Our review of the iPhone 12 is already up, but we’ve also been spending some quality time with the more premium iPhone 12 Pro. But while the review team is still doing its thing here go a few early thoughts.
The iPhone 12 Pro certainly makes a better first impression than the iPhone 12. For starters the frame isn’t aluminum but stainless steel. It feels better too and it’s shinier.
The rear glass is nicer to touch too, thanks to its matte finish (the regular 12 gets a shiny one). Finally the iPhone 12 Pro gains 25 grams on the regular 12, making it feel denser and more solid.
Otherwise Apple made the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 the same exact dimensions so any case that would fit one, would also work on the other.
The next big difference between the 12 Pro and regular iPhone 12 is the 12MP 52mm f/2.0 2x telephoto camera on the iPhone 12 Pro. We’re fans of telephoto cameras, but would have to say that having the same old 2x camera from the 11 Pro isn’t nearly enough to justify the $200/€243/£200 premium on the Pro.
Moving to the screens and we have a minute difference. The iPhone 12 and 12 Pro both feature 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED panels with HDR10 support and 1170x2532px resolution, but the iPhone 12 tops at 600 nits, while the iPhone 12 Pro brings it a bit further to 800 nits. We can’t say it’s a noticeable difference when the two are side by side, though. Both also have the same peak brightness of 1200 nits for HDR content though.
Finally there are storage options and RAM. The iPhone 12 Pro has a base storage of 128GB with the upgrade tiers of 256GB and 512GB, while the iPhone 12 starts at 64GB and brings it all the way up to 256GB. The iPhone 12 gets 4GB of RAM, while the Pro has 6GB – something that might seem like a decent upgrade, but doesn’t seem to make a huge difference at least in these early days.
So overall, the iPhone 12 Pro has a few things to justify its price premium over the iPhone 12. Which is much smaller if you need to equalize storage. Overall we’d say paying more for the Pro is worth it if you enjoy the perspective of the telephoto camera or plan on carrying it without a case and enjoy the nicer build quality. But we’re also here to tell you that the iPhone 12 feels just as fast than the Pro, is a bit lighter thanks to its aluminum frame, and comes in nicer colors. This year the line between Apple’s regular and Pro lines is very much blurred.
A quick word for iPhone 11 Pro users looking to get an iPhone 12 Pro. The 12 Pro looks bigger but doesn’t feel like that, mainly due to its virtually unchanged weight. The flat edges make the iPhone 12 Pro a different-feeling phone in the hand and we welcome the change. Apple was able to make a phone like no other in the market – one with flat sides and a fully-flat display and it almost feels revolutionary after so many years of lightly to outrageously curved devices.
Yet upgrading from the iPhone 11 Pro to the 12 Pro is hard to justify. Yes, the new phone is faster and yes, it has a bigger screen, but neither is a big difference. As we see it the only reasonable upgrade path for 11 Pro owners is the 12 Pro Max if you can live with the much larger phone.
Stay tuned for our detailed iPhone 12 Pro review, coming in the first days of the next week!