iPhone 12 Pro next to iPhone 12 2

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

Although it was a bit later than usual, the Apple iPhone 12 series landed in October. The newest iteration of the smartphone series features four new iPhones across a range of prices. The phones are meant to tempt users new and advanced with a bevy of new features.

These are the most exciting new iPhones we’ve seen from Apple in years, but are they enough to tempt you away from Android? Let’s find out!

Apple iPhone 12 series at a glance

Apple iPhone 12 Max camera EOY 2020

Credit: Robert Triggs / Android Authority

The iPhone now comes in four models. In order from least expensive to most expensive, they are the iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max. Screen sizes vary across models, as do colors, camera configurations, and storage allotments.

All the phones offer 5G connectivity and are available from more than 100 carriers across 30 regions. The company made a big deal about the possibilities of 5G during the launch event.

Related: iPhone 12 Pro review: All the right angles

The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini are essentially the same phones. Obviously, the Mini is smaller than the vanilla iPhone 12, but the specs and features are the same across both models. The only exception is the battery capacity: the iPhone 12 Mini has a smaller battery due to its smaller physical footprint.

The iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max are also very similar. Both phones feature triple-lens rear camera systems, a step-up over the dual-lens systems of the non-Pro iPhones. The Pro models also feature slightly better internal specs, such as more RAM. The iPhone 12 Pro Max also features a few more perks than the iPhone 12 Pro, most obviously its size and battery capacity.

In a big change, none of the iPhones include wall chargers or headphones in the boxes. Inside the box with an iPhone 12 model, you’ll find the phone, a Lightning-to-USB-C cable, and paperwork. Apple is selling this as an eco-friendly move, but we don’t buy it.

Are the Apple iPhone 12 devices worth buying?

iPhone 12 Pro Max taking a photo 2

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

Whether the iPhone 12 series is worth buying is a no-brainer for anyone locked into the Apple ecosystem. Things are understandably not as simple if you’re pitting the latest iPhones against the best that the Android world has to offer.

Android flagships have a few advantages over the latest iPhones. Many offer higher display refresh rates, giving the appearance of incredibly smooth performance. Some come with speedy charging, huge batteries, excellent cameras, and useful extras like reverse wireless charging.

However, the one thing you’re guaranteed to get with the new iPhones is fantastic performance. Apple calls it “the fastest chip ever in a smartphone.” The iPhone 12 embarrassed the Snapdragon 865-toting OnePlus 8T in Gary’s Speed Test G challenge, and handily beat the Asus ROG Phone 3.

All four iPhone models take great-looking shots.

The four iPhone models come with different camera setups, but all of them are capable of taking great-looking shots. If smartphone photography is important for you though, you are better off getting one of the Pro models, which outperform quite a few Android flagships in the camera department.

Finally, if a small phone is what you’re after, the iPhone 12 Mini is made for you. The phone is tiny by current standards but doesn’t compromise on hardware, features, and build quality. There’s no proper Android alternative for the iPhone 12 Mini yet, but be ready for a slew of Android minis in the future.

Ultimately, it’s hard to recommend a phone that requires a complete shift of ecosystems, and it’s not necessarily a must-have if you already have an iPhone 11 series device. That said, the iPhone 12 series makes a great case for itself and continues to offer everything that Apple smartphones are known for.

What are the experts saying about the iPhone 12 series?

In his iPhone 12 Mini review, our own David Imel called it “one of the best small phones you can get.” Of course, it’s not without its issues. The camera isn’t as feature-packed as the one available with the Pro editions, and the phone is difficult to align on a wireless charging stand. Its biggest selling points though, are its size and price. As David says, “getting great build quality and incredible performance in a phone this small, for this price, is great.”

David was less impressed with the regular iPhone 12 in his review. That’s not because there’s anything wrong with the phone itself. You will still get blazing fast performance, a beautiful display, and solid build quality. However, it’s awkwardly placed in the line-up and is hard to recommend over the iPhone 12 Pro, which offers more RAM, a better camera, and a more premium build.

The iPhone 12 Pro and the iPhone 12 Pro Max are the way to go if you want the best experience, as David found when he reviewed these phones. The iPhone 12 Pro is $150 more than the iPhone 12, but features like the extra 2GB of RAM, 4K 60fps Dolby Vision video, extra camera sensor, LIDAR sensor, and better build quality are worth the surcharge.

On the other hand, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is for anyone who wants a huge display and fantastic battery life. It also has a different camera set up than the 12 Pro, with a much bigger primary camera sensor. However, Android Authority’s Rob Triggs didn’t find a significant quality difference between the two in his camera shootout. The display and battery life are undoubtedly the bigger attractions here.

What other reviewers are saying about the iPhone 12 series

We also summarize what reviewers from other publications say about the iPhone 12 series to give you a complete overview of the phones.

  • Anand Tech’s Andrei Frumusanu says that in terms of design, “the new iPhone 12 series are definitely a breath of fresh air for Apple’s device lineup.” In his review of the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro, he also mentions that the iPhone 12 offers a lot more value than its Pro sibling. “You’re still getting an excellent screen, the same performance, almost identical battery life, and otherwise identical everyday camera experience for $200 less,” he says.
  • On the other hand, Tech Crunch’s Matthew Panzarino says that the iPhone 12 Mini is the most attractive choice in the lineup and isn’t just for those that want a small phone. He says that the “iPhone 12 Mini has no appreciable compromises in feature set from the iPhone 12,” and offers a lot more bang for your buck. You might want the Pro iterations for camera performance, but the Mini is definitely up to the task for everything else.
  • Cnet’s Patrick Holland says that the camera upgrades aren’t the only reason to get the iPhone 12 Pro Max. This is the phone for anyone who wants a huge display, even though he says that iOS doesn’t do enough to take advantage of the screen real estate. He says that excellent battery life is another reason to get the phone, calling the large battery the “sleeper feature” of the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Apple iPhone 12 series specs

 iPhone 12 MiniiPhone 12
Display5.4-inch Super Retina XDR OLED
2,340 x 1,080 resolution
HDR, True Tone
Wide color (P3)
2,000,000:1 contrast ratio
625 nits max brightness (typical); 1200 nits max brightness (HDR)
Ceramic Shield front
6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED
2,532 x 1,170 resolution
HDR, True Tone
Wide color (P3)
2,000,000:1 contrast ratio
625 nits max brightness (typical); 1200 nits max brightness (HDR)
Ceramic Shield front
ProcessorApple A14 BionicApple A14 Bionic
Storage64 / 128 / 256GB64 / 128 / 256GB
BatteryQi wireless charging up to 7.5W
Up to 50% charge in around 30 minutes with 20W adapter or higher (sold separately)

MagSafe:
Wireless charging up to 15W
Magnet array
Alignment magnet
Accessory Identification NFC
Magnetometer
Qi wireless charging up to 7.5W
Up to 50% charge in around 30 minutes with 20W adapter or higher (sold separately)

MagSafe:
Wireless charging up to 15W
Magnet array
Alignment magnet
Accessory Identification NFC
Magnetometer
CamerasRear:
-Wide-angle 12MP, ƒ/1.6, OIS, 7-element lens
-Ultra-wide 12MP, ƒ/2.4, 120° field of view, 5-element lens, lens correction

2x optical zoom out, digital zoom up to 5x, Night Mode, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 3

Video:
HDR video with Dolby Vision up to 30fps
4K video at 24fps, 30fps, or 60fps
1080p HD video at 30fps or 60fps
720p HD video at 30fps
OIS for video (Wide)
2x optical zoom out, digital zoom up to 3x

Front:
-TrueDepth 12MP, ƒ/2.2

Night Mode, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 3
Rear:
-Wide-angle 12MP, ƒ/1.6, OIS, 7-element lens
-Ultra-wide 12MP, ƒ/2.4, 120° field of view, 5-element lens, lens correction

2x optical zoom out, digital zoom up to 5x, Night Mode, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 3

Video:
HDR video with Dolby Vision up to 30fps
4K video at 24fps, 30fps, or 60fps
1080p HD video at 30fps or 60fps
720p HD video at 30fps
OIS for video (Wide)
2x optical zoom out, digital zoom up to 3x

Front:
-TrueDepth 12MP, ƒ/2.2

Night Mode, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 3
Connectivity5G (sub‑6GHz and mmWave)
Gigabit LTE with 4x4 MIMO and LAA
Wi‑Fi 6 (802.11ax) with 2x2 MIMO
Bluetooth 5
Ultra Wideband chip for spatial awareness
NFC
Express Cards with power reserve
GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, and BeiDou
Digital compass
Wi‑Fi
Cellular
iBeacon microlocation
5G (sub‑6GHz and mmWave)
Gigabit LTE with 4x4 MIMO and LAA
Wi‑Fi 6 (802.11ax) with 2x2 MIMO
Bluetooth 5
Ultra Wideband chip for spatial awareness
NFC
Express Cards with power reserve
GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, and BeiDou
Digital compass
Wi‑Fi
Cellular
iBeacon microlocation
SensorsFace ID
Barometer
Three‑axis gyro
Accelerometer
Proximity sensor
Ambient light sensor
Face ID
Barometer
Three‑axis gyro
Accelerometer
Proximity sensor
Ambient light sensor
SoftwareiOS 14iOS 14
DurabilityIP68IP68
Dimensions and weight131.5 x 64.2 x 7.4mm
135g
146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4mm
164g
ColorsBlack, White, Product Red, Green, BlueBlack, White, Product Red, Green, Blue
In the boxiPhone
USB‑C to Lightning cable
Documentation
iPhone
USB‑C to Lightning cable
Documentation
 iPhone 12 ProiPhone 12 Pro Max
Display6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED
2,532 x 1,170 resolution
HDR, True Tone
Wide color (P3)
2,000,000:1 contrast ratio
800 nits max brightness (typical); 1200 nits max brightness (HDR)
Ceramic Shield front
6.7-inch Super Retina XDR OLED
2,778 x 1,284 resolution
HDR, True Tone
Wide color (P3)
2,000,000:1 contrast ratio
800 nits max brightness (typical); 1200 nits max brightness (HDR)
Ceramic Shield front
ProcessorApple A14 BionicApple A14 Bionic
Storage128 / 256 / 512GB128 / 256 / 512GB
BatteryQi wireless charging up to 7.5W
Up to 50% charge in around 30 minutes with 20W adapter or higher (sold separately)

MagSafe:
Wireless charging up to 15W
Magnet array
Alignment magnet
Accessory Identification NFC
Magnetometer
Qi wireless charging up to 7.5W
Up to 50% charge in around 30 minutes with 20W adapter or higher (sold separately)

MagSafe:
Wireless charging up to 15W
Magnet array
Alignment magnet
Accessory Identification NFC
Magnetometer
CamerasRear:
-Wide-angle 12MP, ƒ/1.6, dual OIS, 7-element lens, 100% Focus Pixels, Night Mode
-Ultra-wide 12MP, ƒ/2.4, 120° field of view, 5-element lens, lens correction, Night Mode
-Telephoto 12MP, ƒ/2.0, dual OIS, 6-element lens

2x optical zoom in, 2x optical zoom out, 4x optical zoom range, digital zoom up to 10x, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 3, Apple ProRAW

Video:
HDR video with Dolby Vision up to 60fps
4K video at 24fps, 30fps, or 60fps
1080p HD video at 30fps or 60fps
720p HD video at 30fps
OIS for video (Wide)
2x optical zoom in, 2x optical zoom out; 4x optical zoom range, digital zoom up to 6x

Front:
-TrueDepth 12MP, ƒ/2.2

Night Mode, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 3
Rear:
-Wide-angle 12MP, ƒ/1.6, dual OIS, sensor-shift OIS, 7-element lens, 100% Focus Pixels, Night Mode
-Ultra-wide 12MP, ƒ/2.4, 120° field of view, 5-element lens, lens correction, Night Mode
-Telephoto 12MP, ƒ/2.2, dual OIS, 6-element lens

2.5x optical zoom in, 2x optical zoom out, 5x optical zoom range, digital zoom up to 12x, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 3, Apple ProRAW

Video:
HDR video with Dolby Vision up to 30fps
4K video at 24fps, 30fps, or 60fps
1080p HD video at 30fps or 60fps
720p HD video at 30fps
OIS for video (Wide)
2.5x optical zoom in, 2x optical zoom out, 5x optical zoom range, digital zoom up to 7x

Front:
-TrueDepth 12MP, ƒ/2.2

Night Mode, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 3
Connectivity5G (sub‑6GHz and mmWave)
Gigabit LTE with 4x4 MIMO and LAA
Wi‑Fi 6 (802.11ax) with 2x2 MIMO
Bluetooth 5
Ultra Wideband chip for spatial awareness
NFC
Express Cards with power reserve
GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, and BeiDou
Digital compass
Wi‑Fi
Cellular
iBeacon microlocation
5G (sub‑6GHz and mmWave)
Gigabit LTE with 4x4 MIMO and LAA
Wi‑Fi 6 (802.11ax) with 2x2 MIMO
Bluetooth 5
Ultra Wideband chip for spatial awareness
NFC
Express Cards with power reserve
GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, and BeiDou
Digital compass
Wi‑Fi
Cellular
iBeacon microlocation
SensorsFace ID
LiDAR Scanner
Barometer
Three‑axis gyro
Accelerometer
Proximity sensor
Ambient light sensor
Face ID
LiDAR Scanner
Barometer
Three‑axis gyro
Accelerometer
Proximity sensor
Ambient light sensor
SoftwareiOS 14iOS 14
DurabilityIP68IP68
Dimensions and weight146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4mm
189g
160.8 x 78.1 x 7.4mm
228g
ColorsSilver, Graphite, Gold, Pacific BlueSilver, Graphite, Gold, Pacific Blue
In the boxiPhone
USB‑C to Lightning cable
Documentation
iPhone
USB‑C to Lightning cable
Documentation

Are the iPhone 12 series cameras any good?

iPhone 12 camera focus in hand

Credit: Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

The camera system on the iPhone 12 Mini is the same you’ll find in the standard iPhone 12. That means you’re getting two 12MP cameras on the rear of the device and a 12MP selfie camera hidden in the notch on the front.

You won’t get the 2x telephoto camera of the iPhone 12 Pro and the 2.5x telephoto camera of the Pro Max. But the standard setup of the iPhone 12 Mini and 12 are still really good in most lighting conditions. Image quality from both the main and wide lens is great, with a nice balance of dynamic range and contrast, and there are no issues with color accuracy or sharpness. One thing you miss out on by opting for a non-pro iPhone this year is night portrait mode.

Apple iPhone 12 Pro vs iPhone 12 Max camera 2

Credit: Robert Triggs / Android Authority

The iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max come with a new LIDAR sensor that improves focus in lower-light environments. They also get new software features like 4k 60fps Dolby vision HDR video capture and Night Mode Portrait Mode.

In total, there are three main lenses on the back, and one on the front. You’ve got a main 12MP camera, a wide 12MP camera, and a 12MP 2x optical telephoto lens in the case of the Pro and a 2.5x telephoto lens with the Pro Max. You’ve got a 12MP selfie camera embedded inside the Face ID 3D face unlock system on the front.

The biggest reason people were excited about the iPhone 12 Pro Max is the much bigger primary camera sensor. The Pro Max has a 47% bigger main sensor, which theoretically should allow for better low-light performance and more natural bokeh. However, while it looks great on paper, both David and Rob found the images nearly identical in their review and camera shootout. Of course, the 2.5x telephoto lens provides extra reach. But overall, image quality is largely the same.

Video quality on all the new iPhones is stellar, but the iPhone 12 Pro Max is nothing short of amazing. 4k 60p video looks super clean from the large main sensor. It is incredibly stable, with true-to-life colors.

The iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max can also shoot Dolby Vision HDR video. HDR video can get much brighter while retaining detail in the highlights. Videos will also look much more similar to what our eyes see in real life as the color range is wider. Unfortunately, there aren’t many monitors that playback Dolby Vision HDR, but you’ll definitely notice the difference if you can compare it with a standard recording.

What kind of battery life do you get with the iPhone 12 series?

iPhone 12 lightning port

Credit: Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Given the different sizes and battery capacities of the iPhone 12 devices, you’ll understandably get different battery life experiences. As enticing as its compact size might be, the biggest downside of getting the iPhone 12 Mini is its small battery.

It managed a full day of use with around five hours of screen-on time, which isn’t great, and certainly not as good as what you get with the larger phones. It’s not going to be particularly power-efficient either, since it packs the A14 processor. It’s perhaps the biggest trade-off when picking up the smaller phone.

iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro come with the same 2,815mAh battery, and unsurprisingly, offer similar battery life. In his reviews, David got very close to six hours of screen-on time with both, with about a day and a half of use.

At the higher-end of the battery life spectrum is the iPhone 12 Pro Max with its 3,687mAh unit. In his testing, David saw nearly eight hours of screen on time and two entire days of use with the large phone. The excellent battery life is just one reason the Pro Max is the best of the lot.

Of course, there’s the whole controversy surrounding the fact that while Apple includes a USB-C to lightning cable in the box, there’s no actual charger. You’ll have to buy your own USB-C charger separately if you don’t already have one. Apple sells one too, for $19.

As for wireless charging, the official MagSafe charger costs $40 and will charge your phone at 15W  twice as fast as the previous speed of 7.5W. Unfortunately, you’ll need to use an official MagSafe charger to achieve these speeds. If you use a standard Qi charger, the maximum charging rate you’ll be able to achieve is the same old 7.5W as before.

Apple iPhone 12 series: Performance and software

iPhone 12 in hand with display on

Credit: Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

As far as performance is concerned, the great news is that it stays the same across the board. You’ll get different amounts of RAM with these phones, but all of them come with the A14 Bionic chip. iPhones usually lead the industry in performance, and that remains true here. David found it to be incredibly fast with everyday use in his reviews. It also handily beats the Snapdragon 865-toting OnePlus 8T and the Asus ROG Phone 3 as well in our own Speed Test G benchmark.

The iPhone 12 Pro performed really well in all the benchmark tests that David conducted in his review. He also had no issues with slowdowns or laggy apps, and the excellent performance is a great sign as far as longevity is concerned. With Apple’s persistent software updates lasting up to five years, you can be sure the iPhone 12 series will be supported for years to come.

Speaking of software, iOS 14 Apple has added a considerable number of features that have been on Android for years. Possibly the biggest addition to iOS 14 is widgets. Any app developer can create a widget for their app, in multiple sizes and shapes. This makes it much easier to control things like podcasts from your home screen or get a weather report at a glance.

Other changes in iOS 14 include the App Library, which is closest we’ve come to an app drawer on iOS. You’ll also get a more compact UI and picture-in-picture mode. You won’t find a proper app drawer or much customization. It is very well put together, though. As long as you don’t care much about customizing your device, the operating system is just fine.

Competition and alternatives

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus vs Apple iPhone 12 Pro vs Google Pixel 5 EOY 2020

Credit: Robert Triggs / Android Authority

With these four iPhones, Apple is primarily competing against itself. We have a feeling most consumers will vote with their wallets. In other words, they’ll buy the iPhone they can afford. That means many will be relegated to the iPhone 12 Mini or iPhone 12 versus the iPhone 12 Pro or Pro Max. Moreover, Apple generally keeps some of its older models available for sale at lowered price points. This year, that’s the case with the iPhone SE, iPhone XR, and iPhone 11, which are available for hundreds less than the new iPhones.

Then there’s the Android universe. As far as price points go, the iPhone 12 Mini costs $699 and goes head to head with phones such as the Google Pixel 5, Samsung Galaxy S20 FE, and OnePlus 8T.

Looking at the iPhone 12, you’ve got a $799 phone that targets affordable flagships such as the OnePlus 8 Pro and Motorola Edge.

As far as the top tier is concerned, Apple is gunning for none other than the Galaxy S20 and Note 20 families from Samsung. The V60 from LG, the Edge Plus from Motorola, the Xperia 1 II and Xperia 5 II from Sony, and other $1,000 phones are also competitors.

Where to buy the Apple iPhone 12

Apple iPhones are generally widely available from a range of retailers. First and foremost, you can order directly from Apple.com. Apple is offering the phones from carriers and unlocked and will ship directly to your house if you wish. Alternatively, you can order for in-store pickup.

Apple iPhone 12 series Four to choose from
There are a total of four new iPhones in Apple's iPhone 12 lineup: the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max. Brighter displays, faster processors, and more durable build quality are what you can expect with all four of these new phones.

Apple also offers the phone via other retailers, including Best Buy. Ordering from Best Buy requires a carrier activation when you checkout, so keep that in mind before placing your order. Pricing depends on your carrier of choice.

If you’d rather buy directly from a carrier, you have that option. AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless all offer the iPhone 12 family with various deals in place.

Verizon

Verizon has the iPhone 12 for $799.99 or $33.33 a month for 24 months. The iPhone 12 Pro costs $999.99 or $41.66 a month.

T-Mobile

T-Mobile has the iPhone 12 for $829.99 or $79.99 down and $31.25 a month for 24 months. The iPhone 12 Pro costs $999.99 or $249.99 down and $31.25 a month.

AT&T

AT&T has the iPhone 12 for $799.99 or $26.67 a month for 30 months. The iPhone 12 Pro costs $999.99 or $33.34 a month for 30 months.

Xfinity Mobile

Xfinity Mobile has the iPhone 12 for $829.99 or $34.58 a month for 24 months. The iPhone 12 Pro costs $999.99 or $41.66 a month for 24 months.

Top Apple iPhone 12 questions and answers

iPhone 12 Mini back in hand 2

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

Q: Does the Apple iPhone 12 support 5G?

A: Yes, the entire iPhone 12 series supports 5G. That means different things for different carriers and countries, though. In the United States, all models will support both mmWave and Sub-6 5G connections.

Q: Does the Apple iPhone 12 have USB-C?

A: Sadly, no. Apple has carried forward its proprietary Lightning port yet another year.

Q: Does the Apple iPhone 12 have a headphone jack?

A: No, none of the Apple iPhone 12 phones include a headphone jack. Apple hasn’t supported headphone jacks on its phones for years, and that’s not about to change.

Q: Does the Apple iPhone 12 support wireless charging?

A: Yes! They all include the new MagSafe feature with up to 15W wireless charging. They also can be wirelessly charged with normal methods. It will be a slower charge than you’d see with the MagSafe, though.

Q: Does the Apple iPhone 12 have dual-SIM capabilities?

A: Sort of. The new iPhones support one physical SIM card and one eSIM card. However, eSIM support is still spotty across carriers.

Q: Does the Apple iPhone 12 have a microSD card slot?

A: No, the Apple iPhone 12 does not have a memory card slot. No iPhone has ever had one.

Q: What memory variants are the phone available in?

A: The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini come with 4GB of RAM. You also get the option of either 64, 128, or 256GB of internal storage. The Pro-level iPhones come with 6GB of RAM and the option of 128, 256, or 512GB of internal storage.

Q: Do the devices have stereo speakers?

A: Yes, the iPhone 12 has two speakers (earpiece/bottom-firing) that generate high-quality stereo sound.

Q: What colors are the Apple iPhone 12 phones available in?

A: This depends on the model. The iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 12 will come in: black, white, red, green, and blue. The iPhone 12 Pro and the Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max will come in: silver, gold, Graphite, and Pacific Blue.

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