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Apple iPhone 12 Review – Powerful Throwback To Classic Design

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By Akhil Kapoor - 
26th Nov 2020
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iPhone 12
Review Summary

iPhone 12 sure is among the most elegant designed smartphones of 2020. With the Super Retina XDR, it has one of the best in class displays plus add-on protection by the ceramic shield. It houses the fastest smartphone chip called A14 Bionic chip which is capable to meet the needs of all types of users. Let it be gaming or average day to day usage it sure will handle all that you need very effectively. iPhone 12 comes with 5G connectivity which makes it future proof. Overall, if you are looking to upgrade from iPhone 11 to the iPhone 12 there is not a major difference but if it’s from any other older iPhone model, you can consider upgrading.

PROS
  • OLED display with a ceramic shield
  • Powerful A14 chipset
  • Excellent dual-camera setup
CONS
  • No SD Card slot for memory expansion
  • Small battery size in comparison
  • No major upgrade in the camera from iPhone 11
Key Specs
Battery Capacity
Battery Capacity
2815 mAh
Operating System
Operating System
iOS v14
Screen Size
Screen Size
6.1 inches
Highlights:
  • No
  • Yes
  • 2815 mAh
  • iOS v14
Introduction -

Apple launched its latest iPhone 12 lineup in a virtual online event last month. The new family of iPhones includes the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max.

The 6.1-inch iPhone 12 comes with 5G connectivity and sports a magnetic backing which Apple loves to call as ‘MagSafe’ for wireless charging and can be attached to a number of accessories. All the four iPhone models launched this year feature a Super Retina XDR OLED display which is covered with a brand new type of glass called ceramic shield that promises to be more durable.

iPhone-12-box

Let’s get straight into the review and let me tell you all in details how this new flagship iPhone from Apple turns out to be. Read it till the end to be very sure if you should spend around Rs.80,000 on this latest iPhone.

Prices in India, Variants, Availability - A New Flagship Price

You can order the iPhone 12 via Amazon India, Flipkart and Apple.com. iPhone 12 comes in five colour options to choose from – Black, White, Blue, Green and Red with storage variants of 64GB, 128GB and 256GB. iPhone 12 64GB price in India starts at ₹79,900, 128GB for ₹84,900 and 256GB at ₹94,900. Amazon India is offering a 10% instant discount up to ₹1500 with SBI Credit cards. You can also avail the exchange offer with up to ₹11,200 off on exchange of your old device.

Box Contents

iPhone 12 comes in an all-new packaging by Apple which misses the fast charging adapter or say, any charging adapter at all. You won’t even find the lightning earpods in the retail box this time. Without these, the box looks slimmer and stylish. An iPhone 12 Box includes:

  • iPhone 12 device
  • USB-C to lightning cable
  • User Manual and Apple Sticker

 

iphone-12-box-contents

Specs at a glance

Before I talk in detail about the most favourite iPhone 12, let’s have a quick look at the key specifications. 

  • Display: 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display with Ceramic Shield
  • Chipset: A14 Bionic Chip, 5G
  • RAM & ROM: 64GB/128GB/256GB
  • Software: iOS 14
  • Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP, Smart HDR 3, 4K Dolby Vision HDR
  • Selfie camera: 12MP TruDepth
  • Battery: 2815 mAh
  • Weight: 164g
  • Dimensions: 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4mm

With key specs mentioned here, let me take you into the complete review of an iPhone 12 which I tested for a week recently. 

Design and Build

Though the iPhone 12 looks fairly similar with the last year’s iPhone 11 from the back but give it a closer look and you will see the boxy design which will take you to a quick trip down the memory lanes back to the days of iPhone 4. The phone feels wide in hand, a bit wider than its competitors like the Samsung Galaxy S20 or the OnePlus 8 Pro.

iPhone-12-design

The device is actually smaller in size than its predecessor owing to the thinned out bezels and used that extra space to shrink the size of the aluminium frame. The side rails have a matte finish which gives it an elegant look but the glass back can be a fingerprint magnet, though it shouldn’t be a problem when used with a back cover.

The display is a 6.1 inch Super Retina XDR with a screen resolution of 2,532 x 1,170 and uses OLED technology. The overall dimensions of the device are 5.78 x 2.82 x 0.29 inches and it weighs up to 164g which is significantly less than its predecessor the iPhone 11 which weighs over 190 g. The device also comes with an IP68 rating making it dust and water-resistant up to 6 metres.

Also Check: Apple iPhone 12 Pro Price in India

On the rear, we have the dual-camera setup with the LED flash which looks exactly similar to the one present on the iPhone 11. The main sensor is a 12-megapixel shooter and the other is a 12-megapixel ultrawide lens. The front camera too is a 12-megapixel sensor.

iPhone-12-back

The bottom edge houses the speaker grill and the lightning port. On the right, we have the power button and the 5-G antenna cut out. On the left, there is the sim-tray, the volume rockers and the alert slider.

Inside the box you get the phone, the Type C to lightning cable, the sim-tray ejector tool, some documentation and apple stickers and ‘NO CHARGER’ so you have to purchase one by paying some extra bucks in addition with the huge price tag of the device.

iPhone-12-port

Display

The iPhone 12 features a 6.1 inch Super Retina XDR display with a resolution of 2,532 x 1,170 and a pixel density of 460 PPI. The display type is OLED and offers HDR10 support with 1200 nits peak brightness, Wide Color for vivid, true-to-life colours, Haptic Touch for feedback, and True Tone to match the colour temperature of the display to the ambient lighting for a more natural viewing experience.

iPhone-12-Display

The display is completely flat with rounded corners and the same large notch which Apple introduced three generations ago with the iPhone X where most Android smartphones currently in the market have switched to a smaller notch in a dew-drop and punch-hole design with even smaller cutouts for the front camera.

The front of the iPhone is protected by a new Ceramic shield rather than the standard cover glass which is made by infusing nano-ceramic crystals into the glass to improve durability. Apple says that the new Ceramic Shield offers 4 times better drop performance and is tougher than any glass on any available smartphone in the world. This is definitely gonna be one of the key features to consider before purchasing the iPhone 12, keeping in mind how much the iPhone displays used to cost on the repair.

Earlier this year, Apple was rumoured to introduce 120Hz faster screen refresh rate but much to our regrets all the four iPhone 12 models still have the standard 60Hz refresh rate and the 120Hz touch-sampling rate in the times when faster screen refresh rates have become a flagship feature. The Samsung Galaxy S20 and the Note 20 and the OnePlus 8 Pro and 8T all have the ultra-smooth 120Hz refresh rate display but Apple fans still have to wait at least another year for that.

Performance

Under the hood, iPhone 12 has the A14 Bionic and it is the first-ever smartphone chip built on a 5-nanometer process and integrates 40% more transistors (11.8 billion) than the A13, for better battery life and faster performance. The Hexa-core processor is divided into 2 performance cores and four efficiency cores and you can expect sheer performance like no other. Apple states that the A14 offers a 40% higher CPU performance than the old A12 and 20% more as compared to Apple A13.

Software

For the software part, iPhone 12 ships with the iOS 14. It’s a slight upgrade over the iOS 13 and contains mostly bug fixes and some minor UI improvements. The new App library is an app drawer which is always present on the right home screen pane. Apps will be added automatically to the App library upon installation. You can summon the Notification Center with a swipe from the left corner of the notch. The Control Center has customisable and some expandable toggles and is called with a swipe from the right corner of the notch. You can also enable Dark Mode manually or schedule it from within the display settings.

The Siri interface has also received an update in the form of a more compact Siri icon. Upon summoning Siri, a small ball is visible around the bottom, and your answer will be provided in a small pop-up window with which you can still see what’s happening in your active app.

There are some added privacy features which include options to change default browser and mail client, Safari’s Privacy report about website trackers, the option to report approximate instead of precise location, and also the green and orange indicators for camera or microphone in use. The overall software is well optimised which even leads to notable smoothness in the display even at 60Hz.

Cameras

The camera module at the back of the iPhone 12 sports a dual-camera setup with a Qual-LED dual-tone flash. The main camera is a 12-megapixel sensor with 1.4 µm large pixels and a 26 mm wide lens with f/1.8 aperture. The second camera is also a 12-megapixel sensor with 1.0µm pixels and 13mm wide lens with f/2.4 aperture for ultrawide photos. The front camera uses a 12-megapixel snapper with 1.0µm pixels and a 23mm f/2.2 lens.

iPhone-12-camera

The primary camera has Optical Image Stabilization and dual pixel autofocus as well. However, there is no OIS for the ultrawide lens and the front camera. The focus is also fixed.

Read More: Camera Tips and Tricks for iPhone Users

All three cameras support up to 4K@60fps video recording with Cinematic Stabilization and Expanded Dynamic Range. Dolby Vision HDR recording is available on all cameras in all 30fps modes. The new A14 Bionic chip brings some great advancements in Apple’s image processing which includes Smart HDR 3, Night Mode on all cameras, and Deep Fusion.

As usual, all cameras are in sync with each other and adjust the correct exposure and tone mapping settings very well, when you switch between them for both videos and photos. The photos shot by the 12MP primary camera come out really well with low noise levels, balanced sharpness and accurate colours and white balance. The 12MP Ultra-wide lens captures images which are quite wide indeed. The photos show good contrast and accurate white balance with true to life colours.

The Night Mode activates automatically in low light conditions, though you can turn it off manually or correct the suggested exposure time but, it is recommended that you leave it on automatic. Images taken with the Night Mode are flagship-level with proper details and low noise levels.

Video recording is available at 4K 60fp and feature expanded dynamic range, all thanks to the Smart HDR. You can also capture slow-mo videos at 1080p 240fps.

The video quality is quite stellar. The clips are very vibrant, show excellent contrast with low noise and impressive dynamic range, while colours stay true to life. 4K videos recorded in low-light are very good, with enough detailing, true to life colours and reasonably low noise.

Battery

The iPhone 12 sports a 2,815 mAh battery which is lower than the 3,110mAh battery on the iPhone 11. The battery on the iPhone 12 lasted for a little longer than 6.5 hours of screen on time. When connected to the 5G network the device would last for about 8 hours while in my case when switched to 4G-only it lasted easily for over 10 hours straight on my regular daily usage. Samsung’s Galaxy phones usually last longer with a single charge over 5G.

Also Read: How To Check Whether Your iPhone Battery Needs Replacement?

The iPhone 12 supports fast charging and can charge to 50 per cent within 30 minutes using lightning to USB-C cable and a 20W power adapter. The bottom edge sports the lightning port and there’s no 3.5mm headphone jack.

iPhone-12-accessories

Audio, Connectivity, Biometrics

In the audio front, the iPhone 12 packs two speakers for stereo playback, two microphones for background noise reduction, and Dolby Atmos technology that promises 3D sound. It delivers great performance even at soft volumes and highly satisfying maximum volume. It also performs very good in gaming mode, thanks to the clever positioning of its speakers, which are nearly impossible to occlude.

All the iPhone models launched this year are the first iPhones to support 5G networks and are compatible with both mmWave and Sub-6GHz and also support the Gigabit LTE, so you can still connect to LTE networks when 5G networks aren’t available.

It also has support for a dual sim with one physical nano-SIM slot and an eSim. eSim functionality is available in India among other countries. As for Bluetooth and WiFi, the iPhone 12 support Bluetooth 5.0 and WiFi 6, the newest and fastest WiFi protocol. Support for GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, and BeiDou location services is included in the iPhone 12. It also has NFC with reader mode included, and there is a background tag feature that allows it to scan NFC tags without the need to open an app first.

You have the option of Face ID in biometrics for faster device unlocks. Apple’s 3D facial recognition system is top-notch in the mobile biometrics industry. However, there is no option of an in-display fingerprint sensor though some of its rivals have added it as another biometric option. The option for setting up a password or PIN is available as usual.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • OLED display with a ceramic shield
  • Powerful A14 chipset
  • Excellent dual camera setup

Cons

  • No SD Card slot for memory expansion
  • Small battery size in comparison
  • No major upgrade in the camera from iPhone 11
Verdict
iPhone 12 sure is among the most elegant designed smartphones of 2020. With the Super Retina XDR, it has one of the best in class displays. It houses the fastest smartphone chip which is capable to meet the needs of all types of users. Let it be gaming or average day to day usage it sure will handle all that you need very effectively. The software experience that you get with the iOS 14, which is fast and easy to use and with 5 years of guaranteed updates is one of the major pros of getting an iPhone. The device comes with 5G connectivity which makes it future proof. However, a faster refresh rate display would have been highly appreciable as it has now become a mandatory flagship feature. Apple’s controversial decision of removing the charging brick from the box is something that users have to accept and have to pay a few more bucks to buy the charger separately. Whereas other companies like Xiaomi and OnePlus are offering fast charging at 120 watts and 65 watts with the charger inside the box. Overall if you are looking to upgrade from iPhone 11 to the iPhone 12 there is not so much of a difference but if it’s from any other old iPhone model, you can consider upgrading. Also if you are too much into gaming and love the buttery-smooth touch experience you get with a higher refresh rate screen you can go for Samsung Galaxy S20 or the OnePlus 8T.


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