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We compare the iPhone 12, Mini, Pro and Pro Max, so you don’t have to

(Left to right) The iPhone 12 Pro Max, 12 Pro, 12, and 12 Mini   | Photo Credit: Divya Kala Bhavani

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When the iPhone 12 series was unveiled, most loyal users were thrilled at the comeback of the iPhone 5’s wraparound flat band, replacing the rounded edges that made an appearance from iPhones 6 to 11 series.

Usually when something comes, it means something leaves. In the case of the 12 series, Apple made the surprising move to start omitting the power charger and wired EarPods to go more eco-friendly. After seeing the amount of e-waste that accumulates in an average household, this was a good decision on Apple’s part.

The iPhone 12 series in their respective (and noticeably smaller) boxes

The iPhone 12 series in their respective (and noticeably smaller) boxes   | Photo Credit: Divya Kala Bhavani

Display-wise, all models of the new series feature Super Retina XDR displays which use organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology, meaning Apple did not compromise on high contrast ratio and high resolution with no annoying backlight – all on a thinner display too, so these phones are noticeably lighter. An off-angle glance at these displays offer a slight difference in hue, which Apple says is normal behaviour of OLED displays, but this is thankfully not bothersome.

The iPhone 12 series in their boxes

The iPhone 12 series in their boxes   | Photo Credit: Divya Kala Bhavani

Equipped with Apple’s new Ceramic Shield, which comprises nano-ceramic crystals, the screen leverages Apple’s dual ion-exchange process used on the back glass to make it scratch-resistant. All of these devices have been dropped and bumped at some point, but there have not been any scratches. This durability was sadly absent in the iPhone 11 series, particularly in the 11 Pro. This screen strength is extended right to the edges of the 12 series itself so do not fear for vulnerable points.

What ultimately separates the iPhone 12 series from its somewhat similar predecessor is the performance, powered by the latest native A14 Bionic chipset. However, each model has its ups and downs.

So for those still wondering which iPhone 12 is worth the splurge, our comparison should be comprehensive enough.

iPhone 12 Mini: the darkhorse candidate

Yes, it is adorable, but it is also a smart addition on Apple’s part. Being part of the flagship series, the Mini is not a rival to the SE, which was released this spring but it is the most affordable in its resident range. Being the smallest iPhone so far, thanks to its 5.4-inch display, it is also the lightest, due to its aluminium body.

The iPhone 12 Mini

The iPhone 12 Mini   | Photo Credit: Divya Kala Bhavani

The Mini, understandably has made its compromises but they are not to be mourned: look forward to a great 2340x1080-pixel resolution at 476 pixels per inch. Despite this, the Mini has a great camera system, too; it records video in the same Dolby Vision HDR and frame rates as the iPhones 12 and 12 Pro, on its rear Wide and Ultra Wide cameras and front True Depth camera.

Is it worth ₹69,900? Given it comes packed with the A14 Bionic which fuels a more sustainable battery life as well as responsive graphics, this is one you should consider if you are new to Apple’s ecosystem but still want the plushness of an iPhone 12.

iPhone 12: a wild card?

The base model is a pretty decent leveler at a starting price of ₹79,900. So which specs make the 12 an upgrade from the Mini? Design is where the difference in price really is – but only in the wraparound band. The Mini’s has a plastic feel, while the upgraded 12 has an aluminium material with a glass back.

The iPhone 12

The iPhone 12   | Photo Credit: Divya Kala Bhavani

Aside from the larger display and higher resolution and ppi, as well as a marginally better battery life, there really is not much of a difference, performance-wise: recording and photography formats are the same, as are the camera systems. Therefore, it is odd that the base device seems to be a wild card here. This will see more people investing in the Mini to save ₹10,000.

In these pandemic times, who wouldn’t want to save while still splurging?

iPhone 12 Pro: Party down

This was the first of the 12 series I had tested, but was disappointed in a day. Despite its design indulgence same as those of the 12 Pro Max, both models come in those gorgeous matte finishes, I found myself charging the 12 Pro twice a day, sometimes thrice on a busier phone day. After the significant battery improvement that came with the 11 series, this was a sad setback on Apple’s part. This incites a head-shake at the starting price of ₹1,19,900, when there are smartphones from Xiaomi, Samsung and Google Pixel that have more stable battery lives for much less.

The iPhone 12 Pro

The iPhone 12 Pro   | Photo Credit: Divya Kala Bhavani

Battery aside, there are upgrades from the base model. The Telephoto lens with higher optical zooms, and the LiDAR Scanner for Night mode are a photographer’s dream. The Dolby Vision HDR recording at 60 frames per rate makes videos more life-like and these are not too compressed when uploaded to most social media platforms.

iPhone 12 Pro Max: the name says it all

Considering the disappointing iPhone 12 Pro’s battery life, the Pro Max is a smartphone for the long haul, optimised further by A14 Bionic. Yes, it is pricey at its ₹1,29,900-starting price point but it offers the best value for money.

A device for the purse and not the pocket (due to its size), it takes a while to get used to the 6.7-inch display.

The iPhone 12 Pro Max

The iPhone 12 Pro Max   | Photo Credit: Divya Kala Bhavani

The iPhone 12 Pro Max is catnip for the smartphone addict and, here, I am playing the enabler. While the 11 Pro Max had its downsides, such as a lower refresh frame rate, the 12 counterpart proves Apple has finally listened to the complaints of A11 Bionic, and has resolved these performance issues to a great extent. So gaming on the 12 Pro Max is a breeze, and the battery is able to hold up pretty well.

Plus, how cute does the 12 Mini look next to it?

The iPhone 12 Mini held against the iPhone 12 Pro Max

The iPhone 12 Mini held against the iPhone 12 Pro Max   | Photo Credit: Divya Kala Bhavani

The best part? Over the December 19 weekend, Apple finally released iOS 14.3, which comes with Apple ProRAW shooting capability. Yes, the raw images are big – at around 25 megabytes each – but they are print-ready. Shooting in and editing ProRAW gave me more sovereignty over white balance, noise reduction, sharpening, and more. Notably, ProRAW wins where Apple’s general multimedia algorithms may struggle, such as instances of mixed indoor lighting, and extreme low light.

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Printable version | Mar 8, 2021 6:47:09 PM |

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