The iPhone 12 Pro looks almost identical to last year’s iPhone 11 Pro, but it does offer some interesting differences.
Apple iPhone 12 Pro in-depth Review
Apple has increased the diagonal of the screen from 5.8 ″ to 6.1 ″, a very wise decision since the new size offers, in my opinion, an ideal balance between the size of the smartphone and functionality.
The increase in the diagonal does not imply a much larger body, since Apple has replaced the rounded finish of the four sides with flat edges, which look attractive and are narrower. The chassis is still made of steel, stronger than aluminum but somewhat more prone to scratches.
The iPhone 12 Pro screen is protected by a new type of glass called Ceramic Shield. It is the strongest glass ever used in a smartphone and, in fact, the iPhone 12 Pro is four times more resistant to falls than the previous model.
The rear is not much different from the iPhone 11 Pro. The camera module maintains its square shape and is sculpted on a sheet of glass. Again, Apple has opted for a matte finish for the glass that disguises fingerprint marks.
Apple has added a set of magnets to the back of the iPhone 12 Pro, which it has dubbed MagSafe. These magnets allow you to magnetically attach accessories such as the MagSafe charger, the leather wallet, or all kinds of supports launched by various manufacturers.
Face ID is still there and allows you to unlock the device comfortably and safely using your face, even in the dark. The iPhone 12 Pro allows you to recognize the face from different angles, although it is still difficult to do so while it is resting on a table (unless you poke your head out).
In times of pandemic, the fingerprint reader has been missed since the mask prevents the operation of Face ID, but hopefully, this will soon be history.
The Super Retina XDR display is, once again, the best I’ve ever tested on a smartphone thanks to its very high maximum brightness (about 820 nits with 100% of the screen illuminated in white according to my measurements) and the highest color fidelity I’ve never measured. In addition, it has True Tone to adjust the white balance to the ambient lighting.
The screen offers a great chromatic breadth since it covers the DCI-P3 color gamut and is compatible with HDR content, reaching 1,200 nits of brightness.
iOS carries out automatic color management, so the screen switches to the appropriate color mode depending on the content – something that few smartphones can boast about.
The only thing I miss about the iPhone 12 Pro screen is the always-on display functionality and a slightly higher 60Hz refresh rate.
The iPhone 12 Pro stands out again in terms of performance as it arrives with the powerful new A14 Bionic chip, the first chip manufactured in a 5nm process.
This chip has a 6-core CPU – 4 high-efficiency cores and 2 high-performance cores – that offers 50% more performance in both CPU and GPU compared to any other smartphone.
The A14 Bionic chip also incorporates a 16-core Neural Engine that offers an 80 percent improvement in machine learning tasks.
In practice, this means that the iPhone 12 Pro moves with great fluidity although, in my daily use, I have not noticed a great difference with its predecessor, which was already very fast. Actually, the power of the A14 Bionic comes out in other types of tasks such as image processing when taking photos or videos, image stabilization, facial recognition, or augmented reality.
The iPhone 12 Pro is available in 128, 256, and 512 GB of storage. If you can afford it, the 256GB option is a more secure value for the future, especially if you like to take a lot of photos and videos – a good reason to buy this phone.
In the connectivity aspect, the iPhone 12 Pro supports the most advanced wireless technologies such as Bluetooth 5 and WiFi 6 (802.11ax). In addition, the iPhone 12 Pro is compatible with Gigabit-class LTE / 4G networks and with 5G networks in the Sub-6GHz band, which is the most commonly used. Now, although it is compatible with Dual SIM (physical SIM + eSIM), the use of Dual SIM does not allow the use of 5G networks.
Apple has also incorporated the U1 chip for ultra-wideband (UWB) that allows you to locate objects with great precision. At the moment, its usefulness is limited as practically the only practical use is when using AirDrop with another iPhone 11/12.
The iPhone 12 Pro has stereo speakers that offer a good spatial feeling and also support Dolby Atmos. Unsurprisingly, it lacks the headphone jack, so you’ll have to resort to a Bluetooth adapter or headphones like the excellent AirPods.
The iPhone 12 Pro offers fast cable charging through its Lightning connector (no USB-C for now) if you use an 18W charger. For the first time, Apple has decided not to include a charger in the box – a decision that has generated a controversy that, in my opinion, is exaggerated.
Apple allows 7.5W wireless charging with a conventional charger, but it reaches 15W if you use the new MagSafe charger, which is fixed to the back by magnets to ensure a perfect alignment between the phone and the charger.
The iPhone 12 Pro has a 2,815 mAh battery, which represents a reduction of 7.5% compared to the battery of the iPhone 11 Pro, whose screen was also somewhat smaller. Fortunately, the lower capacity does not translate into worse autonomy since the new processor is manufactured in a more efficient process.
If you are concerned that the use of 5G networks could reduce autonomy, we have good news since Apple has included an intelligent system that only makes use of 5G connectivity when the app needs to take advantage of the speed and latency improvements of these networks. This saves battery life.
Although more battery is always better, on a day-to-day basis, I have not noticed any difference in autonomy compared to the iPhone 11 Pro that I have used for the last year. Despite heavy use, I arrive at the end of the day with at least 30 percent battery life.
The iPhone 12 Pro comes with iOS 14 out of the box, which incorporates some interesting improvements such as widgets on the desktop, the application library, more discreet call alerts, and Siri interface, Picture-in-Picture (PIP), and new functionalities in apps like Messages, Maps, etc.
Apple has also incorporated a new app called Translate to perform translations in real-time and App Clips, a new type of apps that can be used without the need to install them.
One of the great advantages that iOS has over Android is updated. iOS 14 is coming to four-year-old devices, so hopefully the iPhone 12 Pro will stay up-to-date for a long time.
The triple rear camera of the iPhone 12 Pro offers great versatility since it allows you to take pictures with both a wide field of view (ultra wide-angle) and with zoom (2x telephoto) to get closer to the details.
The main camera has a brighter lens that lets in 27% more light, resulting in better photos in low-light conditions. Apple has not only improved the optics but has evolved the Intelligent HDR mode with scene detection.
In tests, the images captured by the iPhone 12 Pro offer good sharpness, excellent color reproduction, and accurate exposure.
The Night mode is still present and is capable of taking pictures in poorly lit environments with surprising results. Best of all, it is not necessary to select this mode manually but it is activated automatically when we take a photo in low light.
The telephoto camera of the iPhone 12 Pro maintains the 2x magnification factor, which in my opinion is a wise decision. As I have commented on other occasions, more zoom is not always better, and a 2x magnification is more useful than a 5x magnification.
The wide f / 2.0 aperture of the telephoto camera allows the iPhone 12 Pro to take zoom photos in conditions where other smartphones resort to a cut-out of the main camera. This results in better photographs.
Of course, the Portrait mode is still present on the iPhone 12 Pro, and, by default, it uses the telephoto camera ( as it should be to reduce distortion ) but you can also use the main camera. Apple allows you to modify the level of blur in the background and offers six lighting effects that offer very striking results.
As for the ultra-wide-angle camera, the incorporation of the Night mode is the most outstanding feature since it allows taking pictures in low light conditions with a substantial improvement in image quality.
Generally speaking, the quality of the iPhone 12 Pro’s cameras is excellent, in both good and low light conditions. In my comparisons with other flagships, the iPhone 12 Pro’s camera has always done very well.
In addition to the three conventional cameras, the iPhone 12 Pro incorporates a LiDAR sensor that is specially designed for Augmented Reality applications, but it also improves focus in low light conditions and allows taking Portraits in night mode.
The 12MP TrueDepth front camera offers good captures and is also capable of taking portrait mode photos with great quality. The lens is wide-angle and allows taking individual or group selfies.
In the video section, the rear camera of the iPhone 12 Pro offers 10-bit HDR video recording for the first time, which means that you can capture 60 times more colors than before. In fact, it is the first smartphone capable of recording video in Dolby Vision format at 4K @ 60fps with the rear camera and at 4K @ 30fps with the front camera.
In my opinion, the iPhone 12 Pro is a magnificent smartphone, which stands out for a perfectly calibrated screen, a very powerful processor, good autonomy, and a triple rear camera that offers very solid results in all situations.