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iPhone 12 vs Pixel 5: Has Apple got Google’s number?

iPhone 12 has just been unveiled by Apple and the reviews are in for Google’s Pixel 5 flagship, so we’re taking a look at how they stack up based on what we now know. Is Apple or Google set to win out in the iPhone 12 vs Pixel 5 battle?

Ever since the introduction of the Pixel flagship range, Google has struggled to establish itself as the premium phone to buy. Even when the phone’s themselves were strong offerings, it didn’t lay a glove on Apple and the iPhone. Google has now retreated to the upper mid-range and it might now have a better chance to make an impact.

iPhone 12 is a big step up from iPhone 11, bringing many features down to the regular model that was previously reserved for iPhone 11 Pro. However, the change also brings about a slight price rise – a key factor in its upcoming battle with the Pixel 5. Let’s dive into the five key difference in the Pixel 5 vs iPhone 12 bout.

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iPhone 12 is a true flagship

iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max may offer some more premium features but iPhone 12 still sports many of the best components Apple has to offer – and it’s very much promoted by the company as its flagship offering.

This can’t be said for Pixel 5. While it is the best Google has to offer, it sits below the flagship devices from rivals. Google has intentionally made this move to compete at a lower price point but it does mean you miss out the best-of-the-best processor tech and trend-setting looks. If you want to turn heads then iPhone 12 will be your go-to option.

Related: Best Android phone

Pixel 5

Photography matchup could be tighter than ever

A few generations of smartphones ago, Google Pixel was the king of camera tech. However, Google has rested on its laurels and the likes of Samsung and Apple have closed in.

iPhone was already leading on taking video – but Google has improved this with Pixel 5 – and, now, Apple is touting a whole bunch of new features for this year’s device.

iPhone 12 comes with a wide and an ultra-wide lens, both of which can now utilise Night Mode. There’s also an upgrade to Smart HDR 3 and the addition of Deep Fusion to the regular iPhone this time out. The camera setup affords 2x optical zoom and 5x digital zoom.

We’ll have to wait for our full iPhone 12 review to put the photography skills of these two devices head-to-head. For now, we can say that our Pixel 5 review referred to the new Google phone’s camera as “typically fantastic.”

Pixel 5

Displays are a mixed bag

Ahead of release, there was a lot of hope and speculation surrounding the introduction of a high 120Hz refresh rate to the iPhone 12 lineup. As launch approached, it became clear that this simply wasn’t going to happen.

Instead, the display upgrade we got for iPhone 12 was the Super Retina XDR AMOLED panel, previously reserved for Pro models. We’ll have to wait to get our hands on the device for the full verdict, but the iPhone 11 Pro panel was a stunning addition – even if we are disappointed to miss out on that higher refresh rate.

On the Pixel 5 side of things, Google has gone for a more considered approach. You get that all-important higher refresh rate – even if its just 90hz rather than 120Hz. In terms of the display spec sheet, iPhone 12 and Pixel 5 aren’t far off – both with FHD+ OLED panels but with Google getting that extra refresh rate boost. However, like iPhone performance, Apple devices do often exceed what you see on the specs.

Therefore, this battle may come down to a matter of individual taste and whether you prefer the extra crispness and vibrancy that iPhone displays usually offer or if that 90Hz display on the Pixel 5 a must-have for you.

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A blue iPhone held horizontally in a lady's hands

Only one offers eye-catching design

Pixel 5 isn’t an ugly phone but it’s also far from a boundary-pushing when it comes to looks. Admittedly, the Pixel 5 does stand out when compared with the typical curved glass sandwich devices that plague much of the Android phone market but that doesn’t make it any less boring.

The Pixel 5 is nigh-on identical to the already released Pixel 4a – with the addition of a recycled aluminium back and a Sorta Sage colour option. The design of the Pixel 5 is fine.

iPhone 12 is a completely different proposition. While the front and the back of the new phone takes many cues from its predecessor, it’s the edges of the iPhone 12 rejuvenate the formula. iPhone 12 now truly looks like no other device of the market – and that’s exciting.

The flatter edges make for a more industrial design and harken back to the days of iPhone 5 while also replicating the super-premium look of the latest iPad Pro 2020. You get a wide variety of colour choices too – with the exciting addition of a new dark blue shade.

Price could be your deciding factor

In many ways, the new Apple flagship seems like the obvious pick in iPhone 12 vs Pixel 5 and the better device overall. However, the new pricing strategy of Google puts Pixel 5 in a position to undercut many flagships.

If you are in the Apple ecosystem or simply want the more premium spec-laden device, iPhone 12 certainly seems like the way to go. On the other side of things, if you prefer Android and would rather spend £599 on a new phone compared to £799 then Pixel 5 won’t disappoint. Keep an eye out for our full iPhone 12 review, where we’ll be able to give the definitive verdict on Apple’s latest.

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