The iPhone 12. Mini. Pro. Max. All of them. All new retro chic design, OLED across the line, Dolby Vision, LiDAR, MagSafe, and, of course, 5G. Starting at $729. For the mini.
I’ve been reviewing them all since they first came out, and I’m here to tell you whether you should get one now… or wait for the iPhone 12s… or iPhone 13… or whatever Apple calls the next iPhone this fall.
The iPhone 12 kept the front and back look of the iPhone 11 but brought back the flattened sides of the iPhone 4 and 5. The result is something that looks way cooler but isn’t really as comfortable to hold. With black, white, red, green, and blue on the standard and silver, graphite, gold, and blue on the Pro. And, yeah, there’s still a notch, right up on top. Which I no longer even really notice any more but some people still treat like a splinter in the eye.
The iPhone 13 will keep the same design, though there’ll almost certainly be some variation in the colors. It’ll also reportedly keep the notch, though not quite as wide.
So, if you like the iPhone 12 design, especially the colors, go ahead and grab one now.
But, if you’re hoping to get yellow or orange back, or some other color entirely, like purple, and especially if you want just a tiny bit less notch on top, wait and see what the iPhone 13 has to offer.
The iPhone 12 displays are… just… better than they’ve ever been. OLED and HDR on all of them, so you get high contrast, deep blacks, and bright whites… on all of them. They look just… absolutely terrific. And now with ceramic shield… well, they still scratch, alas… but they’re much less likely to crack.
But, they’re still locked at 60 frames-per-second. No high refresh rate, no adaptive refresh. That’s only rumored to be coming with ProMotion on the next-generation iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max later this fall. I’ve done a video explaining exactly how that’ll work for the iPhone, link in the description.
So, if you don’t care about that, or don’t even know what it is, then get the iPhone 12 now and enjoy.
But, if you’re all… no 120… hurts… Just wait for iPhone 13 Pro.
The iPhone 12 got better cameras across the board, but the iPhone 12 Pro got ProRaw and LiDAR for low light autofocus and night mode portraits, and the iPhone 12 Pro Max got an even bigger sensor, longer telephoto, and in-body image stabilization. Also, Deep fusion and Night Mode, across all cameras, likewise Dolby Vision for HDR video. I prefer the smaller iPhone Pro, and kinda all shades of adore the mini, but for me, the cameras on the iPhone 12 Pro Max made it the must-have.
So, if you’re cool using the Max or just cool with the regular cameras, you’ll be cool with the iPhone 12.
If you aren’t willing to go Max but still want maximum cameras, rumor has it the iPhone 13 may have LiDAR and the better sensors just across the line.
The iPhone 12 series are the first iPhones with 5G, integrating Qualcomm’s X55 modem, which supports both frequency range 1, or low and mid band, and frequency range 2, or high band, aka mmWave. Only… 5G itself isn’t well supported.. .at least not yet. I have FR1 for a few blocks where I live, and get about double LTE speeds, but many people don’t have any 5G… or worse — 5G so bad they’re switching back to LTE. That modem is also not very efficient, so it drags the iPhone battery life down, even with Apple’s Smart Data feature trying its best to balance things out.
The iPhone 13 should integrate Qualcomm’s X60 modem, which is smaller and more efficient, allowing for more battery but also placing less pressure on the power system in the first place. Fingers crossed.
So, if 5G isn’t in your area or just isn’t high on your list, or on your list at all, you can get an iPhone 12 and be perfectly happy.
But, if you need 5G and need it to be as battery efficient as possible, there’ll be more 5G in the future and better 5G radios to go with it. Including, maybe, getting WiFi 6E on there as well.
The iPhone 12 has Face ID, same as the iPhone 11. Like, almost exactly the same. Despite supporting unlock on every orientation on the iPad since 2018, it’s still portrait-only on the iPhone. It does keep getting faster and smarter, but in the age of masks, when you’re out and about, it’s just nowhere nearly as convenient as it used to be.
The iPhone 13 is reportedly going to be getting a new version of Touch ID. Not in the power button like the new iPad Air, but under the display. And not instead of Face ID, but in addition to it. As in, the best of both biometric worlds.
So, if Face ID is still fine for you, it’s totally fine to pick up an iPhone 12 right now.
But if you need you some Touch ID back, you’re going to need to wait for the iPhone 13 at the earliest.
The iPhone 12 still has the Lightning port. The same one Apple introduced back in 2012, almost three years before USB-C became a reality. And despite literally all the nerds asking them to switch to USB-C, like they’ve done on the Mac and are continuing to do on the iPad, Apple’s steadfastly, stubbornly even, stuck to Lightning on the iPhone.
But there are reports that maybe one model of iPhone 13 will finally delete the Lightning port. Not for USB-C, no. That’d be too well received. But delete it just to watch it die. Like the headphone jack. And just stick with the recently introduced MagSafe connector or a Smart Connector hybrid instead.
So, since the iPhone 12 currently has both Lightning and MagSafe, there’s no reason to wait on that front.
But if you’re at all nervous about Apple talking away your hard line, you may not even want to wait on the iPhone 13 anyway.
And for more on the iPhone, click the playlist above. I’ve got in-depth reviews of the iPhone 12 and a complete breakdown of what to expect with the iPhone 13. Just click the playlist and I’ll see you in the next video.