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Monday, November 30, 2020

Apple iPhone 12 Pro review: The iPhone caught in the middle

Apple iPhone 12 Pro review: This one in the iPhone 12 series sports three cameras, more storage and RAM and a stainless steel frame and a higher price tag. But should this be your pick? Read our review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Rs. 1,19,900
Written by Nandagopal Rajan | New Delhi | Updated: November 20, 2020 12:57:12 pm
Apple iPhone 12 Pro review, iPhone 12 Pro review, iPhone 12 Pro specifications, iPhone 12 Pro review camera, iPhone 12 Pro features, iPhone 12 Pro price in India, iPhone 12 Pro review specificationsApple iPhone 12 Pro (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/Indian Express)

Apple iPhone 12 Pro review: The iPhone 12 series is here and with it an unprecedented amount of choice. And that is why we have an Apple iPhone 12 Pro this time that is the same size as the iPhone 12 but with more cameras, more storage, more RAM and a stainless steel frame that makes it weigh a few grams more. The iPhone 12 Pro can be a confusing pick for buyers as there is a similar phone that is priced less in the iPhone 12 series. But there is that much more here that could make some users pick this up instead of its cheaper sibling.

iPhone 12 Pro price in India: Starts at 1,19,900 for 128GB version 

iPhone 12 Pro specs: 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED | Apple A14 Bionic | 128GB 6GB RAM/ 256GB 6GB RAM/ 512GB 6GB RAM | 12 MP, f/1.6, 26mm (wide) + 12 MP, f/2.0, 52mm (telephoto) + 12 MP, f/2.4, 120˚, 13mm (ultrawide) + TOF 3D LiDAR scanner + 12 MP, f/2.2, 23mm (wide) selfie camera | Li-Ion 2815 mAh battery | iOS 14.1 | 189 g

iPhone 12 Pro: What is good?

I love the new design of the new iPhones, more so because it is an old design. One that is familiar while being contemporary and modern. And that is not an easy feat to achieve. This design does that balance wonderfully well. The flat edges are shiny and functional when you want to grip it well. The iPhone 12 Pro has a stainless steel frame unlike the polished aluminium on the iPhone 12. And I think this is also adding to the weight of the iPhone 12 Pro.

Read all our iPhone 12 series reviews: Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max review | Apple iPhone 12 review | Apple iPhone 12 mini review 

Apple iPhone 12 Pro review, iPhone 12 Pro review, iPhone 12 Pro specifications, iPhone 12 Pro review camera, iPhone 12 Pro features, iPhone 12 Pro price in India, iPhone 12 Pro review specifications The iPhone 12 Pro has a stainless steel frame. (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/Indian Express)

The camera module is almost the same as the iPhone 11 Pro, though it is slightly larger to accommodate the Lidar.
The 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro is bigger than its predecessor, which was just 5.8 inches. So the screen is larger. So is the screen-to-body ratio. Otherwise the display is not different from what you got last year. But where this one goes a step ahead is the “scratch-resistant ceramic glass, oleophobic coating” on top of it. The iPhone 11 has pretty tough displays and I can vouch for it from personal experience. And if that is getting better, then it is good for users.

The camera module is almost the same as the iPhone 11 Pro, though it is slightly larger to accommodate the Lidar. (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/Indian Express)

One big new feature, and one that has triggered some debate, is the charger, or the lack of it, on the iPhone. The iPhone 12 Pro does not come with a charger in the box, which could be a problem for price conscious users. But for many who are upgrading from an iPhone you already have a way to charge at home. But the interesting new feature is the MagSafe charger launched with the iPhone 12 series. This small circle charger rests on your table and has magnets that snap on to the wireless charging coils at the back of the iPhone.

The MagSafe is a convenient way to charge your phone, but it does take a lot of time. (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/Indian Express)

It is very convenient to just place your phone on this for overnight charging, but this is not a great option if you want to juice up in a hurry. A full charge takes upwards of 90 minutes using this new charging method. It is faster than the earlier wireless charging, but still quite slow. The MagSafe is priced Rs 4,500, but should not be the only charger you have at home.

The MagSafe magnets also let the iPhone 12 Pro and other phones in the series use accessories very differently. Apple itself has a snap-on card wallet that goes on top of the cover, and I tried a bunch of new leather cases from the premium brand Mujjo, which also offer access to charging and other accessories using these magnets.

I also tested the iPhone 12 Pro with the premium leather case from the premium brand Mujjo, which also offer access to charging using these magnets. (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/Indian Express)

The iPhone 12 Pro has three cameras against the two in the iPhone 12. So there is an extra 12MP telephoto lens along with the 12MP wide and ultra wide cameras seen on the iPhone 12. Interestingly, the telephoto and the ultra wide cameras have not really changed from the iPhone 11 times. The main wide camera however has a larger f1.6 aperture and performs much better in low light. And it won’t take you long to realise how much better this is.

Camera sample taken from iPhone 12 Pro during the day which captures the mynah. Telephoto lens used for this. (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/Indian Express)

The photo of a mynah clicked using the telephoto lens shows the action, while keeping the texture and colours of the feed on the wall.

Camera sample from the iPhone 12 Pro captures an early morning eagle as the sun rises in the back. (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/Indian Express)

An early morning eagle ended up being a great silhouette even as the phone managed to capture the colours of the sunrise perfectly in the background.

Also, with a much better processor on the A14 Bionic, the whole computational photography aspect of the iPhone 12 phones is way superior than before. For instance, in low light the performance is much better and you do get the feeling it is snappier. What would have taken 2 seconds in low-light last year, takes a second now maybe.

A low-light image taken on Karwa Chauth with the iPhone 12 Pro. (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/Indian Express)

This low-light prowess of the camera is on show in the photo clicked on Karwa Chauth night (seen above). The Diya on the ground is clear even as you can see the red moon in Delhi pollution-filled skies, and everything in between, all keeping its natural colours.

The shot of a Buddha with just a candle for light, still has so much detail on the surface.

Image taken of a Buddha statue at night with the iPhone 12 Pro. (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/Indian Express)

The front camera has also become better, again because of the computational photography and not really improvements in the hardware.

Apple iPhone 12 Pro review, iPhone 12 Pro review, iPhone 12 Pro specifications, iPhone 12 Pro review camera, iPhone 12 Pro features, iPhone 12 Pro price in India, iPhone 12 Pro review specifications Ultra-wide angle taken by the iPhone 12 Pro. (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/Indian Express)

Then there is the Lidar that comes into play if you are using some of the camera aspects, like in sensing depth. Also, there are AR apps that will use this better. I checked out the Measurement app with gave me the height of my door as 2.1 metres, a number validated by an old fashioned tape. However, this is not something a regular user will find use for.

The A14 Bionic processor is fast and powerful enough to power the new iPad Air which lets you use Adobe Photoshop in full. So the iPhone 12 Pro is faster at doing everything from processing images to playing graphic intensive games and editing videos using apps like Videoleap, but then you might not notice it coming from an iPhone 11 because that was a very powerful phone too.

But for the Pro users Apple is targeting, the extra power will be visible in their workflows, be it the added ability to shoot and edit Dolby HDR on the phone itself, or how a lot of the top-end applications now work faster. This is clearly the most powerful phone you can but at the moment.

The iPhone 12 Pro battery lasts about 18 hours on a full charge with regular usage on 4G. And if you invest in a 30W charger you can juice backup in under an hour.

iPhone 12 Pro: What is not so good?

The iPhone 12 Pro is a no nonsense phone, but it is also a charge-less phone for many users. So keep this in mind if you are buying any iPhone 12 series device as your first iPhone. You then need to add at least Rs 2,000 to your budget for the charger.

The MagSafe is a great feature to have, but as an add-on. The charger takes time and warms up a bit. Get this for you night stand and not as a replacement.

This is a phone for those who want the iPhone 12 size but three cameras, or three cameras but not a phone as big as iPhone 12 Pro Max.(Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/Indian Express)

iPhone 12 Pro: Should you buy?

The iPhone 12 Pro is in a tricky space when it comes to choice. So this is a phone for those who want the iPhone 12 size but three cameras, or three cameras but not a phone as big as iPhone 12 Pro Max. Or want to get three cameras and don’t mind a larger screen, but can’t spend as much as the iPhone 12 Pro Max. This also means this is a compromise phone in itself as it is not a hero on its own. So you need to think that extra second before deciding on this one.

But what you don’t have to think about is whether you are getting the best phone out there, which the iPhone 12 series undoubtedly is. Also, by buying this one you will be future-proofing for the 5G era. The iPhone 12 Pro is for those who have Pro level use of the camera and are willing to pay a premium for that.

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