When the iPhone 11 Pro was announced last year, many may have thought that there was no need to upgrade in 2020. But here we are and the new iPhone 12 Pro has been announced.
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There are no colors, a new design, and a few other subtle (and not so subtle) differences. So here’s the question you’re probably asking — iPhone 12 Pro vs 11 Pro, should I upgrade?
iPhone 12 Pro vs 11 Pro: Specifications
Lining up the iPhone 12 Pro vs 11 Pro and you probably notice there’s not much difference in terms of the dimensions. The iPhone 12 Pro is just slightly larger, coming in with dimensions of 146.7 x 71.6 x 7.4mm. Comparatively, the iPhone 11 Pro comes in at 144 x 71.4 x 8.1mm.
That’s really not going to be much of a difference when you actually hold the two in your hands. However, the next difference is going to come in when you look at the display size. The iPhone 11 Pro already had a pretty large 5.8-inch display, with a resolution of 2436 x 1125 (460 pixels-per-inch).
Normally, when a device gets a larger display, you expect that to mean more pixels. But that’s not the case with the iPhone 12 Pro. Coming in with a larger 6.1-inch display, the 12 Pro “only” features a resolution of 2436 x 1125 (458 pixels-per-inch).
Unless you have Superman-levels of vision, you won’t be able to tell the difference with the lack of pixels. Keeping with the display, there is one more major difference. Corning’s Gorilla Glass graced the display on the iPhone 11 Pro, which offered fantastic drop protection but led to more scratches. The display material has changed again with the 12 Pro, coming in with Corning’s new Ceramic Shield. This is said to be one of the strongest glass materials, but only time will tell if it stands up.
Now it’s time to move into performance. Your current iPhone 11 Pro is probably still trucking along just fine. That’s a testament to the power of the A13 Bionic which runs the show. Combined with 4GB of RAM, Apple’s software optimization is so great that hiccups are not an issue.
As you can expect, the chipset with the iPhone 12 Pro has been upgraded. Apple introduced the new A14 Bionic chip. This is the world’s first 5nm processor in a smartphone. Although there are almost two times the amount of transistors, there is not as much of a jump in performance. Instead, the new 5nm chip means good things for energy consumption and affects battery life.
The iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max see an upgrade to 6GB of RAM, over the 4GB offered in the 12 Mini and iPhone 12. The upgrade in RAM probably has to do with our next section.
A lot of the differences between the 11 Pro and 12 Pro come in the camera department. With the 11 Pro, there is a triple camera setup, with an ultra-wide, wide-angle, and telephoto lens. These capable of providing up to 4x optical zoom and up to 10x digital zoom, which is pretty standard nowadays. Smart HDR is onboard, and there’s optical image stabilization for those who love taking videos.
As for the 12 Pro, again we have three different camera sensors, but there’s a bit more going on this go ’round. The LiDAR scanner which was introduced with the 2020 iPad Pro, has made its way to the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max, as expected. Smart HDR 3 is onboard, along with Night Mode for Portrait photos.
The biggest change, for some at least, is the addition of Apple ProRaw. This is a new photo format, which combines computational photography with the flexibility of raw image editing. Not only will your images come out better than ever, but the Raw format makes it much easier to get the fine-tuned editing that professional photographers enjoy. Plus, Apple is planning on providing an API for third-party apps (like Halide) to take advantage of this new format for photography and image processing.
Odds & ends
There are a few other differences with the iPhone 12 Pro, and there was a lot of “screen time” for these two during the event. 2020 brings the first iPhones capable of supporting the “future” of mobile connections with 5G compatibility. Carriers have been slowly rolling this out for the last year or two, with T-Mobile leading the way. However, it seems that Verizon was holding back the rollout of its 5G network for the iPhone 12. Verizon’s CEO took to the stage during the announcement to confirm the rollout of its nationwide 5G network.
5G is an interesting beast. At launch, it may feel more like the upgrade from 3G to 4G, which is only available in certain areas and the speed differences are likely to be negligent. However, 5G uses a different (and lower) bandwidth from LTE, meaning that you’ll be provided with improved latency. As for speeds, 5G is theoretically faster than you can imagine, providing between 1 and 10Gbps of download speeds. However, those speeds have only been achieved under “perfect” conditions. Instead, you’ll likely see speeds starting around 50Mbps in a heavily-populated area.
Another major addition to the iPhone 12 Pro is the re-branding of MagSafe. Wireless charging has been available with the iPhone since the launch of the iPhone 8. But wireless charging speeds are notoriously slow, coming in at a rate of around 5W. That was bumped to 7.5W with the iPhone 11 Pro, but it’s still not the fastest you can get.
The iPhone 12 Pro is capable of being wirelessly charged at up to 15W with a catch. You must use a MagSafe-approved wireless charger in order to take advantage of those speeds. If you use the wireless charger that’s already on your desk or on the nightstand, you’ll be met with 7.5W of charging.
MagSafe also brings a slew of new accessories that have nothing to do with charging. This is because this new feature is obtained by taking advantage of some pretty powerful magnets. Apple is releasing a slew of new MagSafe-compatible accessories that simply just attach to your case, including a wallet sleeve that attaches and detaches from the back of your iPhone.
We have already seen Belkin jump on board with some third-party accessories, but Apple is going to open this up to other accessory makers. This means, that new accessories will continue to roll out on a regular basis, potentially making your head spin with the sheer number.
Do you really need to upgrade?
There are a few major reasons why you may want to upgrade from the iPhone 11 Pro to the 12 Pro, outside of needing to have the “latest and greatest”. Here are a few reasons why:
- Upgraded Cameras
- Faster Processor
- More RAM
- MagSafe Accessories
- Faster Wireless Charging
- 5G connectivity
- An all-new design
Truth be told, if you already have the 11 Pro and have been satisfied with the performance, you will be more than happy with last year’s device. But the iPhone 12 Pro arguably marks the biggest change to the iPhone in years. And that’s something that many folks won’t want to miss out on.
Andrew is a freelance writer based on the East Coast of the US.
He has written for a variety of sites over the years, including iMore, Android Central, Phandroid, and a few others. Now, he spends his days working for an HVAC company, while moonlighting as a freelance writer at night.