Consumer Reports crowns iPhone 12 Pro Max among best smartphones of 2021

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max cameras
Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max cameras (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Consumer Reports has named the iPhone 12 Pro Max as one of the best smartphones of 2021.
  • The outlet noted the battery life, screen, and cameras as the factors that earned it the crown.

The iPhone 12 Pro Max has taken the crown as one the best smartphones of 2021 according to Consumer Reports.

The outlet says that, of the 55 smartphones they have tested recently, only ten have not received their recommendation, a nod to the stellar technology making its way to mid-range and even low cost smartphones.

Consumer Reports tests dozens of models each year, checking the basics like how long the batteries last and how bright the displays are, along with premium features such as multi-camera setups and the hinges on "foldable" phones.But even the most lackluster of smartphones represents an epic leap in technology from a decade ago. And that means you don't have to buy the No.1-rated phone to get a great product.All but 10 of the 55 models currently in CR's ratings have earned our recommendation. The top 20 are separated by just five points.

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max (Image credit: Apple)

The iPhone 12 Pro Max took the cake as one of the top smartphones and best iPhone of the year due to its large display, battery life, and upgraded cameras. Consumer Reports does note, however, that many people will find the iPhone 12 Pro Max too big and may be happier with the iPhone 12 Pro, which does include most of the features of the 12 Pro Max in a smaller form factor.

Apple's latest super-sized flagship phone features a faster processor, a super-sharp OLED display, top-notch cameras, and, for the first time, 5G connectivity.That last factor eliminates a once-prominent shortfall for Apple, allowing the 12 Pro Max to go toe-to-toe with high-end as well as certain moderately priced Android phones with 5G hardware.And it gives iPhone users an incentive, after a few years of largely incremental improvements, to upgrade their phones.While the 12 Pro Max will cost you $100 more than its smaller sibling, the 12 Pro, it packs in several more hours of battery life, a slightly larger display, and a 2.5x zoom camera that gets you just a hair closer to the action than the 12 Pro's 2x camera.On the flip side, the Max version is significantly heavier and can be tough to use one-handed, even for people with long fingers. If you're wary of bulky phones, you might be happier with the 12 Pro.

If you're trying to figure out the best iPhone for you, check out our list of the Best iPhone of 2021.

The iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone 12 Pro released last fall along with the rest of the iPhone 12 lineup. The new lineup has been a major success for Apple, driving new sales at a rate not seen since the iPhone 6 back in 2014.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.