The iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max – the last Apple smartphones to hit the market in 2020 – are also likely to appeal to opposing audiences.
One of these phones is likely to be popular with budget shoppers, teenagers, and an underserved, underrated group of smartphone users, while the other has been eagerly awaited by fans of mobile photography and former Samsung Note users.
But are these smartphones better or much different than the other iPhone 12 phones? And which model is best? We spent days testing them with tight pockets and night scenes to find out.
WHY CHOOSE THE MINI?
The iPhone Mini feels so much like the iPhone 5 that you’d swear it has been polished and reissued.
This smartphone is small, chic, has similar metal rims, and fits in almost any pocket you have (even your skinny jeans).
And this is where the Mini’s main appeal lies. There is a huge audience for small phones and that crowd is routinely overlooked.
Small phones tend to be compromised rather than headings.
This miniature phone is bucking the trend by arriving with specs similar to its peers, including a 5G connection, a fast A14 Bionic chip, a rugged Ceramic Shield facade, water resistance and the same storage options as other iPhone 12 models.
Even the most demanding apps can be operated quickly and do not evade photographic tasks.
There are only two cameras on the back, but they are also offered for the full-size iPhone 12.
This smartphone has both wide and very wide camera lenses. They capture 12-megapixel photos, use Smart HDR 3 to improve exposure, and automatically use night mode in dimly lit environments.
The iPhone 12 Mini’s screen is small but larger than expected to fit in a phone only 13 cm long. It stretches from edge to edge (unlike the iPhone 5’s screen), measures 5.4 inches, and offers slightly higher resolution than its counterparts.
WHY PICK MAX?
Bigger is better for photography in this year’s iPhone range.
The best camera package of all iPhone 12 models – and probably all current smartphones – is in Apple’s largest smartphone to date.
Like the iPhone 12 Pro, the Max model also has three cameras and a LIDAR scanner on the back.
However, this smartphone also uses a much larger image sensor for larger pixels, provides 2.5x optical zoom range for greater range, and uses an optical image stabilization mode typically seen on high-end cameras. The improvements can be seen in photos.
While testing the iPhone 12 Pro Max cameras in the dark corners of Brisbane city, I was able to capture neon signs without adjusting the exposure, capture the silhouette of a man running through an alley, and capture an unusual long exposure of a bus without the help of a tripod and take portraits in dim lighting that are usually incompatible with a smartphone.
Of course, not every shot was a winner, and some showed image noise while others suffered from motion blur. There were more shareable-quality night photos than usual, however, and I strongly suspect that the larger sensor, sensor-shift technology, and artificial intelligence that recognizes the scene from Apple were responsible for storing them.
Photos taken with this smartphone are likely to improve in the months to come as Apple launches its ProRAW format, which gives enthusiastic snappers more leeway and detail when editing images. It’s disappointing that it isn’t immediately available.
And of course there is more to this big phone – more screen.
The Pro Max’s 6.7-inch display is larger than any previous iPhone, though its case is only slightly larger than the iPhone 11 Max it is replacing.
Some people might find the handset unwieldy at first, especially when upgrading from an iPhone 11 device, but it’s well weighted and shouldn’t feel awkward after a quick tweak.
IPHONE 12 MINI AND MAX VERDICT
The wait for iPhones large and small has been longer, but both viewers are probably glad they didn’t succumb to impatience.
The iPhone 12 Mini ($ 1199- $ 1449) addresses a niche in the market that is often overlooked. Little phone fans are likely to be impressed with Apple’s finest smartphone that fits in the palm of your hand but offers the grunt of a larger device.
Apple fans who prioritize the camera in their smartphones should really make it big this year as the iPhone 12 Pro Max ($ 1849 – $ 2369) exceeds expectations when it comes to some of the most challenging types of photography.
This phone’s larger sensor that moves with you offers enhancements that you can see in photos, especially in dim lighting, and will further cement its reputation in mobile photography.
Not everyone is going to appreciate the bigger shape or the higher price tag they have to pay to access the world-class mobile camera technology, and it will be interesting to see how quickly the sensor technology is passed on to other next-generation iPhones.
Originally published as the only major downside to Apple’s new iPhone 12 Pro Max
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