The iPhone 12 features Apple's next generation A14 Bionic chip and will work with 5G networks. The camera improvements include bigger sensors, Night Mode and Deep Fusion on the front-facing TrueDepth camera, and Dolby Vision video recording. It will also work with MagSafe accessories and wireless chargers.
- A14 Bionic chip
- New MagSafe accessories
- Super Retina XDR OLED display with HDR
- Improved camera, including TrueDepth Night Mode and Deep Fusion
- 5G network compatible
- Battery life is about the same
Apple is still keeping the iPhone 11 as an affordable option for many people. While it is last-gen tech, the A13 Bionic is still plenty fast for most people, and you have the Ultra Wide lens and Night Mode and Deep Fusion on the rear-cameras. The battery will last you most of the day, but keep in mind you won't have 5G, MagSafe, or an OLED screen.
- A13 Bionic chip is still powerful
- 17 hour battery life
- Very affordable price
- Still has great cameras
- Last gen
- Still uses LCD screen
- Incompatible with MagSafe accessorise
- No 5G connectivity
- TrueDepth Camera doesn't have Night Mode or Deep Fusion
While the iPhone 12 is the latest and greatest from Apple, it still has a relatively high price point for a lot of folks, so the iPhone 11 may be more appealing. And while the iPhone 11 isn't a bad phone, it's still last year's tech, so it will have some shortcomings when compared to the new iPhone 12.
iPhone 12 vs iPhone 11: The breakdown
When it comes to iPhone 12 vs iPhone 11, the real question you should ask yourself is whether or not you need the latest and greatest, or if you would be OK with a phone that is already over one year old. For most people, the idea of a cheaper iPhone is a big draw, but keep in mind that you'll be missing out on a few things, especially 5G and MagSafe, which you get with the iPhone 12 line (including iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max).
|Header Cell - Column 0||iPhone 12||iPhone 11|
|Cost||From $799||From $599|
|Processor||A14 Bionic||A13 Bionic|
|Display||Super Retina XDR OLED Display||Liquid Retina HD LCD Display|
|Colors||Blue, Green, PRODUCT(RED), White, and Black||Purple, Yellow, Green, Black, White, PRODUCT(RED)|
|Battery||17 hours||17 hours|
|Water resistant||Yes, up to 6 meters for 30 minutes||Yes, up to 2 meters for 30 minutes|
|Charging||Lightning, Qi, and MagSafe Wireless Charging||Lightning and Qi Wireless Charging|
|Camera Lenses||12MP Ultra Wide and Wide||12MP Ultra Wide and Wide|
|Night Mode||Yes, both rear and TrueDepth Camera||Only rear cameras|
|Deep Fusion||Yes, both rear and TrueDepth Camera||Only rear cameras|
|Night Mode Time-lapse||Yes||No|
|Dolby Vision video recording||Yes, up to 30fps||No|
If you must choose one between the iPhone 12 vs iPhone 11, we're going to go with the iPhone 12. This will be the first iPhone that will be able to use 5G networks across all major carriers, which means blazing fast download speeds (as long as 5G is in your area). However, with the addition of 5G, the battery life for the iPhone 12 won't be much better than the iPhone 11 because Apple rates both at 17 hours. The 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display also means you get a screen that is capable of true blacks and vivid colors like never before, which you simply just don't get with LCD. And of course, the A14 Bionic means that the iPhone 12 will be faster and zippier over the iPhone 11.
With the debut of MagSafe for iPhone 12, you're also going to have more options when it comes to charging and accessories. The iPhone 12 will still charge via a Lightning cable and Qi wireless chargers, but MagSafe takes it to a whole other level. With MagSafe, the iPhone 12 devices have a ring of magnets on the back that serve as the backbone for the MagSafe ecosystem. Because of this ring, accessories and MagSafe chargers easily line up and attach to the back of your iPhone 12. MagSafe chargers can do up to 15W output and cases and accessories like wallets can snap on. There will also be plenty of third-party MagSafe accessories that will change how you accessorize and charge.
The iPhone 12 also has many notable camera improvements, such as bigger sensors, ProRAW, and even Night Mode Time-lapse. The TrueDepth camera on the front of the iPhone 12 can now do Night Mode and Deep Fusion as well, unlike the iPhone 11. And for video recording, the iPhone 12 can do Dolby Vision videos at 30FPS.
However, the iPhone 11 is still a very good device that can run iOS 14, and it's $200 less than the iPhone 12, so it's a good option to pick up if you're on a budget. Despite being last-gen, the A13 Bionic is a very capable processor, and the cameras are not too shabby — you still get the Ultra Wide lens, along with Night Mode and Deep Fusion.
iPhone 12 vs iPhone 11: Should you upgrade?
If you have an iPhone 11 right now, then I don't think you should upgrade to the iPhone 12 for marginal spec bumps. The iPhone 11 is still a great phone with iOS 14, and the specs are still powerful, all things considered. Honestly, if you're on an iPhone 11, then perhaps the better upgrade would be to an iPhone 12 Pro, but that's entirely up to you. Sometimes just grabbing a new iPhone 11 case could make your phone feel fresh and new.
However, if you are still on an iPhone XS or earlier, then i believe the iPhone 12 would be a significant upgrade. You'll be getting a slightly bigger screen with the Ultra Wide lens, Night Mode, 5G, MagSafe, and more.
The latest and greatest
The iPhone 12 features 5G, MagSafe, a beautiful and crisp OLED screen for the Super Retina XDR display, and lots of camera improvements. It's unfortunate that the battery life wasn't improved.
When you're on a budget
The iPhone 11 may be a year old, but it's still a very good phone with iOS 14, the A13 Bionic chip, powerful camera capabilities, and you just can't beat that price, considering all that you're getting.
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Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.
When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.