iPhone 12 review: In 2021, it’s still an excellent buy


Patrick Holland/CNET

On Sept. 15, 2021, Apple introduced the iPhone 13 series. The brand new telephones observe within the footsteps of the iPhone 12 sequence with 4 fashions: the iPhone 13, 13 Mini, 13 Professional and 13 Professional Max. The iPhone 12 Professional and 12 Professional Max have been discontinued, however the iPhone 12 and 12 Mini hold round at a lower cost. Meaning you may get an iPhone 12 Mini with 64GB of reminiscence for $629, which is $100 lower than its unique worth and the price of the brand new iPhone 13 Mini with 128GB of storage. The iPhone 12 with 64GB begins at $729, which is $100 lower than the 128GB iPhone 13. These costs do not embody service reductions. 

Under is my assessment as written on Oct. 20, 2020.

The iPhone 12 and 12 Professional mark the start of a brand new technology of iPhone. Support for 5G, a brand new {hardware} design and digital camera enhancements are a major step away from the iPhone X technology of gadgets. That is nothing new. Apple did one thing related in 2010 with the iPhone 4 and in 2014 when it launched the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

There may be one big difference with the iPhone 12 generation, although. It is the primary time there are four new iPhones at once: the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 Professional 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 would like the largest iPhone with the latest in iPhone cameras, get the Professional Max. However that leaves the 12 and 12 Professional that are related (like basically-the-same-phone related). That is not essentially a foul factor.

Learn extra: iPhone 12 drop test results are in: Ceramic shield is as tough as it sounds


  • New square-sided design
  • 5G assist for each sub-6 and mmWave
  • Low-light photographs and movies
  • MagSafe every part

Do not Like

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


  • Premium match and end
  • Unbelievable autofocus for photographs and movies
  • Stable construct high quality
  • Quickest telephone we have ever examined

Do not Like

  • iPhone 12 affords many of the similar options, design and construct for much less cash

The iPhone 12 and 12 Professional 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 Professional is Pacific blue.) This can be a departure from the bottom and professional fashions from the earlier yr. The $699 iPhone 11 and $999 iPhone 11 Professional had been related however had sufficient variations to differentiate themselves from one another.

Learn extra: The best phone to buy for 2021

The $829 iPhone 12 (or $799 when you activate it on a service 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 Professional) prices $879 (sans service low cost) which is barely $120 lower than the $999 iPhone 12 Professional. It is best to think about the iPhone 12 and 12 Professional as “higher” and “greatest” variations of the identical telephone. Here’s how to buy each iPhone 12 model.

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

iPhone 12 vs. 12 Professional vs. iPhone 11

iPhone 12 iPhone 12 Professional iPhone 11
Worth off-contract (USD) $829 (64GB), $879 (128GB), $979 (256GB) $999 (128GB), $1,099 (256GB), $1,299 (512GB) $599 (64GB), $649 (128GB), $749 (256GB)
Digicam 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 numerous individuals who will simply get the iPhone 12 as a result of it does not price a thousand {dollars} and it is an awesome telephone. Which it’s. And there are numerous individuals who will get the iPhone 12 Professional as a result of it’s extra premium. Which it’s. Both manner, you are getting an incredible telephone with the very best total digital camera system you could find.

Throughout my time with each telephones, I discovered myself choosing the 12 Professional extra. Not as a result of it had a telephoto digital camera or lidar, which the 12 lacks: I most well-liked the matte textured again, the shiny stainless-steel band across the sides and the truth that the 12 Professional, regardless of weighing almost an oz. (25 grams) extra, felt stable and premium in my hand.

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Our in-depth assessment of the iPhone 12 and 12 Professional


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

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

I examined these telephones in Greenville, South Carolina on each T-Cellular’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 at all times with the consistency of 5G speeds. Utilizing the app SpeedTest, the iPhone 12 on T-Cellular recorded obtain speeds between 10.4 and 14.9 megabits per second, whereas the iPhone 12 Professional on Verizon clocked in between 97.9 and 104Mbps for downloads.

iPhone 12 Pro

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

Patrick Holland/CNET

Velocity checks apart, there isn’t a killer app that can show off how 5G is pushing things forward. Proper now, you will see plenty of evaluations displaying you SpeedTest scores and how briskly you’ll be able to obtain season 3 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon. That stated, most iPhone homeowners are inclined to maintain their telephones for years. Even when you do not expertise quick 5G speeds now, no less than your telephone will be capable to deal with them once they arrive down the road.

Connecting to 5G can tax your telephone’s battery life. Apple carried out a intelligent software program function referred to as Good Knowledge mode, which balances information wants, pace and energy. Good Knowledge seems to be at quite a lot of components to find out whether or not you have to use 5G. In case you do not, your iPhone will change to a 4G connection. Good Knowledge may even change between totally different bands of 5G. You’ll be able to override Good Knowledge and choose to have 5G connectivity on a regular basis. 

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

The iPhone 12 and 12 Professional have an iPhone 5 design

One of many first issues I seen in regards to the iPhone 12 is its “slabular” magnificence. Apple’s thought of premium differs from the flash and spectacle we see in flagship Android telephones. Physique colours do not seem to morph from one to a different relying on the sunshine. The display does not wrap across the edges. Actually, the iPhone 12 and 12 Professional do not have curved edges in any respect.

As a substitute, a straight-edged polished stainless-steel band defines the iPhone 12 Professional (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 Professional have a daring, hanging look with none frills. The construct and end on the 12 Professional 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 Tremendous XDR show. Gone is the LCD discovered on the iPhone XR and 11. Apart from the distinction and backbone, the squared-off sides appear to push the show up and ahead. When the telephone is on its again, it is as if the remainder of the telephone is holding up the show whereas making an attempt to not be seen.

Each telephone screens are lined with a ceramic protect, a brand new materials that begins off as glass and is infused with nano-ceramic crystals. (After the infusion, it is not thought of glass.) Apple claims it affords 4 occasions the safety when dropped. I am undecided precisely how that quantity was calculated by Apple, however I stay up for my colleagues placing the 12 and 12 Professional via a sequence of drop checks. The iPhone 12 and 12 Professional 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 half-hour. Within the time I had the telephones, each dealt with spills, mild rain and minimal submerging in water simply tremendous.

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We unbox the iPhone 12, 12 Professional and a bunch of MagSafe…


iPhone 12 and 12 Professional seize wonderful photographs and movies

The cameras obtained {hardware}, software program and processing upgrades. Whereas different telephones may need a standout digital camera function (just like the Galaxy S21 and S20 Ultra’s 100x Space Zoom) that these iPhones lack, the iPhone 12 and 12 Professional can seize wonderful photographs and video and ship persistently incredible pictures. Here is a pattern taken in a variety of various environments and lighting.

Learn extra: S21 Ultra vs. iPhone 12 Pro Max vs. Pixel 5: Which phone has the best night mode?


The iPhone 12 Professional 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 purple 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 Professional was capable of seize on this photograph is spectacular.

Patrick Holland/CNET


The iPhone 12 was capable of 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 Professional, aside from the telephoto digital camera and lidar. However these telephones aren’t simply depending on {hardware} to take good photographs and movies. Apple’s new A14 Bionic chip, together with software program and machine studying, provides enhancements to every part.

For instance, the 12 and 12 Professional have the identical {hardware} for his or her ultrawide-angle digital camera as 2019’s 11 and 11 Professional. However the 12 and 12 Professional have software program to appropriate the lens distortion. Have a look under at these ultrawide-angle photographs of a brick wall. within the iPhone 11 photograph, discover how the corners of the brick wall seem like they’re bending.


Timed selfie taken with the rear ultrawide-angle digital camera 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 digital camera. Fortunate the dramatic perspective stays unchanged on this photograph taken with the iPhone 12.

Patrick Holland/CNET

iPhone 12

The ultrawide-angle digital camera on the iPhone 12 and 12 Professional now has Night time Mode assist.

Patrick Holland/CNET

The principle wide-angle digital camera on each telephones has a sooner lens that permits extra mild. The brand new lens, mixed with Good HDR 3, yields really wonderful photographs with correct colours and stable dynamic vary. Night time Mode is now on the ultrawide and selfie cameras. I am shocked at how good some Night time Mode photographs got here out, even the selfie portraits I took! The telephoto digital camera on the 12 Professional is a large step up in zoom in comparison with the iPhone 12. However there are a selection of telephones that provide for much longer zooms with higher outcomes.


With out plenty of mild, the iPhone 12 Professional was capable of render this scene fantastically.

Patrick Holland/CNET


Regardless of being downtown with plenty of mild, the iPhone 12 Professional was even capable of finding some stars within the sky.

Patrick Holland/CNET

When it comes to video, particularly on the iPhone 12 Professional, the main focus is incredible and was capable of observe me even after I was taking pictures at night time. And that is due to the lidar sensor. Actually, among the clips in my assessment video had been shot on the iPhone 12 Professional.

iPhone 12 and 12 Professional are the quickest telephones

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

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

3DMark Slingshot Limitless


Longer bars point out higher efficiency

Geekbench v.5.0 single-core


Longer bars point out higher efficiency

Geekbench v.5.0 multicore


Longer bars point out higher efficiency

When it comes to battery life, I usually bought via a day and the subsequent morning OK. I used to be capable of run a single battery take a look at with looped video taking part in at half brightness in airplane mode. The iPhone 12 Professional lasted 15 hours, 56 minutes and the iPhone 12 lasted 17 hours, 14 minutes. I would like extra time to judge the battery life on the 12 and 12 Professional as soon as I am accomplished reviewing the telephones and we have now extra battery checks to run, so test again to this text for updates.

The telephone comes with a USB-C to Lightning cable, which may supply tremendous quick speeds. Apple no longer includes a pair of wired earbuds within the field or a power adapter, the thought being to attenuate hazardous digital waste. It is doubtless 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.

Learn extra: iPhone 12 takes us a step closer to Apple’s portless future

However 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 suitable with the included USB-C cable. Sure, if you have already got an previous Lightning cable you might use that, or you might purchase a USB-C energy adapter. Or you might check out Apple’s new MagSafe wireless charging system, however the MagSafe charger (with no wall charger) is $39.

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

iPhone 12

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

Patrick Holland/CNET

The magnets may also hook up with noncharging equipment like a removable pockets, which you need to use with or with no MagSafe telephone case. This little enterprise card-sized pockets received me over. I am excited to see what Apple and third-party corporations use MagSafe for.

The iPhone 12 and 12 Professional are wonderful telephones, however we solely have half the image proper now. There’s additionally the iPhone 12 Mini (which I am significantly enthusiastic about, given its dimension and worth) and the iPhone 12 Professional Max, which maxes out the scale of the telephone’s show and affords digital camera enhancements that not one of the different iPhones 12 have. However that is simply what we all know primarily based on the specs. We’ll have to attend till November to see how they work out in actuality.

iPhone 12 vs. 12 Professional vs. Mini vs. 12 Professional Max

Apple iPhone 12 Apple iPhone 12 Mini Apple iPhone 12 Professional Apple iPhone 12 Professional Max
Show 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
Cellular software program iOS 14 iOS 14 iOS 14 iOS 14
Digicam 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)
Entrance-facing digital camera 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
Particular options 5G enabled; MagSafe; waterproof (IP68); wi-fi charging; dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM) 5G enabled; MagSafe; waterproof (IP68); wi-fi charging; dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM) Lidar scanner; 5G enabled; MagSafe; waterproof (IP68); wi-fi charging; dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM) Lidar scanner; 5G enabled; MagSafe; waterproof (IP68); wi-fi charging; dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM)
Worth 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)
Worth (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)
Worth (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.

https://www.cnet.com/tech/cell/apple-iphone-12-review-5g-phone/#ftag=CADf328eec | iPhone 12 assessment: In 2021, it is nonetheless a wonderful purchase


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