Did you read or watch any of the iPhone 12 Pro reviews when they came out last October? If you did, you probably got the impression that the device isn’t “worth it” compared to the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro Max.
”It only has an extra telephoto camera compared to the iPhone 12, and who even USES that camera?”
”The screen, while nice, isn’t AS nice as it will be on the iPhone 12 Pro Max.”
“I dunno man, Apple’s promising BIG things with the camera on the Max. You probably shouldn’t buy the regular 12 Pro if you REALLY care about cameras!”
”Who in the hell needs to spend $999 on a phone? Either spend $829 on an iPhone 12 or spend even more on an iPhone 12 Pro Max! MIDDLE MEN AREN’T WELCOME HERE!”
I’d like to add that these are extreme exaggerations of what reviewers have said about the 12 Pro. But I can tell you they aren’t too far from the truth. Go watch or read any number of iPhone 12 Pro reviews and you’ll find them all claiming how you should skip the phone and go for either the cheaper or more expensive option.
I am here to tell you that that’s not really the case. Like any phone, if you think the iPhone 12 Pro is for you, it most likely is. It was for me – I just bought it.
My decision-making process was pretty simple: I wanted an iPhone 12 Pro Max, but I don’t want the gigantic screen that comes with it. I tried the Max at my local T-Mobile store and was instantly turned off by it. I thought, “Yeah, no, I’m not carrying this thing around everywhere I go.” It was way too big for my taste.
The iPhone 12 Pro, however, was a perfect size. It was a little bit bigger than my Pixel 5 which I was coming from, and it’s definitely a lot bigger than the iPhone 12 mini I reviewed. But with it comes a bigger battery and more real estate to get my work done, so I decided this was the right size for me.
“But Max, the iPhone 12 is the same size! Just save a couple bucks and get the cheaper thing!”
Yeah, no. The size wasn’t the only reason I bought the Pro. Remember, I wanted a 12 Pro Max, but didn’t want the huge size.
With me, photography is incredibly important since I take a ton of photos and I want them to look their very best.
I don’t know about you, but I take zoomed-in photos all the time. I enjoy capturing images of flowers, elegant foliage in the fall, and fabulous meals I dine upon. All of that looks better when you zoom in a bit, and having the extra telephoto camera at my disposal is super useful.
This is a feature you don’t get with the iPhone 12, and it’s important to note that since a lot of people will tell you “you don’t need it.” Uh, no – go look at the kinds of photos you’re taking and decide whether you need it. You might be like me and enjoy taking pictures of summertime flowers.
Here’s another invaluable photography feature on the iPhone 12 Pro: Apple ProRAW. You cannot take RAW photos with the iPhone 12 or 12 mini unless you download a third-party app. With the Pro phones, the feature’s built right in. This gives you much greater control over lighting, contrast, saturation, et cetera in editing apps. That’s something I value tremendously since I can master the look of my photo much more easily.
I’d also like to mention the LiDAR sensor on the back of the 12 Pro. I know, I know – “all it does is make AR better, Max!” Actually, that’s not all it does. It improves portrait mode photos at night (which are noticeably better, by the way) and it helps the Measure app more accurately measure things in your space. I was just using the app the other day to size up some whiteboards for classrooms at the parish I work at. I was actually thankful to have the LiDAR sensor to lean on for a more precise measurement due to my lack of a tape measure. I admit, I won’t use this feature very often, but boy is it nice when it’s there.
Now, I realize the camera systems on the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max aren’t identical. Some will argue it’s absolutely worth getting the Max because of those better qualities. To be honest, I’ve never used the Max and I haven’t compared its photos to the ones I’ve captured on my 12 Pro. However, plenty of outlets have confirmed that the differences are so minute that the systems are practically identical.
Even on paper, we’re looking at very minor improvements. The main 12MP lens has slightly larger pixels to capture more light, while the telephoto lens can zoom in 2.5x with no loss in detail compared to the 12 Pro’s 2.0x zoom. The 12 Pro Max also has improved stabilization, but I haven’t had any issues with shaky video on my 12 Pro.
Absolutely none of these upgrades appeal to me. I guess it’d be nice to let a little bit more light into the main sensor, but it’s not like I hate the night photos I take with the 12 Pro. During my month and change with the phone, I have never complained about photo quality. I’m very happy with what this device is capable of.
The camera system on the iPhone 12 Pro is incredibly capable, despite there being a slightly better one on a much larger device. If you’re eyeing up the 12 Pro yourself, I can assure you you’ll be happy with what the cameras can capture.
The performance of my phone is also an important point of contention for me. I want the ability to use my phone for whatever tasks I need to tackle that day, and being able to rely on the A14 Bionic process has been fabulous, just like it was on the iPhone 12 mini.
But I also tend to jump between apps a lot, and that’s where the extra RAM comes into play. At least in my usage, I’ve been able to notice the extra RAM at work in my iPhone 12 Pro.
With the mini, apps would reload pretty often and sometimes crashed. That’s because it comes with just 4GB of RAM. Admittedly, most people won’t notice a difference, but if you’re like me and demand a lot from your daily driver, the 6GB of RAM in the 12 Pro is totally worth it.
Another spec that’s worth pointing out is storage. The iPhone 12 Pro starts at 128GB of storage, while the iPhone 12 starts at 64GB. I could’ve just gotten the 128GB iPhone 12 for $879, but at that point I would’ve been $120 shy of the 12 Pro which had all the extra features I wanted. So I made the leap, and I’m happy I did.
Okay, one more thing: design. Yes people, I went for the shiny one. I like things that look nice, and I liked how the iPhone 12 Pro looks with its stainless steel band and frosted glass back. Will it always live in a case? Absolutely. Do I care? Not one bit. I bought the shiny one, and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop me from doing it again with next year’s iPhones.
There are plenty of perks of buying the iPhone 12 Pro, and you shouldn’t be ashamed if you want one. If you tend to agree with most the points I’ve made here, the phone’s probably for you. Yes, you’ll save money if you go with the iPhone 12 Pro. Yes, you’ll get a slightly better camera with the 12 Pro Max. But if you want the perfect compromise, get the 12 Pro.