The iPhone 12 is Apple’s most exciting new phone since the iPhone X. Unveiled at the tech giant’s ‘Hi, Speed’ product event, the successor of the iPhone 11 — the world’s most popular smartphone — is packed with hardware upgrades and iPhone firsts. The highlights include 5G network connectivity, revamped design, and MagSafe tech, to name a few.
• 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display with 460 pixels per inch
• A14 Bionic chip with updated Neural Engine
• Up to 256 GB of storage
• Dual 12 MP camera with optical image stabilization; 12 MP selfie camera with Face ID
• Built-in stereo speakers
• MagSafe-compatible, fast wired and wireless charging
• IP68 water-resistant
• 5G-, Wi-Fi 6-, Dual-SIM-capable
I tested the iPhone 12 for a week and it blew me away. The newcomer is the best smartphone under $1,000 — here are a few reasons why.
Industry-Conquering Power Meets 5G
The iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro are Apple’s first smartphones with 5G on board. The next-generation wireless network connectivity brings not only faster overall speeds but also less lag, among countless other benefits. It will make everything faster and more reliable — from web browsing and online shopping, all the way to making Zoom calls on the go.
Powered by the all-new Apple A14 Bionic chip, the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are the most powerful smartphones available today. With the best Android smartphones still trailing behind the iPhone 11 and the iPhone 11 Pro in terms of graphics and processing power, Apple gave their successors about 50% more of both, making them mighty and futureproof in equal measure.
Combined with 5G network speeds, the iPhone 12's power astounded me while I tested it. I could run and effortlessly switch between a web browser with a multitude of open tabs, Slack, email, Tweetbot, and iMessage, among other apps. While sitting in NYC traffic, I even edited content from the device using a web-based platform that I usually access from a laptop.
Gaming was also a consistently epic experience with gorgeous and stutter-free graphics.
The A14 Bionic is the first mobile chip to be made via a 5-nanometer manufacturing process, which allows the chip to contain even more power in a smaller body, all while remaining energy efficient (I easily got a full day of heavy use from the iPhone 12 between charges). This is truly some space-age tech.
It’s Sleeker and Tougher Than Ever
By adorning its aluminum frame with flat edges, Apple gave the iPhone 12 a fresh new design, which sets it apart from the iPhone 11 and the iPhone XR. Save for one additional camera sensor on the iPhone 11, both phones look identical.
The flat edges and the glass back are also a nod to the legendary iPhone 4 from a decade ago — Apple’s first with a Retina display. I couldn’t help but smile when I saw the 12 in the metal for the first time.
Because of its revamped design, the iPhone 12 is also noticeably more compact than the iPhone 11, even while sporting a display panel of the same size. I was pleasantly surprised that I could send texts and reply to emails while holding the device with one hand.
The iPhone 12’s craftsmanship is as noteworthy as its looks. The gadget has a display that’s covered by a brand-new Ceramic Shield glass that’s the toughest in the business. It quadruples the phone’s ability to handle drops, making a cracked screen — a legit nightmare for smartphone users — next to impossible. Apple developed the futuristic material in collaboration with the glass experts from Corning.
Users will never have to worry about damaging the iPhone 12 with water or their favorite drink either. The product is more durable than the already robust iPhone 11. According to Apple, it can survive 30-minute dips in up to 6 meters (20 feet) of water.
It Has a Captivating Super Retina Display
The iPhone 12 is Apple’s first with a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display — the iPhone 11 and the iPhone XR that precede it have LCD units. Previously available only on $1,000+ iPhone Pro models, the screen has incredible contrast capabilities, because it turns individual pixels off to display black color. As a result, the surrounding pixels that display different colors look more vibrant.
The Super Retina has True Tone tech and a maximum brightness of 1,200 nits, so it can display accurate colors and white balance even outdoors and in spaces with bright lighting. It’s HDR-capable, too, so compatible video content will look more dramatic.
The display panel of the iPhone 12 has higher resolution and pixel density than the iPhone 11’s Retina, so it's sharper, too. Even though it doesn’t have a refresh rate as high as the screens of some Android phones, the Super Retina XDR OLED is a joy to look at and alone worth making the switch to the iPhone 12.
An Outstanding Camera Experience
The iPhone 12 has a dual main camera. Its main sensor has a sophisticated lens with an f/1.6 aperture, which is Apple’s brightest to date. Combined with the Neural Engine of the A14 Bionic chip and its vast machine-learning and image-processing capabilities, the camera can capture detailed photos in any setting.
Best of all, the incredible camera capabilities of the iPhone 12 are easy to access for everyone. The intuitive user interface and Apple’s image processing will give users the opportunity to effortlessly snap great photos. Save for portrait mode (which requires a quick toggle in the camera app), its night mode, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 3 are all enabled by default.
And then there are the incredible video-recording capabilities of the iPhone 12. Remarkably, this is the first smartphone that can directly record cinematic, Dolby Vision-enhanced footage with more immersive colors and contrast. Many of today's best smart TVs and streaming players support the feature.
Dolby Vision content usually requires a powerful computer and pro-grade software to create. Being able to capture it directly with an iPhone is nothing short of sensational.
MagSafe Brings a World of New Possibilities
A beloved feature on MacBook Pros from way back in the day, MagSafe returns alongside the latest iPhones. Every iPhone 12 variant has built-in magnets, which allow accessories to seamlessly snap into place.
Apple unveiled a MagSafe-compatible wireless charger and a stylish leather wallet during the iPhone launch event. The official clear and silicone cases for iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro have the feature as well.
MagSafe will soon be available on accessories not just from Apple, but also third-party manufacturers. This is exciting news, because every iPhone 12 will become even more customizable.
Apple’s elevated design, craftsmanship, and hardware specs should make the iPhone 12 worth considering, even for iPhone 11 owners. After experiencing 5G, the OLED display panel, and MagSafe, I discovered that they take the user experience to a whole new level.
Pricing of the iPhone 12 begins at $799 for a variant with 64 GB of storage. The smaller iPhone 12 mini, other other hand, starts at an even more reasonable $699. For the pricier Pro, you can expect $999 for 128 GB. Apple offers the iPhone 12 in five colors: black, white, blue, green, and PRODUCT (RED).
I tip my hat to Apple for skipping the EarPods and the charging adapter in the retail package of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro, making it significantly more compact than your old iPhone’s box. The move will drastically reduce the products’ environmental impact (think less e-waste). Besides, chances are that many potential buyers already have a charger and wireless earbuds.
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