Drone Gear Reviews

iPhone 13 vs S20 5G: From a Drone Pilots Perspective

I knew there were a number of differences between the Apple iPhone 13 vs Samsung S20 5G. I kept asking myself why I was so intrigued by the iPhone 13, when I am such a Google person?

My previous phones were multiple Google Pixels, which I loved getting the most recent Android releases, and a couple Samsung devices as well. Google has stripped the benefits of Google Photos with each iteration, so I keep my original Pixel XL for that reason.

I have spent a lot of time watching the release of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro but hesitant because of a few different problems that keep persisting with the new launch. For my daily driver, I would consider the Pixel again if they can improve the fingerprint scanner.

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Visible) $792 or $33/mo

  • Includes $100 to spend almost anywhere
  • Includes pair of white Beats Studio Buds
Samsung S20 5G (Renewed)
  • Amazon Renewed condition : May have few minor scuffs or scratches;
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 (5G) 128GB G981U (T-Mobile/Sprint Unlocked) Smartphone
  • This device is Factory Unlocked and will work with all major GSM Carriers.
  • Network bands in regions may be different depending on the mobile operator and your location. Available storage is less and subject to change due to device software updates and apps usage.
  • 90 days store limited warranty. Ships in non-retail box; Premium aftermarket charger and USB Cable only.

128GB Apple iPhone 13 (Visible) $816 or $34/mo

  • Includes $100 to spend almost anywhere
  • Includes pair of Apple AirPods Pro
Apple iPhone 13
  • 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display
  • Cinematic mode adds shallow depth of field and shifts focus automatically in your videos
  • Advanced dual-camera system with 12MP Wide and Ultra Wide cameras; Photographic Styles, Smart HDR 4, Night mode, 4K Dolby Vision HDR recording
  • 12MP TrueDepth front camera with Night mode, 4K Dolby Vision HDR recording
  • A15 Bionic chip for lightning-fast performance

Phone Specs

  • 10 days vs 17 hours (battery life)
  • 563 PPI vs 460 PPI (pixel density)
  • 5.75oz vs 6.50oz (device weight)
  • 8 cores vs 6 cores (number of cores)
  • 3200 x 1440 vs 2532 x 1170 (S20 60Hz Mode vs iPhone – Screen Res)
  • 1920 x 1080 vs 2532 x 1170 (S20 90Hz Mode vs iPhone – Screen Res)
  • AMOLED vs RETINA (display tech)
  • 90Hz vs 60Hz (screen refresh rate)
  • Splashproof vs Waterproof (resistance)


From a spec point of view they trade blows overall while the Samsung S20 5G looks better in a number of categories. iPhone 13 has better battery life and is waterproof, while the S20 5G has a higher resolution and higher refresh rate display.

Although the screen should be better, I found that even when the screen was set to 90Hz on the S20 5G, many apps did not support the higher refresh rate or could not handle it, which made the experience worse.

One thing to note at least on the S20 5G is that when you switch to the higher refresh rate, it does reduce the display resolution from WQHD+ to FHD. This model cannot support both. While the S20 5G is in this mode, the iPhone has a higher resolution and pixel density.

Typically with fingerprint scanners, the S20 5G worked excellently for the first six months, but after that time, it began giving me occasional problems, where I ended up having to input my PIN code. Is it just due to our skin’s oil or are they just losing their ability over time?

Having not used the iPhone 13’s face unlock for a long time, I have been impressed with how well it has detected my face, even when I sometimes leave my hand near my face and it still manages to recognize me.


I couldn’t justify the extra $300 this time around for the iPhone 13 Pro for it’s higher refresh rate, telephone lense and ProRes video. You might be asking yourself, wait why $300? If you don’t have at least 256GB of storage on the Pro or Pro Max, you’ll be stuck shooting 1080P.

Due to ProRes’ large file sizes, I’d probably want the 1TB version, but at $1599, should I consider something else? On the DJI Mavic 3, too, there is a model that incorporates ProRes, but at a 5.1K resolution. Although I am excited about better video, I’m not ready to store all that data.

While switching to the iPhone 13, I lost the telephoto lens and the 8K video recording, but I don’t remember using either very often.

To be able to share the iPhone HEIC image files on the website, I had to convert them to JPEG.

20211129 iPhone13 IMG 0095 |
Tesla Model 3

iPhone 13

20211129 161735 S205G |
Tesla Model 3

S20 5G

In the distance you might be able to get a little better clarity with the iPhone 13’s ultra wide lens.

11292021 iPhone13 IMG 0096 |
Tesla Model 3

iPhone 13

20211129 161828 S205G |
Tesla Model 3

S20 5G

Even if I weren’t comparing these images, I would say they both look great, but I prefer the way the iPhone 13 exposed the sky, with more detail and deeper colors.

11292021 iPhone13 IMG 0099 |

iPhone 13

20211129 162032 S205G 1 |

S20 5G

On the sky, the iPhone does a better job, whereas the S20 5G goes so cold, but I do enjoy the Samsung color in the grass. What do you prefer?

11292021 iPhone13 IMG 0101 |
Skate Park Ramp

iPhone 13

20211129 162057 S205G |
Skate Park Ramp

S20 5G

11292021 iPhone13 IMG 0106 |
Tesla Model 3

iPhone 13

20211129 162233 S205G |
Tesla Model 3

S20 5G

Once again, the iPhone 13 does a better job exposing for the sky and has richer warmer colors.

11292021 iPhone13 IMG 0112 |

iPhone 13

20211129 163812 S205G |

S20 5G

There is more detail in the iPhone 13’s exposure of the street lights at late sunset whereas with the S20 5G there is no trace of the arrow shape at all. This could be reshot, but the iPhone 13 wins again.

11292021 iPhone13 IMG 0119 |
Tesla Model 3

iPhone 13

20211129 164400 S205G |
Tesla Model 3

S20 5G

11292021 iPhone13 IMG 0121 |
Best Buy

iPhone 13

20211129 165916 S205G |
Best Buy

S20 5G

The sky is nicely captured in this photo by the S20 5G.

11292021 iPhone13 IMG 0122 |
DJI Mavic 3

iPhone 13

20211129 170352 S205G |
DJI Mavic 3

S20 5G

I will share how I was able to upgrade to the iPhone 13 later in the article for little $.

DJI Apps

Despite the fact that both DJI apps look almost identical on both platforms, DJI on Android has gotten a lot better over time, but iOS still seems a bit more polished. It is less buggy to use DJI apps on iPhone and iPad.

On Android, the DJI GO 4 app is fine, but the DJI Fly and DJI Mimo apps could use some love.

For awhile now DJI has been allowing us to use either DJI GO 4 or DJI Fly drone apps, but with the release of the DJI Mavic 3 we are only able to fly with the DJI Fly App.

It should have been obvious as if you look at the folders on your device, the Fly App is DJI GO 5.

As far as flying with the S20 5G vs iPhone 13 and display quality, there isn’t much of a difference between both phones are limited to the video feed provided by the particular drone you are flying. According to what I’ve seen, 1080P is the maximum resolution that can be transmitted to the controller which is displayed on the smart phone.


I am impressed with the performance of the Apple A15 Bionic on the iPhone 13 and the display size (4.7″ to 6.1″) was an improvement over the iPhone SE (2020), I upgraded from. The addition of 5G is nice to have while it’s my daily driver.

It should be noted that I receive no compensation for writing my opinions on these two smartphones because neither Samsung nor Apple have given me anything to write this content. It’s important to be transparent about brand sponsorships.

The Samsung S20 5G was traded in for the Google Pixel 6. More on that soon!

Special Thanks

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Last update on 2022-01-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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By Graydon Schwartz

Find out more about Graydon on the About Me page.

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