The iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max are Apple’s most expensive iPhone models. In previous years, the only real difference between flagship iPhones was the screen size and battery capacity. But this time around, Apple decided to incentivize its largest iPhone with more “pro-grade” features.
This is a comprehensive guide to help you choose the right iPhone.
What Features Do They Share?
The iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max have many commonalities. Here are the features that you’ll get regardless of which model you choose:
- The 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max both use Apple’s A14 Bionic chip
- Same colors and build designs
- Same storage options
- Same 12MP and ultra-wide cameras
- 5G connectivity
- ProRAW capabilities
The iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max share many of the same improvements that are consistent with other iPhone 12 models. This includes Apple’s A14 Bionic chip, which delivers the fastest performance of any smartphone on the market. These iPhones also come equipped with 5G connectivity, allowing you to get faster data on your cellular connection.
These iPhones both have identical 12MP front-facing and ultra-wide cameras. These sensors are found in every iPhone 12 device, and both of them deliver consistent quality regardless of the model you choose.
Read our iPhone camera breakdown to see which iPhone camera system is right for you.
Exclusive to the Pro models, both devices also have a base storage configuration of 128GB and are available all the way up to 512GB.
The Pro models also get their own color options, which consist of Gold, Graphite, Pacific Blue, and Silver. The Pro models feature a stainless steel band and a frosted glass back.
Finally, they support Apple’s new ProRAW format.
ProRAW is Apple’s new image format that combines the iPhone’s image processing with the information of RAW photo files. This new image format allows you to get a much more detailed end result that is just as easy to edit.
What’s the Difference Between the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max?
The iPhone 12 Pro Max is a much bulkier phone and has certain aspects that differentiate it from its smaller sibling. Here are the major differences that could sway you toward or away from the bigger phone.
The main visual difference between the two devices is the screen size. The iPhone 12 Pro comes equipped with a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display, while the 12 Pro Max has a larger 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR display.
The 12 Pro Max technically has a slightly higher resolution, but it’s not going to be visible to the naked eye.
Both displays support HDR10+, Dolby Vision, and have a peak brightness of 1200 nits. These phones also have Apple’s new Ceramic Shield protection which offers better scratch protection and drop resistance.
On to battery: the iPhone 12 Pro has a 2815-milliamp-hour battery, while the Pro Max has a larger 3687-milliamp-hour cell. Because of the 12 Pro Max’s larger footprint, you’re going to get much better battery life from the larger phone than you are with the smaller one.
The 12 Pro is rated to have 17 hours of continuous video playback while the 12 Pro Max supports a total of 20 hours of video playback.
If battery life and display size matter to you, you’re better off getting the larger 12 Pro Max. However, you should note that the larger size comes with the tradeoff of it being a much more unwieldy device, especially with Apple making the sides of the phone flat.
If you prefer a more portable device with slightly worse battery life, the 12 Pro is a much better choice.
The camera is the most notable difference between the two devices. Both iPhones have a three-camera setup on the back and an identical selfie camera on the front.
The iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max each have a 12MP, f/1.6 main sensor. But the sensor on the 12 Pro Max is larger, which allows for better low-light photography and better detail.
This main sensor on the 12 Pro uses OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) to make videos smoother and less jittery. Whereas the 12 Pro Max uses sensor-shift to stabilize footage even more effectively.
Sensor-shift is where the sensor of your camera physically moves inside to stabilize your image, and this technology is common in larger DLSR cameras.
Both devices also have a telephoto camera, but they have different focal lengths. Optically, the 12 Pro telephoto zooms in 2x while the 12 Pro Max zooms in 2.5x. The difference here is minute, but it’s worth noting if you’re into portrait photography or other fields that require the telephoto lens.
Overall, the 12 Pro takes stellar photo and video, but the 12 Pro Max still outshines it from a hardware perspective.
Which Model Is Right For You?
The iPhone 12 Pro starts at $ 999 and the iPhone 12 Pro Max starts at $ 100 more at $ 1099. Both devices are undoubtedly flagship phones with flagship prices, and when choosing between these two, it comes down to what you need out of your device.
If you’re looking for the best phone Apple has to offer, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is a no-brainer. You’re getting the largest display, the best battery life, and the best camera system from Apple. But of course, that comes at a hefty cost (literally), and you might not want to have the bulkiest device either.
And that’s where the regular 12 Pro comes in.
The regular iPhone 12 Pro is a decent compromise between the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro Max. You’re getting the same premium build as the 12 Pro Max, and you’re getting a very similar camera experience that all fits within a smaller, reasonably sized device.
Overall, it comes down to which device fits your criteria the best. If you want the best camera experience, get the bigger Pro Max; if you want the smaller device that has most of the features of the bigger phone, get the iPhone 12 Pro.