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Apple iPhone 12 Pro review: Meaningful upgrades justify premium pricing

Apple iPhone 12 Pro might seem to be a small upgrade over the iPhone 11 Pro but each incremental upgrade seems to complement other changes and together they make for a wholesome package

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Apple India | Apple iPhone prices | Apple Inc

Khalid Anzar  |  New Delhi 

Apple iPhone 12 Pro
Apple iPhone 12 Pro

With every iteration, Apple brings something new to its iPhones, giving fans a solid reason for upgrade. This time, the upgrades are across the board and good enough to even tempt non-iPhone users. Besides, there are four different models this time, the cheapest starting from Rs 69,900. Among the smartphones in the new series, the 12 Pro seems to be a balanced product with something for everyone. But is it good enough to justify the premium starting price of Rs 1,19,900? Let’s find out

Design

Since the iPhone X, Apple has not made any radical changes to its iPhone design language, but every new model that has come since has looked somewhat different. That said, the iPhone 12 series brings minor but meaningful design changes. It boasts a premium glass-metal construction with a ceramic shield glass on the front which is touted to be 4x more resistant to drops than the previous generation. And there is a textured scratch-resistant glass on the back. The phone’s stainless-steel frame has also got an upgrade: now it is flat, reminiscent of the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 designs. While there is nothing wrong with the protruding stainless-steel frame of the predecessor, the flat frame improves the in-hand feel and trims the phone’s overall dimension significantly.

Apple iPhone 12 Pro

Overall, the iPhone 12 Pro might not look a lot different from its predecessor, but the incremental changes it brings aid the overall handling and in-hand feel. Not to forget, the iPhone 12 Pro is IP68-rated for water and dust resistance and it can withstand water abuse at a maximum depth of 6 metres for up to 30 minutes.

Apple iPhone 12 Pro

Display

Tinkering with the design language has allowed Apple to incorporate a 6.1-inch screen on the iPhone 12 Pro, in a form factor almost identical to the iPhone 11 Pro, which had a 5.8-inch screen. To complement the overall design and to improve the drop performance, the front glass is now flat, unlike the curved one of the predecessor. Not much has changed on the display front besides these minor changes. It is still a super retina XDR OLED unit of 60Hz refresh rate and supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision high dynamic range (HDR) formats. And the wide-notch is still there, accommodating the phone’s TrueDepth camera for the facial recognition technology. Though the screen on the iPhone 12 Pro has not got any major upgrades, it is still an impressive one that works very well for most content you consume on a mobile device. It would have been an even better one if the refresh rate had been enhanced to 90Hz or 120Hz.

Camera

Imaging on iPhone has come a long way: the 12-megapixel sensor-based triple-camera module on the iPhone 12 Pro is a versatile all-rounder that may impress shutterbugs. The phone has a wide, ultra-wide and telephoto sensors, each with its own independent utility. The camera system is aided by computational photography algorithms which clear out inconsistencies during post-processing, resulting in enhanced output with remarkable details.

In good light conditions, the phone’s primary wide-angle sensor takes detailed shots with an excellent dynamic range. The telephoto sensor zooms in (2x) on the object and takes detailed shots with low noise and good dynamic range. The ultra-wide sensor reproduces softer colours but the lens correction is on the spot and the output shows minimal distortion on edges.

The iPhone 12 Pro cameras perform equally well in low light conditions as well. The addition of the LiDAR sensor enables night-time portraits. That is available on most Android smartphones also, but the iPhone iteration is class-leading. The wide and telephoto sensors are supported by the optical image stabilisation technology, which results in stable hand-held shots with a good amount of detail. For enhanced low-light shots, there is a dedicated night mode that extends shutter speed, allowing the sensor to capture more light and details. The night mode is available for wide and ultra-wide sensors, and works well across scenarios.

Apple iPhone 12 Pro

The iPhone 12 Pro’s 12MP front camera is a decent performer, too. It supports most of the camera features available for the rear-camera module, including night mode, portraits, and live photos.

 

The iPhone 12 Pro’s cameras (both front and rear) are as good for recording videos as they are for still images. It is the only camera system capable of HDR video recording with Dolby Vision at up to 60 frames per second from the rear sensor and 30 fps from the front. Samsung’s premium smartphones support HDR video recording with HDR10+, but it is still in the beta stage in these phones and the recordings do not look as pleasing as the Dolby Vision recording from the iPhone 12 Pro. Moreover, the iPhone 12 Pro provides end-to-end content solution – from recording Dolby Vision to editing – making it a desirable imaging device for professional content creators.

Performance

Powered by Apple’s 5nm process-based A14 Bionic chip, the iPhone 12 Pro is an all-round performer. It handles day-to-day tasks with ease and does not slow down or show any weakness even while handling processor- or graphic-intensive tasks like multimedia editing, 4K 60fps video recording, etc. Complementing the performance is the phone’s power efficiency; it easily sails through a day on a single charge.

Speaking about charging, the iPhone 12 Pro supports up to 20W fast-charging through its wired charger and up to 15W through the newly introduced MagSafe charger (sold separately at Rs 4,500). The phone takes about two hours to fully charge using the 20W-supported wired charger. The charging time extends to about three hours when charged through MagSafe wireless charger. Interestingly, the phone ships with just the USB-C to lightning cable, and the charging adaptor is now an accessory sold separately.

ALSO READ: Apple iPhone 11 Pro review

Verdict

On paper, the iPhone 12 Pro might appear to be a small upgrade over the iPhone 11 Pro, but each incremental update complements other changes and together they make for a wholesome package to uplift the user experience. The iPhone 12 Pro’s new design, big screen, class-leading imaging, and swift performance justify its premium price tag. It is a go-to iPhone in the iPhone 12 series, with something for everyone and without any compromises. It is easy to recommend to existing iPhone users who might be planning an upgrade. For Android users, it may be a new experience worth a try – you won’t be disappointed.

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First Published: Fri, November 13 2020. 12:46 IST
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