Apple fans are in luck since, for the first time, the company presented four new iPhone models last October: Apple iPhone 12 mini, Apple iPhone 12, Apple iPhone 12 Pro, and Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max.
A few days ago, we published the in-depth analysis of the iPhone 12 Pro, and today we bring you an analysis of its older brother, the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
While last year the only difference between the “Pro” and “Pro Max” models was in the size of the screen, this year Apple has taken advantage of the larger body size of the iPhone 12 Pro Max to include improvements to the main rear cameras and telephoto.
Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max has a 6.7 ″ Super Retina XDR OLED screen, A14 Bionic processor, 12MP (wide-angle) + 12MP (ultra-wide-angle) + 12MP (2.5x telephoto) rear camera + 3D LiDAR sensor, front camera 12MP, MagSafe rear magnetic mount and more.
Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max Full Review
Design and build
The largest iPhone model of 2019 has gotten even bigger in 2020, as Apple has increased the screen size of the Max model from 6.5 inches to 6.7 inches.
Despite the increase in screen diagonal, the body of the phone is not much larger than last year’s iPhone 11 Pro Max.
This is due to another change that Apple has made in the design of the smartphone: replacing the rounded edges with flat side edges.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max brings back the flat edges that we initially saw on the iPhone 5s and more recently on the iPhone SE or iPad Pro.
The flat edges have allowed Apple to contain the dimensions of the iPhone and also give it a different touch that, in my opinion, is flattering.
At the top of the screen, there is still a fairly wide notch, with an identical size to what we have been seeing from the iPhone X.
Some manufacturers have opted for ways to disguise the front camera, such as pop-up mechanisms (in disuse as they increase the thickness, take up a lot of space and make water-resistance difficult) 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 as the quality of the front camera suffers.
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 upper cutout of the screen is still present.
I can’t deny that I would have liked to see a reduction in the size of the notch (maybe for next year?) But as a regular iPhone user, I’ve gotten used to it and don’t consider it a serious problem. Face ID’s advantages in security and convenience outweigh the presence of the notch - at least for me.
The notch aside, the bezels surrounding the display are quite narrow. However, today, we find smartphones on the market with somewhat thinner frames. Some manufacturers opt for curved screens that better hide the side frames - yes, at the cost of producing reflections and changes in the color tone of the screen in that area.
Traditionally, iPhones have been thinner and lighter smartphones than their competitors. This year, the company has again changed this point by reducing the thickness of the iPhone 12 Pro Max to just 7.4 mm with hardly any weight change.
I can’t help but wonder if the thickness reduction was necessary or if it would have been better to increase the battery size. It is a complicated balance that Apple has decided to solve by maintaining a similar autonomy while reducing the thickness.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max is one of the thinnest smartphones that you can find on the market.
Thickness aside, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is quite a large smartphone. It is difficult to handle it with one hand and, if you usually carry your mobile in a trouser pocket, it takes up a lot of space, so I prefer a size closer to 6 ″ like the iPhone 12 Pro.
Now, it is a matter of taste since many people do not care about the size to enjoy a larger screen.
The chassis of the iPhone 12 Pro Max is not made of aluminum, as is the case with the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12, but Apple uses stainless steel, much more resistant to drops and bumps but, at the same time, somewhat heavier and prone to scratches appear on its surface.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max screen is protected by a new type of glass called Ceramic Shield, which has been jointly developed with Corning, the maker of Gorilla Glass.
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, iPhone 12 Pro Max 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).
⚠️ Warning: Be careful with placing the camera module on another glass as the sapphire that covers the lenses can scratch other surfaces.
The long ratio of the iPhone 12 Pro Max screen and its large size makes it impossible to reach the top 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 Max 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 Max, 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 attached to the back.
Some manufacturers have started releasing their MagSafe accessories, such as the Belkin Mount PRO Car Holder with MagSafe or the Portable Battery with MagSafe.
While the iPhone 11 Pro Max had IP68 water resistance and was capable of withstanding up to 30 minutes underwater at 4 meters, the iPhone 12 Pro Max improves this protection for 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 Max 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 Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max has a huge Super Retina XD panel, named after the high-end Pro Display XDR monitor that the company introduced last year.
It is a 6.7 ″ OLED panel with Super Retina HD resolution (2778 × 1284 pixels), which offers a high pixel density of 458 dpi.
Although some smartphones indeed offer a pixel density higher than that value, the improvement in sharpness is imperceptible and, the more pixels, the more battery consumption due to the greater work of the processor.
OLED displays offer improvements over LCD 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 light and turn off 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 Max 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 placed in a diamond shape.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max 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 DCI-P3’s color gamut 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).
This way, colors always look the right way: neither oversaturated nor undersaturated. Despite Google’s best efforts, few Android smartphones can boast of color management to match.
In addition, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is compatible with the reproduction of HDR10, and Dolby Vision contents that expand the color, contrast, and brightness for a better visual experience. Today, it is already possible to enjoy movies and videos with this technology on Apple TV +, iTunes, Netflix, YouTube, and other services.
The maximum brightness that Apple speaks of a typical maximum value of 800 nits on the datasheet. 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 Max is spectacular as the average error in color reproduction is only 1.0 dE (a value below 4 dE is considered excellent and above 9 is considered unacceptable) and the maximum error is only 2.0 dE. The gamma value is good, 2.36, quite close to the desired value of 2.2.
The screen of the iPhone 12 Pro Max shows a pure black color since the OLED panels can keep each sub-pixel off.
iPhone 12 Pro Max has True Tone functionality to adjust the white balance in 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 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 6,367ºK, 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 Max 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 Max 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.
OLED screens have the advantage that the brightness is reduced to a lesser extent when viewing the screen from an angle than LCD screens, but in return, the colors are distorted more.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max 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.
However, 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.
I wish Apple would decide to include the Always On Display one day, although I imagine that if it has not done so by now it is so as not to harm battery life.
Finally, while other high-end smartphones offer refresh rates of 90, 120, or even 144 Hz, the iPhone 12 Pro Max does not have this functionality, so the scrolling experience is not as smooth. Given that the iPad Pro does offer a 120Hz refresh rate, I suppose its absence is due, again, to the impact on the battery.
Hardware and performance
The iPhone 12 Pro Max incorporates Apple’s new A14 Bionic processor, which was officially unveiled in early September alongside the new 2020 iPad Air.
The A14 Bionic chip is manufactured in a 5nm process, making it the first chip for mobile devices built in a process below 7nm.
In practice, this means that the power consumption of the chip is less than equal power.
The new chip has a 6-core CPU - 4 high-efficiency cores 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 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.
Although Apple does not provide information on the amount of RAM in its iPhones, any system information tool reveals that the iPhone 12 Pro Max comes with 6GB of RAM. It is a lower amount than any high-end Android smartphone but the memory management that iOS makes does not require so much memory.
The behavior of the iPhone 12 Pro Max on a day-to-day basis is excellent.
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.
I have also not experienced any problem when it comes to multitasking, within what iOS allows since it limits the execution in the background except for certain tasks.
For example, a demanding 3D title can be played while app updates are being downloaded and installed in the background.
Several demanding 3D games have been tried and they all ran smoothly on the iPhone 12 Pro Max, with high FPS rates.
One example is Call of Duty: Mobile, a demanding multi-player 3D game that moves smoothly and looks great on the big screen of the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
If you like to play on your mobile, you will be happy to know that you can link the PlayStation and Xbox controllers with your iPhone to play games more comfortably. You can also make use of the Remote Play functionality of PlayStation and Xbox.
Like any smartphone, the back of the iPhone 12 Pro Max heats up when gaming for a long time. After playing a few games, Temperatures are around 41ºC in the area of the camera on the rear surface.
The improvement in the performance of the A14 Bionic chip is enormous, although in the day to day this great power can go unnoticed, especially if you compare it with the previous generation, which already had a very fast chip.
For a few years now, all iPhones have been offering very high performance. The power of the A14 Bionic chip is not noticeable in “normal” apps such as WhatsApp, Instagram, TikTok, or map apps, but in tasks that require great computing power such as capturing and processing photos or videos, the use of Reality Augmented or Face ID facial recognition.
This year, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is sold invariants 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 as 128GB can come up short over time.
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 Max 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. You need a compatible router to take advantage of this technology.
In terms of cellular connectivity, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is compatible with Gigabit-class LTE / 4G networks and, finally, also with 5G networks.
Apple offers three modes of data connectivity in Settings> Mobile data> Options> Data mode. By default, the “standard mode” is active, which allows automatic updates of apps and tasks in the background with mobile data, but limits the quality of video and FaceTime.
If you have an unlimited data plan, you may want to activate the “Allow more data in 5G” mode which also provides higher quality FaceTime calls, high definition content on Apple TV, songs and videos from Apple Music, and iOS updates to through 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.
The connection speed for both Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity has been very satisfactory.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max 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.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max 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.
It 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 Max 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 mobile-compatible vehicle 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.
One limitation of Face ID is that you cannot unlock the iPhone 12 Pro Max if it is 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 2020 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.
It is possible to hide only some notifications from the view of 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 in case you are concerned about the privacy of your biometric data.
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 does not provide technical details on the capacity of the battery but it did not take long to find out that the iPhone 12 Pro Max has a 3,687 mAh battery.
As usual, the battery capacity of the iPhone 12 Pro Max is lower than that offered by other Android smartphones. However, Apple’s processor architecture and iOS operation allow iPhones to offer equivalent autonomy.
The reduction in thickness of the iPhone 12 Pro Max has brought with it a 7% reduction in battery capacity compared to that of the iPhone 11 Pro Max, whose screen was also somewhat smaller.
But there is no need to panic. The lower battery capacity of the iPhone 12 Pro Max does not have to translate into worse autonomy since the new A14 Bionic processor is manufactured in a more efficient 5 nm process than the previous generation.
In fact, the hours of using data that Apple offers on its website are identical to those of the iPhone 11 Pro Max.
If you are concerned about the higher consumption than 5G connectivity can have, we have good news as Apple has devised a trick to help extend the autonomy of the iPhone.
With heavy use of iPhone 12 Pro Max - multiple email accounts, messaging apps, social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram), permanent connection to Apple Watch - I’m reaching the end of the day with 30 to 35 percent of drums.
The experience of each user is different since, if you consume a lot of streaming videos from YouTube or TikTok or if you play games, your battery will drain more quickly.
iPhone 12 Pro Max supports wired fast charging. Apple has stopped including the charger in the box to reduce the impact on the environment. Although the decision has been controversial, I have not missed the charger since I have more chargers than phones at home.
Using Apple’s official 18W charger, the battery charging time from 0 to 100% has been 2 hours and 15 minutes, reaching 95% in about 1 hour and a half. In 30 minutes, the iPhone 12 Pro Max reaches a 50 percent charge.
If you need to extend the autonomy, the iPhone 12 Pro Max incorporates a low consumption mode to save battery when we need it most. However, I miss some functions in IOS that allow reducing battery consumption, for example, by temporarily limiting the background activities of certain non-critical apps.
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 Max 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.
This avoids situations when, after having left the phone charging, you realize that it has not been used for anything because the devices were not well aligned and it has not been charged.
As a drawback, you should be a little careful when lifting the iPhone from the charger because, as it is attached by magnets, you take the charger with you.
While some smartphones offer the ability to charge another device wirelessly, the iPhone 12 Pro Max does not have reverse wireless charging. In my experience with other smartphones, this charge is very slow and tends to stop as soon as the devices go out of alignment, so it is not something I miss either.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max comes with 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.
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 involves flipping through a few screens - uncomfortable. Perhaps it would be more useful to be able to access directly through some kind of gesture.
Picture in Picture functionality is also available on iOS 14. If you are watching a video or receiving a FaceTime call, you can now switch to another app without leaving the video. You can even hide the image on the side of the screen and continue listening to the sound while using another app.
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.
It also incorporates new transport options such as cycling, which takes into account the unevenness of the terrain, how busy the streets are, and whether there are steps. And it can show routes adapted for electric vehicles with information on charging stations.
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.
There is also the possibility of using digital keys in compatible cars to open the vehicle door just by bringing your iPhone closer or even simply by carrying it in your pocket. In addition, you can easily share the key with other people and even limit the use they can make of the car.
Apple has added App Clips, the ability to use lightweight apps under 10MB without having to install them on the device. It all starts with a card that is shown on the phone and when you click on it, the app opens very quickly. The idea is to use them to pay for parking, buy coffee, rent a car, etc.
In the sound section, the iPhone 12 Pro Max 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 Max is good and, in my perception, the larger size of its body makes the speakers sound somewhat better than on the iPhone 12 Pro.
Apple has not included a headphone jack on iPhones for a long time, instead, we have to resort to Bluetooth headphones or 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 Max 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 and huge screen of the iPhone 12 Pro Max makes it an ideal 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.
As we have commented in the Screen section, the iPhone 12 Pro Max panel is capable of reproducing HDR content in HDR10 and Dolby Vision formats, reaching a spectacular brightness of 1,200 nits according to Apple.
Of course, we can use streaming video apps like Apple TV +, YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime, or HBO, which work perfectly on the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
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.
The Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max is the iPhone with the most powerful cameras since it offers improvements that are not present in the rest of the models of the iPhone 12 family.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max has three rear cameras:
- 12MP wide-angle camera (26mm) (1.7μm pixel size), with 7-element lens, f/1.6 aperture, and optical sensor-shift image stabilization.
- 12MP ultra wide angle camera (13mm, 120º), 5-element lens, f/2.4 aperture
- 2.5x (65mm) 12MP telephoto camera, 6-element lens, f/2.2 aperture, and optical stabilization.
Apple has also incorporated a LiDAR scanner to the set of rear cameras that allows measuring 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 new iPhone 12 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 Max offers great versatility since it allows you to take pictures with both a wide field of view (ultra wide-angle) and with zoom (telephoto) to get closer to the details.
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.
Thanks to this joint calibration, it is achieved that when you zoom in with your fingers to zoom in or out in the viewfinder of the Camera app, the transition between the cameras (ultra-wide-angle> wide-angle> telephoto camera) is barely perceptible. This is not the case with other smartphones where the jump between one camera and another is noticeable (sometimes even with a black screen flash).
The viewfinder of the Camera app of the iPhone 12 Pro Max shows the image that we are going to capture and, on both sides, in shading, the area of the image that is outside the frame and that would be captured by the wide-angle camera (if we are using the telephoto camera) or ultra-wide-angle (if we are using the wide-angle camera). This is useful to improve the frame if we detect that we are leaving an important element out.
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.
As for the Camera app, Apple still opts for simplicity, so more advanced users will miss a “Pro” mode to experiment with. Fortunately, there are many camera apps in the App Store that allow you to freely modify the capture parameters.
Next, we are going to review the quality of each of the three cameras: ultra-wide camera, telephoto camera, and main camera (wide angle).
We start with the ultra-wide-angle camera which, on paper, has the same hardware characteristics as the iPhone 11 Pro Max.
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.
The telephoto camera allows you to take photos with 2.5X optical zoom, which is a small leap from the iPhone 12 Pro with 2X optical zoom “only”. This camera allows us to get closer to distant objects without losing quality. This can be useful to focus attention on a particular item.
Some smartphones offer higher zooms, 3X or even 5X, but, in my opinion, this does not contribute much since normally you do not need to get that close and any magnification you need below that value is done by software scaling of the image captured by the main camera.
Apple incorporates optical stabilization in the telephoto lens to prevent blurred photos and has a lens with an f/2.2 aperture.
Like other manufacturers, in very low light conditions, the iPhone 12 Pro Max chooses to make a crop on the wide-angle camera rather than using the telephoto camera, which performs worse in those situations.
Since the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s main camera has a 12MP resolution, cropping produces a less sharp image. This makes the telephoto camera only useful in well-lit conditions.
Compared to the iPhone 11 Pro Max, the main camera now offers a larger aperture (f/1.8 vs. f/1.6) which means that it lets through 27% more light, and it also has 7 lens elements (instead of 6) to capture sharper images.
In addition, compared to the iPhone 12 Pro, the wide-angle camera of the iPhone 12 Pro Max has a larger sensor, so the pixels are larger and therefore can capture more light in dark conditions.
The differences do not end there since Apple has incorporated a new optical stabilization system by sensor displacement. Instead of moving the lens, it is the sensor that moves to compensate for the movements, thus achieving a more effective stabilization.
Apple has introduced the third generation of its Intelligent HDR algorithm that improves the nuances 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.
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 the 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 for close-ups due to the distortion of wide-angle cameras at short distances).
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 when light is scarce.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max 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.
Since iOS 14.3, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is capable of saving images in a RAW format called Apple ProRAW, in case you are fond of photo editing.
Apple includes a tool called Measurements that allows us to take real-world measurements and the result is amazing.
Although the possibilities of the LiDAR sensor for Augmented Reality are enormous, today there are still not many apps that take advantage of it. However, it is good to know that it is there since perhaps in the future we will have more apps that take advantage of it.
When it comes to recording video, all three cameras on the iPhone 12 Pro Max can record video at 720p at 30fps, 1080p at 30/60 fps, and 4K at 24/30/60 fps. The iPhone 12 Pro Max can record with electronic stabilization at all resolutions and all frame rates per second, even at 4K @ 60 60fps.
For the first time, iPhone 12 Pro Max offers 10-bit HDR video recording, which means you can capture 60 times more colors than before. In addition, the iPhone 12 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 quality of the videos is excellent, although unfortunately, it seems that YouTube is not the best place to appreciate the quality of the new format.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max 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 Max has a 12MP sensor, f / 2.2 aperture lens, and a wide-angle of view (23mm) that allows you to take group selfies or, through a crop, individual selfies.
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 Max can record video up to 4K at 60 fps, something that is not usual in smartphones. In addition, Apple offers the ability to record in slow motion in 1080p at 120 fps, leading to what it calls selfies, although they are more a curiosity than something really useful.
The new iPhone 12 Pro Max can be purchased at the Apple Store online at a price starting at $ 1,259 for the 128GB variant, the same as the 64GB iPhone 11 Pro Max last year.
An interesting alternative to the iPhone 12 Pro Max if you don’t want to spend so much money is the iPhone 12 Pro, which is practically the same except for a smaller screen (6.1 ″) and a set of slightly lower cameras on the main lens and the telephoto lens.
For a slightly lower price we have the iPhone 12, which comes with the same A14 Bionic processor and, in addition, this year it also has an OLED screen. However, it has an aluminum (rather than steel) construction, lacks a telephoto camera, and has a 6.1 ″ screen.
Finally, there is also the iPhone 12 mini although, if you have been interested in this analysis, it is probably because you are attracted to smartphones with large screens - just the opposite of what you will find in the iPhone 12 mini.
In my opinion, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is a great option for those who are looking for a very powerful smartphone with a large screen and do not mind the larger size of the device. Its excellent OLED panel, very fast processor, versatile triple rear camera, and its operating system that can be updated for many years make this device a great choice.