Apple’s new iPhone 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max smartphones (which you can pre-order here) offer a raft of new features, including 5G and processors manufactured using the 5nm process. But some fans are still disappointed, because the iPhone 12 family is missing some other features that many have wanted – and which have been available on Android phones – for a long time.
In this article we look at three key Android features that still aren’t available on even the latest iPhones.
While most current smartphone flagships from Samsung, OnePlus, Xiaomi and the rest offer a high refresh rate of 120Hz, the iPhone 12 handsets – despite rumours of 120Hz on at least the Pro models persisting almost to launch day – remain at 60Hz.
The higher number means you can scroll and navigate menus more smoothly, while every movement on the display looks much more fluid. But a high refresh rate consumes more power, so most phones that offer this feature also include software to automatically adjust the rate depending on the situation. (The ProMotion screens on the current iPad Pros, for example, are able to dynamically switch the 120Hz refresh rate on and off as appropriate.)
According to current rumours, Apple won’t include a 120Hz display in an iPhone until autumn 2021. Aside from the battery-life issue, this may be because the iPhones don’t support the Apple Pencil, which Apple says benefits from a higher refresh rate on the iPad Pro.
Many Android smartphones have a screen with an ‘always-on’ function; it was available on the Samsung Galaxy S7, for example, back in 2016. The iPhone 12 does not.
You’ll be familiar with always-on displays if you’ve used the Apple Watch Series 5 or Series 6: on these devices, even when the display is ‘off’, it still shows important information such as the time, battery level and notifications. The screen is dimmer and shows less information (and almost no animation) but it’s still ‘on’ for the most important stuff.
This is very handy as it means you don’t always have to unlock or tap your device to get this information. But it’s not something we’ve yet seen on an iPhone.
Under-glass fingerprint scanner
Since the iPhone X, almost every new iPhone has supported facial recognition (Face ID) rather than fingerprint scanning (Touch ID) as its chosen form of biometric authentication. The exception is the iPhone SE (2020), which re-uses the design of the iPhone 8 and therefore sticks with Touch ID.
One of the reasons why Touch ID has been left out of the newer designs is the use of an almost borderless display, which means there is no space for the physical home button where Apple used to stash the fingerprint sensor. But other smartphone manufacturers get round this problem by putting the scanner under the glass of the display.
Even if facial recognition is secure and fast, many people find unlocking with a fingertip more practical, especially in the current era of face masks. It would have been very practical to see both Touch ID and Face ID in the iPhone 12, but no such luck.
You’ve probably only got a year to wait, though. Current rumours suggest the iPhone 13 will get an under-screen fingerprint scanner.
This article originally appeared on Macwelt. Translation by David Price.