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Home >Technology >Tech Reviews >Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max review: Apple’s best is also the best this year
On paper, the iPhone 12 Pro Max has the same camera setup as the 12 Pro—a wide, ultrawide and telephoto, all with 12MP sensors. However, the primary camera is where you see the difference (cnet3.cbsistatic.com)
On paper, the iPhone 12 Pro Max has the same camera setup as the 12 Pro—a wide, ultrawide and telephoto, all with 12MP sensors. However, the primary camera is where you see the difference (cnet3.cbsistatic.com)

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max review: Apple’s best is also the best this year

  • It has the best camera that a smartphone can offer, Apple’s new design philosophy and arguably the best display among smartphones, too
  • If budget isn’t a bar for you, the Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max is certainly worth considering

Of the four new iPhones this year, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is really the no compromise phone from Apple. The company really cares about the “Pro" moniker and the Pro Max is squarely aimed at movie makers, creators and other “Pro" users. It has the best camera that a smartphone can offer, Apple’s new design philosophy and arguably the best display among smartphones, too.

On paper, the iPhone 12 Pro Max has the same camera setup as the 12 Pro—a wide, ultrawide and telephoto, all with 12MP sensors. However, the primary camera is where you see the difference. As with the Pro, the Pro Max also has wider aperture than last year, but it also has a larger sensor to go with it. As a result, the phone performs noticeably better in low light photography.

In practice, the difference is noticeable but perhaps not life changing for people who shoot photos for sharing on social media alone. The 12 Pro Max uses LIDAR to focus fast in low light conditions, just like the Pro, but it also uses the larger sensor to shoot at shorter exposure times. As a result, you get to avoid motion blur when shooting using Apple’s Night Mode.

Speaking of Night Mode, you get that across all the three cameras now, something that you couldn’t get on the iPhone 11 series. That’s true for all 12 series iPhones though.

The 12 Pro also achieves higher ISO ratings, which is something that will matter for Pro users. It uses something Apple calls Sensor Shift stabilization to mitigate hand shakes and other aberrations, too. This is essentially a way to move the sensor itself, instead of doing it electronically or optically. In practice, it does work, and again enhances low light photography.

While the camera on the iPhone 12 Pro Max is indeed Apple’s best, if you factor in the price of this phone (starts at Rs129,900), the gains aren’t great. But Apple knows that, and that’s why it’s a “Pro" device. For film-makers and others who want to use this for professional photography, many of the 12 Pro Max’s features will make sense. In fact, if you consider the fact that it costs only Rs10,000 more than the 12 Pro, the added features make a big difference for many creators and justify the cost too.

The iPhone 12 Pro Max’s camera is just more versatile than any other smartphone camera today. It takes good photos in almost every light condition you use it in, which is something few phones today can claim.

There’s one hitch in the Pro Max’s camera though, in the fact that its telephoto sensor pales in comparison to the others. It has longer zoom, but it doesn’t function as well in low light as the main camera would have you expecting.

But camera aside, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is a huge phone. If you don’t like phones that don’t fit in your pocket and look like a big slab of glass and metal, this is definitely not for you. Apple’s new design aesthetic is great for the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro, but the iPhone 12 Pro Max remains unwieldy and difficult to carry around. It’s meant for people who want such big phones.

On the other hand, the 6.7-inch OLED display is among the best you can get today, too. Colour tones are more accurate than pretty much every phone today. It’s a big unwieldy phone, but if you like to consume content in the best quality possible, this display is certainly among the best there are today.

The phone’s size also allows for a larger battery, meaning this is the best iPhone you can buy this year in terms of battery life. While the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro last between 10-12 hours at best, the Pro Max can easily do more than 14 hours on each charge. In fact, that makes it one of the best phones in terms of battery life.

But despite all its plus points, the iPhone 12 Pro Max lacks a high refresh rate display, offering only 60Hz refresh rates. This won’t matter to you unless you’ve used phones that have 90 or 120Hz displays, but it’s definitely a feature phones should adapt in future. Remember though, that Apple took years to use 1080p displays after Android makers made it the norm, so we won’t be surprised if we don’t see iPhones with high refresh rates in the next few years or so.

In sum, the Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max really is the best smartphone on the market today. That doesn’t change the fact that it’s expensive though, so it’s unlikely that it will take many takers in India. If budget isn’t a bar for you though, this is certainly worth considering.

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