The iPhone 12 is the most anticipated phone of the year, and Apple is really amping things up this time around with a rumored four models. But don’t count out the Samsung Galaxy Note 20. This flagship should have several advantages over the iPhone 12, including the display, camera specs and special features.
Samsung should trail the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro in some ways, especially with Apple’s anticipated 5nm A14 Bionic processor powering its new phones. Apple should once again have the fastest phone around, and the iPhone 12 will also have iOS 14 on day one, while it will likely be a while before the Note 20 gets Android 11. But the Note 20 should be able to beat the iPhone 12 in other ways.
Here’s how the Galaxy Note 20 can top the iPhone 12.
- The best phones right now
- Just in: Samsung Galaxy Fold 2 leak reveals stunning new design
- Plus: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G could launch before Unpacked event
A superior 120Hz display
While the iPhone 12 Pro may feature a 120Hz ProMotion display according to some rumors, it’s also possible that Apple may not be able to make this a reality in time for launch.
Even if Apple does pull off such a feature, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra should have an edge with its 120Hz panel. The Note 20 Ultra’s screen is expected to use LTPO technology, which enables the screen to dynamically scale from 1Hz all the way up to 120Hz. This should make the Note 20 Ultra more efficient.
Improved S Pen
There have been rumors that Apple might eventually support the Apple Pencil on the iPhone, but we have not heard anything concrete around the iPhone 12 adding that support. So it looks like for now that Samsung will retain the advantage with its included S Pen.
We haven’t heard much about new features for Samsung’s stylus, but one leak points to the S Pen being used as a virtual laser pointer, which would be handy for presentations. The S Pen is also rumored to be getting a smoother 9 ms response time. The Galaxy Note 10 added new features like Air Action gestures and better handwriting recognition, so we expect to see other upgrades this time around.
Killer Note 20 cameras
Although we don’t know a lot about the iPhone 12’s camera improvements yet, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra should be a tough act for Apple to follow. Samsung’s premium flagship will reportedly feature a high-resolution 108MP main camera, plus a 13MP telephoto lens that’s capable of 50x hybrid zoom. Add in a 12MP ultrawide sensor and a dedicated laser focus sensor and the iPhone 12 Pro could have trouble keeping up.
The regular Galaxy Note 20 shouldn’t be a slouch in the camera department either. We’re expecting a 12MP main camera, a 64MP telephoto lens, a 12MP ultrawide camera and a time of flight sensor that should help with portraits and perhaps augmented reality performance. The rumor is that the iPhone 12 Pro Max will offer a LiDAR scanner for AR and photo and video effects. The iPad Pro currently features such a sensor, which may be coming to the iPhone 12 Max but not to the regular iPhone 12 Pro.
Let me start by saying that the size of the battery is only one factor in determining battery life. But on paper at least, it appears that the Galaxy Note 20 series could have the iPhone 12 beat on sheer battery capacity. Rumors point to the regular Galaxy Note 20 packing a 4,300 mAh battery and the Note 20 Ultra having a 5,000 mAh battery.
The iPhone 12 Pro series will reportedly have fairly small batteries across the board. The largest battery would be on the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max, measuring in at 3,687 mAh. The 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Max could use a 2,775 mAh battery, while the smallest 5.4-inch iPhone 12 will have a 2,227 mAh pack. Apple could make up for this gap with its A14 Bionic chip and software, but battery size between the two flagships is a sizable difference.
Charger in the box
The iPhone 12 is rumored to not include a charger in the box. Instead, you would get only a USB-C to Lightning cable and you would have to use another mini power brick you might have lying around. Sure, such a move would be good for the environment — and Apple’s profit margins — but we think a lot of people would prefer to have a charger included.
Samsung is also rumored to be dropping the bundled charger at some point, but it will likely not happen until at least the Galaxy S30 next year.
Get the BEST of Tom’s Guide daily right in your inbox: Sign up now!
Upgrade your life with the Tom’s Guide newsletter. Subscribe now for a daily dose of the biggest tech news, lifestyle hacks and hottest deals. Elevate your everyday with our curated analysis and be the first to know about cutting-edge gadgets.
Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.