The entire line of Apple’s iPhone 12 has finally been launched. We spent the day testing the new iPhone 12 Pro Max and wanted to examine some of its best new features and how they work in the real world.
Everyone saw the design of the new phones and even the lines side by side of the iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Proand iPhone 12 Pro Max. They all share what is essentially an identical aesthetic, albeit on different scales.
Each device features iPhone 5-style flat sides and a protective ceramic glass on the front, while the Pro models receive a new Pacific Blue color option.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max is the largest iPhone that Apple has ever created. It takes the 6.5-inch screen of the iPhone 11 Pro Max and stretches with just one touch to reach 6.7 inches diagonally. It doesn’t look like much and, even in use, it doesn’t look noticeably bigger until you have it side by side with the previous Pro Max model.
What we love, though, are some of the other subtle design changes that Apple has made. Both the side button and the volume buttons have been moved slightly downwards. This makes them more easily accessible when holding the phone and is certainly a noticeable and welcome change. The phone is absolutely huge, but this change makes that size a little more palatable.
As the largest iPhone, it is not surprising that the iPhone 12 Pro Max also has the largest battery, although the 11 Pro Max outperforms it in terms of capacity (14.13 Wh vs. 15.04 Wh). We will have to look at battery life under stress, but we still have to point this out as one of our new favorite features, not just because of how long the battery seems to last, but how many ways you can charge it.
Just using the device today, we started connecting Lightning straight out of the box, so we used MagSafe for most of the day before finally throwing it on a Qi charging pad while we sat down to edit.
The various ways of charging make the battery even more spacious. Apple has the iPhone 12 Pro Max rated for the same battery as the iPhone 11 Pro Max – 20 hours of video playback, 12 hours of video streaming and 80 hours of audio streaming – but if you don’t use 5G, we wouldn’t I wouldn’t be surprised if that went a little further. The phone has gone through a ton of tests with almost no impact on battery life.
For comparison, the iPhone 12 Pro only gets 17 hours of video playback, 11 hours of video streaming and 65 hours of audio streaming. Let’s take the extra battery life.
Wide camera image sensor
The big problem with the iPhone 12 Pro Max is the camera. We have barely started testing this and we are already excited. Apple included a 47 percent larger sensor in this plus size phone and it certainly pays off.
Physically, you can see the difference. The camera module on the iPhone 12 Pro Max is larger in size and also protrudes a little more. All to deal with that new larger sensor and the updated sensor shift stabilization that comes with it.
Thanks to the new larger sensor in the wide-angle camera, much more light can be captured, resulting in less noisy photos when tested in low light. This is supported by the increased ISO. The iPhone 12 Pro has a maximum ISO of 5,808, and the 12 Pro Max has a maximum ISO of 7,616. Again, improved light sensitivity means better low-light shots.
The final benefit of this new sensor is the increased depth of field compared to the iPhone 12 Pro. In some quick shots around the office, we noticed more blur in the foreground and background, which creates better isolation from the subject and, in general , more pleasant photos.
The wide-angle camera was not the only one to be updated. Apple also took the liberty of moving the telephoto lens from a 52 mm equivalent to a 65 mm equivalent. This produces a 2.5X optical zoom compared to the iPhone 12 Pro’s only 2X optical zoom.
You see this in any photo taken, be it a normal photo or a portrait. It will even increase the maximum digital zoom, going from 10x to 12X at most. When recording video, you can get 7X digital zoom instead of being limited to 6X.
We took some pictures to play with the cameras and that made a big difference. Usually, we don’t try to capture very distant objects, but just enough of the wide-angle lens, we jump to the tele. With the 2.5X zoom, we get a little closer without losing quality.
The last thing we noticed was the increase in RAM, from 4 GB to 6 GB. The iPhone 12 Pro Max isn’t the only one with 6 GB of RAM, but that’s where we noticed it the most. Coming from our iPhone 11 Pro Max, when completing many tasks, we sometimes noticed applications in the background having to reload as soon as we opened them. This was not the case with the new device.
We tried to open as many applications as we could and let them load. Then, we overload the processor by exporting a 4K HDR video. Then we went back to try to reopen all of these apps to see if they would have to reload. None did. It is not the most scientific of tests, but it is very similar to the real world. We often jump between so many operations and applications that having them instantly ready to work seemed like magic.
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