Combining an updated design, Super Retina XDR OLED display, camera upgrades and excellent performance, the iPhone 12 is the iPhone most people should buy.
The iPhone 12 is not only a completely new design reminiscent of the much-loved iPhone 4, but also a big breakthrough for the iPhone series, which offers improved durability, Apple’s new ultra-detailed Super Retina XDR display, 5G connectivity and an improved camera. Makes it more difficult than ever to justify the additional cost of upgrades to Pro models
Simply put, the iPhone 12 is the only iPhone you’ll need, and it’s also available in new shades of purple.
Design And Build
The angular design is striking, and it’s great to see the iPhone 4 return to the iPhone as a fan of industrial design. Again, getting is a different experience; Although the edges are slightly curved, they are sharper than curved smartphones, but the iPhone 12 on the side is safer than the curved alternative and is less likely to slip out of my hand when using it.
There are several improvements compared to the design of the iPhone 4. The most striking is the screen, which fits perfectly into the aluminum frame without any gaps and bumps, and this also applies to the back. It’s also 11% thinner than last year’s selection, with slightly thinner frames and a smaller overall ground trace without affecting screen size.
This siphon 6.1-inch screen is surrounded by what Apple calls the Ceramic Shield. The company, along with Corning, the company behind ultra-durable Gorilla Glass, offered a glass screen filled with nano-ceramic crystals to make it harder and less prone to breakage. This is a completely new production process typical of the iPhone 12 series, and Apple seems very confident in its capabilities.
In fact, Apple claims that the iPhone 12, complete with a Ceramic Shield and a new aluminum frame, offers a 4x improvement in drop performance compared to the iPhone 11. this is the name of the drop test, but it means less visits to the Apple Store to replace your cracked screen. It is not necessarily resistant to falling, and in any case will be fragmented by a significant impact.
However, it is important to note that scratch protection is not included, although Ceramic Shield offers improvements in drop resistance. In fact, it is prone to scratches like its predecessor, and after a week of use, my review sample already has a fine scratch, so this is not the perfect replacement for the glass screen protector that many are hoping for.
It should be noted that although the front of the iPhone 12 has a Ceramic Shield, this does not apply to the rear window. This industrial design provides twice as little durability as last year’s iPhone, but it’s the same glass, so if you drop the iPhone, your screen may not break, but the back of the glass has a chance of breaking.
Still, if you’re brave enough to use the iPhone 12 without the box, this should at least give you some comfort.
The IP68 rating has been improved with the iPhone 12, although it is technically no different from the iPhone 11. Apple claims that the newest iPhone can live up to 6 meters in water for 30 minutes before it starts leaking. components. This is a very convenient use, but it means that the iPhone will survive daily water damage.
With the Blue, Product Red, Green, Black and White options available on the standard iPhone 12, and after the Spring Loaded event in April 2021, there are many colors to choose from this time as well. a beautiful shade of purple
Wait, where did the charger go?
You can see that the packaging of the iPhone 12 is much thinner than before, and this is why Apple has decided to abandon the charger and EarPods this time. Referring to this during the announcement of the iPhone 12, Apple stressed that there are millions of chargers and EarPods in circulation and do not want to contribute to it, and it is still meaningful on paper.
The problem is that Apple also decided to ship the iPhone 12 with a Lightning to USB-C cable, replacing the USB-A cable shipped in previous years, and immediately restoring the millions of charging bricks cited in the ad.
So while the idea is commendable, its implementation is deeply flawed and can be frustrating for most new iPhone owners.
One of the biggest improvements of the iPhone 11 is the display, which is immediately noticeable when you turn on the smartphone for the first time. In previous years, the standard iPhone came with a standard LCD display, while its Pro counterparts had a superior OLED display, and historically this was a big reason to pay extra for Pro models.
But with Android smartphones boasting not only flagships but also OLED displays, this is a trend that Apple will not be able to sustain if it wants to remain competitive in the wider smartphone market. However, Apple has decided to distribute a completely new Super Retina XDR display in the entire iPhone 12 series, and this is definitely a beauty.
At the center of the Super Retina XDR display is a special OLED panel that provides an impressive 2,000,000: 1 ratio for blacks and a maximum brightness of 1,200 nits when viewing HDR content. The main feature of the OLED panel is the black color it shows; they are deep and dark, in stark contrast to the blacks that appear almost gray on LCDs, and this is even more noticeable when using iOS 14’s Dark Mode.
It also supports HDR10 playback with Dolby Vision support, and while Dolby Vision content is currently limited, the iPhone 12‘s ability to record Dolby Vision HDR video should increase the amount of content available in the coming months.
Switching from LCD to OLED is not just a step, as the iPhone 12‘s 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display offers twice the pixel capacity of the iPhone 11, which means a noticeable improvement in overall details. The text is clearer than ever, and it’s a story similar to photos, videos, and graphics in high-end mobile games like Call of Duty Mobile. Note that the iPhone 11 has a resolution of 1792 x 828, and the iPhone 12 has a resolution of 2532 x 1170.
While the Super Retina XDR display is an excellent update in many ways, it still has a notch at the top of the screen. As of all iPhones that have activated Face ID up to this point, it’s not thinner or narrower than previous generations, and you won’t notice it during the days you use it.
There is also an elephant in the room; The Android competition, which is still limited to 60Hz, continues at full speed with 90Hz, 120Hz and even 144Hz displays. This isn’t a big downside for iPhone users, as many haven’t used the 120Hz ProMotion technology found in the iPad Pro series, but it will make it harder to attract an Android user with access to a high-speed update screen.
It’s hard to let go of the oily smoothness of a screen with a high refresh rate after practice, but given the battery performance of the iPhone 12 (I’ll explain this in more detail below), I’m not surprised that it doesn’t break. . this year. But hey, next year is always there, isn’t it?
Regardless of the speed of the update, the iPhone 12‘s Super XDR OLED display is phenomenal and may even be enough to motivate iPhone 11 owners to upgrade.
MagSafe for iPhone
Remember your favorite MagSafe technology from the MacBook line? Apple has revived the technology for the iPhone, this time offering a new way to use iPhone accessories using built-in magnets.
On the back of the iPhone 12, you’ll find a circular magnet enclosing a wireless charging coil mounted under the glass, complemented by an NFC chip and smart enough technology to detect not only whether the accessory is magnetically connected, but also which accessory is connected. which depends on the accessory. it is the same. It’s not a new concept – Motorola’s Moto Mods are definitely ahead of their time and there are many third-party cases with magnetic accessories – but integration with the iPhone and iOS opens up a whole new world of choices.
With Apple shipping the MagSafe charger, MagSafe wallet accessory and a bunch of MagSafe boxes, offering compatibility with accessories while protecting your iPhone, the offer is limited during the presentation, but it will expand in the coming months, such as third-party retail sales. et. put on your thinking hats
Although the MagSafe charger included for review is larger and housed in an aluminum frame, it is no different from the wireless charger included in the Apple Watch. It works the same way; The charger sits next to the Apple logo on the back of the smartphone and charges faster at 15 watts than standard Qi wireless charging.
The important thing is that once connected to the mains, the charger is securely in place and will not move unless it is pulled with a certain force. This eliminates the difficulty of finding the sweet spot when using standard wireless chargers, and you can be sure that it will not slip and will not cut off the charge even in the middle of the night.
However, this is not the same experience as a standard wireless charging pad where you will have to remove the charging disc from the back, and is this really different from unplugging the iPhone from a wired outlet? charger? Again, this is great technology, and the use of MagSafe will expand in new and exciting ways over the months.
Performance and battery life
At the heart of the iPhone 12, you’ll find Apple’s new A14 Bionic chipset, one of the first in the smartphone market to be built on a 5nm process to provide not only improved performance, but also increased energy efficiency. Last year’s A13 Bionic was one of the strongest on the market, and I expect it to be the same for the A14 Bionic next year; The iPhone 12 can handle everything I throw at it. sweat
There’s no stuttering or delay when browsing media-loaded apps like Twitter, games run flawlessly despite the iPhone 12‘s proposed resolution increase, and video exports are also fast. This is supported by our tests, the iPhone 12‘s GPU benchmark results are limited due to the iPhone 12‘s inclusion in the standard 60Hz display, but it outperforms most of Android’s competition in CPU tests.
It’s not just about speed; The A14 Bionic offers a massive 80% increase in Neuron Engine performance by switching from an 8-core design to a 16-core design to perform 11 trillion operations per second. It’s not something you’ll notice right away, but the increasing machine learning capabilities found in the A14 Bionic reinforce some of the camera improvements it offers – but more on that later.
When it comes to battery life for the iPhone series, Apple has come a long way in the last few years; In my experience, the iPhone 11 Pro Max can last more than a day with a single charge with average use. This isn’t something you’ll get from an iPhone 12 with a smaller battery than the 11 Pro Max, but it’s similar to what you’ll get from a standard iPhone 11. Interestingly, Apple actually offers a slightly worse battery – 17 hours of video playback compared to last year’s 18 hours – but that’s hardly noticeable in everyday use.
In general, the iPhone 12 can last a day without the need to add, but it will largely depend on what you are doing and connecting to battery-powered 5G networks. I’m comfortable writing, tweeting and calling, but more energy-intensive operations like FaceTime video and battery are running out pretty quickly.
While this is good for the iPhone, it’s worth noting that it’s not as big as its Android competitor, and it has proven itself by our criteria. The iPhone 12 was able to last 6 hours and 36 minutes during our battery test, leaving the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro, which lasted more than 14 hours in the test, miles behind.
Without a charger in the box, the filling speed will depend very much on the strength of the filling brick you use. If possible, it’s worth investing in Apple’s USB-C charger, which offers the maximum possible 18W charging speed on the iPhone 12, but any USB-C charger should do the job.
5G is coming to the iPhone
Of course, I can’t go without mentioning the iPhone 12, one of the most important features of this year’s iteration, 5G. The iPhone 12 is the first Apple product to support 5G, and in the true Apple style, the company has done its best to integrate the improved connection into the iPhone’s hardware and software.
One of the key areas Apple was willing to focus on was compliance; The iPhone 12 offered compatibility with the 5G range more than most of its competitors through custom-made 5G components; This meant that you should be able to access 5G in most countries of the world. country of purchase only. Even the lightning speed really has support for the new generation mmWave 5G connection, but it is limited to certain cities in the US …
The improvements offered by 5G cannot be underestimated, with a massive increase in download and upload speeds, improved latency, and less network density that could create a cycle of cloud games on the road. Busy signal areas such as football matches or concerts are so connected, but not yet available everywhere
In the UK, at least, 5G connectivity is limited to large cities and has yet to be implemented in rural areas where you will benefit the most from ultra-fast connectivity, but as 5G coverage expands, it’s an excellent choice. the future. the next few years
5G connection not only takes up space in the smartphone due to more components, but also puts a price on battery life. Apple was well aware of this and added a new Smart Data mode to iOS 14 to fix the problem, allowing the smartphone to automatically switch between 4G and 5G connections as needed.
For example, if you’re watching a movie on Netflix, you’ll get all the effects of a 5G connection, but leave it to 4G when you’re in your pocket to save battery life. This is a small feature, but overall it is one of the many automatic time-saving features that improve the iPhone experience.
You will be forgiven for assuming that the iPhone 12 has the same camera structure as the iPhone 11, because not much has changed on the surface. It still has a 12Mp wide main camera and a 12Mp ultra wide camera, but the former has an improved f / 1.6 aperture and a new 7-element lens to further enhance low-light photography.
This is true for most parts; Pictures taken using the main rear camera are bright, detailed and vivid, with excellent color reproduction and a noticeable improvement in performance in low light compared to the iPhone 11. Features supported by various software are offered
At 120 degrees, the device may not have changed from last year, but this does not mean that there are no improvements in the offer. The most notable is the automatic objective correction, which aims to reduce the distortion of the fish’s eye on the edges of images taken in ultra-wide frames and give the frames a more natural look.
More importantly, images taken in wide and ultra-wide ideal conditions are not so different, only the ultra-wide main lens can capture 4 times more scenes. The colors often match, which means that it is not immediately clear which lens is used, and this is not the case with many alternatives. In low light conditions, it is slightly muddy due to the relatively low f / 2.4 aperture.
One of the most interesting features of the iPhone 11 was Night Mode, and Apple has strengthened its capabilities on the iPhone 12. Thanks to the improved main lens, I not only see improvements in the overall quality and amount of light captured, but now I have the opportunity to use ultra-wide and forward-facing selfie cameras.
The results from the main sensor are sometimes surprising, capturing more than you can see with your own eyes, taking a photo of the garden at night and showing it as if it was taken at dusk. You need to choose the right frame and keep your phone still for 15 seconds for the best quality, but really impressive night shots are possible on the iPhone 12.
This is definitely the best on the main sensor. Images often lack the detail and clarity of images taken with the main snapper, although you can use Night Mode on Ultrawide, which makes a noticeable difference in the amount of light taken compared to standard shooting. This is one of the most important areas where lens performance differs.
For best results, I recommend investing in a cheap smartphone tripod, because if you choose a tripod, you also have the option to shoot a Night Mode Timelapse video, another new feature of the iPhone 12.
Aside from night mode, the iPhone 12 features Apple’s new Smart HDR 3 technology, which uses A14 Bionic’s machine learning features to detect and understand scenes and adjust shooting accordingly. This can be in the form of highlighting the object in the foreground in a backlit frame, or drawing details in landscape photography, both in the sky and on land. The end result is detail in shots taken in both bright and dark places, often in difficult lighting conditions.
Deep Fusion is another reason why pictures taken on the iPhone look so detailed. Introduced on the iPhone 11 Pro last year, Deep Fusion uses machine learning to adjust the lighting without losing detail and sharpen the image on a pixel-by-pixel basis, and it works effectively and makes the images truly stunning.
If you’re fast enough with the camera preview, you can see the beginning and the end of the iPhone as it works, which helps show how different the software is.
The front-facing 12Mp snapper remains different from the iPhone 11, complemented by the same f / 2.2 aperture and the ability to digitally switch between single lens and wide and ultra wide modes, but the added Night Mode support brings a little more light to selfies dark environments
Undoubtedly, the best feature of the front camera is Portrait mode, because despite no changes in the device, the iPhone 12 better distinguishes the background from the subject, and there are significantly less blurred spots around the subject of the image – even difficult hair. contours
Also, the iPhone 12 series has improvements in video presentation with standard 4K @ 60fps and 240fps @ 1080p slow motion recording capabilities, as well as the ability to shoot on the road with 10-bit Dolby Vision HDR.
Especially when the Super XDR display is combined with Dolby Vision support, it provides a noticeable improvement in videos taken on the iPhone, but that’s not a reason for the average consumer to buy it. The difference is not so surprising, and more importantly, you are limited to 30 frames / s on a standard iPhone 12 – you will have to go to the iPhone 12 Pro for smooth 60 frames / s HDR recording.
In general, the iPhone 12 camera system can be improved more than the redesign, but I think there are a lot of improvements here – especially in low light conditions – fans will enjoy it.
Evaluation and availability
The iPhone 12 will be available for purchase after it goes on sale on October 23, 2020. You can get it directly from Apple, along with big retailers like Amazon in the UK and John Lewis in the UK and Amazon in the US, but those looking will have to wait a little longer for the smaller iPhone 12 mini. Pre-orders can be made until November 6.
The iPhone 12 will give you back £ 799 / $ 799, an increase of £ 70 / $ 100 over the iPhone 11 line. Most likely, this is due in part to the high-priced 5G connection, but more than the fact that the iPhone 12 Mini mentioned above has the original price of £ 699 / $ 699 for the iPhone 11. It has 64 GB of memory and you will have to pay more for 128 or 126 GB of memory
Take a look at our best iPhone guide to see how the iPhone 12 compares to the rest of the iPhone series, and we have the best smartphone to see how it performs against Android competition.
The iPhone 12 represents a leap forward for the iPhone, not only in terms of design, but also in terms of functionality. It can take a while to get used to the phone’s industrial angle design, but it has its appeal and is safer than the sharper alternatives. The combination of glass and aluminum is spectacular, and the variety of vibrant color choices means there is something for everyone.
It is also the first standard iPhone to have the same screen as its Pro counterparts, as the iPhone 12 has the same Super Retina XDR screen as the iPhone 12 Pro models. The transition from last year’s iPhone’s LCD technology to ultra-superior OLED technology, which has brighter colors and deeper blacks than its predecessor, is a significant improvement, but lacks the high refresh rate of many Android competitors.
The 5G connection is also a big plus for the iPhone 12, and finally, it allows iPhone fans to switch to the 5G that Android fans have been enjoying for a while where 5G is. MagSafe, in my opinion, is exciting, offering a new way for accessories to connect and connect to the iPhone, even if charging MagSafe is as easy as connecting it to a network.
Then there are various camera improvements, including a new 7-element lens and an improved f / 1.6 aperture of the main sensor on the back, resulting in improved performance in low light and generally more detailed images. You have the option to use Night Mode on any iPhone 12 camera, not just the main rear camera, and Dolby Vision HDR video recording is also available, albeit at 30 frames per second.
There’s a lot to love about the iPhone 12, and it’s hard to justify the £ 200 / $ 200 price increase because it has so many similarities to the iPhone 12 Pro. The iPhone 12 is currently the iPhone for most people