Which iPhone 12 should you buy?
Which new iPhone 12 is the right one for you?
Which new iPhone 12 is the right one for you?

Image: apple

By Alex Perry

Not long ago, Apple used to release just two new iPhones per year. That number has now ballooned all the way to four in 2020, making it a little tougher to tell which new iPhone is right for you. 

Lucky for you, we’re here to help. 

Every new iPhone this year supports 5G, features Apple’s new A14 bionic chip for improved performance, and improves on the iPhone 11’s excellent cameras in one way or another. The major differences lie in the smaller details, making each of the new iPhones right for a different audience even if they’re all broadly similar.

So if you’re still on the fence, here’s a list of each new iPhone along with some reasons why it might be the right fit for you.

iPhone 12 mini: one (small) size fits all

Of all four new iPhones, the $699 iPhone 12 mini has by far the easiest sales pitch: It’s tiny. At least, it’s tiny relative to other modern iPhones. Its 5.4-inch edge-to-edge display will fit in any pocket or adult-sized hands — and that’s without sacrificing visual quality. Despite its diminutive size, Apple still gave it a Super Retina display with HDR, and more peak brightness than last year’s iPhone 11.

Many flagship phones these days are just too big for lots of people. The iPhone 12 mini is for them. If you don’t believe me, check out our incredibly scientific test results.

iPhone 12: the “standard” model

There is but one difference between the iPhone 12 mini and the regular iPhone 12, and that’s size. The non-mini model has a 6.1-inch display that’s equal in size to the iPhone 12 Pro, so it occupies a sort of middle ground for people who want a nice new phone with a big screen but don’t necessarily need top-end specs.

At $799, it’s right in line with (or slightly cheaper than) other flagship phones in terms of price. The big screen and 5G support (which is present in all four iPhones this year) will make it ideal for those who want to stream Netflix on the go. The new dual-camera setup with ultra-wide and HDR video recording support will also serve those who want to take nice shots for social media.

iPhone 12 Pro: made for multitaskers 

All four new iPhone models this year share the same A14 Bionic chip, so base-level performance shouldn’t be drastically different from one iPhone to the next. That said, the $999 iPhone 12 Pro gives you a little bit more juice internally than the regular iPhone 12 while still retaining the same 6.1-inch form factor.

For starters, both Pro models have 6GB of RAM as opposed to the 4GB present in the non-Pro phones, giving them just a little bit more power to handle lots of different apps at once. In addition to that, the Pro can offer up to 512GB of internal storage, whereas the 12 and 12 mini top off at 256GB. 

Pro owners also get slightly more max brightness on the screen and a triple camera array with a telephoto lens and night mode portrait capabilities. Last but not least, both the Pro and Pro Max come with LiDAR sensors that will enable all kinds of augmented reality shenanigans and photography improvements.

iPhone 12 Pro Max: serious photographers and extreme iFans only

As always, the most expensive iPhone is naturally for people who just want everything. The iPhone 12 Pro Max will set you back at least $1,099, but you’re unlikely to regret it thanks to a massive 6.7-inch display, the biggest battery of the bunch, and most importantly, the best set of cameras you’ll find on a new iPhone this year.

Apple rates the Pro Max for up to 20 hours of battery life with video playback, compared to 17 hours for the Pro and 15 hours for the mini. It also brings a whopping 5x optical zoom with the telephoto lens, compared to 4x on the Pro and 2x on the 12 and mini. Photographers will have the best time with the Pro Max, hands down. 

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