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iPhone 12 overview: One of our highest-rated telephones of all time

Patrick Holland/CNET

The iPhone 12 and 12 Pro are right here and mark the start of a brand new technology of iPhone. Support for 5G, a brand new {hardware} design and digicam enhancements are a big step away from the iPhone X technology of units. This is nothing new. Apple did one thing comparable in 2010 with the iPhone 4 and in 2014 when it launched the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

There is one big difference with the iPhone 12 generation, although. It’s the primary time there are four new iPhones at once: the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. If you wish to go small and reap the advantages of a lower cost there’s the Mini. If you need the most important iPhone with the latest in iPhone cameras, get the Pro Max. But that leaves the 12 and 12 Pro that are comparable (like basically-the-same-phone comparable). That’s not essentially a nasty factor.


  • New square-sided design
  • 5G assist for each sub-6 and mmWave
  • Low-light images and movies
  • MagSafe all the pieces

Don’t Like

  • $829 off-carrier worth is excessive for the 12
  • Baseline 12 solely has 64GB of storage


  • Premium match and end
  • Fantastic autofocus for images and movies
  • Solid construct high quality
  • Fastest cellphone we have ever examined

Don’t Like

  • iPhone 12 gives a lot of the similar options, design and construct for much less cash

The iPhone 12 and 12 Pro are the identical dimension. They each have the identical design, the identical show, the identical insanely quick A14 Bionic chip, the identical 5G support, the identical selfie, extensive and ultrawide cameras. Heck, they each are available blue. (Technically, the 12 Pro is Pacific blue.) This is a departure from the bottom and professional fashions from final yr. The $699 iPhone 11 and $999 iPhone 11 Pro have been comparable however had sufficient variations to differentiate themselves from one another.

The $829 iPhone 12 (or $799 for those who activate it on a provider while you purchase it) is $130 greater than the iPhone 11 when it was launched. An iPhone 12 with 128GB of storage (the identical because the baseline 12 Pro) prices $879 (sans provider low cost) which is just $120 lower than the $999 iPhone 12 Pro. It’s greatest to consider the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro as “better” and “best” variations of the identical cellphone.

Prices begin within the UK at £799 for the iPhone 12 and £999 for the 12 Pro. In Australia they begin at AU$1,349 for the 12 and AU$1,699 for the 12 Pro. See the chart on the backside for a full pricing breakdown.

iPhone 12 vs. 12 Pro vs. iPhone 11

iPhone 12 iPhone 12 Pro iPhone 11
Price off-contract (USD) $829 (64GB), $879 (128GB), $979 (256GB) $999 (128GB), $1,099 (256GB), $1,299 (512GB) $599 (64GB), $649 (128GB), $749 (256GB)
Camera 12-megapixel (extensive), 12-megapixel (ultrawide) 12-megapixel (extensive), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), 12-megapixel (telephoto) 12-megapixel (extensive), 12-megapixel (ultrawide)
Storage 64GB, 128GB, 256GB 128GB, 256GB, 512GB 64GB, 128GB, 256GB

Now there are various individuals who will simply get the iPhone 12 as a result of it does not price a thousand {dollars} and it is a fantastic cellphone. Which it’s. And there are various individuals who will get the iPhone 12 Pro as a result of it’s extra premium. Which it’s. Either method, you are getting an incredible cellphone with one of the best total digicam system you’ll find.

During my time with each telephones, I discovered myself selecting the 12 Pro extra. Not as a result of it had a telephoto digicam or lidar, which the 12 lacks: I most well-liked the matte textured again, the shiny chrome steel band across the sides and the truth that the 12 Pro, regardless of weighing practically an oz. (25 grams) extra, felt strong and premium in my hand.

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Our in-depth overview of the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro


The iPhone 12 and 12 Pro have the identical 5G assist

It’s good that both the 12 and 12 Pro can connect to sub-6 and mmWave 5G here in the US. One cellphone does not have higher 5G assist than the opposite. They are each the identical.

I examined these telephones in Greenville, South Carolina on each T-Mobile’s 5G community and Verizon’s Nationwide 5G (the non-mmWave model with out the bonkers speeds). I used to be impressed with the protection each carriers supplied, however not all the time with the consistency of 5G speeds. Using the app SpeedCheck, the iPhone 12 on T-Mobile recorded obtain speeds between 10.Four and 14.9 megabits per second, whereas the iPhone 12 Pro on Verizon clocked in between 97.9 and 104Mbps for downloads.

iPhone 12 Pro

The iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 each supply the identical assist for 5G.

Patrick Holland/CNET

Speed checks apart, there isn’t a killer app that can show off how 5G is pushing things forward. Right now, you may see lots of evaluations exhibiting you SpeedCheck scores and how briskly you’ll be able to obtain season Three of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon. That stated, most iPhone house owners are inclined to hold their telephones for years. Even for those who do not expertise quick 5G speeds now, a minimum of your cellphone will be capable of deal with them after they arrive down the road.

Connecting to 5G can tax your cellphone’s battery life. Apple applied a intelligent software program characteristic referred to as Smart Data mode, which balances information wants, pace and energy. Smart Data seems to be at a variety of components to find out whether or not it’s essential to use 5G. If you do not, your iPhone will change to a 4G connection. Smart Data may even change between totally different bands of 5G. You can override Smart Data and choose to have 5G connectivity on a regular basis. 

One cool factor about 5G on the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro was that it let me make HD FaceTime calls over mobile. More 5G issues like that, please. 

The iPhone 12 and 12 Pro have an iPhone 5 design

One of the primary issues I seen in regards to the iPhone 12 is its “slabular” magnificence. Apple’s concept of premium differs from the flash and spectacle we see in flagship Android telephones. Body colours do not seem to morph from one to a different relying on the sunshine. The display does not wrap across the edges. In truth, the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro haven’t got curved edges in any respect.

Instead, a straight-edged polished chrome steel band defines the iPhone 12 Pro (it is matte aluminum on the 12), a lot in the way in which it did on the iPhone 5, 5S and SE, simply with out the chamfered edges. The iPhone 12 and 12 Pro have a daring, placing look with none frills. The construct and end on the 12 Pro are extraordinary.


The squared-off edges of the iPhone 5 are again.

Patrick Holland/CNET

The iPhone 12 can also be outlined by a surprising OLED panel, which Apples calls a Super XDR show. Gone is the LCD discovered on the iPhone XR and 11. Besides the distinction and determination, the squared-off sides appear to push the show up and ahead. When the cellphone is on its again, it is as if the remainder of the cellphone is holding up the show whereas making an attempt to not be seen.

Both cellphone screens are lined with a ceramic defend, a brand new materials that begins off as glass and is infused with nano-ceramic crystals. (After the infusion, it is now not thought-about glass.) Apple claims it gives 4 instances the safety when dropped. I’m undecided precisely how that quantity was calculated by Apple, however I sit up for my colleagues placing the 12 and 12 Pro by a sequence of drop checks. The iPhone 12 and 12 Pro are each rated IP68 for water- and dust-resistance and might face up to being submerged in water to a depth of 6 meters for 30 minutes. In the time I had the telephones, each dealt with spills, mild rain and minimal submerging in water simply nice.

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iPhone 12 and 12 Pro seize wonderful images and movies

The cameras obtained {hardware}, software program and processing upgrades. While different telephones may need a standout digicam characteristic (just like the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s 100x Space Zoom) that these iPhones lack, the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro can seize wonderful images and video and ship persistently implausible pictures. Here’s a pattern taken in a spread of various environments and lighting.


The iPhone 12 Pro nails the feel of the clouds and the highlights on the left aspect of the steeple.

Patrick Holland/CNET


This scene is a computational images impediment course. There’s shifting water, a cloudy sky, brick patterns within the background and pink and pink flowers. And the iPhone 12 handles all of it like a champ.

Patrick Holland/CNET


The quantity of element that the iPhone 12 Pro was in a position to seize on this photograph is spectacular.

Patrick Holland/CNET


The iPhone 12 was in a position to seize the feel of the sunshine coloured bricks and the shine of the black signal.

Patrick Holland/CNET


This scene actually exhibits off the dynamic vary of the iPhone 12.

Patrick Holland/CNET

The iPhone 12 has the very same cameras because the iPhone 12 Pro, apart from the telephoto digicam and lidar. But these telephones aren’t simply depending on {hardware} to take good images and movies. Apple’s new A14 Bionic chip, together with software program and machine studying, provides enhancements to all the pieces.

For instance, the 12 and 12 Pro have the identical {hardware} for his or her ultrawide-angle digicam as final yr’s 11 and 11 Pro. But the 12 and 12 Pro have software program to right the lens distortion. Take a glance beneath at these ultrawide-angle images of a brick wall. within the iPhone 11 photograph, discover how the corners of the brick wall appear to be they’re bending.


Timed selfie taken with the rear ultrawide-angle digicam on the iPhone 12. Getting my Beastie Boys pose on.

Patrick Holland/CNET


Apple added software program to cut back the distortion on the ultrawide-angle digicam. Lucky the dramatic perspective stays unchanged on this photograph taken with the iPhone 12.

Patrick Holland/CNET

iPhone 12

The ultrawide-angle digicam on the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro now has Night Mode assist.

Patrick Holland/CNET

The foremost wide-angle digicam on each telephones has a sooner lens that allows extra mild. The new lens, mixed with Smart HDR 3, yields actually wonderful images with correct colours and strong dynamic vary. Night Mode is now on the ultrawide and selfie cameras. I’m shocked at how good some Night Mode images got here out, even the selfie portraits I took! The telephoto digicam on the 12 Pro is a big step up in zoom in comparison with the iPhone 12. But there are a selection of telephones that provide for much longer zooms with higher outcomes.


Without lots of mild, the iPhone 12 Pro was in a position to render this scene fantastically.

Patrick Holland/CNET


Despite being downtown with numerous mild, the iPhone 12 Pro was even capable of finding some stars within the sky.

Patrick Holland/CNET

In phrases of video, particularly on the iPhone 12 Pro, the main focus is implausible and was in a position to observe me even after I was capturing at night time. And that is due to the lidar sensor. In truth, among the clips in my overview video have been shot on the iPhone 12 Pro.

iPhone 12 and 12 Pro are the quickest telephones

The cameras aren’t the one factor that the A14 Bionic chip improves. It’s quick, nevertheless it’s exhausting to see the elevated pace over the A13 chip, which continues to be peppy. The A14 chip is as a lot about energy now as it’s about future-proofing your cellphone so it might probably deal with iOS 17 in a number of years.

In efficiency benchmark checks, the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro recorded the very best scores of any telephones we have ever examined. See the outcomes beneath.

3DMark Slingshot Unlimited


Longer bars point out higher efficiency

Geekbench v.5.Zero single-core


Longer bars point out higher efficiency

Geekbench v.5.Zero multicore


Longer bars point out higher efficiency

In phrases of battery life, I usually received by a day and the subsequent morning OK. I used to be in a position to run a single battery take a look at with looped video enjoying at half brightness in airplane mode. The iPhone 12 Pro lasted 15 hours, 56 minutes and the iPhone 12 lasted 17 hours, 14 minutes. I need extra time to guage the battery life on the 12 and 12 Pro as soon as I’m executed reviewing the telephones and we’ve extra battery checks to run, so test again to this text for updates.

The cellphone comes with a USB-C to Lightning cable, which might supply tremendous quick speeds. Apple no longer includes a pair of wired earbuds within the field or a power adapter, the thought being to reduce hazardous digital waste. It’s probably this may not be an issue for you as most individuals will have already got a pair of earbuds and a wall charger to make use of.

But this is the place that does not essentially add up: Since 2012, all iPhones have include a 5-watt charger USB-An influence adapter, which is not appropriate with the included USB-C cable. Yes, if you have already got an outdated Lightning cable you may use that, or you may purchase a USB-C energy adapter. Or you may check out Apple’s new MagSafe wi-fi charging system, however the MagSafe charger (and not using a wall charger) is $39.

MagSafe makes use of magnets contained in the cellphone and charger to nestle them right into a place that’s the most effective for charging. I actually loved utilizing MagSafe. The sound the cellphone and charger make after they join is past satisfying. There’s even an animation that pops up on display exhibiting that all the pieces is correctly linked. I attempted out some MagSafe circumstances, which work nicely and permit for wi-fi charging by the case with out dropping energy.

iPhone 12

From left to proper: MagSafe charger, MagSafe clear case on an iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro and MagSafe removable pockets.

Patrick Holland/CNET

The magnets can even connect with noncharging equipment like a removable pockets, which you need to use with or and not using a MagSafe cellphone case. This little enterprise card-sized pockets received me over. I’m excited to see what Apple and third-party firms use MagSafe for.

The iPhone 12 and 12 Pro are wonderful telephones, however we solely have half the image proper now. There’s additionally the iPhone 12 Mini (which I’m notably enthusiastic about, given its dimension and worth) and the iPhone 12 Pro Max, which maxes out the dimensions of the cellphone’s show and gives digicam enhancements that not one of the different iPhones 12 have. But that is simply what we all know based mostly on the specs. We’ll have to attend till November to see how they work out in actuality.

iPhone 12 vs. 12 Pro vs. Mini vs. 12 Pro Max

Apple iPhone 12 Apple iPhone 12 Mini Apple iPhone 12 Pro Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max
Display dimension, decision 6.1-inch OLED; 2,532×1,170 pixels 5.4-inch OLED; 2,340×1,080 pixels 6.1-inch OLED; 2,532×1,170 pixels 6.7-inch OLED; 2,778×1,284 pixels
Pixel density 460ppi 476ppi 460ppi 458ppi
Dimensions (inches) 5.78×2.82×0.29 inches 5.18×2.53×0.29 inches 5.78×2.82×0.29 inches 6.33×3.07×0.29 inches
Dimensions (millimeters) 146.7×71.5×7.4mm 131.5×64.2×7.4mm 146.7×71.5×7.4mm 160.8×78.1×7.4mm
Weight (ounces, grams) 5.78 oz.; 164g 4.76 oz.; 135g 6.66 oz.; 189g 8.03 oz.; 228g
Mobile software program iOS 14 iOS 14 iOS 14 iOS 14
Camera 12-megapixel (extensive), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide) 12-megapixel (extensive), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide) 12-megapixel (extensive), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), 12-megapixel (telephoto) 12-megapixel (extensive), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), 12-megapixel (telephoto)
Front-facing digicam 12-megapixel 12-megapixel 12-megapixel 12-megapixel
Video seize 4K 4K 4K 4K
Processor Apple A14 Bionic Apple A14 Bionic Apple A14 Bionic Apple A14 Bionic
Storage 64GB, 128GB, 256GB 64GB, 128GB, 256GB 128GB, 256GB, 512GB 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
RAM Undisclosed Undisclosed Undisclosed Undisclosed
Expandable storage No No No No
Battery Undisclosed; Apple lists 15 hours of video playback Undisclosed; Apple lists 15 hours of video playback Undisclosed; Apple lists 17 hours of video playback Undisclosed; Apple lists 17 hours of video playback
Fingerprint sensor No (Face ID) No (Face ID) No (Face ID) No (Face ID)
Connector Lightning Lightning Lightning Lightning
Headphone jack No No No No
Special options 5G enabled; MagSafe; water-resistant (IP68); wi-fi charging; dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM) 5G enabled; MagSafe; water-resistant (IP68); wi-fi charging; dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM) Lidar scanner; 5G enabled; MagSafe; water-resistant (IP68); wi-fi charging; dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM) Lidar scanner; 5G enabled; MagSafe; water-resistant (IP68); wi-fi charging; dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM)
Price off-contract (USD) $829 (64GB), $879 (128GB), $979 (256GB) $729 (64GB), $779 (128GB), $879 (256GB) $999 (128GB), $1,099 (256GB), $1,299 (512GB) $1,099 (128GB), $1,199 (256GB), $1,399 (512GB)
Price (GBP) £799 (64GB), £849 (128GB), £949 (256GB) £699 (64GB), £749 (128GB), £849 (256GB) £999 (128GB), £1,099 (256GB), £1,299 (512GB) £1,099 (128GB), £1,199 (256GB), £1,399 (512GB)
Price (AUD) AU$1,349 (64GB), AU$1,429 (128GB), AU$1,599 (256GB) AU$1,199 (64GB), AU$1,279 (128GB), AU$1,449 (256GB) AU$1,699 (128GB), AU$1,869 (256GB), AU$2,219 (512GB) AU$1,849 (128GB), AU$2,019 (256GB), AU$2,369 (512GB)

First revealed Oct. 20.

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