Samsung Galaxy S21 or iPhone 12: Which device has the better deals?

Samsung Galaxy S21 deals
(Image credit: Future)

The Samsung Galaxy S21 is the big name in phones right now as the company's top end family of devices, but it's still always going to stand in comparison to the might of the iPhone 12.

Samsung now offers three variants of the S21 while Apple offers four with the iPhone 12, swapping the way they each did it last generation. But for both it's the S21 and iPhone 12 models themselves which are likely to grace most pockets with their presences. 

For both the iPhone 12 deals and the Samsung Galaxy S21 deals you get some impressive flagship level specs at reasonable - for the company - prices. They're not the sky-high top end but then they're not entering into the more budget handset market where specs suffer. 

As you might expect, both of these handsets have made it onto our best smartphones list but which one has the better deals and offers the best value in order to provide the best option for you?

Samsung Galaxy S20 versus iPhone 12: spec sheet

The iPhone 12 landed first, at the back end of 2020 while the Samsung Galaxy S21 arrived nearer to the start of 2021. They're close on that front but are they also similar on the spec comparison?

Both phones offer the latest 5G connectivity. The similarities appear to stop there.

While the S21 comes with a Snapdragon 888 or Exynos 2100 CPU backed by 8GB of RAM and storage started at 128GB, the iPhone 12 runs Apple's own A14 Bionic Chip with a more meagre 4GB of RAM and storage starting at 64GB. 

The Galaxy S21 stands tall with its 6.2-inch 1080 x 2400 AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate. The iPhone 12 is a little smaller at 6.1-inches and its 1170 x 2532 Super Retina XDR OLED with 60Hz refresh rate. That 460 ppi on the S21 versus 421 ppi on the iPhone 12.

The cameras also show variation with the S21 offering a triple 12 + 64 + 12MP setup while the iPhone has a dual 12 + 12MP setup. No telephoto zoom for the iPhone, nor do both lenses get OIS like on the Samsung, offering it only on the main camera. Apple offers more for selfies with a 12MP front-facing camera where the S21 snapper tops out at 10MP.

The S21 battery is 4,000mAh while the iPhone is just 2,815mAh. That translates to a full day with plenty to spare on the S21 and a full day on the iPhone 12. Both phones support fast charging and wireless, with the iPhone offering snap-on MagSafe chargers.

Samsung Galaxy S21 deals vs iPhone 12 deals

Getting the Samsung Galaxy S21 SIM-free or unlocked will cost you $799/£769, and the iPhone 12 will cost you $799/£799. Not a lot of difference in it there then.

One thing to keep in mind is that if you go for Apple you're likely going to end up paying more. This is for that Apple name which can come at a premium. While the Samsung deals can get better as the year goes on, Apple often sticks to the original price until the new model replaces it.

To give a very broad idea, in the UK you can expect to pay closer to the £50 mark per month for an iPhone 12 contract versus about ten pounds less for a similar Samsung Galaxy S21 contract. This disparity should then grow as the year progresses.

In the US, both devices are going to have very similar offers with a focus on value through trade-in. However, because of its cheaper unlocked price, the S21 comes in slightly cheaper from most major carriers like Verizon or AT&T.

That said, the price can often stick, which is where the deal sweeteners come in. From free TV contracts to speakers, tablets and lots of free data – expect to see those Samsung contracts throw in lots of treats as the year progresses.

You can find the best deals for both handsets below.

The best Samsung Galaxy S21 deals:

The best iPhone 12 deals:

Luke Edwards

Luke is a freelance writer and editor with over two decades of experience covering tech, science and health. Among many others he writes across Future titles covering health tech, software and apps, VPNs, TV, audio, smart home, antivirus, broadband, smartphones, cars and plenty more. He also likes to climb mountains, swim outside and contort his body into silly positions while breathing as calmly as possible.