Apple has dominated the tech industry by giving us the MacBook, the iPad, and, of course, the iPhone that shaped the smartphone market 13 years ago. 2020 came, we have another iPhone from Apple, introducing the redesigned iPhone 12. I’ve been using this device for quite some time now, and I’m finally ready to give you my full thoughts about it.
Design and Construction
Undoubtedly, the iPhone 12’s design is pretty much the same as the old iPhone 5 with its boxy design, but it feels different from what the iPhone has been in the past.
We still have the same layout for buttons and ports as before, except for the sim card slot located on the right side alongside the volume rockers and Apple’s signature mute switch.
We have the sleep-wake button on the right.
Down below, we get the speaker grilles, the lightning port, and the call microphone.
At the back, we still have the same camera layout as what we have on the previous iPhone 11, with the Apple logo in the middle.
Upfront, we have a bit smaller notch that houses the FaceID sensor, the front-facing camera, and the call speaker that also doubles as one of the stereo speakers.
The glass is now flushed to the iPhone’s metal frame that looks pretty seamless, making it feel like a proper unibody design. In this iteration, Apple used a different glass to protect the display and called it Ceramic Coating, which, on paper, can handle drops up to 4x better than last year. Unfortunately, we don’t get the same protection at the back, so keep that in mind.
The iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro now have the same size, measuring at 71.5mm width, 7.4mm depth, and 146.7 in height. It is also noticeably lighter than the iPhone 12, coming in at 162grams compared to 194grams on the iPhone 11.
As for water and dust resistance, the iPhone 12 has an IP68 rating, meaning it can be submerged in water with a maximum depth of 2 meters for up to 30 mins, so you don’t have to worry about using your phone outside when raining or even when you are swimming on a pool.
Display and Multimedia
Checking out the display, finally! Gone is the Liquid Retina display on the iPhone 11; instead, we now have a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED panel with a resolution of 1170 x 2532 pixel density 460ppi. Since this is an OLED panel, colors are vibrant and accurate, with deep blacks for better contrast when watching media content. A lot of people were disappointed that this year’s iPhone still has the standard 60Hz refresh rate. As a long-time iPhone user, I kind of don’t mind not having a higher refresh rate on an iPhone since iOS have one of the smoothest animations.
For brightness, the iPhone 12 has 625 nits on a typical brightness and can go up to 1200 nits for peak brightness. This means you can use this device under direct sunlight without having trouble seeing what’s on your display.
Audio-wise, we still have the same stereo speaker setup that combines both the downward-firing speakers and the earpiece speaker that makes media consumption a lot better.
Like its predecessor, the iPhone 12 sports a dual-camera setup at the back consisting of 12MP Wide with f/1.6 and a 12MP ultrawide with f/2.4. While for selfies, we have yet another 12MP front-facing camera with an aperture of f/2.2. Also, note that all three cameras now have a night mode feature, HDR+, and support for Deep Fusion for more detailed images without over-sharpening the photo.
In line with these camera improvements, photos look balanced in all aspects. Colors are not too saturated, photos are well exposed even in night mode without having too much noise on the images, and the high dynamic range is also excellent. There’s also an improvement in portrait mode as it wasn’t just relying on face detection; instead, it uses AI to map subjects.
On the other hand, selfies, just like its rear cameras, came out looking pretty natural, especially the skin tones. As mentioned earlier, you can now take night mode selfies on the new iPhone 12; although sometimes it produces soft images. Overall, it still does look decent.
For videos, the iPhone 12 can record up to 4K at 60fps and now supports a 10-bit high dynamic range with Dolby Vision, which results in cinema-grade clips that can be more flexible in post. Stabilization, on the other hand, is pretty smooth. Subjects are well-exposed even in harsh lighting scenarios and can produce less noisy videos at night.
The iPhone 12’s camera is definitely one of its strengths. It’s straightforward and not complicated to use. No need to fiddle with complicated settings and modes. It just works.
For software, the iPhone 12 runs on Apple’s latest iOS 14.2, which was released a couple of months ago.
It packs many new features like the new widgets, App Library, Picture-in-Picture, Pinned messages, inline replies on iMessage, new Memojis and Emojis, and more. If you want to know more about it, click here.
Performance and Benchmarks
New iPhone means a new powerful chipset from Apple. Just like the recently announced iPad Air, the new iPhone 12 models have the new A14 Bionic, which on paper is 30% has faster graphics and a 40% performance boost as compared to last year’s A13. I honestly don’t notice any difference in the performance department between the iPhone 11 and the iPhone 12.
Antutu v8.3.6 – 528,171
3DMark – 6,172 (SSE)
Geekbench 5 – 1,572 (SIngle-Core), 3,807 (Multi-Core), 9,197 (Compute)
Looking at these scores, this might not be as valuable to an average joe, but this practically means that the new iPhone 12 is pretty powerful and can handle any task you throw at it without any problems. Just like any other device, playing graphically intensive games for an extended period can make the iPhone 12 a little hot to the touch.
Connectivity and Battery Life
All the iPhone 12 models now have 5G connectivity, but of course, it’s only accessible to certain areas. It is pretty amazing to see that Apple made this a standard on all iPhone models, unlike other smartphone manufacturers’ strategy by releasing a separate 5G version on top of their flagship smartphones. However, when I tried testing the device in a 5G-ready area, I can’t seem to make 5G work on my unit even though I have a 5G-ready SIM card. I’m not sure if I have the Hong-Kong variant, and it only works in the said country.
The iPhone 12 has a 2,815mAh, which is pretty small by today’s standards since most Android smartphones these days offer even up to a whopping 6,000mAh of battery. Even though it was a downgrade compared to the iPhone 11’s 3,110mAh battery, I find myself charging it at the end of the day before I go to bed. It is also worth noting that the iPhone 12 does not have a power brick in the box, so you have to keep that in mind. But you get lightning to USB Type-C cable that is compatible with Apple’s PD fast charging.
Also, a new thing about the iPhone 12 series is the Magsafe charger. It is a magnetic puck attached to the series of magnets located at the back of the iPhone. Magsafe can deliver a maximum of 15W of power to the iPhone wirelessly. Also, Apple made quite a few accessories and cases specifically for the iPhone 12.
In our standard video loop test entails the device at 50% brightness, 20% volume, airplane mode turned on, headphones plugged in, and constantly looping a 1080p clip. The iPhone 12 got a score of 19 hours and 13 minutes.
The iPhone 12 will set you back PHP 49,990 for the 64GB variant on Apple’s authorized reseller. If you are coming from the iPhone Xs or Xr or an older generation of iPhone, the iPhone 12 is a pretty nice upgrade in all aspects. You’ll get a pretty powerful chipset, a stunning image quality from its new camera system, and a pretty ergonomic new design.
However, if you own an iPhone 11, resist skipping to the iPhone 12 quickly. Even though it’s got all those flashy new features and design, I think it’s not worth the upgrade.
Apple iPhone 12 specs:
6.1-inch 2532 x 1170 Super Retina XDR OLED display, 460ppi
HDR10, Dolby Vision, True Tone
Ceramic Shield by Corning (4x better drop performance)
Apple A14 Bionic (5nm)
64GB, 128GB, 256GB storage
• 12MP F1.6 main
• 12MP F2.4 ultrawide
Smart HDR 3, HDR Video, Night Mode, Night Mode Time-lapse, HDR video recording
12MP F2.2 front camera
5G NR (sub-6 GHz)
Smart Data Mode (auto switches between 5G and LTE)
GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, and BeiDou
IP68 Water and dust resistance
Wireless charging (MagSafe 15W, Qi 7.5W)
Black, White, Product Red, Green, Blue