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, with the fastest possible processor for an Android phone and a camera system that somehow improves the already stellar performance of the S20.
What’s even more exciting is that the S21 is rumored to start at around the $849-$899. Yes, that’s a hefty lump of money, but let me remind you that 2020’s Galaxy S20 started at $999 as a baseline, which — come on — it’s overkill.
Anyway, you know what else can cost you about $800? Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro. The 2019 iPhone is still available at carriers, sometimes heavily discounted, and is still a perfectly good flagship-grade smartphone.
So… What to do in 2021? Grab a shiny new Galaxy S21 or a tried and true iPhone 11 Pro? Hm, let’s ponder that for a bit.
Galaxy S21 vs iPhone 11 Pro design
Apple’s iPhones are well known for sticking to the same formula for years on end and the iPhone 11 Pro looks a lot like the iPhone X, which was introduced way back in 2017. If you are looking for something fresh and exciting, this is probably not the phone for you.
But if you want a shape that feels instantly familiar, recognizable, and has a ton of 3rd party cases and accessories available for it — that’s a bingo right there.
There’s no tip-toeing around the fact that the iPhone 11 Pro has that huge notch on top of its screen, which irks some while it doesn’t bother others. The upside is that there is a reason for it — Face ID is still a fantastic way of unlocking your phone just by looking at it.
It has a uniform bezel all around the screen, which may be just a bit on the thick side, but at least provides good protection from accidental touches. Then again, if you slap a case on it, that bezel thickness adds up.
The Galaxy S21 — as seen in plenty of leaked renders, press materials, and photos — also has a uniform bezel all around. Samsung has finally done it, after releasing a bunch of phones that had an ever-so-slightly thicker chin (to house the display driver), now we get that perfect symmetry all around.
There’s no notch here, just a tiny cutout for the selfie camera up top, which looks elegant, sophisticated, and high-tech. The Galaxy S21 will rely on a under-the-screen fingerprint scanner for unlocking — a tech that some like, while others find a bit slow and cumbersome.
And, of course, we get a new-ish design. Samsung keeps it fresh by remixing the look of its phones every year — the company does stick to a base “industrial design” look, but always adds something new. Well, sometimes the risk isn’t worth it, but in the case of the Galaxy S21 — I think it looks pretty sleek.
Galaxy S21 vs iPhone 11 Pro specs
Let’s start this off by pointing out that the Galaxy S21 will have a super-fluid 120 Hz screen, while the iPhone 11 Pro (and the iPhone 12 series, for that matter) is locked to 60 Hz. iOS’ smoothness does do a good job at alleviating that, but once you get used to 120 Hz, it’s kind of hard to go back.
The Galaxy S21 will be an absolute powerhouse, no doubt about that. It’ll be powered by Qualcomm’s brand-new Snapdragon 888 chipset in the US or Samsung’s Exynos 2100 processor for international markets. Both of these chips are built on a 5 nm process, meaning they are more energy-efficient yet faster than the previous generation, and we’ve been hearing impressive things about them. Like top-notch benchmark performance and the ability to shoot 120 FPS burst photos.
The iPhone 11 Pro has Apple’s A13 Bionic inside, built on a 7 nm process. The chip is still pretty fast and doesn’t have trouble whether it comes to gaming, video editing on the phone, or just casually browsing.
The Galaxy S21 will have 8 GB of RAM as multi-tasking is often on the high-priority list for Samsung devices and will come with a minimum of 128 GB of storage. That’s quite a bit of room for games, videos, and files, yet you’d still be able to expand it with a microSD card, should you wish to.
The iPhone 11 Pro starts at 64 GB of storage, which is OK for most use cases, but feels kind of stingy in late 2020 (and throughout 2021, for sure). Also, the iPhone has 4 GB of RAM, since iOS loves to freeze background apps and doesn’t need the extra RAM to provide the illusion of multi-tasking.
Galaxy S21 vs iPhone 11 Pro camera
Rumors insist that the Galaxy S21 will be borrowing the camera system of its predecessor — the Galaxy S20. This means a 12 MP main wide-angle camera, a 12 MP ultrawide camera, and a 64 MP camera with 3x hybrid zoom for those “telephoto-esque” portrait shots.
That’s not a bad thing — the Galaxy S20 had a fantastic camera overall, with a good Portrait Mode, Night Mode available for all cameras, and great audio recording. Samsung will surely provide some software-side fine-tuning. We definitely expect to see some improvement in terms of HDR video footage. The Galaxy S20 was able to record video at HDR+, but only at 1080p. The S21 should definitely get an upgrade here and offer 4K @ 60 FPS HDR vide recording in order to answer Apple’s iPhone 12 Pro 4K video HDR Dolby Vision capabilities.
The iPhone 11 Pro’s camera is still stellar and dependable, but its features feel a bit outdated. Night Mode is only available on the main wide-angle camera, not the telephoto, ultra-wide, or selfie shooter. It doesn’t support the new ProRAW feature, which was just released for the iPhone 12 series. It has a proper optical zoom camera for portraits, but with just a 2x magnification.
Still, features like Deep Fusion and Smart HDR help it stay afloat and produce some fantastic pictures. It may hail from 2019, but the iPhone 11 Pro is still a great camera phone.
Galaxy S21 vs iPhone 11 Pro 5G connectivity
Well, this one is simple. The iPhone 11 Pro does not support 5G, period. The Galaxy S21 will have support for both mmWave and Sub-6Ghz signals, so if the future of connectivity is what you are after, that’s a pretty simple decision right here.
Galaxy S21 vs iPhone 11 Pro expectations and final words
The Galaxy S21 will, no doubt, be a fantastic flagship. It looks shiny and fresh, it’s going to have stellar cameras, and — by the looks of it — fantastic performance improvements over the S20 series. And, of course, it’s 5G ready out of the box — something that should become a big deal about the time 2022 rolls around.
On the other hand, it’s going to be pretty hard to resist the iPhone 11 Pro offers that keep raining down. At the time of writing this, Verizon is offering an iPhone 11 Pro for $500 with a new Unlimited plan. And, let’s be fair, that’s a lot of phone for $500!
Not to mention, if you’ve been lusting after an Apple Watch experience, trying out Apple Arcade, Apple TV+, or the new Fitness+ service — a discounted iPhone 11 Pro seems even more lucrative.
Samsung does have its own ecosystem, with the Galaxy Watch models, Galaxy Buds earbuds, and the ton of Samsung smart home appliances that you can equip your house with. So, that’s also something to consider.