It’s been almost 14 years from when the original iPhone was introduced, and since then it has become a quartet of phones with the latest generation, the iPhone 12 series.
Design & Hardware
The biggest change for the iPhone 12 series is the new design. The outside of the iPhone 12 offers a more squared-off design that is reminiscent of the iPhone 4 and 5 from a few years ago.
Love it or hate it, the new design is nice and for me, it helps me grasp the phone easier. The phone is made from an aluminum frame and glass on the front and back. The iPhone 12 does feel nice in the hands, despite being a few steps removed from the cheapest iPhone model.
The iPhone 12 has a 6.1-inch OLED screen and a 2532 x 1170 resolution. The OLED screen looks great and fairly bright and supports HDR, True Tone and a Wide P3 colour gamut.
Powering the iPhone 12 is the new 5nm A14 Bionic chip, which is fast in almost all scenarios from navigating the home screen to shooting photos or even checking emails.
The iPhone 12 has 5G support (sub-6 GHz) & Gigabit LTE, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0 and an Ultra-Wideband chip. Within iOS 14, there’s a new Smart Data mode that switches from 5G to LTE when 5G isn’t needed and to save on battery life.
I wasn’t able to test out the 5G capabilities since my network (Freedom Mobile) has yet to roll out its 5G network in Canada. As of right now, Rogers, Bell and Telus have deployed their 5G networks.
For storage, you have 64, 128 and 256GB options, for most people, 128GB should be enough but 64GB is becoming the new 16GB (i.e not enough, especially as app install sizes are getting bigger).
In terms of battery life, Apple says you can expect around 17 hours of video playback and 65 hours of audio playback. The iPhone 12 was able to last all day and even when not in use, the standby time of the phone was great.
One big change that Apple made with the iPhone 12 series is the removal of the USB power adapter in the box. When you buy any of the new iPhones, you’ll get the phone, paperwork and a Lightning to USB-C cable.
Thankfully, there are some viable third-party chargers that can be found in our USB-C accessories guide.
If you do need to charge the iPhone 12 during the day, it supports fast charging, to get you 50% battery in 30 minutes with a 20W or higher charger (not included). There’s also Qi wireless charging (up to 7.5W) and new for the entire lineup is MagSafe charging.
You can get up to 15W charging speeds using the MagSafe charger but be forewarned that the iPhone does get very warm when using MagSafe, at least in my testing. Not that it’s too hot to touch but almost there.
Just like on the former Mac MagSafe charger, the one for the iPhone 12 series will magnetically attach to your device.
For review, Apple sent their MagSafe charger which is a small puck-sized charge on one end and USB-C on the other. The MagSafe has a slightly rubberized texture on the side that attaches to your iPhone but that can dirty quickly.
While MagSafe on the iPhone seems cool, I found it easier to just put the iPhone 12 on a wireless charger or plug it in. The other thing about MagSafe is that it’s just another extra and more expensive cost.
While a normal wireless charger that works with iPhones is usually $20-30 CAD, sometimes more if it’s one with an Apple Watch charger.
It’ll be interesting to see where MagSafe for iPhone will go but for now, I don’t see it as a viable option, or at least until the accessory ecosystem is more fleshed out.
The iPhone 12 comes in several colours including, Black, White, Product (RED), Green and Blue.
For the review unit, Apple sent the blue colour option and it looks really nice, so consider possibly getting a clear case to show off the back colour.
Pricing for the iPhone 12 is below:
- 64GB – $1,129 CAD
- 128GB – $1,199 CAD
- 256GB – $1,339 CAD
The iPhone 12 can be picked up from Apple’s website.
The iPhone 12 is running iOS 14, which brings some new features. The biggest being the addition of widgets on the homescreen. Previously, any sort of widgets in iOS was relegated to the far left screen but not anymore.
Now you can stick widget wherever on your homescreen between your apps and folders. This is a welcome change for iOS and makes it easier to glance at and info easier. Another feature of iOS 14 is the addition of the App Library.
If you’re someone who wants a minimal homescreen, the App Library could be a way to do it. Basically, it’s an app drawer for iOS that shows all your apps and automatically categorizes them into folders.
Other features of iOS 14 include a more compact incoming call notification, picture-in-picture support on iPhone, App Clips and more. You can read more about iOS 14 here.
The camera has always been a strong focal point of the iPhone and that’s no different with the iPhone 12. The phone has a dual-lens setup with a 12MP Ultra Wide and Wide. For video, you can shoot up to 4K video at 24, 30 or 60 fps.
The iPhone 12 series are the first phones to shoot Dolby Vision HDR video at up to 30 fps. If you want Dolby Vision video shooting at 60 fps, you’ll need an iPhone 12 Pro or 12 Pro Max.
Photos taken with the iPhone 12 looks great, with lots of depth and detailed colours brought to life. The same goes for videos, shooting in 4K is great and looks good. You can even now become your own mini Hollywood production thanks to the ability to shooting in Dolby Vision.
Low-light photography on the iPhone 12 has improved as well but could still use some work. Some of the photos taken with the Night Mode can seem like there are taken with an external flash/light source and make them seem slightly overexposed or blown out. But other times, it seems more natural-looking.
The iPhone 12 is a great all-around device and a good middle-ground between the cheaper iPhone 12 Mini and SE and the more expensive iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max. If you’re looking at the iPhone 12 series, the middle of the road iPhone 12 should be the one to get for most people.
- The new design and colours are nice (especially the blue)
- Great camera and can shoot Dolby Vision video (at 30fps)
- Good battery life with long standby time
- A14 Bionic offers quick performance
- Wireless charging and fast charge support
- The OLED screen looks great and is the same as the iPhone 12 Pro
- Feels lighter in the hand than the iPhone 12 Pro
- iOS 14 needs a bit more work
- More expensive than the previous models
- The MagSafe ecosystem is cool and has potential but not great now