Should You Buy an iPhone 12 Pro?

The iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max are Apple's latest smartphones, offering 5G connectivity, the A14 chip for better performance, an improved camera system with a LiDAR scanner, and MagSafe, all in a new, squared-off design.

Announced in October of 2020, the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max are still among the newest iPhones in Apple's lineup, but they are approaching the middle of their product cycle. Apple tends to release new iPhone models every September, and despite the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max launching a month later than usual in 2020, it looks as though new iPhone 13 models will launch in September as normal this fall.

There are clear signs of an iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max arriving later this year with a number of upgrades and improvements, but the launch of these devices is believed to be around half a year away. This means that it is still a good time to buy the iPhone 12 Pro or the iPhone 12 Pro Max for the vast majority of people, but some customers may now prefer to wait until new models arrive in the fall.

While the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max are the most full-featured, high-end iPhone options currently available, users who do not need pro-level camera features or a more premium design may wish to consider the iPhone 12. The iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro share a large number of key features such as the same 6.1-inch OLED display, 5G connectivity, and the A14 chip, yet the iPhone 12 is $200 cheaper than the iPhone 12 Pro.

Likewise, if you feel that the iPhone 12 Pro may be too large for you and are conscious of one-handed use and pocketability, the iPhone 12 mini offers the same extensive feature set as the iPhone 12, just in a smaller design.

iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max Overview

Apple on October 13, 2020 unveiled the newest high-end flagship iPhones, the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max, which are being sold alongside the more affordably priced iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini. Apple this year heavily emphasized the "Pro" aspect of the new iPhone 12 Pro models, suggesting the more expensive iPhones "push the boundaries of innovation" for the people who "want the absolute most out of their iPhones."

Available in 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch size options, the two new Pro models feature full-screen Super Retina XDR displays that are edge-to-edge with the exception of the Face ID notch.

The 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro has a resolution of 2532 x 1170 with 460 pixels per inch, while the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max has a resolution of 2778 x 1284 and a 458 ppi. The displays offer HDR support with 1200 nits peak brightness, Wide Color, Haptic Touch, and True Tone, all features that have been introduced over the years.

Protecting the displays is a new Ceramic Shield cover, which Apple says "goes beyond glass" and is tougher than any smartphone glass. It's infused with nano-ceramic crystals and offers 4x better drop performance.

The iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max have an entirely new look that's similar to the design of the iPad Pro with flat edges instead of the rounded edges used in prior models. There's a precision-milled matte glass back surrounded by a stainless steel band.

Color options include graphite, silver, gold, and pacific blue, with the blue shade replacing the midnight green used last year. The iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max offer IP68 water and dust resistance and can hold up to submersion in 6 meters of water for up to 30 minutes.

The new iPhone 12 models are the first to feature 5G connectivity for faster downloads and uploads, better quality video streaming, improved gaming, and higher-definition 1080p FaceTime calls. To preserve battery life when using 5G, a Smart Data Mode reverts to an LTE connection when 5G speeds aren't necessary.

5G coverage is available worldwide, but only iPhone 12 devices sold in the United States support mmWave 5G, which is the fastest 5G technology available. iPhone 12 models sold in other countries are limited to the slower but more widely available Sub-6GHz 5G connectivity. In the U.S., 5G speeds can be as high as 4Gbps, even in highly populated areas.

Gigabit LTE is supported when 5G isn't available, as is WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0. Like the iPhone 11 models, the iPhone 12 Pro models include a U1 Ultra Wideband chip for spatial awareness and interactivity with other devices that include the U1 feature such as the HomePod mini.

There's a new A14 chip inside the iPhone 12 Pro models, and it is the first chip in the smartphone industry built on a 5-nanometer process for performance and efficiency improvements. Apple says the 6-core CPU and 4-core GPU in the A14 are 50 percent faster than the fastest competing smartphone chips. The A14 chip includes a 16-core Neural Engine that offers an 80 percent increase in performance for machine learning tasks.

For the most part, the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max offer identical specs, but the exception is the camera, where there are some notable differences. The iPhone 12 Pro is equipped with a new seven-element Wide camera with an f/1.6 aperture, which brings 27 percent improved low-light performance for photos and videos.

There's also an Ultra Wide camera with a 120-degree field of view and a 52mm telephoto lens that offers 4x optical zoom.

The iPhone 12 Pro Max also has a seven-element Wide camera with an f/1.6 aperture, but it has a 47 percent larger sensor for an 87 percent improvement in low light. It has the same Ultra Wide camera and a 65mm telephoto lens that enables 5x optical zoom.

While the iPhone 12 Pro offers dual optical image stabilization, the iPhone 12 Pro Max supports sensor-shift optical image stabilization for the Wide lens that stabilizes the sensor instead of the lens itself. Sensor-shift stabilization has previously been limited to DSLRs, and it offers better than ever stabilization for photos and videos.


As for video, the iPhone 12 Pro models support 4K 60fps video and HDR video recording with Dolby Vision at up to 60 frames per second, and better video stabilization. A Night mode time-lapse video option allows for impressive night time videos when a tripod is used.

The iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max are equipped with a LiDAR Scanner that measures light distance and pixel depth of a scene to map out the area around the iPhone. It allows for more realistic AR experiences and it improves autofocus by 6x in low-light scenes for improved accuracy. The LiDAR Scanner enables Night mode portraits.

Apple's iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max continue to use the same Face ID facial recognition system powered by the front-facing TrueDepth camera system, which features a 12-megapixel camera for selfies and Smart HDR, Deep Fusion, and Night mode.

When it comes to battery life, the iPhone 12 Pro offers up to 18 hours of video playback, 11 hours of streaming video playback, or 65 hours of audio playback. The iPhone 12 Pro Max offers up to 20 hours of video playback, 12 hours of streaming video playback, or 80 hours of audio playback, for the longest battery life in an iPhone yet.

Both of the new iPhones offer fast charging, which provides a 50 percent charge in 30 minutes using a 20W power adapter.

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