iPhone 13 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S21+: Which middle child is right for you?

All the smarts

iPhone 13 Pro

From $999 at Apple

Pros

  • Smarter camera
  • Faster processor
  • MagSafe and FaceID
  • Stronger, brighter screen than previous gens

Cons

  • Shorter battery life
  • Inferior camera zoom features
  • No reverse charging

The iPhone 13 Pro is an intelligent beast of a smartphone. This iPhone has the fastest processor of any handset alongside a brilliant camera setup. When paired with extra features like MagSafe and FaceID, you've got an impressive combo of smarts and convenience.

Everything is bigger

Samsung Galaxy S21+

From $1,000 at Samsung

Pros

  • Bigger display than iPhone
  • Better battery life
  • More RAM
  • Larger zoom on cameras than iPhone

Cons

  • Slower processor
  • Less durable screen
  • Inferior computational photography features

When it comes to the 'middle child' of flagship Android smartphones, the Samsung Galaxy S21+ is one of the biggest. If you believe that bigger is better, then you'll love the bigger screen, bigger battery, and bigger RAM capacity of this model. Throw in the amazing digital zoom features, and the iPhone 13 Pro has a real contender to go up against.

Apple's Pro line and Samsung's Plus models have always been in the same class, but each new generation attempts to outclass the other. Samsung's release of the Galaxy S21 in 2021 certainly seemed to outmatch the latest iPhone at the time, the iPhone 12 Pro. Now, Apple looks to be pulling ahead again with the release of the iPhone 13 Pro, which now features a higher refresh rate, faster processor, and larger storage capacity. Does that make it better, though? Check out the facts and decide for yourself.

iPhone 13 Pro vs. Galaxy S21+: Price

As is usually the case, the iPhone 13 Pro and the Galaxy S21+ are going at the same base price of $1,000. If you add storage capacity, the price will go up of course. Since the S21+ only offers a maximum of 256GB of storage in comparison to a full 1TB on the 13 Pro, the most expensive model of the Galaxy S21+ is only $1,050, but the top-tier iPhone 13 Pro is a whopping $1,499. If you're OK with the baseline model, however, these two handsets go for the exact same price.

However, it's worth noting that because the Galaxy S21+ is a bit older, you'll more likely find it on sale than the iPhone 13 Pro.

iPhone 13 Pro vs. Galaxy S21+: Key differences

Some key differences to note between these two handsets are screen size, storage capacities, camera features, and basic build. Check it out:

iPhone 13 Pro Galaxy S21+
Design Ceramic Shield front + Glass back and stainless steel frame Glass front and back (Gorilla Glass Victus), aluminum frame
Colors Silver, Graphite, Gold, Sierra Blue Phantom Violet, Phantom Black, Phantom Silver, Phantom Gold
Display 6.1‑inch OLED display, 120Hz refresh rate 6.7-inch AMOLED 2X display, Adaptive 120Hz refresh rate
Camera Triple lens 12-megapixel wide and 12MP ultra-wide rear, 12MP TrueDepth front Triple lens 12-megapixel wide and 12MP ultra-wide, 64 MP telephoto rear, 10MP front
Storage 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB + 6GB RAM 128GB, 256GB + 8GB RAM
Battery 3,095mAh, Fast charging (20W charger sold separately), Qi wireless charging 4,800 mAh, Fast charging (Charger sold separately), Qi wireless charging
IP rating IP68 IP68
Headphone jack None None
Size and weight 5.78x2.82x0.30 inches, 204g 6.36x2.98x0.31 inches, 200g
Software iOS 15 Android 11

You can see that the Galaxy 21+ looks to be the bigger smartphone when it comes to physical size, screen size, battery, and RAM. On the other hand, the iPhone 13 Pro has some better features that can't be ignored, like higher storage offerings, a ceramic shield screen, and MagSafe. It's hard to say which features are more important just on their face, so let's dig deeper.

iPhone 13 Pro vs. Galaxy S21+ design: Strength versus size

If you're talking about physical appearance, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some may prefer the shiny, flat stainless steel edges that border the iPhone 13 Pro, while others may like the streamlined bezeled look of the Galaxy 21+. Both have attractive metallic details that peek through the glass build, and both have a good selection of standard or bright colors to choose from. The Galaxy S21+ may have an advantage here since it comes in fun pink and purple colorways, although that Sierra Blue iPhone is quite pretty too.

For pure durability, the iPhone 13 Pro's ceramic shield wins.

Speaking of the build, we can't leave out how the iPhone 13 Pro's ceramic shield is the toughest smartphone screen there is when it comes to cracks and breakage. That being said, Samsung's Gorilla Glass Victus is more resistant to scratches than the ceramic shield, which is also an advantage. For pure durability, however, ceramic shield wins.

When it comes to screens, the Galaxy S21+'s is clearly bigger at 6.7 inches, although it doesn't actually have a higher resolution. The S21+'s screen looks even better though since it doesn't have a black notch to take away from its sleek design. The black notch is always a slight annoyance with the iPhone, but the FaceID makes it all worthwhile.

iPhone 13 Pro vs. Galaxy S21+ camera: Smarts versus zoom

The iPhone 13 Pro's camera shows clear progress over previous models with even more smart features to choose from. This model now offers 3X optical zoom, as opposed to 2X in the iPhone 12 Pro. It also has improved night mode and a new feature called photographic styles that allows you to save your favorite presets to take better photos according to your own preferences. For video, the 13 Pro also offers a new cinematic mode that changes the focus automatically according to changing subjects in the frame.

The high resolution is what makes it possible for the Galaxy S21+ to offer 3X hybrid optical zoom and 30X digital zoom.

While the Samsung Galaxy S21+ doesn't have the same level of computational photography and videography as the iPhone 13 Pro, it does have an excellent camera system of its own. The triple lens captures vibrant colors, adequate night mode shots, and incredible 64MP resolution. That high resolution is what makes it possible for the Galaxy to offer 3X hybrid optical zoom and 30X digital zoom. Although the digital zoom will result in a loss of quality, it's definitely better than the iPhone's 10X digital zoom.

It bears mentioning that the Galaxy S21+ offers 8K video, although the resulting file sizes will be cumbersome, to say the least. This camera also offers some stabilization, lighting, and editing features. The iPhone 13 Pro, on the other hand, shoots 4K video with somewhat better lighting and editing features. When you pair that with the new cinematic mode, the iPhone probably wins on videography.

iPhone 13 Pro vs. Galaxy S21+ performance: Processor versus battery

Apple's 2021 iOS processor, the A15 Bionic, is an innovation marvel, and scores faster and more efficient overall than the Snapdragon 888 used by Samsung. When it comes to basic processing speed, the iPhone 13 Pro pulls ahead of the Galaxy S21+, but that's not the whole story. Since the Galaxy has more RAM, they're still even. It's unlikely that you would notice any difference between the two when performing day-to-day processes.

When it comes to basic processing speed, the iPhone 13 Pro pulls ahead of the Galaxy S21+, but that's not the whole story.

In previous models, the Galaxy always pulled ahead when it came to refresh rate, but this is no longer the case. The iPhone 13 Pro now features the same 120Hz refresh rate, but that comes with a price. Now, the 13 Pro has a higher refresh rate to weigh down its smaller battery, so the Galaxy has a longer battery life. For basic tasks like navigating the web, the Galaxy S21+ offers almost 14 hours of continuous use, as compared to roughly 11.5 for the iPhone 13 Pro.

It's important to mention ease-of-use and convenience for these two smartphones. The Galaxy offers reverse charging, which means you can use its extra-large battery to charge other Qi-enabled products, like earbuds or a smartwatch. Although the iPhone doesn't have this very cool feature, it does have FaceID and MagSafe, both of which offer new levels of convenience. I have found MagSafe, including MagSafe accessories, to be incredibly useful for handsfree driving and wireless charging. The features you prefer will depend on your own lifestyle and habits.

iPhone 13 vs. Galaxy S21+: Which should you buy?

We can't tell you which smartphone is right for you, but the iPhone 13 Pro is the better smartphone overall for both convenience and smart features. There are plenty of reasons why you might prefer the Galaxy S21+ instead, however. If you need exceptional zoom and a longer battery life, for example, the Galaxy has better offerings in both categories. Samsung's smartphone also has more RAM, 8K video, and reverse charging, all of which are attractive benefits.

We prefer the iPhone due to the beautiful computational photography and the MagSafe system. For photographers and videographers, the iPhone 13 Pro lends better results in general. And the MagSafe system makes so many tasks easier, such as mounting the handset on your car dashboard for navigation and hands-free usage. At the end of the day, though, you have to decide which handset works better for you and your lifestyle.

Convenience plus

iPhone 13 Pro

From $999 at Apple From $1,099 at Amazon From $900 at Best Buy

Not only does the iPhone 13 Pro's smart camera make photography and videography easier, the smartphone also offers a range of convenient features like FaceID and MagSafe. When it comes to sheer power and intelligence, this product is the best on the market.

When size matters

Samsung Galaxy S21+

From $1,000 at Samsung From $1,000 at Amazon From $850 at Best Buy

Gamers and world travelers will likely prefer the Galaxy S21+ for its larger size and larger battery. This handset offers longer battery life, a bigger screen, and more RAM to work with. The reverse charging feature is also convenient if you're on the go; you can use it as a power bank to wirelessly charge other devices.

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Technology