Home >Technology >Gadgets >Apple iPhone 12 review: An iterative update over iPhone 11
At a time when most phone makers seem to be in a design rut, Apple is going back to an old favourite by switching to a more box-like design language —akin to the iPhone 5S—with flat edges. (Reuters)
At a time when most phone makers seem to be in a design rut, Apple is going back to an old favourite by switching to a more box-like design language —akin to the iPhone 5S—with flat edges. (Reuters)

Apple iPhone 12 review: An iterative update over iPhone 11

Overall, the iPhone 12 takes the experience up by several notches as compared to its predecessor.

Among the four new iPhones launched this year, the iPhone 12 is likely to sell the most. It brings the best combination of price and features at least among Apple’s devices. We take a closer look at the key highlights of the iPhone 12 (starting at 79,990) to find out whether it's a worthy upgrade over its predecessor.

At a time when most phone makers seem in a design rut, Apple is going back to an old favourite by switching to a more box-like design language —akin to the iPhone 5S—with flat edges. Apple used this design many years ago with iPhone 5, but amid all the modern day phones, most of which have rounded edges, it does feel refreshing. Above all, it offers better grip as compared to previous generation iPhones, ruling out the need to pop in a back case. Some users took to social media to complain about the iPhone 12’s sharp edges with pictures of red marks on the palm after holding it. We found the edges smooth enough to not sting or leave a mark on the palm. It does feel a bit jarring at first, but you will get used to it.

As far as durability is concerned, the new iPhone feels sturdy, has a ceramic shield to protect the screen from damage and is also IP68 rated, which means it is water resistant up to 6 metres for 30 mins.

Though, overall the new iPhone 12 impresses with its looks and compact form factor (it weighs 164g as compared to the iPhone 11’s 194g), it is not without a few misses. It still has a wide notch, like previous iPhones, though Apple has a reason to keep the notch wide—it carries proximity sensor, ambient light sensor and dot projector—one wonders whether Apple will ever adopt the teardrop or punch-hole designs its competitors have used.

The other little niggle with the iPhone 12 is the glossy back panel, unlike the iPhone 12 Pro’s matte finish. This makes the back a fingerprint magnet and smudges show a lot more on the darker colour options.

The speakers are quite powerful and retain clarity even on high volumes.

The 6.1-inch screen of the iPhone 12 offers a sweet spot for users who might find the 5.4-inch screen on iPhone Mini too small or the 6.7-inch screen on iPhone 12 Pro Max too large. It feels adequately sized for reading, gaming and typing long emails. Unlike previous gen iPhone 11, this time Apple has used an OLED panel with its Super Retina XDR tech on the iPhone 12 series. This improves colour contrast and brightness levels. Colours look a lot more vibrant than the iPhone 11, making for enjoyable gaming and video playback. The iPhone 12 also offers higher screen resolution (2,532x1,170p) on the display.

Driving the iPhone 12 is Apple's new 5 nanometer-based A14 Bionic chip with six cores. While the phone’s performance is indeed better than the iPhone 11, it’s not much of an upgrade. That’s not surprising though, given that most new processors don’t offer noticeable performance upgrades over their predecessors anymore.

Battery performance on the iPhone 12 is also on par with any of the big battery Android phones. On modest-to-heavy use, which involved watching videos on YouTube and a bit of gaming, we got an entire work day's worth of battery backup from a single charge. That’s significantly more battery life than the iPhone 12 Mini and an hour or so more than the iPhone 12 Pro.

The iPhone 12 has a dual 12 MP camera system. It includes a wide-angle camera with f/1.6 aperture and an ultra-wide camera with f/2.4. Wider aperture (f/1.6) on the primary camera is the big change this time, other than the fact that all iPhone 12 models include Night Mode now.

The cameras now support HDR video recording at 30fps and Smart HDR 3 for photos. In terms of camera output, photos are well lit even in areas with shadows, colours stand out well and objects look sharp and detailed. Low-light and indoor photos look sharp with brighter colours popping out quite well. The night mode is effective, though it struggles to deal with moving subjects. 4K video recording is impressive and in bright light can help in creating some impressive videos with a bit of editing.

Overall, the iPhone 12 takes the experience up by several notches as compared to its predecessor. It’s not particularly an upgrade over the iPhone 11, but if you’re on an iPhone XS or before, you could definitely think of this for a new experience. It is compact, supports 5G (which offers some future proofing) and has a great camera to boot.

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