wireless charging. Other notable features include the ever-popular S Pen, 8K recording, a triple rear camera setup (108MP main, 12MP 5x optical, 12MP ultra-wide), and a 4,500mAh battery.
What we thought: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra review — No longer setting the bar
We’d steer clear of the standard Galaxy Note 20 though unless you absolutely must have a powerful phone with an S Pen. It’s more expensive than the Galaxy S20 FE but packs the same plastic back, a slightly smaller battery, a standard refresh rate panel, and no microSD slot. The only reason to buy this is if the S Pen is indispensable to you.
3. OnePlus 8 Pro
- Water resistance and wireless charging for the first time in the series
- 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 really stepped its game up in 2020, as the OnePlus 8 Pro joins the premium flagship ranks for the first time. Sure, the phone retails for $999, but you’re also getting welcome extras like wireless charging (30W) and water resistance for the first time.
The OnePlus 8 Pro also packs a 120Hz QHD+ OLED panel, while the quad-rear camera setup is pretty neat too. You’ve got a 48MP IMX689 main camera, a 48MP ultra-wide shooter, an 8MP 3X zoom shooter, and a gimmicky 5MP color filter camera.
OnePlus also has a reputation for delivering updates to its phones for up to three years, as we saw with the OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T. So much like Samsung’s phones, they’re among the best iPhone 12 alternatives if you value software support.
4. LG V60
- Packs plenty of features for the price (including a headphone jack!)
- The Dual Screen case accessory enables a foldable-style experience
- Available in many countries around the world
Is the LG V60 one of the more underrated high-end smartphones of 2020? I wouldn’t vote against it, as it certainly makes for one of the better iPhone 12 alternatives at $800. 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/13MP ultra-wide/3D ToF combination. It also packs 8K recording support and LG’s suite of features (ASMR mode, voice bokeh, cinemagraphs, and manual video).
The V60 does lack a couple of features found on rival flagships, however. Those include a high refresh rate screen and super-fast charging. Then again, Apple’s latest phones lack these features too. It’s also not quite on Apple, Google, Huawei, and Samsung’s level when it comes to overall image quality and consistency, but the gap is closer than ever.
LG 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. It’s not nearly as polished as a phone with a folding screen, but it’s nevertheless a unique proposition in the Android space.
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 pips Apple to the post by launching Night Mode 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.
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.