The screen was the main difference between the iPhone 11 and the iPhone 11 Pro. While the most expensive model had an OLED panel with perfect blacks and higher resolution, those who wanted to save money got that taste of “technology from the past” because of the LCD and the larger edges. On iPhones 12, Apple has reduced distances, without improving the screen, battery or performance in what it calls a “professional” smartphone.
The iPhone 12 Pro arrives with the same A14 Bionic processor, the same flattened shape and the same 5G connection as the iPhone 12, but it has an additional camera, brings the LiDAR sensor used in autonomous cars and arrives with a change here and there in the design. Is it enough to make you spend R $ 1,500 more? I used the iPhone 12 Pro in the last few weeks and I count my impressions in this review.
Video 12 iPhone Review
O Tecnoblog is a technology-independent journalistic vehicle that helps people make their next purchase decision since 2005. Our product reviews are opinionated and have no advertising intent. For this reason, we always transparently highlight the positive and negative points of each product.
No company, manufacturer or store has paid the Tecnoblog to produce this content. Our reviews are not reviewed or approved by external agents. The iPhone 12 Pro was provided by Apple on an indefinite loan. The product will be used in future content before being returned to the company.
Design and canvas
The design of the iPhone 12 Pro takes us back to the old iPhones, which had flat edges and stood on the table. But in addition to the price, the materials have evolved considerably since the iPhone 5s. The aluminum frame has been replaced by stainless steel, which is very elegant when it is not full of fingerprints. The metal back is now made of glass, to allow induction charging. For the clumsy on duty, the cell phone gained more chances of survival when falling on the ground or in the water.
MagSafe, a novelty that some consider to be connectivity, for me is more related to design. Apple has been a specialist in nurturing the accessory industry since the days of the iPod, and that should be repeated with the new iPhones. The covers are easier to put on and take off thanks to magnets, which allow you to magnetically attach other accessories, such as wallets or vehicle supports. I’m also curious to see Moment’s shotgun tripod and microphone mounts in action.
The size and weight of the iPhone 12 Pro has hardly changed compared to the iPhone 11 Pro, but the screen has grown from 5.8 to 6.1 inches thanks to the reduction in the edges. The Super Retina XDR panel, which ordinary people call OLED, has excellent quality, with strong brightness to see the content in any lighting condition, which also helps to expand the dynamic range, especially in content with Dolby Vision.
I just had an uncomfortable perception about the screen. I switch between iPhones sizes with each generation: I tested the iPhone 8 Plus in 2017, I went to the iPhone XS in 2018, I switched to the iPhone 11 Pro Max in 2019 and now I’m looking at the iPhone 12 Pro. Although I prefer the ergonomics of the compact cell phones, I always felt that I was missing something and getting the thought that “before, more lines of text could fit here”. So, even with the increase in screen, you may not want to exchange an iPhone Max for a smaller one.
The iPhone 12 Pro was tested with iOS 14.2, available for all models since the iPhone 6s, launched five years ago. Apple’s long support period deserves praise, especially considering that only recently, Samsung, the biggest competitor in the line tops, started to promise three years of updates.
I only care about Apple’s delay in launching software features that have been on Android for a long time. The widgets on the home screens make life easier and were very well implemented by the developers, as in the case of Fantastical, but the Google platform has had that since I know myself. Hiding infrequently used app icons was also natural on Android and has only just arrived on iPhones.
On the other hand, Apple knows how to integrate its products like no one else, which may still be the company’s biggest asset. It is practical and very natural to simply copy a code on the Mac and paste it on the iPhone. Or transfer giant 4K videos via AirDrop in no time, with a direct wireless connection between the two devices. Something I do a lot is write a text in Ulysses on the Mac and continue exactly where I left off on the iPhone, with real-time synchronization.
Of course, all of this requires spending money, both on hardware and on software: Fantastical and Ulysses, the two applications I mentioned, are paid (and very well paid). But the experience remains quite consistent, not only within the platform, but also across Apple platforms.
In cameras, Apple took a different path from the previous generation, investing more in computer photography than in the optical array itself. In fact, if you look at the numbers, the resolution of all cameras and the physical size of the sensors on the iPhone 12 Pro are identical to those on the iPhone 11 Pro. The only hardware changes were in the aperture of the main lens, which increased from f / 1.8 to f / 1.6, and the inclusion of a LiDAR sensor to measure depth.
The few physical changes are enough to keep the iPhone 12 Pro cameras excellent. The rear cameras please for consistency, taking good pictures on the first click, with precise focus and controlled exposure. The dynamic range is also impressive, keeping the areas of light and shadow very visible even in strong sunlight. The colors are well represented, although they may seem strange at first because they are warmer, different from competitors, which tend to adopt colder tones.
A peculiar detail is that the photos taken with the ultrawide lens do not have barrel distortions in the corners, giving the images a different aspect and, on several occasions, better, since the straight lines remain straight. Speaking of which, the camera with a wider field of view finally gained night mode, capturing night scenes with excellent definition, good exposure and almost nonexistent noise.
It is also interesting to see Deep Fusion taking action, especially in the front camera. Apple’s computer photography technology promises to improve exposure and reduce noise, but the most notable feature is the definition of images. Selfies have excellent sharpness and have the smallest details of the face, at a level that many premium smartphones cannot reach with the rear camera.
Videos also deserve attention for their excellent definition, pleasant color representation and enhanced dynamic range with Dolby Vision. In fact, all the scenes of the iPhone 12 Pro in this review were filmed with an iPhone 12 Pro Max, whose analysis will be published soon. And, in the moments when I appear in the video, my secondary angle was captured by the front camera of the iPhone 12 Pro.
Hardware and battery
To talk about the performance of the recently launched iPhone is to rain in the wet, because the competition still cannot develop, in the same generation, a processor that comes close to the equivalent of Apple. It is not a matter of optimization, but of raw processor performance. I said that a few years ago, but that became very clear with the launch of MacBooks with Apple Silicon, based on iPhone chips, which are hitting desktops with Intel without even needing a fan.
The same feeling goes for the performance in games, which is superior to what existed on Android a few years ago, but this time in part thanks to the API Metal and the other graphic optimizations adopted by the developers. For the iPhone 12 Pro, Apple promised a performance improvement on the GPU by some percentage that I didn’t want to remember. So, yes, the speed remains impeccable.
What is worth commenting on is the battery. First of all: no, it doesn’t come with the charger in the box, so you need to use your old plug adapter. But what I would like to remember is that, in the last generations, Apple has been improving the battery of the iPhones considerably, going from the terror that was the iPhone 7 until arriving at the iPhone 11 Pro Max, which seemed to have an infinite battery. On the iPhone 12 Pro, the battery capacity has decreased again.
In nominal terms, the battery went from 3,046 mAh on the iPhone 11 Pro to 2,815 mAh on the iPhone 12 Pro. Despite the optimizations in energy consumption, Apple itself makes it clear that there has been a reduction in autonomy in practice, with a promise of 17 hours of video playback, versus 18 hours on the previous model. It is true that the device got thinner, going from 8.1 to 7.4 mm, but saving a pencil lead in thickness in exchange for less autonomy is not a decision that I like.
In my standardized tests, with 3 hours of video playback on Netflix, an hour of web browsing and half an hour of Asphalt 9, always with maximum brightness and connected to Wi-Fi, the battery went from 100% to 51%. The result is not bad and was on the same level as the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, but the reduction in battery between one generation and another seems to me a lost opportunity to sell a more complete phone.
Completing an iPhone review is easier. After a few years of analyzing products, I learned that there are basically two audiences interested in the latest Apple release: those who have an old iPhone and are thinking of switching to a new one, or those who were in doubt between an iPhone and the latest Samsung Galaxy.
For those who already have an iPhone, the exchange makes sense for owners of iPhone XR, XS or earlier. On the iPhone 12 Pro, the screen is better, the battery lasts longer, performance has increased and the cameras have made significant progress. I don’t find it interesting to migrate from an iPhone XS Max or iPhone 11 Pro Max, unless you’re sure you won’t miss a big screen. And 5G is not yet a decisive factor to justify an upgrade, but I will be back in 2021 to see if my opinion has changed.
Compared to the Galaxy S20 Ultra or Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, the iPhone 12 Pro offers superior performance, similar battery life, more consistent cameras for photography and video recording better implemented with Dolby Vision. But the Apple phone loses the footage in 8K, has no large 120 Hz screen, runs out of the Note line pen and is more expensive in retail. The three smartphones are great, so the price and operating system preference are the factors that will most define this choice.
But there is a problem for the iPhone 12 Pro, and it is called iPhone 12. Until the previous generation, it made more sense to pay dearly for the screen, easy to be noticed as superior in the Pro model. In 2020, the differences between the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro were basically due to the zoom lens, which I use very little; the LiDAR sensor, which almost everyone can live without; and the finish, which is aluminum in the cheapest model, which makes no difference to normal people.
So, both for those who are migrating from an old iPhone and for those thinking about venturing to Apple, the iPhone 12 Pro is a very good phone – but my recommendation is to take a closer look at the iPhone 12.
iPhone 12 Pro
- Flawless cameras for photo and video
- Continues with the best performance in the market
- Sophisticated and tougher design
- MagSafe opens up possibilities with different accessories
- Software well integrated with other Apple products
- Screen with strong brightness and excellent definition
- Could have 120 Hz refresh rate
- Nobody asked for a thinner phone with less battery
- Screen: 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED (2532 × 1170 pixels) with 60 Hz refresh rate;
- Processor: Apple A14 Bionic hexa-core 3.0 GHz;
- Connectivity: 4G, 5G sub-6, Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, UWB;
- RAM: 6 GB;
- Internal storage: 128, 256 or 512 GB;
- Frontal camera: 12 megapixels (f / 2.2);
- Rear cameras:
- Main: 12 megapixels (f / 1.6);
- Telephoto: 12 megapixels (f / 2.0) with 2x optical zoom;
- Ultrawide: 12 megapixel (f / 2.4) with 120 degree field of view;
- Depth sensor: To deal;
- Operational system: iOS 14.2;
- Drums: 2,815 mAh with fast charging of 20 watts wired and 15 watts wireless (charger not included);
- Dimensions and weight: 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4 mm, 187 grams.