I’m going to tell you if the, iPhone 12, with a lighter, squared off retro future chic design, OLED display, MagSafe charging, and 5G is worth its starting price of $829. Or… if the year-older iPhone 11, all rounded and curved, classic LCD, and… that’s pretty much it, is a better value at $599.
The iPhone 11 has the curved edges and sides of the previous many generations of iPhones, going all the way back to the iPhone 6. It looks almost generic at this point but wow does it still feel great. It also comes in the most colors. 6 of them. Purple, yellow, green, black, white, and red.
The iPhone 12 goes back to the future with squared off edges and sides, like the iPhone 4 and 5 of eld, but makes them look new again in a package that’s 15% smaller by volume and 16% lighter. It looks, to my eye, way cooler, though it can bite into your hand just a little bit more. Some find it annoying, others even better for grip. Only 5 colors though. Blue, green, red, white, and black.
So if you prefer the curves, don’t mind if it’s heavier, or want purple or yellow, go for the iPhone 11.
But, if you love the new look, see lighter as better, or want that new blue, go for the iPhone 12.
The iPhone 11 has a 6.1-inch LCD display, what Apple calls Liquid Retina. And it’s honestly about the best LCD can be. It goes corner to curved corner, and while it’s not HDR, not high dynamic range, it’s still high density and wide color gamut, and it doesn’t do pulse-width modulation, which bothers some people about OLED.
The iPhone 12 has a 6.1-inch OLED display, what Apple calls Super Retina XDR for extreme dynamic range. Deep shadows and blacks, bright highlights and whites, high contrast and even higher density. It’s what you want to watch movies on, including the Dolby Vision movies you can shoot on the iPhone 12.
So, if you hate OLED and prefer LCD, or you just don’t care about display technology either way, you can save some cash and go iPhone 11.
If you want the best display you can get, especially if you watch a lot of streaming video or take a lot of HDR video, you’re going to want the iPhone 12.
The iPhone 11 has strong ion-exchange glass, which helps prevent shattering if you drop it, and water resistance up to 2 meters and 30 minutes.
The iPhone 12 has ceramic impregnated glass on front, what Apple calls Ceramic Shield, which amps up the shatter-protection even more, and water resistance up to 6 meters for 30 minutes.
So, if maximum durability is high on your list, you’re going to want the iPhone 12.
The iPhone 11 has an Apple A13 Bionic chipset, built on a 7 nanometer process with better performance efficiency than pretty much anything else on the market…
Except for the iPhone 12 and its Apple A14 Bionic chipset, built on a 5 nanometer process, which is basically the best silicon in the world right now.
So, if you’re not all about the speeds and feeds, you’ll be totally fine with the iPhone 11.
But if you want the latest and the greatest, and the ability to get iOS updates for as long as currently possible, you’ll want the iPhone 12.
The iPhone 11 has a really good camera system with wide angle and ultra wide angle, with Smart HDR2, deep fusion, and Night Mode on that main wide angle sensor, and the ability to capture up to 4K60 video with enhanced dynamic range.
The iPhone 12 has an amazing camera system, with better wide angle and ultra wide angle, Smart HDR3, deep fusion, and Night Mode on all the sensors, and the ability to capture up to 4K60 EDR and 4K30 HDR in full-on Dolby Vision.
So, if good enough is good enough when it comes to the camera for you, then the iPhone 11 is probably more than enough.
But if your iPhone is your primary camera and you always want to take the absolute best photos and videos you can, you’ll want the iPhone 12.
The iPhone 11 has an Intel 4G LTE radio that can get pretty good speeds in most places, most of the time. But some people complain about it not working as well in areas with poor signal and reception.
The iPhone 12 has a Qualcomm 5G NR radio that also does 4G LTE. 5G speeds and reliability vary incredibly by region, from slower low band to double speed mid band to unbelievably fast but fragile mmWave. But it can also give you better LTE.
So, if all you have is 4G and it’s always worked fine for you on previous iPhones, and you’re not expecting 5G any time soon, you’ll be just as fine on an iPhone 11.
If you’ve always had problems with 4G, or you have or expect to get 5G soon, and you want to take advantage of it, you’ll want to grab the iPhone 12.
The iPhone 11 has a Lightning port, which works with both older Lightning-to-USB-A cables and charges, and newer, faster Lightning-to-USB-C cables. It can also charge inductively up to 7.5w with a Qi-compatible inductive pad.
The iPhone 12 has a Lightning port, which functions in the exact same way, but also MagSafe charging, which next-levels the induction to 15 watts, provided you use a magnetic MagSafe compatible accessory.
Since batter life is pretty much the same on both… 5G permitting… the only major difference here is if you want MagSafe, you’ll want the iPhone 12.