For the first time, this year Apple has introduced four iPhone models: Apple iPhone 12 mini, Apple iPhone 12, Apple iPhone 12 Pro, and Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max.
As can be deduced from their “Pro” surname, the last two are the most advanced models and, therefore, the ones that bring the most news. While last year the two “Pro” models were identical in all respects except size, this year the “Pro Max” model has a somewhat superior camera.
The Apple iPhone 12 Pro arrives with a 6.1 ″ Super Retina XDR OLED display, A14 Bionic processor, 12MP (wide-angle) + 12MP (ultra-wide-angle) + 12MP (2x telephoto) rear camera + 3D LiDAR sensor, 12MP front camera , MagSafe rear magnetic mount and more.
Apple iPhone 12 Pro Full Review
The iPhone 12 Pro looks almost identical to last year’s iPhone 11 Pro, but it does offer some interesting differences.
Design and build
While the Apple iPhone 11 Pro had a design almost the same as its predecessors, Apple has decided to introduce some changes in the appearance of the iPhone 12 Pro.
The first change is found in the size of the screen, which has grown from 5.8 ″ to 6.1 ″.
Personally, I find this change very successful since I think 6.1 ″ is an intermediate size that better suits my use of the smartphone.
Despite the increased screen diagonal, the body of the phone is not much larger. This is due to another design change: the flat side edges.
Unlike the iPhone 11 Pro, whose contour was rounded, the iPhone 12 Pro recovers the flat edges that we did not see from the iPhone 5s (or the original iPhone SE).
The flat edges have allowed Apple to contain the dimensions of the iPhone and, in addition, they give it a very flattering different touch.
At the top of the screen, we find a fairly wide notch, with an identical size to the one we have been seeing from the iPhone X.
Some manufacturers have opted for nifty solutions to hide the front camera, such as pop-up mechanisms or, more recently, perforated screens with the camera embedded in a hole. Even certain manufacturers are experimenting with hiding the camera under the screen, but at the moment it is still an underused technology.
In the case of Apple, the notch not only houses the front camera but also the sensors for Face ID facial recognition, so removing the notch is not that simple. This is the reason why, at the moment, the screen clipping is still present.
I cannot deny that I would have liked to see a reduction in the size of the notch but I do not consider it a problem. For me, Face ID’s advantages in security and convenience more than outweigh the presence of the notch.
The notch aside, the bezels surrounding the display are quite narrow. However, today we find smartphones on the market with curved screens that hide the side frame at the cost of producing reflections and changes in the color tone in that area.
Traditionally, iPhones have always been thin and light smartphones. Last year, Apple increased the thickness from 7.7mm (iPhone XS) to 8.1mm. (iPhone 11 Pro) but this year the company has again reduced the thickness of the iPhone 12 Pro to just 7.4 mm. The difference is noticeable in the hand.
The chassis of the iPhone 12 Pro is not made of aluminum, as is the case in other smartphones, but rather Apple uses stainless steel, much more resistant to drops and bumps but somewhat heavier and prone to scratches appearing on its surface.
I have carried an iPhone 11 Pro without a case for a year, also with a steel chassis, and although there were small scratches on the surface, it has withstood the passage of time very well without any bumps despite the daily hustle and bustle. After a couple of months of use, the iPhone 12 Pro is also perfectly preserved.
The iPhone 12 Pro screen is protected by a new type of glass that the company calls Ceramic Shield. As explained by Apple, it is the most resistant glass ever used in a smartphone since it is obtained by inserting nanoceramic crystals into the glass, which are harder than most metals.
Although it sounds simple, it is a complicated process because ceramic is opaque, so Apple has had to control the type of crystals and their degree of crystallinity to balance hardness with transparency.
In addition, the screen is now flush with the edge of the phone instead of having a small lip (known in the industry as 2.5D glass), making it even more protected. As a result, the iPhone 12 Pro is four times more resistant to drops than the previous model.
On the other hand, the back is made of glass that, according to Apple, is the most resistant that you can find in a smartphone. This year, it is available in four finishes: Pacific Blue, Gold, Silver, and Graphite.
All four variants have a black front, but both the steel frame and the back are the same color you have chosen.
At the rear, there is also the camera module in the upper left corner. This module is sculpted from a single sheet of milled glass and houses the three cameras and the LiDAR sensor along with a microphone and flash.
The rear camera protrudes slightly from the surface of the phone, causing the phone to dance slightly when tapping on the screen while resting on a table. If you are concerned about scratching the camera glass, rest assured that it is protected by sapphire (and sapphire can only be scratched by a diamond or another sapphire).
The elongated ratio of the iPhone 12 Pro screen makes it somewhat difficult to reach the upper area with your finger. If the height of the screen is a problem for you, iOS incorporates the “Easy Reach” functionality that makes the top half of the screen lower.
This function is not activated by default, but we must do it in the Accessibility options. The way to use it is by dragging the screen down near the bottom edge, but in my experience, it doesn’t always recognize the gesture the first time.
Next, we are going to review the four sides of the Apple iPhone 12 Pro to see what elements we find.
At the top, we do not find any button or connector, except for an antenna line.
At the bottom are the Lightning connector and the speaker on the right side. On the left, we find an antenna line.
On the right side, we find the power button and, at the ends, two small antenna lines.
Finally, on the left side is the switch to activate the Silent mode and the two buttons to control the volume.
A little further down we find the compartment for the nanoSIM card, with a tray that is extracted by inserting a sharp object included in the phone case. At the ends, we also find two small antenna lines.
Apple has added a set of magnets to the back of the iPhone 12 Pro, which it has called MagSafe. These magnets allow you to magnetically attach accessories such as the MagSafe charger – which we will talk about later – or the leather wallet that remains glued to the back.
While the iPhone 11 had IP68 water resistance and was capable of withstanding up to 30 minutes underwater at 4 meters, the iPhone 12 Pro improves this protection by lasting up to 30 minutes at 6 meters.
From previous models, we know that Apple has tried to spill all kinds of liquids such as juices, coffee, and soft drinks on the iPhone to check its resistance. Therefore, we will not have to worry if a drink spills on our iPhone 12 Pro or if, by accident, it falls into the bathtub or the pool. We can even choose to wash it under the tap if it gets dirty, which is quite practical.
Now, we must not forget that the smartphone warranty does not cover water damage, so you should not submerge the iPhone except by accident – no underwater photographs in the pool or, even less, in the sea.
The iPhone 12 Pro has a spectacular Super Retina XD panel, whose name is reminiscent of the impressive Pro Display XDR monitor that the company introduced last year.
It is a 6.1 ″ OLED panel with Super Retina HD resolution (2532 x 1170 pixels), which offers a high pixel density of 460 dpi.
While it is true that some high-end smartphones incorporate higher resolutions, such as QHD (2,560 x 1,440 pixels) or even 4K, the improvement in sharpness compared to the iPhone 12 Pro is imperceptible.
OLED displays offer improvements over LCDs such as faster response time, less loss of brightness from extreme angles, greater color breadth, and better image uniformity due to the absence of backlight variations that LCDs experience.
On the other hand, on an OLED screen, it is possible to independently illuminate each sub-pixel.
This means that OLED displays are more energy-efficient than LCDs for most content, especially if you use iOS’s dark mode.
Furthermore, OLED displays can offer a higher peak brightness as they can concentrate all energy on only the illuminated sub-pixels. However, when it comes to displaying a full-screen white or near-white image, LCD screens can become brighter and more efficient.
The OLED panel of the iPhone 12 Pro uses a Pentile-type matrix, in which the red, green and blue sub-pixels are not arranged one after the other in a row but are arranged in the form of rhombuses.
The iPhone 12 Pro is capable of displaying the two most important color spaces in the industry: the sRGB / Rec. 709 space, which is the standard used by most apps, and the broader DCI-P3 that is used in the Movie industry. The color range of the DCI-P3 is 26 percent higher than that of the sRGB / Rec. 709 space.
iOS offers an automatic color management system that automatically switches to the DCI-P3 space when the content to be displayed has been created under that space (for example, photographs taken with the phone’s camera). In this way, the colors are always seen correctly, neither oversaturated nor undersaturated. Despite Google’s best efforts, few Android smartphones can boast of color management to match.
In addition, Apple iPhone 12 Pro supports the playback of HDR10 and Dolby Vision content that expands color, contrast, and brightness for a better viewing experience. Today, it is already possible to enjoy movies and videos with this technology on Apple TV +, iTunes, Netflix, YouTube, and other services.
Apple claims that the screen brightness can reach 1,200 nits when playing HDR content. The maximum brightness value with the screen illuminated at 100% is very high, even more so in the case of an OLED screen.
Focusing on color reproduction, the panel fidelity of the iPhone 12 Pro is spectacular as the average error in color reproduction is only 0.8 dE (a value below 4 dE is considered excellent and above 9 is considered unacceptable) and the maximum error is only 1.9 dE.
iPhone 12 Pro has True Tone functionality to adjust the white balance to ambient light. The device has four-channel ambient light sensors that adjust the white balance based on the color of the light that illuminates the room so that the screen behaves like a sheet of paper, absorbing the light from the environment.
True Tone technology goes unnoticed but it is enough to deactivate it to notice the difference, especially when we are in an environment illuminated by artificial light with a certain color tone – for example, a lamp at home.
With the True Tone functionality disabled, the color temperature turns out to be 6,450ºK, which implies a value very close to the ideal white of 6,500ºK. By activating True Tone, the screen tone adapts to the environment.
The iPhone 12 Pro offers a Night mode that changes the white balance of the screen to reduce the emission of blue light since according to some studies it negatively affects sleep. The iPhone 12 Pro allows you to adjust the level of blue light emitted by the screen, as well as to program the on and off of this screen mode.
The iPhone 12 Pro offers very wide viewing angles, both in terms of brightness, which is hardly affected, and in terms of colors, which only change slightly in tone when looking at the screen from an extreme angle.
An interesting feature of the screen is that it turns on with just one touch, which is very convenient to check notifications. Despite having an OLED screen, Apple has not implemented the Always On Display functionality that we find in other smartphones to permanently display the time and notifications.
Finally, while other smartphones offer refresh rates of 90, 120, or even 144 Hz, the iPhone 12 Pro does not have this functionality, so the scrolling experience is not as smooth. Given that the iPad Pro does offer a refresh rate of 120 Hz, we assume that its absence is due, again, to the impact on the battery.
Hardware and Performance
The Apple iPhone 12 Pro features Apple’s new A14 Bionic processor, which was introduced alongside the new 2020 iPad in early September.
The A14 Bionic chip has been manufactured in a 5nm process, making it the first chip for mobile devices built in a process below 7nm.
This chip has a 6-core CPU-4 high-efficiency core and 2 high-performance cores – which according to the company offers 50% more performance in both CPU and GPU compared to any other smartphone.
To improve AI performance, the A14 Bionic chip incorporates a 16-core Neural Engine that offers an 80 percent improvement in machine learning tasks and can perform 11 trillion operations per second.
In addition, it has second-generation accelerators that allow the CPU to do machine learning calculations up to ten times faster.
According to Apple, the combination of the new Neural Engine, machine learning accelerators in the CPU, and the high-performance GPU will enable unique experiences of image recognition, natural language learning, motion analysis, and much more.
Finally, the A14 Bionic chip incorporates a more advanced ISP for better image processing, as well as an even more secure enclave for storing biometric data.
The iOS interface moves very smoothly and the applications open and operate very smoothly, with no downtime or any sign of slowness.
This undoubtedly also helps that developers have easier to optimize their apps for iOS since the variety of devices and live versions of operating systems are less.
Several demanding 3D games have been tried and they all ran smoothly on the iPhone 12 Pro, with high FPS rates.
One example is Call of Duty: Mobile, a demanding multi-player 3D game that runs smoothly on the iPhone 12 Pro. If you like to play on mobile, you’ll be glad to know that you can pair your PlayStation and Xbox controllers with your iPhone to play games more comfortably.
Like any smartphone, the back of the iPhone 12 Pro gets hot when gaming for a long time. After playing a few games, I have measured temperatures around 40ºC in the area of the camera on the rear surface.
As I have commented, the improvement in the performance of the A14 Bionic chip is enormous, although on a day-to-day basis so much power can go unnoticed, especially if you compare it with another recent smartphone-like last year’s iPhone 11 Pro.
The power of the A14 Bionic chip is not normally noticed in apps such as WhatsApp, Instagram, or Maps, but in tasks that require great computing power such as capturing and processing photos or videos, the use of Augmented Reality, or Face facial recognition ID.
This year, the iPhone 12 Pro is available in variants of 128, 256, and 512 GB of storage.
Apple does not offer the possibility of expanding the space using micro-SD cards, so you must choose the storage capacity carefully, especially if you plan to capture videos in 4K resolution at 60 FPS with Dolby Vision.
In my opinion, if you can afford it, you should buy the variant of at least 256GB since 128GB can come up short.
While it is true that photos and videos take up less on iOS thanks to the fact that they are saved by default in more efficient formats (HEVC / HEIC instead of JPG / MPG), apps and games take up more and more.
In terms of connectivity, the iPhone 12 Pro supports Bluetooth 5 and WiFi 6 (802.11ax) wireless technologies.
WiFi 6 is the latest protocol for WiFi networks that not only increases speed but is specially designed to connect a large number of devices at the same time. Obviously, you need a compatible router to take advantage of this technology.
In terms of cellular connectivity, the iPhone 12 Pro is compatible with Gigabit-class LTE / 4G networks and, finally, also with 5G networks.
in the United States, the iPhone 12 Pro can connect to 5G networks of the sub-6GHz and mmWave type, in the rest of the world, it only connects to sub-6GHz networks.
Apple now offers three data modes in Settings> Mobile data> Main> Data mode. By default, “Standard Mode” is active, which allows automatic updates and background tasks to be performed with mobile data, limits the video quality and FaceTime.
If you have an unlimited data plan, you may want to activate the “Allow more data in 5G” mode that provides higher quality FaceTime calls, high definition content on Apple TV, songs and videos from Apple Music, and iOS updates throughout the mobile. This setting also allows third-party applications to use more mobile data for a better experience.
There is also a “Low Data Mode” that decreases Wi-Fi and mobile data usage by pausing automatic updates and background tasks.
One of the best that allows compatibility with 5G networks is to make FaceTime HD 1080p calls with cellular connectivity.
The iPhone 12 Pro comes with Dual SIM functionality, which Apple implements differently from other manufacturers since, instead of using a second physical SIM, it uses an eSIM. Therefore, you will need your second operator to offer eSIM cards as part of their catalog.
To use the eSIM, you have to activate the mobile plan with a QR code provided by the operator. It is possible to store more than one eSIM on the device, but you can only use one at a time.
One limitation of the iPhone 12 Pro that is not very well known is that, if you use the Dual SIM functionality, you cannot enjoy 5G connectivity. I do not know why this limitation is due but I hope that it can be eliminated in the future since many people use the Dual SIM functionality.
The iPhone 12 Pro does not have an FM radio, something that can put back users who use their smartphone to listen to analog radio. However, some apps allow you to listen to the radio while consuming (a lot) of data.
The iPhone 12 Pro incorporates an NFC chip that can be activated just by having the screen turned on. It is enough to bring the iPhone close to an NFC tag and it suggests opening an application or web page or running one of the new automatic shortcuts.
iPhone 12 Pro also integrates ultra-wideband (UWB) technology for spatial object detection thanks to the U1 chip.
The Apple U1 chip uses this technology to precisely locate other Apple devices that also have a U1 chip. The advantage of UWB technology over other location technologies such as Bluetooth is that it can offer a precision of centimeters, instead of meters, which allows locating objects with much more precision.
With the U1 chip, when you point your iPhone at someone else’s, AirDrop prioritizes that device so you can send files to them faster. Another use of this technology is to be able to open your vehicle with your mobile thanks to a digital key and, later on, it is rumored that we will see labels to locate objects.
With the arrival of the iPhone X in 2017, Apple decided to abandon the Touch ID fingerprint reader in favor of the Facial ID recognition system, which is based on the TrueDepth technology that resides in the notch of the screen.
An emitter projects 30,000 points of infrared light onto the wearer’s face and obtains enough information about the wearer’s features to reliably and quickly recognize them, even when the wearer is wearing glasses or a hat, in low light conditions, or if the wearer has stopped. to shave.
One limitation of Face ID is that you cannot unlock the iPhone 12 Pro while lying flat on a table unless you put your face directly on top of it or lift it off the table.
In times of pandemic, the use of masks does not help either since Face ID requires a complete vision of the face. I would have liked Apple to additionally incorporate a Touch ID reader to the power button, as in the fourth-generation iPad Air, for these occasions when the use of Face ID is not possible.
Apple allows you to hide the text of the lock screen notifications until it detects your face. In my case, since I turn on the screen many times when it is resting on a table, I have chosen to deactivate this functionality to be able to see notifications while I work or lunch.
Luckily, it is possible to hide only some notifications from strangers, so it is possible to configure that all notifications are shown except, for example, those from WhatsApp or other apps whose messages you consider private.
Face ID virtually never fails to recognize. A security measure to avoid unintentional unlocks is that Face ID needs “your attention”, which means that the user must have their eyes open and looking at the device for Face ID to act. This way, nobody can access your phone while you sleep, for example.
The 3D model of the face generated by Face ID is not stored in the cloud, but locally on the iPhone, so it is safe from possible access to Apple’s servers. Face ID not only allows you to unlock your phone, but it can also be used to make payments with Apple Pay, access third-party applications (for example, banks), or authenticate on the web using Apple ID.
Apple doesn’t provide technical details on battery capacity, but it didn’t take long to find out that the iPhone 12 Pro has a 2,815 mAh battery. This represents a reduction of 7.5% compared to the battery of the iPhone 11 Pro, whose screen was also somewhat smaller.
As usual, the battery capacity of the iPhone 12 Pro is lower than that offered by its main rivals with Android. However, Apple’s processor architecture and iOS operation allow iPhones to offer equivalent autonomy.
The lower battery capacity of the iPhone 12 Pro does not have to translate into worse autonomy since the new A14 Bionic processor is manufactured in a 5 nm process. more efficient.
In fact, the hours of using data that Apple offers on its website are practically identical to those of its predecessors, except in video playback where the iPhone 12 Pro offers one hour less than the iPhone 11 Pro.
If you are concerned about the increased consumption of 5G connectivity, we have good news as Apple has devised a trick to help extend the autonomy of the iPhone.
More battery is always better but, on a day-to-day basis, I have not noticed any difference in terms of autonomy compared to the iPhone 11 Pro that I have been using for the last year.
Despite the heavy use of the iPhone 12 Pro – multiple email accounts, messaging apps, social media, permanent connection to the Apple Watch – I’m reaching the end of the day with at least 30 percent battery power. Obviously, the experience of each user is different since, if you consume a lot of streaming videos from YouTube or TikTok, your battery will consume more quickly.
The iPhone 12 Pro is compatible with wired fast charging, although, as is well known, Apple has stopped including the charger in the box to reduce the impact on the environment.
Using Apple’s official 18W charger, the battery charging time from 0 to 100% has been 1 hour and 53 minutes and reaches 95% in less than 1 hour and a half. In 25 minutes, the iPhone 12 Pro reaches a 50 percent charge.
Apple includes an option called Battery Health that allows us to know the real capacity of the battery that, as we well know, decreases over time due to deterioration caused by continuous charging and discharging processes.
Since iOS 13, there is a feature called Optimized Charge that reduces battery deterioration that occurs when the phone is spent many hours with a charge close to 100%.
This feature learns your daily charging habits and adjusts the charging process to reach 100% at the time you usually remove your iPhone from the charger, rather than in the middle of the night.
The iPhone 12 Pro supports wireless charging using the Qi standard. Simply place the device on top of a compatible charging base for it to start charging, without the need to connect any cables.
Apple allows 7.5W wireless charging with a conventional charger and reaches 15W if you use the new MagSafe charger. This charger attaches to the back using magnets, ensuring that the phone and charger are perfectly aligned.
While some smartphones offer the ability to charge another device wirelessly, the iPhone 12 Pro does not feature reverse wireless charging.
The iPhone 12 Pro launches iOS 14, the latest version of Apple’s operating system. At the time of this review, the latest version is iOS 14.3.
One of the advantages of iOS over Android is that Apple takes care of updating the devices. The new versions of iOS arrive at the same time on all devices, even quite old models – for reference, iOS 14 has reached the iPhone 6s Plus, which was released in 2016.
Apple has made several improvements in iOS 14, which we will review.
Apple has added the ability to have widgets on the iPhone desktop, rather than just the Today screen on the far left. Widgets can have multiple sizes.
There is a quite interesting widget called Smart Group, which allows you to stack several widgets showing the most pertinent information according to the time of day, but at the same time allowing you to consult the one you want bypassing your finger over it.
Another novelty is that it is now possible to access all the applications in the Application Library, as if it were the Android application drawer, instead of having them scattered around the desktop.
In fact, you can leave only those apps that are most important to you on the desktop, although I have chosen to keep them all – I am a person of habit.
Apps are automatically organized into categories – Social, Productivity, Utilities, Creativity, Travel, Entertainment, Shopping, etc. – and the apps you are most likely to use at any given time are placed at the top in a category called Tips for easy access.
The new Application Library sits at the bottom of every page on the desktop, which in my case means going through 7 screens – uncomfortable. Perhaps it would be more useful to be able to access directly through some kind of gesture.
Another novelty is that, when you receive a call, you can configure the call alert so that it does not occupy the entire screen but instead shows a warning at the top without interfering with what you were doing.
Siri can now also help when communicating with people in another language thanks to a new app called Translate that translates in real time between 11 languages: German, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, French, British English, American English, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Arabic.
The entire translation process happens on the device itself. The app automatically detects the language in which it is spoken, so there is only one button to press each time one of the two people speaks.
In the Messages app, Apple has added the ability to mark the most interesting conversations at the top of the screen, has added new customization possibilities for Memojis (hairstyles, masks, accessories, etc.), as well as the ability to reply to specific messages or mention a person in a group conversation.
Groups can now be personalized with images, and the most active people are visually shown.
The new Maps app makes it easier to find places by introducing City Guides with places to discover.
If your vehicle has CarPlay, you’ll be glad to know that Apple has added the ability to customize the wallpaper and display other Maps apps on the home screen.
Apple has added App Clips, the ability to use lightweight apps under 10MB without having to install them on the device.
In the sound section, the iPhone 12 Pro has two speakers that offer 3D sound and have Dolby Atmos support. The speakers sound quite powerful, making it possible to watch videos or listen to music in moderately noisy environments.
The sound quality of the iPhone 12 Pro is very good, even compared to other smartphones that have two speakers.
As is well known, Apple does not include a headphone jack on the iPhone 12 Pro, instead, we have to resort to Bluetooth headphones or resort to a 3.5mm to Lightning adapter to connect wired headphones.
Of course, you can also go for the AirPods / AirPods Pro headphones or even Apple’s new AirPods Max. All of them offer good sound and, above all, a very comfortable user experience since they are perfectly integrated with iOS.
The iPhone 12 Pro allows you to connect two pairs of AirPods headphones at the same time to share what you listen to with another person.
Focusing on multimedia applications, Music plays songs transferred to the phone via the iTunes application, purchased from the iTunes Store, stored in iCloud through iTunes Match, or by subscription to Apple Music (€ 9.99 / month for individual use or 14, € 99 / month for family use).
Apple recently launched Apple One, a set of subscription packages to various services that offer a more advantageous price:
The individual plan includes Apple Music, Apple TV +, Apple Arcade, and 50 GB of iCloud storage for € 14.95 per month.
Family Plan includes Apple Music, Apple TV +, Apple Arcade, and 200 GB of iCloud storage for € 19.95 per month and can be shared with up to six people in the family.
When the phone is locked, from the lock screen itself, we can control the player, both the Music application and others that we have installed (for example, Spotify). We can also control the playback from the Control Center.
In the General Settings section of iOS, not in the application itself, we can control some options of the Music application, such as adjusting the equalizer, limiting the maximum volume, etc.
In terms of video playback, the excellent screen of the iPhone 12 Pro makes it a very suitable device to enjoy movies or videos. The screen has a 19.5:9 ratio, so 16:9 videos show black bars on the right and left. If you want to see the video on full screen, you can do it, but you must bear in mind that a part of the image is hidden by the cutout of the screen.
Of course, we can use streaming video apps like YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime, or HBO, which work perfectly on the iPhone 12 Pro.
The Photos app allows you to see all our photos and videos, and it is even possible to retouch and rotate videos very comfortably. Another interesting feature that Photos incorporates is the ability to hide photos that are very similar or repeated and show the best snapshots in a view called Days.
The Days view is very curious because it shows all the photos and videos by day, showing animations in some photos taken with the Live functionality that saves a small video before and after shooting. Some Months and Years views show featured photos for each month or year, which varies depending on what day it is today.
Photos automatically recognize the faces of the people who appear in the photos and, if we associate the faces with the name of a person, we can easily see all the photos where that person appears. It’s amazing how well you recognize the right person.
A good part of the most interesting news that each new iPhone brings is found in its cameras. The iPhone 12 Pro not only incorporates improvements in the optics with respect to the iPhone 11 but also adds improvements in the processing.
The iPhone 12 Pro has three rear cameras:
- 12MP wide-angle camera (26mm) (1.4m pixel size), with 7-element lens, f / 1.6 aperture, and optical stabilization.
- 12MP ultra wide angle camera (13mm, 120º), 5-element lens, f / 2.4 aperture
- 12MP 2x (52mm) telephoto camera, 6-element lens, f / 2.0 aperture and optical stabilization.
Apple has also incorporated a LiDAR scanner to the set of rear cameras that allows you to request the depth with much more precision, which is useful in Augmented Reality applications as we saw in the iPad Pro. This scanner also facilitates faster focusing, especially in low-light conditions.
One of the improvements of the iPhone 12 Pro is that Deep Fusion image processing is now available on all cameras. Deep Fusion uses the Neural Engine to increase detail and reduce noise in photos.
The triple rear camera of the iPhone 12 Pro offers great versatility since it allows taking pictures with both a wide field of view (ultra-wide-angle) and with zoom (telephoto) to get closer to the details.
We can then see the same scenes captured by all three cameras and the difference in composition is evident.
Apple has done an excellent job of calibrating the three cameras together to deliver a nearly consistent image in terms of color reproduction, white balance, and sensitivity.
With the arrival of the iPhone 11, Apple introduced out-of-frame capture. When you took a photograph with the wide-angle (or telephoto) lens, it was also done with the ultra-wide-angle (or telephoto) lens, so that you could later modify the frame, either at the suggestion of the iPhone or manually.
This functionality has disappeared with iOS 14. Apparently, the out-of-frame capture functionality was not compatible with Deep Fusion and the company has opted for the latter, which improves the sharpness of the images. It’s a shame that you can’t use both at the same time because it was a feature that I liked.
Next, we are going to review the quality of each of the three cameras: ultra-wide camera, telephoto camera, and main camera (wide angle).
On paper, the ultra-wide-angle camera has the same characteristics as the iPhone 11 Pro but now it is possible to use the Night mode, so the photos in low light are superior as we will see later.
The ultra-wide-angle camera allows you to take very spectacular photographs that allow you to capture many more elements than normally fit in a photograph.
The ultra-wide-angle camera does not have optical stabilization and its aperture is somewhat limited, so its hardware is not especially suitable for taking pictures in low light situations.
Luckily, Apple has added Night mode to the ultra-wide-angle camera, so night photography with this camera has been vastly improved. In this example, we can see the same photograph taken without/with the Night mode, and the difference is evident.
The telephoto camera allows you to take photos with 2X optical zoom, which allows us to get closer to distant objects without losing quality. This can be useful to focus attention on a particular item.
Apple incorporates optical stabilization and has an f / 2.0 aperture lens, the largest I can remember seeing on a telephoto lens to date, so low-light performance is better than other smartphones.
Compared to the iPhone 11 Pro, the main camera now offers a larger aperture (f / 1.8 vs. f / 1.6) which means it lets through 27% more light, and has a 7-element lens ( instead of 6) that allows you to capture sharper images
Apple has introduced the third generation of its Intelligent HDR algorithm that improves the differences of lights, shadows, and contours in photos so that, even in bright sunlight, all the details of the face and the gradient of the shadow are visible. In addition, it incorporates intelligent recognition of scenes to optimize the settings.
Apple introduced Night mode with the iPhone 11 that uses software processing to take pictures in low light. When taking the photo, the camera takes multiple photos that are then aligned and combined for a natural result.
Night mode is activated automatically when necessary and is indicated by a full moon icon next to the flash icon. By clicking on the icon, we can deactivate the effect, see the automatically selected shooting time, and, in some cases, increase it. Shooting may take a little longer but the results are worth it.
Apple pioneered the introduction of Portrait mode, which allows you to simulate the blurring of the background of the image that DSLR cameras produce by identifying what is in the foreground and what belongs in the background of the image.
Photographs in Portrait mode are taken, by default, with the telephoto camera, but you can switch to the main camera if you prefer (although I do not recommend it because of the distortion of wide-angle cameras at short distances).
Apple claims that Portrait mode has been improved with more advanced hair and glasses separation.
The results offered by the iPhone 12 Pro are very good although it still has some difficulties distinguishing certain areas of the hair, as is usual in any smartphone.
As a novelty, it is now also possible to take Portraits in Night mode and, in addition, the LiDAR scanner is used to measure distances. This means that we can get better portraits indoors or in low light.
The iPhone 12 Pro offers, in addition to the usual Portrait mode, some additional modes with lighting effects on the face and it is possible to adjust the intensity of the light to our liking.
Starting with iOS 14.3, the iPhone 12 Pro is capable of saving images in a RAW format called Apple ProRAW.
RAW files are raw image files that have not been altered by the camera’s image processing. They contain all the information that the sensor has captured and are intended to be processed with image editing software.
The ProRAW format is not strictly a RAW file but what we know as a “cooked RAW”. This has the advantage that the resulting file will benefit from Apple image capture technologies such as Smart HDR, Deep Fusion, or Night mode.
Of course, we can technically do this with any smartphone in JPEG, but the RAW support makes this much closer to a professional workflow.
The sharpness of the photograph captured by the iPhone 12 Pro is high and offers excellent color reproduction, as well as adequate exposure, without burned or dark areas.
However, some smartphones with higher resolution sensors allow you to appreciate even more details. A good example is the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro, whose 108MP sensor makes it possible to read even the smallest letters on some glass papers (“LOTTERY” on one of them).
Along with the three rear cameras, the iPhone 12 Pro includes a LiDAR sensor, which allows you to measure depth. One of the advantages of the LiDAR scanner is that the mapping of the environment is faster than with conventional cameras, which force you to move the camera around the ground for a few seconds until they identify the surfaces.
Apple includes a tool called Measurements that allows us to take real-world measurements and the result is amazing.
When it comes to recording video, all three cameras on the iPhone 12 Pro can record video at 720p at 30fps, 1080p at 30/60 fps, and 4K at 24/30/60 fps. The iPhone 12 Pro can record with electronic stabilization at all resolutions and all frame rates, even at 4K @ 60fps.
For the first time, iPhone 12 Pro offers 10-bit HDR video recording, which means you can capture 60 times more colors than before. In addition, the iPhone 12 Pro are the first smartphones capable of recording video in Dolby Vision format at 4K @ 60fps with the rear camera and at 4K @ 30fps with the front camera.
You can even edit videos recorded in Dolby Vision and apply filters to recorded videos without the need for a powerful computer. Luckily, when you share a video with another person or app, iPhone automatically converts the video to a supported format.
Another functionality that Apple offers is Audio Zoom, which consists in that the sound recording focuses on the object at which we are pointing with the camera when zooming. This works best with static sound sources and without too much noise around.
The iPhone 12 Pro can record in slow motion in 1080p resolution at 120 or 240 fps for an unlimited time.
Apple has incorporated a very powerful video editor that makes things much easier when it comes to rotating videos, applying filters, retouching the image, etc. This is very interesting since today there are few video editors prepared to work with such advanced formats
The front camera of the iPhone 12 Pro has a 12MP sensor, a lens with f / 2.2 aperture, and a wide-angle of view (23 mm) that allows taking group selfies or, through a crop, individual selfies.
It is possible to switch between group and individual selfies by pressing a button on the screen. By default, when using the smartphone vertically, individual selfies are taken, but when switching to horizontal, group selfies are taken.
The screen of the iPhone 12 Pro can act as a front flash and illuminate the face if we are taking selfies in low light conditions.
In addition, as a novelty, it is now possible to take selfies in Night mode, which significantly improves image quality.
Thanks to the True Depth sensor, the front camera capable of taking pictures in Portrait mode by blurring the background.
The front camera of the iPhone 12 Pro can record video up to 4K at 60 fps, something that is not usual in smartphones. In addition, Apple has added the ability to record in slow motion in 1080p at 120 fps, giving rise to what it calls slofies, although they are more a curiosity than something really useful.
Price and Competitors
The new iPhone 12 Pro can be purchased from the Apple Store online at a price starting at $ 1,159 for the 128GB variant, the same as the 64GB iPhone 11 Pro cost last year.
An interesting alternative to the iPhone 12 Pro if you don’t want to spend so much money is the iPhone 12, which comes with the same A14 Bionic processor and, in addition, this year it also has an OLED screen. However, it lacks a telephoto camera and has a slightly smaller screen.
On the other hand, if you are looking for the best iPhone camera, you can opt for the iPhone 12 Pro Max, which has a more powerful main camera and a somewhat longer telephoto lens. However, its 6.7 ″ screen gives it a size that may be too large for some users.
In my opinion, the iPhone 12 Pro is a magnificent smartphone, which stands out for a perfectly calibrated screen, a very powerful processor, good autonomy, and a triple rear camera that offers very solid results in all situations.