Apple is giving potential buyers more choice than ever. We already reviewed the iPhone 12, and now it’s time for the 12 Pro. Besides having double the storage, a stainless steel frame, and different colors than the 12, the 12 Pro upgrades are mostly camera-related. It’s got a proper telephoto camera with 2x optical zoom, a LiDAR Scanner for AR applications and low-light focusing, and it can take portrait shots with Night mode. This is not the longest list of upgrades we’ve seen, so choosing between these two iPhones is going to be a tough one.
At least compared to the iPhone 11 Pro, the list of new features is longer. There is a faster processor, 5G connectivity, a larger screen with better shatter resistance, Night mode for the UW camera, Dolby Vision video recording, MagSafe support, and the new LiDAR.
But most importantly, there is also the new design that Apple is introducing with the 12th Series, and it instantaneously makes all previous iPhones look less modern.
Apple iPhone 12 Pro specs:
- Body: Stainless-steel frame with glossy finish, Ceramic Shield front with oleophobic coating, Glass back with frosted finish, IP68 certified for water and dust resistance. Silver, Graphite, Gold, Pacific Blue color options. 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4 mm, 189 g.
- Display: 6.1″ Retina XDR OLED screen of 1170 x 2532 px resolution, 460ppi, 600 nits, 120Hz touch sensing. HDR10, Dolby Vision support, wide color gamut. True Tone.
- Chipset: Apple A14 Bionic chip (5nm) – Hexa-core (2×3.1 GHz Firestorm + 4×1.8 GHz Icestorm with 3.1GHz Turboboost) Apple CPU, four-core Apple GPU, 16-core Apple NPU 4-gen
- Memory: 6GB of RAM; 128/256/512GB of internal storage
- Rear camera: Triple 12MP camera: 26mm main wide-angle, f/1.6, OIS, Dual Pixel AF; 13mm ultrawide-angle, f/2.4, 120-degree field of view; 52mm telephoto, f/2.0, OIS, 2x optical zoom; dual-LED flash with slow sync. Night Mode, Smart HDR 3, Deep Fusion.
- Video recording: 2160p@60/30fps, 1080p@30/60/120/240fps video recording with wider dynamic range and spatial sound, OIS + EIS, Dolby Vision
- Front camera: Dual camera – 23mm 12MP f/2.2 front-facing camera with HDR mode + 3D TOF camera; Night Mode, Smart HDR 3, Deep Fusion. 2160p@60/30fps, 1080p@30/60/120fps video recording with wider dynamic range and spatial sound, EIS.
- Connectivity: Dual SIM, 5G, 4G; Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac/6; Bluetooth 5.0; Lightning port; GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, QZSS; NFC; Apple U1 chip ultrawideband
- Battery: 2,815 mAh battery, 20W fast charging, 15 Qi wireless charging (MagSafe)
- Misc: Face ID through dedicated TrueDepth camera, stereo speakers, Taptic Engine
While we could hardly wait to see the iPhones with this new design, we can’t say Apple has checked off all points on our wishlist. The iPhone 12 Pro was supposed to premiere with a new 120Hz ProMotion display, but unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Rumor has it that for some reason, Apple had to choose between 5G and HRR OLED (we think it’s battery life). Well, we all know how that went down – with our without carrier support – Apple’s homepage now proudly carries a huge 5G logo. We can’t deny the iPhone UI looks fast and fluid but forgoing the high-refresh-rate screen for yet another year is a flagrant omission in our books.
Also, Apple’s questionable decision to keep the camera hardware upgrades only to the iPhone 12 Pro Max further takes away some of the appeal of the 12 Pro. Not everyone will want a big phone, and Apple is making it impossible to get the new 12MP sensor with larger pixels and sensor-shift stabilization without going for the 12 Pro Max. In our minds, the iPhone 12 Pro deserved to have the same level of camera hardware instead of relying on the last year’s camera tech.
Unboxing the Apple iPhone 12 Pro
Finally, in one of the most controversial moves in the industry, Apple announced they are no longer bundling a charger or headphones with this phone that costs more than a thousand bucks.
This year, the iPhone 12 Pro comes in one of the slimmest smartphone boxes we have ever opened. Inside, you’ll find only the phone itself and a USB-C/Lightning cable. No charger or headphones here. Apple expects you to already have these or, better yet, buy them separately.
Inside the box, there is also a small sleeve, where you’d find the SIM ejection PIN and an Apple logo sticker. Apple should have saved the hassle of including those – after all, we all have those already, right? Come to think of it, nobody needs a box either – just ship the iPhone 13 in bubble wrap.
Okay, we’re a bit salty, but so is the iPhone 12 Pro pricing. Let’s see what it has to offer for our hard-earned money on the following pages.
The iPhone 12 Pro is a well-balanced smartphone, which offers many upgrades over the iPhone 11 Pro and a moderate list of added features compared to the standard iPhone 12.
The most notable differences between the iPhone 12 Pro and the iPhone 12 are in the camera department. The 12 Pro has an additional telephoto camera on the back, it can shoot Dolby Vision videos in 60fps, it will eventually support capturing in Apple Pro RAW, and has the LiDAR Scanner that helps for better AR and portraits. The 128GB iPhone 12 Pro is $120/€200 more expensive than the 128GB iPhone 12, and it’s up to you to decide whether you need these camera features. If not – the iPhone 12 already offers the most important core new features of Series 12.
If you want to get the best Apple has to offer in 2020, then there is the iPhone 12 Pro Max that goes for €100 over the iPhone 12 Pro. The Max has the largest screen and battery among the iPhone 12s and is the only one to actually have a meaningfully upgraded camera hardware. It has a larger 12MP sensor for its main camera with the (phone) industry’s first sensor-shift stabilization. It also features an improved 12MP telephoto camera – it now offers 2.5x zoom thanks to a new 65mm f/2.2 lens and is promised even better portraits.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max indeed offers the most significant upgrades when it comes to hardware this year, and it appears it makes more sense as a purchase compared to the iPhone 12 Pro. In fact, if you own an iPhone 11 Pro and you don’t care about the new design, 5G, or MagSafe support, you should skip the 12 Pro and wait for next year’s model.
Apple iPhone 12 • Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max
The Apple iPhone 12 Pro is a very good smartphone, but it doesn’t make much sense as an upgrade to the iPhone 11 Pro. Better stick with your iPhone 11 Pro, or if you are a sucker for the latest Apple tech – just spend more and get the Max.
However, logic doesn’t always matter when it comes to new iPhones. Many people buy them just because they are the new iPhones, and they want to stay in the loop, few for the actual new features and even fewer get them as it is time to replace their 3-4-5 years old phone.
If you are among those users upgrading from an older model, say XS or earlier, you should be delighted with the iPhone 12 Pro – it offers a massive amount of upgrades over the older-gen iPhones. You just need to buy a charger, but hey – welcome to the future!
We expected more from the iPhone 12 Pro, but it turned out a recycled iPhone 11 Pro. Not that Apple is forcing us to upgrade, but still. The new camera tech being a Pro Max exclusive and the lack of ProMotion screen, while failing to deliver meaningful improvements elsewhere, makes things really easy for us to make a call.
We can’t recommend the iPhone 12 Pro over its siblings – the iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro Max.
- Attractive design with exquisite fit and premium finish
- Excellent OLED screen, very bright
- Loud stereo speakers, superb audio quality
- The fastest smartphone chip on the planet, 5G, too
- Good photo quality across the board, day and night
- LiDAR Scanner has varied applications and use cases (albeit quite niche)
- Consistently good video quality
- Apple iOS 14 is fast and easy to use, 5 years of guaranteed major updates
- MagSafe is a promising accessory concept
- No charger or headphones in the box
- No high refresh rate screen
- Shorter battery life than the iPhone 11 Pro
- iOS needs better file management
- We miss TouchID as FaceID does not work with a mask on
- The best camera tech is exclusive to iPhone 12 Pro Max
- Few meaningful upgrades over iPhone 11 Pro and even fewer over iPhone 12