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The first iPhone 12 reviews have been shared by various media outlets and YouTubers, and the overall consensus is that the iPhone 12 is surprisingly similar to the iPhone 12 Pro. Reviewers praised the iPhone 12's new design and Super Retina XDR display, but had mixed experiences with 5G and MagSafe.

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Photo via The Verge

Design

The reviewers were impressed with Apple's new squared-off design on the iPhone 12. TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino lauded the ergonomic benefits of the new design:

The squared-off sides make it far easier to grip and to pick up from a flat surface than the iPhone 11's rounded edges... Over time, it could lead to less grip fatigue among those who go caseless because less pressure is required to secure it.

He also approved of the striking new blue color:

The back color on the blue model I had was also very well chosen. It's deep indoors, bright in the sun and feels like part of a modern palette.

However, The Verge's Dieter Bohn expressed some disappointment at the iPhone 12's glossy rear glass.

Despite all of those flat edges, the seams and the corners are beveled just enough to make it comfortable to hold. The rails on the iPhone 12 are matte finish aluminum, and I prefer them to the glossy steel on the Pro models. Unfortunately, the rear glass is super glossy, super prone to picking up fingerprints, and as susceptible to picking up tiny little micro-abrasions as ever.

CNN's Jacob Krol also noticed the glass's tendency to acquire scratches. Nonetheless, Bohn praised the overall design improvements:

This design just feels more elegant and confident than the past few years of iPhones, including even the big iPhone X redesign. And the smaller size is the best part; the iPhone XR and iPhone 11 always felt just a little too big.

Moreover, Panzarino noted the lighter weight of the iPhone 12, which he said was more noticeable than expected:

One thing worth mentioning here too is that the iPhone 12 Pro is 189 grams where the iPhone 12 is 164 grams. While it may seem silly to note a 25 gram difference, I can say that in practice it does feel quite a bit lighter.

Display

Chris Velazco of Engadget reflected that the iPhone 12's Super Retina XDR display is a significant upgrade over the iPhone XR and iPhone 11:

This screen is an enormous improvement over the Liquid Retina displays Apple used in the XR and 11. Not only does it run at a higher resolution, its colors pop more dramatically, and its brightness peaks at 1200 nits when you're watching HDR content. The screen won't be that bright most of the time, though — its max brightness for everything else is 800 nits, which is still plenty for easy readability outdoors.

Cameras

Most of the reviews observed that the iPhone 12's camera is only incrementally better than the iPhone 11 Pro's camera. Velazco believes that the camera is generally not much better in use than on the iPhone 11 Pro:

Honestly though, most of the photos I’ve taken don’t look that much better than what I got from last year's 11 Pro. The biggest difference I noticed during daylight shoots is that the 12 and 12 Pro’s photos are just a touch warmer than the 11 Pro, but not enough to notice at a glance. I also expected night-shooting to be better since this sensor can capture more light. But, that only seems beneficial when you make it a point not to shoot in Night Mode. When you do, the differences mostly boil down to the way Apple uses neural networks to process those images.

Panzarino said that there were some improvements, but they were difficult to notice:

I saw some signs of improvement here but it can be difficult to tell for a few reasons. The iPhone 11 Pro was already very sharp across the image field, for one, and there is so much computational blending happening that it can be hard to differentiate between something that the software improved and something that the hardware has improved...The other big upgrade in the Wide camera, though, is a new f1.6 aperture, which allows an Apple-quoted 27% more light in. In my testing I found the image quality to be pretty spectacular but without nullifying the iPhone 11 Pro except in some specific conditions. Simply put, the iPhone 11's camera is already very, very good, but the moves forward in the iPhone 12 slot in above what would normally be a 'one cycle' difference.

Instead, the more noticeable camera improvements were seen with the Ultra Wide lens and in Portrait mode:

The practical benefits can be seen in the iPhone 12's increased Ultra Wide lens quality... The Ultra Wide is sharper edge-to-edge, crisper overall and has some very judiciously applied perspective correction built in to make sure that you don't get distracting distortion along architectural lines in your images.

The portrait mode on iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are greatly improved in one major respect: they do a much better job of segmenting images along the border of things like leaves, hair, fur and other areas of fine detail.

MagSafe

The reviewers were interested in Apple's new MagSafe charger, which Panzarino described as "way faster than fiddling with a Qi charger, and way less frustrating." Velazco remarked:

Wireless charging is generally too finicky and inefficient to be worth my time, but MagSafe fixes enough of the pain points that I’m starting to change my mind.

However, he was unsure about the practicality of MagSafe charging:

It doesn't hurt that the MagSafe connector latches on so strongly that you can still pick the iPhone up and use it while charging "wirelessly."... All of this is somewhat beside the point, though: If you're in a rush, MagSafe is still no substitute for a proper USB cable and a good charger.

Opinions about MagSafe accessories, such as Apple's MagSafe Wallet, were much more mixed. Velazco was unimpressed with Apple's card wallet, saying that in practice it was temperamental, and he expressed concerns about how well other MagSafe accessories would function:

There's also a nifty card case you can slap on the back of your iPhone 12, and I gotta tell you, it's better on paper than in practice. For one, it holds two to three credit cards — or one of those thick NFC keycards for offices and such — and they can be tough to remove without pulling the case off the phone entirely. And that's another thing: Maybe my pants are just too tight, but the case already came off a few times when pulling the phone out of my pocket. I don't think a MagSafe Pop Socket is such a great idea, not that it'll stop companies from making them.

5G

The reviewers also had a varied experience with 5G on the iPhone 12, but this was more so due to network coverage rather than the iPhone 12's capabilities. Wired's Lauren Goode said that "5G networks aren't yet widespread enough in the U.S. for you to experience the benefit of these faster wireless speeds." Panzarino explained:

The fact is that my experience will be shared by the vast majority of iPhone 12 buyers this year. The fastest flavors of 5G are available only on a few blocks of a handful of major cities at the moment and though the speeds are absolutely incredible there, that will have very little to do with the wider experience of buyers over the next 6 months. And, of course, millimeter wave 5G is not live for customers outside of the U.S. currently.

More Reviews


And for early unboxings and first impression videos, check out our summary where we've pulled together well over a dozen videos.

‌The iPhone 12 is available to pre-order in the United States and numerous other countries, with deliveries to customers and in-store availability beginning Friday, October 23. The iPhone 12 mini, which offers all of the same features in a smaller package, will be available for pre-order on November 6 with a launch following on November 13.

Article Link: iPhone 12 Reviews: Major Design and Display Improvements, Mixed Experiences With 5G and MagSafe
 
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CrazyForCashews

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Apr 1, 2018
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The iPhone 12 (especially the Mini) are going to do very well. They may not be the latest and greatest compared to the Pros, but they’re more than good enough for a persons cellular needs.

As intriguing as the Mini is, the 6.1” iPhone is also very interesting considering how much lighter it is to the Pro and how feature packed it is especially now that it has an OLED screen.

Seriously, who needs a Pro when the base 12 is so good?
 

JM

macrumors 68000
Nov 23, 2014
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The iPhone 12 (especially the Mini) are going to do very well. They may not be the latest and greatest compared to the Pros, but they’re more than good enough for a persons cellular needs.

As intriguing as the Mini is, the 6.1” iPhone is also very interesting considering how much lighter it is to the Pro and how feature packed it is especially now that it has an OLED screen.

Seriously, who needs a Pro when the base 12 is so good?
Which is exactly why everyone is spending $829 for a 64 GB 12
 
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Braderunner

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"Over time, it could lead to less grip fatigue among those who go caseless because less pressure is required to secure it."

This!

This, all you miscreants that say rounded edges are better.

😂
I went caseless with my iPhone 5 and 5s. Then came the rounded edges...:eek:. Trying to hold onto one with the polished stainless steel edge is like trying to hold onto a wet bar of soap.
 

FightTheFuture

macrumors 68000
Oct 19, 2003
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Dealt with rounded edges without a case since the 6s and grip fatigue wasn’t something unmanageable but it’s worth making note of.
I'm sad. I love apple and iPhone and the 12 looks amazing but they aren't even hiding the money grabs and greed this year. Its pretty sickening honestly
It’s all relative. I don’t think Apple wants to manufacture and ship hundreds of millions of plastic boxes either.
 

Vanilla35

macrumors 68040
Apr 11, 2013
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Cameras

Most of the reviews observed that the iPhone 12's camera is only incrementally better than the iPhone 11 Pro's camera. Velazco believes that the camera is generally not much better in use than on the iPhone 11 Pro

Wow apple really did release a Covid iPhone :confused:. Skipping this one super hard.
 
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rjp1

macrumors 6502
Mar 27, 2015
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My biggest concern was that the MagSafe wouldn’t be secure enough.

If it is too strong, then people will complain that is too hard to remove things that need to be removed - like a charger.

If it isn’t strong enough, then people will complain that is too easy for things to fall off - like a wallet, extra battery pack, or pop socket.
 

AngerDanger

macrumors 603
Dec 9, 2008
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If you can't figure out standard wireless charging, I worry for your ability to function in our world. You put the phone down on the charger. That's it, you're done. How finicky is your charger?
Ah, yes, the ol' "if you buy a product that does a task, you were completely incapable of doing that task yourself and are possibly dysfunctional" post.

It never ceases to amaze me how dire some people's reactions are to new products. Gotta wonder if there was outcry when toilet paper became commercially viable.

"If you can't figure out standard hand wiping, I worry for your ability to function in our world. You wipe with your hand. That's it, you're done. How finicky is your hand?"
 

yegon

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Oct 20, 2007
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If you can't figure out standard wireless charging, I worry for your ability to function in our world. You put the phone down on the charger. That's it, you're done. How finicky is your charger?

Yep.

I’ve used the bog standard Mophie charger that Apple sold 1000+ times. It hasn’t worked on maybe 2 occasions, and that was probably in the first 5 times using it when I wasn’t familiar with it.

As a poster above says, it requires two hands to remove it. In which case I may as well use my fast charger.
 

T'hain Esh Kelch

macrumors 603
Aug 5, 2001
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Good, now I know I am not getting a MagSafe Wallet. It does sound good on paper, but in real life, apparently not.

And still on the fence on Magsafe. How efficient is it compared to using a wire?
 

gk4

macrumors regular
Mar 6, 2010
182
262
"Over time, it could lead to less grip fatigue among those who go caseless because less pressure is required to secure it."

This!

This, all you miscreants that say rounded edges are better.

😂

Yeah, it's crazy. For years I've been arguing with people about how round edges give way less grip. I don't know why it was even a conversation. I mean, you obviously get more friction from a flat surface that one where your fingers only grip a smaller amount of surface area.
 

TonyC28

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Aug 15, 2009
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If you can't figure out standard wireless charging, I worry for your ability to function in our world. You put the phone down on the charger. That's it, you're done. How finicky is your charger?
Didn’t Apple spend time pointing out that proper alignment matters or you risk weak charging or no charging at all?
 
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