iPhone 13 — here’s where Android phones still win

iPhone 13 next to Samsung Galaxy S21
(Image credit: Future)

The iPhone 13 is an excellent phone. Actually, according to our global editor in chief Mark Spoonauer, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is the best phone ever made. But even with Apple grazing the heels of perfection, its latest handsets are missing features that have been standard in the Android space for some time. And no, we're not just talking about being able to play Game Boy emulators. 

While iPhone 13 Pro buyers might just be getting accustomed to 120Hz displays and faster charging, those are features that even budget-minded Android fans already enjoy. And it's not just screen refresh rates. Standard features includes punch-hole cameras to forego the need for an obtrusive notch, periscope lenses for increased zoom and USB-C charging. If there's anything that prevents Apple from achieving mobile perfection, it is the phone maker's stubborn attitude toward adopting what's prevalent.

Either way, below are some things that Android simply does better than iPhone 13. 

iPhone vs. Android: Fast charging

Fast charging of a phone.

(Image credit: Lord Beard | Shutterstock)

It's stunning that the $999 iPhone 13 Pro has a max wired charge speed of 20W. When looking at our fastest charging phones roundup, the OnePlus 9 and the Asus ROG Phone 5 both offer 65W charging speed. The Huawei Mate XS has a charge speed of 55W, which is more than double what the latest iPhone supports. And sitting at the top is the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra, which has an astounding 120W charge rate. 

Now, Apple might argue that such fast charging would degrade the iPhone's battery over time. And considering that Apple devices tend to last 2 to 4 years longer than equivalent Android flagships, that argument is believable. Even then, being able to quickly top off your phone before heading out the door is an incredibly handy feature. While it's definitely not make-or-break, it does add a win to the Android column. 

iPhone vs. Android: Fast refresh displays as standard

Playing free-to-play shooter video game Call of Duty: Mobile games on the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra flagship smartphone.

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

It's baffling that the $699 iPhone 13 mini, in 2021, still has a 60Hz display. Some reports suggest that the crunch caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has led to manufacturing woes in which Apple had to prioritize high refresh displays for its Pro and Pro Max models. Regardless of the reasoning, at the end of the day, the iPhone consumer loses. 

Pretty much every Android flagship comes with a fast refresh display, whether it be 90Hz or 120Hz. Even last year's more budget conscious Samsung Galaxy S20 FE had  a 120Hz LCD display panel. Gaming phones like the Asus ROG Phone 5 feature a 144Hz display. 

But still, these are all handsets that start at $700. It's to be expected, on Android at least, that phones in this price range would excel in zippier displays. The Poco F3 GT, which is limited to South Asian markets, has a 120Hz display. And the price? 26,999 rupees, or around $366 dollars. Our sister-site Techradar reviewed the Poco F3 GT and gave it high marks considering its affordable price. 

But cheaper phones with fast-refreshing displays aren't limited to overseas markets. Here in the U.S., the OnePlus Nord N200 5G has a display that refreshes at 90Hz, and it can be yours for less than $300.

iPhone vs. Android: In-display fingerprint sensors

OPPO Find X3 Pro 5G under-display fingerprint touch demonstration.

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Among the Apple faithful, one of the biggest disappointments from the iPhone 13 launch is the absence of Touch ID. Ever since the iPhone X, Apple has opted out of touch metrics in favorite of more complicated facial recognition technology. While Apple might argue its approach is more secure — Face ID can authenticate mobile payments, after all — Apple fans have found constantly having to point phone to face to be an annoyance.

In contrast, under-display fingerprint recognition remains a fixture on Android devices. The recent Samsung Galaxy S21 has under-display fingerprint recognition that's snappy. The new Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 has a thin fingerprint button on the side of the phone that unlocks with ease. 

Sometimes Apple can get so gung-ho about implementing a new feature that it loses sight on what people liked about the original. And with people continuing to wear Face ID-foiling face masks these days, having another way to unlock the iPhone would have been a welcome addition.

iPhone vs. Android: Better zoom features

Galaxy S21 Ultra vs. Note 20 Ultra

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The iPhone 13 has some of the best mobile cameras in the business. (There's a reason the new models top our list of best camera phones.) The 12MP sensors that Apple has stuck to with the last few generations produce accurate pictures with great detail. But there are tradeoffs, namely in zoom.

By sticking with the 12MP sensor, there's simply less resolution when punching in on a shot. Now, Apple's engineers would argue that lesser pixels on such a small sensor means more light can be absorbed per pixel. And the physics of this make sense. But, as is the case with Samsung's new ISOCELL GN5 camera sensor, new technologies now exist that can let groups of pixels absorb light together to act as one big pixel. 

In terms of lenses, the iPhone 13 has a standard lens stack. That limits the phone to 3x optical zoom. If Apple had implemented a periscope lens, which stacks glass horizontally instead of vertically, like in the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, it could allow Apple to achieve the 10x optical zoom that Samsung fans are enjoying now.

iPhone vs. Android: No notch

OnePlus 7 Pro

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

When Apple introduced the notch with the iPhone X back in 2017, a bunch of other Android phone makers followed with various camera cutouts that ate into the display. Quickly, Android phone makers phased out obtrusive notches for hole punch camera cutouts or even under-display camera tech. But four years later, Apple persists with the notch and its array of face detecting sensors. 

This ultimately makes the sleek iPhone 13 look dated to other Android handsets by comparison. Of course, the Apple faithful would argue that the the notch is necessary, as current under-display camera tech is mediocre and facial biometric recognition is best for security. But when phones like the OnePlus 7 Pro had a truly seamless unhindered display (thanks to putting the selfie camera in a pop-out mechanism), it shows that there's still plenty Apple could have done to push the notch out.

iPhone vs. Android: USB-C

Red usb cable end lying on table extreme closeup

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

In the tech world, Apple's Lighting port is like some vestigial remnant that once was miles better than the USB equivalent, but has now been outmatched and outclassed in every single way. 

Apple simply will not get rid of the damn Lighting cable. Even though Apple has switched to USB-C for the MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iPad Pro and the upcoming iPad mini 6. It means that hardcore Apple fans will need to bring two sets of cables with them when traveling. It's an annoyance, and at this point, seems vindictive. 

Android switched to USB-C years ago and has stuck with it since. It's a global standard and easily works across devices. 

The Lightning port is Apple hubris, plain and simple. 

Imad Khan

Imad is currently Senior Google and Internet Culture reporter for CNET, but until recently was News Editor at Tom's Guide. Hailing from Texas, Imad started his journalism career in 2013 and has amassed bylines with the New York Times, the Washington Post, ESPN, Wired and Men's Health Magazine, among others. Outside of work, you can find him sitting blankly in front of a Word document trying desperately to write the first pages of a new book.