With the pace of technological advancements in mobile phones I tend to replace my phone every 2 years. Often my motivation to upgrade to a new phone is due to the latest hardware features, processors and innovations however on other occasions it has simply been to take advantage of improved camera technology.
5 years ago I remember being excited to get my hands on the latest iPhone from Apple, the iPhone 6s. This offered a Retina HD display, a 12 megapixel camera with ƒ/2.2 aperture for those all important blurry background photos, 4K video recording at 30 fps, a fingerprint sensor built into the home button and the latest innovation with the A9 chip. With the iPhone 6s in my hand I felt like a million dollars with the best product going. 3 years on from that however in March 2019 and the iPhone 6s felt remarkably out of date.
With my 24 month contract fulfilled I got back down to the O2 store to see what my best options were to upgrade. This led to me purchasing the iPhone Xs (read my iPhone Xs review here) which offered a Super Retina HD display, dual 12 megapixel wide-angle and telephoto cameras, ƒ/1.8 aperture, an A12 chip and Face ID with the removal of the round button on the face of the device along with the removal of the headphone jack.
Again, with the advancements in processing capability and the improvements made to the onboard camera(s) my update here felt incredible, with the Xs improving noticeably from the 6s when out and about in the wild.
A further 2 years on and its now April 2021 with another phone upgrade due. As an owner of the 15 inch MacBook Pro and AirPods Pro, my life is now firmly geared around Apple products and services. Therefore it was only fitting to get my hands on what has again been the latest iPhone released by Apple, the iPhone 12 Pro which I got my hands on in Pacific Blue.
iPhone 12 Pro unboxing
One of the things that Apple have nailed over the years is the experience of unboxing. The millimetre perfect fit of their products in the box continue to impress and the iPhone 12 is no exception.
The first interaction with the iPhone 12 Pro is the lens flare effects included in the graphics on the box. With an edge to edge screen, enhanced display and top end smartphone cameras, the packaging is making a lot of noise around what the iPhone 12 Pro has to offer once inside.
With the box lid removed the iPhone 12 Pro is presented colour/side up to really present itself with the wow factor. Historically Apple presented the iPhone with the mirrored glass screen facing up but let’s face it, there’s not much interest in being presented with a reflective black screen; it completely makes sense to immediately showcase both their camera offering and snazzy colour options.
The iPhone screen is protected with a slip of paper which once removed reveals that all important touchscreen.
Once removed from the packaging and held in the palm there is a noticeable difference with the phone design compared to its predecessor the iPhone 11 and my incumbent phone, the iPhone Xs.
It isn’t as comfortable to hold and that is due to its squarer design. This was a very deliberate design choice from Apple who set out to provide “less bevel” and “more screen”, which in a world where the latest technology allows for curved screens perhaps wasn’t completely necessary.
It’s certainly not a major problem however having moved from a comfortable curved edge iPhone to a square edge iPhone, the change in design quickly made itself known.
When it comes to the edges of the iPhone 12 Pro there isn’t anything new here from any of its recent predecessors.
The base of the phone carries the now standard USB-C input, microphone and speaker grilles.
The left edge contains volume up/down, mute switch and SIM card slot.
The top is simply smoothed off.
And finally the right hand edge presents solely the power button.
Underneath the iPhone you are presented with the SIM card slot key, USB-C charging cable and an Apple sticker.
Now here’s the frustration about Apple and their attempt to monetise everything.
Over the years we have seen them slowly remove accessories from their boxes and force an inflated price purchase, and this time it’s no different. They historically removed the 3.5mm headphone jack and with that no more headphones were included. You could however then go and buy their wireless headphones, the AirPods for a mere £100 extra.
This time around they have included your charging cable but no power adaptor! You can however go and buy one from the Apple store for a further £20.
The position that Apple have taken here is an environmental one. They state that billions are produced and already in circulation so they are doing their bit to save on precious metals and other manufacturing materials. This they say extends to their iPhone boxes which are now considerably thinner so they can also ship more items in their containers.
Now this is all well and good however if the cost savings are being made here by Apple, which I expect is entirely their priority over environmental issues, it doesn’t feel like I’m getting a good deal on the price and quite frankly I need an adaptor not just a cable. I’ll have to suck it up and buy the adaptor but it just feels like another huge monetisation effort from the brand that leaves me further out of pocket.
iPhone 12 Pro cameras
As with most phones on the market these days the camera offering is a key reason to purchase a phone replacing the need to carry around a bulky DSLR. With the advancements in camera phone technology it really is a case that for the everyday user a decent phone camera is more than sufficient to capture those special moments in life.
The iPhone 12 Pro brings about the latest camera technology from Apple with an ultra wide, wide and telephoto lens built in to the rear of the device along with some advanced capabilities for taking night photography and portrait shots in low lighting conditions.
Ultra wide angle lens
Located on the right of the iPhone 12 underneath the flash the ultra wide angle lens offers a huge level of performance when taking those all important wide photos:
- 13mm focal length
- 120º field of view
- ƒ/2.4 aperture
- 5-element lens
- Lens correction
Wide angle lens
Located at the top of the iPhone 12 the wide angle lens is great for everyday photos. With a 26mm focal length it will no doubt be the go to lens for the majority of scenes that I will be capturing.
- 26mm focal
- 1.4µm pixels
- ƒ/1.6 aperture
- 100% Focus Pixels
- 7-element lens
The third lens is the telephoto which is located at the bottom of the trio of cameras. With a 52mm focal length this camera will allow you to get up close and personal to your subject whilst continuing to maintain a high level of detail.
- 52mm focal length
- ƒ/2.0 aperture
- Focus Pixels
- 6-element lens
Now the iPhone 12 Pro is packed with technology, far more than I have the motivation to write here when you can simply head over to the Apple site and read a proper description(!). There are however a couple of important mentions that cannot be overlooked.
Firstly the iPhone 12 comes complete with the latest 5G technology. This is absolutely something for the future with its ultra fast connection speed as there are yet to be many towers upgraded to enable you to actually benefit from 5G; chances are that coverage in your area will be poor for some time until the technology to manage the 5G signals are more widely rolled out.
The second mention of note is Apple’s latest innovation known as “Ceramic Shield”. This provides the iPhone 12 with the toughest screen on the smartphone market today by introducing ceramic nano-crystals into the glass to make it extremely strong and scratch resistant.
By their own admission this isn’t an easy process to create such a tough screen as ceramics aren’t transparent but if it means the iPhone 12 can withstand damage from keys in a pocket or being dropped on the floor then they really will have nailed the everyday issues that exist as a smartphone owner.
iPhone 12 Pro review
Upgrading to the iPhone 12 Pro has been a fantastic option for me, moving away from what was rapidly becoming an out of data piece of hardware with the iPhone Xs. The speed, durability and 5G capability of the iPhone 12 Pro coupled with the inclusion of 3 exceptional quality cameras has made purchasing the phone a great option.