I’ve been taking photos constantly since receiving the iPhone 12 Pro Max on Friday. Wide angle shots taken with it were slightly sharper with a bit more color vibrancy than ones taken with my iPhone 11 Pro Max (which has been confiscated by my wife). The iPhone 12 Pro Max also provides better stabilization features thanks to the “sensor-shift optical image stabilization” system) and enhanced detail sharpness.
However, it’s in low light situations where it really shines. Improvements to Night mode, now expanded to the TrueDepth and Ultra Wide cameras, allow for an even brighter picture. If you don’t take a lot of pics in low light conditions, the iPhone 12 Pro may suit you just fine.
The previously mentioned stabilization feature combined with the Dolby Vision HDR feature makes for great-looking videos at a buttery smooth 60 frames per second.)
Admittedly, my family probably takes a lot more photos than most folks, so the camera on the iPhone 12 Pro max may be overkill for some. Thankfully, there are three other choices in Apple’s latest smartphone line-up: the iPhone 12, the iPhone 12 Pro, and the iPhone mini.
Everyone talks about the hugeness of the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s screen, but, size aside, it’s a gorgeous display. The OLED screen has 2778 x x 1284 resolution at 458 ppi. It’s an Apple Super Retina XDR display that’s HDR Dolby Vision ready and comes with True Tone technology that provides advanced multichannel sensors to adjust the color and intensity of your display to match the ambient light so that images appear more natural.
Other notable features of the iPhone 12 Pro Max include IP648 protection (to withstand water submersion up to six meters for up to 30 minutes), the Ceramic Shield, and MagSafe. The Ceramic Shield front cover is, according to Apple, “the biggest jump in durability ever on iPhone” which “goes beyond glass by adding a new high temperature crystallization step that grows nano-ceramic crystals within the glass matrix, increases drop performance by 4x.” However, if you’re as clumsy as me, you’ll still want to add a dedicated screen protector.
MagSafe is a wireless charging system that introduces an ecosystem of easy-to-attach accessories. It sports an array of magnets around a wireless charging coil that connect to an iPhone.
MagSafe chargers provide up to 15W of power while still accommodating existing Qi-enabled devices. However, while Apple’s MagSafe Charger is reasonably priced at $39, the $129 MagSafe Duo Charger (which is “coming soon”) for use with both an iPhone and Apple Watch is too expensive. The good news is that MagSafe accessories should be arriving soon from third-party manufacturers.
Still more features that sold me on the iPhone 12 Pro Max are its beefy A14 Bionic processor, 5G support and longer battery life (up to 18 hours despite all the computational intensive new features). The A14 Bionic is the first chip in the smartphone industry built on a 5-nanometer process.
Apple says it has the fastest CPU and GPU by up to 50% compared to the fastest competing smartphone chips. The A14 Bionic features a 16-core Neural Engine — for an 80% increase in performance — capable of completing 11 trillion operations per second. It’s a super fast processor that loads games and apps quickly, helps facilitate the aforementioned photography/video features, and powers AR experiences.
The 5G support is more a future-proof feature for most of us, though the iPhone 12 Pro models offer what Apple says is the broadest global 5G coverage. Models in the U.S. support millimeter wave, the higher frequency version of 5G, allowing iPhone 12 Pro models to reach speeds up to 4Gbps. Depending on your location and your network you’ll be able to achieve download and upload speeds in the hundreds of Mbps rather than tens of Mbps.
iPhone 12 Pro models also feature Smart Data mode, which extends battery life by intelligently assessing 5G needs and balancing data usage, speed, and power in real time. In other words, the smartphone only uses 5G when it’s available and you need it.
I wish that Apple had implemented Apple Pencil support for the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Such interaction would be great with the smartphone’s 6.7-inch screen. Perhaps that will arrive with the iPhone 13 Pro Max and iOS 15.
Also, there’s no 120-Hz refresh rate or USB-C port, two features that would have been nice. Again, look for them next year.
Still, if you want the very best Apple makes — and if it fits comfortably in your hand (or hands!) — this is your baby.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max is available in 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB models in graphite, silver, gold, and pacific blue starting at US$1,099, respectively. You can also get one for $30.37 a month or $729 with trade-in from apple.com, in the Apple Store app, and at Apple Store locations. The iPhone 12 Pro Max are also available through Apple Authorized Resellers and select carriers (prices may vary).
The MagSafe Charger, Leather Wallet with MagSafe, and iPhone 12 Pro Silicone Case and Clear Case are available. The MagSafe Duo Charger and Leather Sleeve will be available at a later date.
Through Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program, customers in the U.S. can get the iPhone 12 Pro Max with the protection of AppleCare+, choose their carrier (no multiyear service contract required), and have the opportunity to upgrade to a new iPhone every year. The iPhone Upgrade Program is available with monthly payments starting at $49.91.
Finally, for a limited time, eligible customers who purchase a new iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV, or Mac can enjoy one year of Apple TV+ for free and three months of Apple Arcade for free.
Apple World Today Rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★1/2
Okay, let’s address the elephant in the room: the iPhone 12 Pro Max is big, very big, but not too big, at least for me. At 6.7 inches, this is the largest smartphone Apple has ever made and it does push the size limit. However, even with a MagSafe case on, it still fits in my Answer 400 holster, which is the litmus test for me.
However, my wife thinks it IS too big, so it’s not for everyone. But if you want the smartphone with what is the best camera of any smartphone, you want the iPhone 12 Pro Max. For example, with its larger sensors, it offers 5x optical zoom, compared to the iPhone 12 Pro’s 4x optical zoom.