The first set of iPhone 12 Pro reviews are out and they are largely positive. With the device scheduled to go on sale later this week, check out our iPhone 12 Pro review roundup to know what major publications are saying about the latest iPhone from Apple.
The shiny stainless steel frame of the iPhone 12 Pro is a fingerprint magnet.
As I mentioned, the 12 Pro is the shiny one, and the glossy stainless steel frame instantly picked up fingerprints. This is a phone you will be trying to keep clean quite often if you don’t put it in a case. Even still, this is the first iPhone in a long time that I’ve been sad about covering. It’s just nice to look at.
That frame can also get nicked easily.
One thing Apple would not tell me is how resistant this stainless steel frame is to nicks and scratches… and we’ve already put a tiny nick in the frame of our review unit, even though all it’s really done is travel from video shoot to video shoot.
Unlike the iPhone 12, the iPhone 12 Pro still has the same size bezels surrounding its display.
The bezels and notch at the top of the screen are still the same size, which more or less means eventually you just won’t notice them. Early adopters will notice that some apps need to be updated for this new screen size — Instagram is a little broken, as usual — but the iPhone ecosystem generally adapts quickly, so I’d expect a flurry of app updates to come.
Compared to the iPhone 11 Pro, the iPhone 12 Pro captures less grainy photos that are also slightly more contrast-y.
There are some other small but noticeable photo improvements over the 11 Pro: the ultrawide lens distorts a little less at the edges, and photos from the ultrawide and telephoto are a tad sharper and more detailed. There are also some new settings: you can actually turn lens correction off, and you can turn off both Smart HDR and “scene detection,” which tries to intelligently recognize a shot and expose it correctly. It’s nice to see Apple embrace additional camera options, but I would generally leave everything flipped on; if you are offended by auto camera modes, you should just use an app with good manual controls like Halide.
Compared to the Google Pixel 5 and the Samsung Note 20 Ultra, the iPhone 12 Pro delivers exactly what we’ve come to expect from Apple: great photos in almost every case, with balanced colors and great details. I still prefer the Pixel look ever so slightly, and I am reliably informed that there are people who prefer Samsung’s hyperrealistic colors, but the iPhone 11 Pro was the phone to beat. The iPhone 12 Pro slightly improves on the 11 Pro in most situations and adds the ability to get usable shots in even harder edge cases.
If you plant o use 5G a lot, expect the battery life of your iPhone 12 Pro to last a lot less.
Testing battery life on the iPhone 12 Pro was probably the hardest thing to do since I don’t live anywhere close to a 5G service area, and I was only back in New York City for a single day to shoot our review video. But in that single day, it felt like the battery on the iPhone 12 Pro died a lot faster than I expected. After around 2.5 hours of screen on time, I was at 18 percent. Of course, we were using 5G a lot for testing, and using the mmWave radio drains the battery faster, so it’s hard to say how representative this is. I asked Apple, and I was told the company expects people to get a full day of usage out of the phone. In my normal quarantine routine where I’m on Wi-Fi nearly all of the time, that certainly seemed reasonable.
Ultimately, is the iPhone 12 Pro worth the $200 over the iPhone 12? Nilay answers it perfectly.
Yes, because it is shiny.
That’s the best answer I have right now: it looks cooler than the regular iPhone 12, and some people value that, just like some people value a telephoto lens, the ability to take portrait photos in night mode, and LIDAR AR tricks.
The design and the finish is definitely a highlight of the iPhone 12 Pro.
The 12 Pro is likely the most premium feeling piece of consumer electronics I’ve ever touched.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of handling or wearing an insanely high-end timepiece you’ll know that there’s a particular blend of sensations that tells you you’re touching something special. The hundreds or thousands of person hours that went into its design and construction, the sheer density of its high quality materials and the finishes that defy the eye to differentiate it from something grown, rather than synthesized.
The camera sensor on the iPhone 12 and iPhone 11 remains unchanged, with the former only shipping with a wider aperture and better image processing.
In my testing I found the image quality to be pretty spectacular but without nullifying the iPhone 11 Pro except in some specific conditions. Simply put, the iPhone 11’s camera is already very, very good, but the moves forward in the iPhone 12 slot in above what would normally be a ‘one cycle’ difference.
The Pacific Blue color of the iPhone 12 Pro is much better than the iPhone 12.
Our 12 Pro review unit is the Pacific Blue model, which is a lot more subtle than the brighter hue you’ll find on our regular blue iPhone 12, and I’m trying really hard not to make any Blue Steel jokes right now. As nice as this steel body is, I gotta say fingerprints stick out a lot more on the glossy steel frame than they do on the aluminum. But, the iPhone 12 Pro has a slight edge in overall cleanliness. Fingerprints are super-obvious on the iPhone 12’s glossy rear glass, but the frosted glass panel on the Pro helps keep it clean and stops the phone from sliding around too much on flat surfaces.
The extra RAM on the iPhone 12 Pro does not have an immediate impact in multitasking.
Meanwhile, the iPhone 12 Pro has even more going on. In addition to the A14’s high-performance CPU and GPU, it comes with 6GB of RAM, compared to just 4GB in the regular 12. Last year, it was widely reported that Apple uses that extra RAM in its Pro-level phones solely for camera features like Deep Fusion but that’s not true — this time, anyway. All of the iPhone 12 Pro’s RAM is available to any app that needs it, not just the camera, which means it has a slight edge for multitasking. Honestly, I didn’t notice any major difference in performance between these two phones, so the biggest benefit of having this extra memory is probably that it’ll keep the Pro running smoothly as iOS and apps become more demanding.
That LiDAR scanner is not that useful as of now.
Even so, I have to suspect most people have no reason to use AR apps, or keep using them after the novelty wears off. By squeezing a sensor that makes AR a little better, a little faster, a little more seamless into the iPhone 12 Pro, it feels like Apple is trying to fast-track its specific vision of the future. In other words, LiDAR might not do much for you right now, but watch this space.
You can check out some iPhone 12 Pro review and unboxing videos below as well.
Based on the above reviews, what do you think about the iPhone 12 Pro? Will you buy it over the iPhone 12? Drop a comment and let us know!