The iPhone 12 Pro Max is the biggest, heaviest and most expensive version of Apple’s smartphone for 2020, a beast in every dimension.
The top-of-the-range iPhone costs from £ 1,099 and sits above the 12 Pro (£ 999), 12 (£ 799) and 12 mini (£ 699).
The 12 Pro Max has the same cool design as the rest of the iPhone 12 range: boxy sides, full-screen front with thinner bezels, and frosted glass back. It has the same drop-resistant “Ceramic Shield” technology covering the screen and the new MagSafe magnetic attachment system on the back for wireless chargers and accessories, but that’s where the physical similarities end.
The stainless steel sides of the 12 Pro Max are highly polished, shown here in gold. Director of photography: Samuel Gibbs / The Guardian
The huge OLED display measures 6.7 inches on the diagonal, which dwarfs all other iPhones and rivals Android superphones, such as the 6.78-inch OnePlus 8 or the 6.9-inch Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.
The screen is gorgeous. Bright, crisp, and almost tablet-like in that giant size. Watching HDR video is great and there’s a good set of stereo speakers too.
Holding it in hand usually takes two hands, just like the competition from superphones. It is very wide and weighs 226g – 18g heavier than the Note 20 Ultra, 39g heavier than the smaller 12 Pro or 64g heavier than the regular iPhone 12.
Thanks to the hard edges I found gripping the 12 Pro Max significantly easier than its rounded and equally heavy predecessor, the iPhone 11 Pro Max. I could use it with one hand with some finger gymnastics and I didn’t suffer from the hand pain I felt trying to grab the 11 Pro Max soap bar.
The blue iPhone 12 Pro next to the gold iPhone 12 Pro Max. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs / The GuardianSpecifications
Screen: 6.7 inch Super Retina XDR (OLED) (458ppi)
Processor: Apple A14 Bionic
RAM: 6 GB
Memory: 128, 256 or 512 GB
Operating system: iOS 14
Camera: 12MP triple rear camera with lidar, 12MP front camera
Connectivity: 5G, wifi 6, NFC, Bluetooth 5, Lightning, ultra broadband and GPS
Waterproof: IP68 (6 meters for 30 minutes)
Dimensions: 160.9 x 78.1 x 7.4mm
Weight: 226 g
Top performance, 5G and two-day battery No power supply is included in the box, just a USB-C to Lightning cable – the phone didn’t charge any faster with a 45W power supply than a 20W one. Director of photography: Samuel Gibbs / The Guardian
The iPhone 12 Pro Max has the same A14 Bionic processor as the regular 12, 12 Pro and iPad Air and has 6GB of RAM with a starting memory of 128GB, double the 64GB of the iPhone 12. Performance is equally excellent all-round: snappy, smooth and fast for processing photos, videos or during games. Speeds on 5G were similar, with slightly better reception than the iPhone 12 Pro and negligible impact on battery life.
Battery life is best in class: over 48 hours between charges (eight hours longer than the iPhone 12) with the screen on for more than seven hours. The phone will last from 7:00 on the first day until 7:00 on the third day using 5G for about five hours, with the rest spent on wifi.
It takes 30 minutes to charge the battery to 50%, 73 minutes to reach 90% but two hours and 13 minutes for a full charge using a cable and a £ 19 20W USB-C Apple Power Adapteror more than three hours with the MagSafe wireless charger.
Apple does not provide an expected battery life for the iPhone 12 Pro Max – smartphone batteries typically last at least 500 cycles while maintaining at least 80% capacity – but it can be replaced for £ 69. An out of warranty service costs £ 566.44, which includes the screen. The iPhone 12 Pro Max was awarded six out of 10 for repairability by the iFixit specialist.
The 12 Pro Max uses 100% recycled tin in the solder of the main board, 99% recycled tungsten, 98% recycled rare earth elements and at least 35% recycled plastic in plus other components. Apple also uses renewable energy for the final assembly of the machine and decomposes the file environmental impact of the phone in his report.
It also offers free trade-in and recycling schemes, even for non-Apple products. The 12 Pro Max doesn’t come with headphones or power supply, reducing its carbon footprint.
iOS 14 Face ID is still the best biometric smartphone unlocking system in the industry, but it can’t recognize people wearing masks. Director of photography: Samuel Gibbs / The Guardian
The 12 Pro comes with the same iOS 14.2 version as the 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro and all other iPhones from 2015 or newer. This includes the visual overhaul of the home screen with app library widgets and folders, improved privacy tools, and the new Translator app. For more information, see the iOS 14 overview and iPhone 12 review.
You can expect up to five years of software support, including security fixes and iOS version updates, which is longer than any other smartphone manufacturer.
Camera The camera app is simple and automatic in most situations, which makes pointing and shooting effective, but lacks full manual control. Director of photography: Samuel Gibbs / The Guardian
The iPhone 12 Pro Max has the same selfie camera and ultrawide camera as the 12 and 12 Pro, which perform just as well, but different main and telephoto cameras on the back.
The telephoto camera has a 2.5x longer optical zoom, up to 2x. Any increase in range is welcome, but pales in comparison to competitors’ 4x / 5x optical zooms. The lens is slightly slower than that of the 12 Pro, making the situation worse in low light conditions. But both smartphones still switch to the more light-sensitive main camera in low-light conditions.
The main camera has the same 12-megapixel resolution but a physically larger 47% sensor, which collects up to 87% more light than its predecessor.
The main camera sensor (bottom of the cluster) is stabilized directly against hand shake rather than the lens it is, which is common in digital cameras but is a first for a smartphone. Director of photography: Samuel Gibbs / The Guardian
In good light it takes photos that are indistinguishable from the 12 Pro – highly detailed with good color accuracy and high-contrast scene control.
As the light level begins to drop around sunset, the larger sensor captures much brighter, more detailed and less noisy images which are a marked improvement over other iPhones. The same goes for indoor shots on boring winter days. The dedicated night mode is also needed less frequently and when activated it captures photos faster than the regular 12 Pro.
For point-and-shoot photographers, you get a clearer image. For enthusiasts, the largest sensor offers much more potential for detail when shooting in RAW format, including Apple’s new ProRAW format that will soon be available with a software update.
The 12 Pro Max has the same too lidar (light detection and range) scanner on the back for night mode portraits and faster autofocus. The 12 Pro Max can shoot 4K video at 60 frames per second and also in Dolby Vision HDR.
Overall, the 12 Pro Max has the best camera on any iPhone and has improved low-light performance over other iPhone 12 models. It also brings Apple on par with major competitors, although the 2.5x optical zoom is still a little behind the best in the business.
For comparison, the 12 Pro costs from £ 999, the 12 costs £ 799, the 12 Mini costs £ 699 and the iPhone SE costs £ 399. The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra costs money £ 1,179 and OnePlus 8 Pro costs £ 799.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max is Apple’s most feature-rich smartphone this year, but it comes at a significant price point, both monetary and physical.
It sits firmly in the superphone bracket next to the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and OnePlus 8 Pro, so large that you might have a hard time putting it in small pockets and you’ll almost exclusively need two hands to use it.
You get a huge 6.7-inch screen, over 48 hours of battery life, a considerably better camera, and improved design and ergonomics over its predecessors. It’s certainly not perfect and costs a lot, even if it’s only £ 100 more than the smaller iPhone 12 Pro, but you’re getting a lot of phone for the money.
If you can handle its gigantic size and cost, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is superphone hell.
Pros: very long battery, top performance, improved low light camera, longer optical zoom, night mode portraits, water resistant, wireless charging, MagSafe, Face ID, awesome screen, 5G, long software support.
Cons: no USB-C, you need your own charger, huge, super heavy, very expensive.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max is a very large phone that will be difficult to pocket and use within reach. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs / The Guardian Other Reviews Via: www.theguardian.com
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