Apple released four new iPhone models in 2020: the iPhone 12 Small, the iPhone 12, the iPhone 12 Pro, and the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Of course, the iPhone 12 was the best overall choice, but each one has its own unique selling point and audience. It’s the right size—not too big, not too small, not too expensive, and not too full of features.
The Apple iPhone 12 comes right after the iPhone 11 and before that, the iPhone XR. The new iPhone has a boxy shape with squared-off corners, but it works the same way as the older models. It has all the basic iPhone features without the extra features that make the Pro models more expensive.
It costs around $800, which is “normal” for top phones these days, whether you like it or not. Even a bit on the cheap side when you look at the $1000 monsters that companies release once a year.
You can choose from 5 colors and the new style. It also works with all the new MagSafe accessories. There isn’t much difference between the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro. The basic model will work fine for most people.
The iPhone 12 has a great screen, great technology, pretty colors, a standard camera, fast Face ID, and a battery life that lasts a long time. In fact, it’s not really clear why you should spend the extra $200 on the iPhone 12 Pro. The regular 12 does pretty much everything you could need, but it doesn’t have the 2x zoom lens. That’s pretty much it…
iPhone 12 Full Specification
|October 13, 2020
|October 23, 2020
|GSM / CDMA / HSPA / EVDO / LTE / 5G
|146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4 mm
|Glass front (Corning-made glass)
Glass back (Corning-made glass)
|Nano-SIM and eSIM
|Super Retina XDR OLED
|6.1 inches, 90.2 cm2 (~86.0% screen-to-body ratio)
|1170 x 2532 pixels
|Ceramic Shield glass
|iOS 14.1, upgradable to iOS 17.1.1
|Apple A14 Bionic (5 nm)
|Apple GPU (4-core graphics)
|64GB/ 4GB RAM
128GB/ 4GB RAM
256GB/ 4GB RAM
|12 MP, f/1.6, 26mm (wide)
12 MP, f/2.4, 120˚, 13mm (ultrawide)
|Dual-LED dual-tone flash, HDR (photo/panorama)
|12 MP, f/2.2, 23mm (wide)
|Yes, with stereo speakers
|Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6, dual-band, hotspot
|5.0, A2DP, LE
|GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, QZSS
|Lightning, USB 2.0
|Face ID, accelerometer, gyro
|Li-Ion 2815 mAh, non-removable (10.78 Wh)
|Wired, PD2.0, 50% in 30 min (advertised)
15W wireless (MagSafe)
|Black, White, Red, Green, Blue, Purple
|A2403, A2172, A2402, A2404, iPhone13,2
|Contrast ratio: 1544:1 (nominal)
|Photo / Video
|-24.4 LUFS (Very good)
|Endurance rating 84h
Read More: Apple iPhone SE Review
iPhone 12 Release Date and Price
- The iPhone 12 is now available everywhere.
- It costs at least $699, £679, or AU$1,199.
- For 256GB of storage, the price goes up to $849, £829, or AU$1,449.
The iPhone 12 came out in October 2021 and is still available from Apple and a number of providers. The price has been lowered and now starts at $599/£649/AU$1,049 for 64GB of storage. You can also get it with 128GB or 246GB of storage. Check our Apple Store savings page for the most up-to-date deals and discounts to save money.
We keep an eye on deals for all of Apple’s phones, including the iPhone 12, so you can get the best deal. As long as you have an iPhone 7 or later, you can trade in your old phone for an iPhone 12 and save anywhere from $40 to $720. (Newer types bring in the most money.)
Also, keep in mind that Apple still has the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini, which are priced cheaper. The iPhone 13 costs $100 more than the iPhone 12, which makes sense. But the iPhone 13 costs the same $599, so Apple is asking you to choose between a bigger screen and more options.
You won’t get a charging charger or headphones with the iPhone 12 from Apple. If you need one, you’ll have to pay extra. But every iPhone that has come out since the iPhone 12 has done the same thing.
iPhone 12 Design
- The new style looks and feels like the iPhone 4.
- The phone should be better with the new Ceramic Shield.
- It’s built to handle water because it’s IP68 water and dust-proof.
I love how the new iPhone 12 looks. It has flat sides and a flat-screen, and it is smaller and lighter than the iPhone 11. Since the iPhone 6 came out in 2014, we’ve been used to iPhones with rounded edges. So one reason I might like the iPhone 12 is that it feels new. Another reason is that it makes me think of the iPhone 4 and 5, which were the last iPhones whose style I really loved.
With all of those flat edges, the seams and corners are just polished enough to make it easy to hold. On the iPhone 12, the rails are made of metal with a matte finish. I like them better than the Pro models’ glossy steel rails. Unfortunately, the back glass is very shiny and easy to scratch. It also easily accumulates fingerprints and very small scratches. A case is something that most people do with their phones anyway.
The front of the iPhone 12 isn’t really glass; it’s a mix of glass and ceramic that Apple calls “Ceramic Shield.” It’s more resistant to drops than the iPhone 11 because it has ceramic crystals inside the glass. It’s good that Apple says it’s four times better because this year the cost of fixing screens has gone up. I can’t test that with our review unit (at least not on purpose), but I did drop something from three feet to concrete by accident and it stopped my heart. The metal only got a small dent, though. You should be able to scratch things just as well as you did last year.
Ultra Wideband Antenna Lines
There are many antenna lines on the metal rail, and there is also a small plastic piece on the side for the Ultra Wideband (UWB) mmWave antenna. They don’t quite match up, especially at the bottom, but it doesn’t worry me. I’m also used to not seeing a notch now, but I should say that Face ID still needs a very large hole at the top of the screen.
It’s a pain that there’s no fingerprint reader, even though I didn’t really expect one during the pandemic. I guess the only good thing about Android makers not putting much effort into Face Unlock is that it’s easier to get into their phones when you’re dressed up.
Overall, though, this design makes me feel more secure and classy than the iPhones of the past few years, even the big redesign for the iPhone X. The best thing about it is that it’s smaller. The iPhone XR and iPhone 11 were always a bit too big. I won’t be upset if this is the style we have to live with for the next six years.
iPhone 12 Display
- 6.1-inch OLED screen.
- Support for HDR.
- 60Hz cap.
Apple didn’t put much thought into the iPhone 11’s screen. It wasn’t OLED like the Pro models; instead, it was LCD, and the quality was just above 720p. There was also no HDR support, so the media that worked with it looked a bit flat. All of that has changed with the iPhone 12.
The bigger screen is one of the best changes in the iPhone 12, and you’ll notice it right away if you’re upgrading from an iPhone 11, iPhone XR, or something lower.
Apple may have some great LCD screens, but the switch to OLED is a good one, and this screen is almost identical to the one in the 12 Pro. All of the colors are brighter, the contrast is better, and everything looks better in general.
When you use OLED, the bezel around the screen can be smaller, and HDR standards like Dolby Vision and HLG can be used. It’s also clearer, over 1080p, and just better all around.
One small thing to keep in mind is that the 12 Pro type gets a little brighter over time, making whites less gray. If you put the two screens next to each other, you’ll really only notice this. Apple says that when you play HDR material, they can both reach 1200 nits.
To really test this screen, I streamed Avengers: Endgame from Disney Plus in Dolby Vision. In scenes with a lot of gunshots and bright explosions, the extra brightness stands out.
The screen is a good middle-of-the-road size at 6.1 inches. Small enough to hold with one hand, but big enough to watch movies and play games without feeling squished. You’ll have to pay more for the Pro Max if you want something bigger.
The iPhone 12 Mini is better for people who want something more like older iPhones like the iPhone 5. Apple has done a great job of making products for all sizes, and I wish more Android companies would do the same.
Apple can still make the display better in a few ways, though. Getting the screen speed up from 60Hz to something closer to 90Hz or 120Hz is what I really want. The more expensive Pro and Pro Max models are the only ones that have Apple’s ProMotion 120Hz display technology. It’s also on newer iPhones.
I also want Apple to cut down on or get rid of the notch. The notch isn’t as big on the more current iPhones, especially the ones with the redesigned Dynamic Island like the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, but it is still noticeable on the cheaper models. Yes, you’ll get used to it. I forgot it was there after a while, but it would be nice to have more screen space.
iPhone 12 Performance
Inside the iPhone 12 is Apple’s new A14 Bionic chipset, which is one of the first in the smartphone market to be made on the 5nm process. This gives the phone better speed and uses less power.
The A13 Bionic from last year was one of the most powerful on the market, and I expect the A14 Bionic to be the same over the next year. The iPhone 12 could handle almost anything I threw at it without any problems.
When looking through media-heavy apps like Twitter, there’s no stuttering or lag. Games run perfectly, even though the iPhone 12 has a higher resolution, and exporting videos is quick as well.
Our benchmarks back that up; the iPhone 12 beat most of the Android competition in CPU tests. However, the iPhone 12’s GPU benchmark scores are limited by the fact that it has a standard 60Hz display.
iPhone 12 MagSafe
Magnets are still a mystery to the smartest people in the world, but Apple has built them into the iPhone 12 in a big way. On the back of the iPhone 12, there is a ring of magnets in the middle that lets Apple’s MagSafe world of accessories, like wireless chargers, cases, and wallet attachments that snap on and off, work.
Apple’s style of wireless charging isn’t really any different from other brands. The $30 MagSafe charging puck from the company works with any other Qi-enabled wireless charger for any phone; it just has magnets built in.
You can still use any wireless chargers or Qi accessories you already have with your iPhone 12. However, to get those top 15-watt speeds, you’ll need a first- or third-party option that includes MagSafe.
MagSafe is not as fast as Apple’s 20W wired charger, which is not good news. A lot slower. The 20W fast charger charged the iPhone 12 to 50% full in 28 minutes in a test by a third party.The 15W MagSafe was charged for an hour.
That doesn’t mean that MagSafe’s ideas aren’t good; they make a lot of sense. The magnets help keep the iPhone 12 in place on chargers and make it easier to connect accessories. And it’s much easier to charge your phone by putting it on a puck that automatically lines itself upright than getting out of bed to plug in a tiny Lightning port.
If I had to guess, it will take more third-party testing and involvement before MagSafe really lives up to its full promise. Some of that has happened in the two years since the iPhone 12 came out. Even so, the magnets inside my iPhone 12 weren’t quite strong enough to always keep Apple’s MagSafe wallet in place. It was so rough taking the iPhone 12 out of my pants pocket that it occasionally pushed the wallet off-center, which doesn’t seem very Apple-like.
iPhone 12 Cameras
A 12-megapixel wide-angle primary camera, a second 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera on the back, and a second 12-megapixel sensor for the front camera are all included in the same arrangement as on the iPhone 11.
The primary camera’s aperture, which is now f/1.6 for improved low-light photos, is the key technical difference aside from generational advancements. Software-wise, all three cameras now support Night mode and Deep Fusion, and you can shoot Dolby Vision HDR footage at up to 30 frames per second.
Improved low-light performance and increased adaptability are the primary advantages. The majority of Apple’s camera techniques operate in the background; you don’t get to pick when Deep Fusion is in action, but it will use “computational photography” to merge numerous exposures into one well-exposed frame.
Night mode simply turns on as necessary; it’s not a different setting that you have to choose. You will have precisely the same experience with the iPhone 12 small, and the outcomes are almost identical for both phones, which is not surprising.
During the day, the images appeared clear and vivid, with vivid yet restrained colors and respectable levels of detail, especially in far-off objects. Though the resolution is notably less, the ultra-wide-angle camera performs a terrific job, producing photographs with minimal distortion at the corners and the same basic tone.
Excellent depth of field that looks natural is found in close-ups. The primary camera on the iPhone 12 appears to excel at capturing incredibly fine detail in close-ups, especially when dealing with complex exposures.
Both people and animals can use portrait mode, and the background is visually less prominent. However, it can be a little finicky at times when locking on a subject, and edge detection struggles with asymmetrical things like flowers.
After capturing a picture, you can modify the portrait lighting and background blur effects. Contrarily, shooting standard close-ups is much easier and offers far more framing flexibility, but the lush effect and editing choices are lost.
The iPhone 12 shone when it came to taking photos in low light, bringing to light elements in the landscape that were utterly undetectable to the unaided eye. This phone was able to capture striking contrast in landscapes and fine detail in close-ups even in situations when there was very little ambient light.
The delay can be increased to 29 seconds, however, this should only be done if you’re using a tripod. The default delay is 2-3 seconds. I was able to photograph stars as distinct points rather than merely blotches against the pitch-black sky on a moonless night.
To change this, you must open the main iOS Settings app. By default, video is recorded in HDR. With very minimal jerkiness, it seems bright and fluid in both 1080p and 4K thanks to the optical stabilization of the primary camera. The wide-angle camera also produces decently excellent images both during the day and at night.
Sharp and detailed selfies are also possible, and Night Mode makes it possible to take usable (although rather grainy) pictures in dimly lit areas as well.
iPhone 12 Speakers
Here, we have the popular stereo speaker arrangement. One bottom driver with significantly meatier sound, and a supercharged earpiece that doubles as a second speaker. Since releasing the iPhone 7, Apple has been using this configuration, and not much has changed.
The dual speakers of the iPhone 12 provide superb sound in most situations, however, some frequencies might cause the earpiece tweeter to crackle or sound harsh. Furthermore, when you increase the volume, the sound will inevitably become softer.
Formerly, iPhones boasted the best-sounding speakers available, but Android rivals have upped their audio game recently. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is rather bulky, the Asus ROG Phone 5 recently utterly stunned us with its loud, detailed, and expansive speakers and the Pixel 4 XL notably had amazing sound for a smartphone.
The iPhone 12’s speakers seem to be in the “upper range” of quality, not the finest when measured against these high-end models.
iPhone 12 Verdict
Compared to the previous three iPhone models, the design of the iPhone 12 has significantly improved.
The iPhone 12 pays homage to the brilliant design of the iPhone 4 while retaining the all-screen front, Face ID, and superior gesture system of the iPhone X. It looks like a deft mixing of the best features from ten years of iPhone releases.
Its 6.1-inch screen is a major advance over its predecessors, and it is lighter, thinner, and smaller, making it much simpler to carry and use with one hand. The iPhone is more robust, has a longer battery life, and uses more recycled materials overall. With 5G, the iPhone 12 is even more future-proof, but don’t buy it for that reason alone just yet.
Although it lacks an optical zoom and doesn’t push the boundaries, the camera is still excellent. At launch, the phone cost £70 more than its predecessor and had 64GB of base storage, whereas most competitors offered 128GB.
The iPhone 12 seems new and ready to last for the next five years, despite its high price. Since the iPhone X, this is the best iPhone yet.