iPhone 12 Pro review roundup: Slightly more premium with a better camera

Small improvements might not matter to most buyers

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While the top-of-the-line Max model won’t be shipping for a few weeks, Apple has sent one of the its iPhone 12 Pro model to reviewers, but this might not be the one you want. Apple has loaded up the iPhone 12 with so many features this year, there isn’t all that much left to set the iPhone 12 Pro apart.

The Verge’s Nilay Patel wonders if “the small list of extra features justifies a roughly $200 price bump from the standard iPhone 12.” He found the stainless steel rim picked up more fingerprints than the iPhone 12’s aluminum one but he liked the “the squared-off design” and the “excellent” screen, though he wished for a higher refresh rate. He also found the cameras to be “remarkable impressive,” especially night mode portrait shots, with “balanced colors and great details.”

Patel also found Verizon’s nationwide 5G network to be “reasonably fast” but he was mostly underwhelmed with the coverage and battery impact. All in all, he found the iPhone 12’s battery life to be inferior to the iPhone 11, but was still able to get a full day of use, even when connected to 5G.

Joanna Stern at The Wall Street Journal also preferred the iPhone 12’s aluminum over the heavier and smudgier stainless steel on the 12 Pro, but hailed the design as “the best in years.” She liked the zoom lens on the 12 Pro as well and “missed the flexibility of being able to zoom into a scene without disrupting the action” when switching to the regular 12. When it comes to 5G, Stern saw “much higher speeds with these iPhones than with any 5G Android phones I’ve tested so far.”

Jacob Krol at CNN agrees that the “slight upgrade to the cameras and a nicer design” aren’t all that much of an upgrade over the iPhone 12 or even the iPhone 11 Pro. He notes that it’s “quicker to take the shot and focus in on a subject by about three to four seconds” as compared to the iPhone 11 Pro, and the ability to seamlessly switch between the three lenses is a “key advantage.” However, Krol concludes that “you might not really have a need to upgrade” from an iPhone 11 Pro and “it’s pretty on par with the iPhone 12.”

Ultimately, Pro buyers should probably wait until the iPhone 12 Pro Max lands in November before making a decision, writes Patrick Holland at CNET: “The iPhone 12 and 12 Pro are amazing phones, but we only have half the picture right now. … We'll have to wait until November to see how they work out in reality.”

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