Another year and another iPhone release, however, this one is somewhat different for Apple. The Covid-19 global pandemic has left companies struggling to meet shipping and production deadlines, also being forced to host events online. Apple announced 4 new iPhones, however, arguably the two most interesting models (iPhone 12 Mini and the iPhone 12 Pro Max) are delayed. Apple’s first two new phones are now available and I have spent the last week reviewing the smaller pro model. Read on to find my thoughts on the device.
Design & Performance
The new iPhone 12 Pro comes with a familiar design, the notch is still the same size and the camera looks very similar on the back with an added Lidar sensor. Apple has reverted back to a square design which is reminiscent of the iPhone 5. Whilst the square design does look good, it can somewhat feel sharp in the hand and therefore I feel a case is necessary with the new series of iPhones.
I opted for the new Pacific Blue colour and it is a very nice finish. The back is more of a matte navy with the sides being a shiny deep blue. However, on later thoughts I wish I had ordered the new gold colour, maybe I will for the 12 Pro Max.
The performance on the iPhone 12 Pro is once again spectacular. Apple really excels when it comes to raw processing processor and the new A14 Processor only extends this lead. It is the first mobile processor to be released using 5nm technology which should aid battery life and heat management. The iPhone 12 Pro will smash through the latest games and also extensive video editing apps and will probably continue to do so for years to come. Along with Apple’s commitment to software updates, the class-leading processor goes someway to future-proofing your device.
Apple has also increased the ram from 4GB to 6GB in the pro models, this is noticeable when switching apps as more Applications now stay in memory compares to last years pro models. The new 12 series are also the first iPhones to come with the latest 5G network connectivity, Apple made a major point of this during the launch. You may get faster speeds in the US thanks to the UWB 5G, however, we don’t have this luxury in the UK. 5G is great if you are in a 5G area, however it feels like we currently don’t need it as much due to mostly staying at home. I am already used to using 5G thanks to Samsung and OnePlus devices, performance on the iPhone 12 Pro is very similar. At least with Apple now getting behind 5G, we can expect the networks to focus on improving their networks quicker.
Despite some mixed battery life reports in the press on the smaller iPhone 12 Pro, I have experienced solid performance. At the time of writing this post I am currently at 65%, the iPhone was taken off charge at 8:19 am and it is now 7:17 pm. Granted I have only had 2 hours of screen on time and been mostly on WIFI, however, this shows the iPhone can still be a reliable performer. Obviously, if you are using 5G then this performance will vary.
The speakers on the iPhone 12 Pro are solid, however, they don’t compare well against the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, but this is a much bigger device. The iPhone 12 Pro is also IP68 resistant to a depth of 6 metres for 30 minutes, meaning you can use your phone in the rain or in the shower without any issues. Apple have also introduced a new tougher glass called “Ceramic Shield”, they advise that this is the toughest glass on a smartphone, however, I haven’t tested this.
Apple has always produced devices that are capable of fantastic photos, the new iPhone 12 Pro is no different. However, this year there is a caveat. Apple has differentiated the cameras on the 12 Pro and the 12 Pro Max, this means if you want Apple’s best shooter you need to opt for the bigger max model. The iPhone 12 Pro Max has more zoom and also sensor-shift image stabilisation. Nevertheless, the 12 Pro is still capable of taking fantastic pictures and class-leading video.
Apple has been leading when it comes to video capture for a while, and this further improves this year with the inclusion of Dolby Vision capture. Dolby Vision is an HDR video mode that captures more of the scene and provides better colours. Of course, this may not be supported on all displays, however, now Apple are behind this we can expect an industry change.
I will be interested to see how the iPhone 12 Pro compares to the Pro Max and if the difference is noticeable. However, I’m sure that no iPhone 12 Pro users will be disappointed with the camera results.
iOS is usually a love or hate affair, however, my thoughts on it are mostly positive. Apple has added a few new features to iOS 14 including widgets and picture in picture movie playing. The good thing with an Apple device is you will always get a consistent experience, this is whether you are using last years model, the new Mini or a Pro model. Apple also tends to have higher quality applications and will often get major releases first.
There is no need to constantly close apps as iOS will deal with this on its own and the battery life in standby mode is great when compared to its Android counterparts. It’s also worth noting that the software integration with Apple products such as the Apple Watch and Airpods Pro is fantastic. This is a major part of Apple devices and this is why so many users choose to stick with iOS. Apple provides simplicity at its finest.
The iPhone 12 Pro is a solid but safe upgrade from Apple. Improvements have been made where necessary, the inclusion of 5G, Camera improvements and another class-leading processor. I feel that the new design is positive, I am all for anything that results in a bigger display. The difficulty Apple face is with the latest foldable and charging technology coming to the market, the iPhone 12 Pro doesn’t necessarily innovate. The notch is still the same and I would have loved a 120hz display to keep up with its Android counterparts. Nevertheless, Apple fans are sure to enjoy the 12 Pro and they are getting the best performance available and a solid all-round ecosystem. I managed to pre-order a 12 Pro Max yesterday so I am looking forward to seeing the differences.
- Top tier performance.
- Great camera.
- Solid battery life.
- 5G finally on Apple.
- The new design can be somewhat sharp without a case.
- The camera isn’t as high specification as the Max variant.