Google and Apple are the two latest phone makers to release a 5G phone: the long-awaited iPhone 12 (now available) and the Pixel 5, which Google introduced alongside the Pixel 4A 5G and which is now also for sale. The two biggest differences between the iPhone 12 and Pixel 5 are the price and the operating system.

In terms of price, this is not a very fair fight. While the $ 699 Pixel 5 is Google's current flagship, it lacks many of the premium features we've come to expect from brands like Samsung and Apple. (The Pixel 5 compares itself to an iPhone 11 with a similar price instead.) The pricing structure for the iPhone 12 is a little more complicated as Apple released four models and prices vary between unlocked and carrier models. The base model for the iPhone 12 starts at $ 799 (£ 799 and AU $ 1,349) with carrier discounts. The $ 100 difference in price compared to the Pixel 5 cannot be missed, especially when belts tighten during the coronavirus pandemic.

As for the operating system, those connected to Apple's iOS ecosystem are unlikely to look twice at a Google phone. The same goes for Android users. However, if you're looking to switch from iPhone to Android, Android to iOS, or just want to wear a rubber neck during phone showdowns, read on as we compare the design, camera, battery, and battery of the iPhone 12 and Pixel 5 Performance.

Patrick Holland / CNET

With 5G support, a sleek new look, major camera upgrades, a ceramic screen, and overall brisk performance, Apple's newest flagship is a strength to be reckoned with. CNET's Patrick Holland called the phone "a complete unit" and praised its "plate-like beauty" – reminiscent of the iPhone 5 design. Not only did the 12 score more points in performance benchmark tests than any other phone we've ever tested, it's also one of our top-rated phones of all time. It's a shame that there are no headphones and no power supply.

Read our Apple iPhone 12 review.

Juan Garzon / CNET

We called the Pixel 3 "the best Android phone of 2018", but our impression of the Pixel 4 of the following year and now the Pixel 5 was very similar: cool camera, but not for the price. Still, Google fans will appreciate the multitude of extras included in the latest Pixel, such as a 90 Hz display, a larger battery, and some nice tricks for computer photography. And if you want 5G for $ 100 less, the Pixel 5 is for you.

Read our Google Pixel 5 review.


The iPhone 12 caused a sensation with its throwback design. Apple brought back the flat, angular edges that set the iPhone 12 apart from competitors who prefer curved sides. The new flagship is also available in new shades of blue: dark blue for the iPhone 12 and Pacific blue for the 12 Pro. The Pixel 5 has a more minimalist design with a pinhole camera, thin bezels, and a flush rear camera.

Read: The results of the iPhone 12 drop test are: Ceramic shield is as tough as it sounds

One area where the Pixel 5 outperforms the iPhone 12, at least on paper, is the 90 Hz refresh rate. Apple's flagship has a 60 Hz display. A 90 Hz display means the screen updates 90 frames per second, which makes scrolling smoother. Note that the Pixel 5's refresh rate is dynamic, similar to many other 90 or 120 Hz phones. The phone will reset to 60 Hz when the higher refresh rate is not needed, e.g. B. when the screen is static to save battery life.

The iPhone 12 and Pixel 5 are almost identical in size. The iPhone 12 is slightly larger than the Pixel 5's 6-inch display with a 6.1-inch screen. The iPhone 12 is also heavier than the Pixel 5's 5.33 ounces at 5.78 ounces. But because that iPhone 12 comes in four flavors and three sizes, people big and small are sure to find an iPhone that fits. The iPhone 12 Mini has a 5.4-inch display and the Pro Max has a whopping 6.7-inch. Here you can compare all the dimensions and other specifications of the four iPhone 12 models from Apple.

The Apple iPhone 12 Pro looks bold and flashy

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As a pioneer in computer photography, Google's phone cameras shine in their software. As competitors like Apple have improved their software offerings, Google's hardware couldn't keep up. The Pixel 5's camera setup is still great, however, and there are some exciting new tricks up its sleeve like combining night vision and portrait mode for blurring background shots in low light. Other improvements to the Pixel 5's camera include a new edit mode for light and portrait photos and an ultrawide camera for landscape and group photos.

However, the iPhone 12 also meets the high-end requirements of professional photographers. Apple already added an ultrawide lens for last year's iPhone 11, and the 12 Pro includes both the ultrawide angle and a telephoto camera (plus lidar!). Meanwhile, Apple has solved the low-light problem with hardware upgrades – a new lens with an aperture of f1.6 and a new larger sensor that Apple says offers a 27% improvement in low-light. Apple added night mode to its ultrawide and selfie cameras.

Discover the latest news and top reviews for smartphones and wireless carriers from CNET's mobile experts.

Processor, battery and performance

The iPhone 12 is equipped with the Bionic 14 processor from Apple, while the Pixel 5 has the Snapdragon 765G chipset from Qualcomm. The Pixel 5's processor is actually slower than the Pixel 4's Snapdragon 855, but Google said it used this chipset to keep costs down. We didn't notice a slowdown, but ours did Pixel 5 benchmark tests delivered lower values ​​than last year's iPhone 11.

The Pixel 5 has a 4,000 mAh battery, the highest capacity of any Pixel phone. While Apple does not publish battery specifications, a The most recent teardown video showed a battery capacity of 2,815 mAh. In CNET's tests of continuous video playback in airplane mode, the Pixel 5 lasted 21 hours and 43 minutes, while the iPhone 12 put in just 17 hours and 14 minutes.

Since 5G connectivity can cause significant battery drain, both Google and Apple have introduced some unique solutions to the battery life issue. The Pixel 5 not only throttles the refresh rate between 60 Hz and 90 Hz, but also has an extreme battery-saving mode that severely restricts the use of the app in order to extend battery life. The iPhone 12 has a feature called Smart Data Mode that similarly throttles 5G (up to 4G or between different 5G bands) to balance performance with the battery.

Both phones offer Wireless charging (although only the iPhone 12 range has a cool new one MagSafe charger Option), but only the Pixel 5 includes reverse charging so that other phones and accessories can be charged.

iPhone 12 vs. Pixel 5

iPhone 12

Pixel 5

Display size, resolution

6.1 inch OLED; 2,532 x 1,170 pixels

6 inch FHD + OLED; 2,340 x 1,080 pixels

Pixel density

460 ppi

432 ppi

Dimensions (inch)

5.78 x 2.82 x 0.29 in

5.7 x 2.8 x 0.3 in

Dimensions (millimeters)

146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4 mm

144.7 x 70.4 x 8 mm

Weight (ounces, grams)

5.78 ounces; 164 g

5.33 ounces; 151 g

Mobile software

iOS 14

Android 11

Camera (megapixel)

12 MP (wide), 12 MP (ultra wide)

12.2 MP (standard), 16 MP (ultrawide)

Front camera

12 MP

8 MP

Video recording




Apple Bionic 14

Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G


64 GB, 128 GB, 256 GB

128 GB


Not disclosed

8 GB

Expandable storage




Not disclosed; Apple lists 15 hours of video playback

4,000 mAh

Fingerprint sensor

None (face ID)





Headphone jack



Special features

5G activated; 60Hz refresh rate; MagSafe; waterproof (IP68); Wireless charging; Dual SIM functions (nano SIM and E-SIM)

5G activated; waterproof (IP68); 90Hz refresh rate; Dual SIM functions (nano SIM and E-SIM); Reverse wireless charging; Fast charge

Price (USD)

799 USD (64 GB), 849 USD (128 GB), 949 USD (256 GB) unlocked: 829 USD (64 GB), 879 USD (128 GB), 979 USD (256 GB)

$ 699

Price (GBP)

£ 799 (64GB), £ 849 (128GB), £ 949 (256GB)

£ 599

Price (AUD)

AU $ 1,349 (64 GB), AU $ 1,429 (128 GB), AU $ 1,599 (256 GB)

999 AU $

Apple iPhone 12

One of our top rated phones … ever

Google Pixel 5

The economical 5G flagship


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