IPHONE 12 PRO MAX REVIEW: THE BEST IPHONE IF YOU"VE GOT DEEP POCKETS

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The iPhone 12 Pro Max is a hell of a lot of điện thoại thông minh, if you can manage its giant kích thước & weight. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
The iPhone 12 Pro Max is a hell of a lot of smartphone, if you can manage its giant kích thước & weight. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The iPhone 12 Pro Max is the biggest, heaviest và most expensive version of Apple’s smartphone for 20đôi mươi, a beast in every dimension.

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The top-of-the-range iPhone costs from £1,099 and sits above sầu the 12 Pro (£999), the 12 (£799) & 12 mini (£699).

The 12 Pro Max has the same fresh design as the rest of the iPhone 12 range: squared-off sides, all-screen front with slimmer bezels & a frosted glass back. It has the same drop-resistant “Ceramic Shield” công nghệ covering the screen và the new MagSafe magnetic attachment system on the baông chồng for wireless chargers and accessories, but that’s where the physical similarities over.


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The stainless steel sides of the 12 Pro Max polished to lớn a mirror-lượt thích shine, shown here in the gold colour. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The GuardianThe huge OLED display measures 6.7in on the diagonal, which dwarfs all other iPhones & rivals the Android superphones, such as the 6.78in OnePlus 8 or the 6.9in Samsung Galaxy cảnh báo trăng tròn Ultra.

The screen is stunning. Bright, crisp và almost tablet-lượt thích at that giant form size. Watching HDR video clip is fantastic, và there is a good phối of stereo speakers too.

Holding it usually requires two hands, much lượt thích its superphone competition. It is very wide và weighs 226g – 18g heavier than the Note 20 Ultra, 39g heavier than the smaller 12 Pro or a full 64g heavier than the regular iPhone 12.

Thanks lớn the hard edges I found gripping the 12 Pro Max significantly easier than its rounded and equally heavy predecessor the iPhone 11 Pro Max. I could use it one handed with a bit of finger gymnastics và suffered none of the hand pain I got from trying to grip the bar-of-soap-lượt thích 11 Pro Max.


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The xanh iPhone 12 Pro next to lớn the gold iPhone 12 Pro Max. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Specifications

Screen: 6.7in Super Retimãng cầu XDR (OLED) (458ppi)

RAM: 6GB

Storage: 128, 256 or 512GB

Operating system: iOS 14

Camera: triple 12MPhường rear cameras with lidar, 12MP.. front-facing camera

Connectivity: 5G, wifi 6, NFC, Bluetooth 5, Lightning, ultra wideb& và GPS

Water resistance: IP68 (6 metres for 30 mins)

Dimensions: 160.9 x 78.1 x 7.4mm

Weight: 226g

Top performance, 5G & two-day battery


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No power adaptor is included in the box, just a USB-C to lớn Lightning cable – the phone didn’t charge any faster with a 45W power adaptor than a 20W one. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The GuardianThe iPhone 12 Pro Max has the same A14 Bionic processor as the regular 12, 12 Pro & máy tính bảng ipad Air, và has 6GB of RAM with a starting storage of 128GB – double the iPhone 12’s 64GB. Performance is equally excellent all round: snappy, sliông chồng and fast to lớn process photos, videos or when playing games. Speeds on 5G were similar, with slightly better reception than the iPhone 12 Pro & negligible impact on battery life.

Battery life is class leading at more than 48 hours between charges (eight hours longer than the iPhone 12) with the screen on for more than seven hours. The phone will last from 7am on day one until 7am on day three using 5G for about five hours, with the remainder spent on wifi.

It takes 30 minutes to lớn charge the battery lớn 50%, 73 minutes khổng lồ reach 90% but two hours 13 minutes for a full charge using a cable và a £19 Apple 20W USB-C power adaptor, or more than three hours with the MagSafe wireless charger.

Sustainability

Apple does not provide an expected lifespan for the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s battery – typically điện thoại thông minh batteries last at least 500 cycles while maintaining at least 80% capathành phố – but it can be replaced for £69. An out-of-warranty service costs £566.44, which includes the screen. The iPhone 12 Pro Max was awarded six out of 10 for repairability by the speciadanh sách iFixit.

The 12 Pro Max uses 100% recycled tin in the solder of its main board, 99% recycled tungsten, 98% recycled rare earth elements & at least 35% recycled plastic in multiple other components. Apple is also using renewable energy for final assembly of the machine, và breaks down the phone’s environmental impact in its report.

It also offers trade-in và free recycling schemes, including for non-Apple products. The 12 Pro Max does not ship with headphones or a power adaptor, reducing its carbon footprint.

iOS 14


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Face ID is still the best điện thoại thông minh biometric unlocking system in the business but cannot recognise people wearing masks. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The GuardianThe 12 Pro comes with the same iOS 14.2 version as the 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro and all other iPhones from 2015 or newer. This includes the home page screen visual overhaul with widgets & the App Library folders, enhanced privacy tools & the new Translate ứng dụng. For more see the iOS 14 overview and iPhone 12 Review.

You can expect upwards of five years of software support including security fixes & iOS version updates, which is longer than any other manufacturer of smartphones.

Camera


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The camera app is simple & automatic in most situations, which makes for effective pointing-and-shooting but it lacks full manual control. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The GuardianThe iPhone 12 Pro Max has the same selfie camera và ultrawide camera as the 12 và 12 Pro, which perkhung just as well, but different main and telephoto lớn cameras on the baông chồng.

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The telepholớn camera has a longer 2.5x optical zoom, up from 2x. Any increase in reach is welcome, but it pales in comparison to the 4x/5x optical zooms of competitors. The lens is slightly slower than that on the 12 Pro, making it worse in poor light. But both smartphones switch khổng lồ the more light-sensitive sầu main camera in low-light anyway.

The main camera has the same 12-megapx resolution but a 47% physically larger sensor, which collects up lớn 87% more light than its predecessor.


The main camera sensor (bottom of the cluster) is directly stabilised against hand-shake rather than the lens being so, which is comtháng in digital cameras but a first in a điện thoại thông minh. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The GuardianIn good light it shoots photos that are indistinguishable from the 12 Pro: highly detailed with good colour accuracy và control of high-contrast scenes.

When the light màn chơi starts khổng lồ drop around dusk the larger sensor captures far brighter, more detailed & less noisy images that are a marked improvement over other iPhones. The same holds true for indoor shots on dull winter days. The dedicated Night Mode is needed less frequently, too, & when it does engage it captures photos quicker than the regular 12 Pro.

For point-and-shoot photographers you get a clearer image. For enthusiasts, the larger sensor offers much more potential for detail when shooting in RAW formats, including Apple’s new ProRAW format that is due soon with a software update.

The 12 Pro Max also has the same lidar (light detection & ranging) scanner on the baông xã for Night Mode portraits and faster autofocus. The 12 Pro Max can shoot 4K đoạn phim at 60 frames a second, & in Dolby Vision HDR too.

Overall, the 12 Pro Max has the best camera on any iPhone & has improved low-light performance over other iPhone 12 models. It also brings Apple up khổng lồ par with top competitors, although the 2.5x optical zoom is still some way behind the best in the business.

Price

The iPhone 12 Pro Max costs £1,099 for 128GB, £1,199 for 256GB or £1,399 for 512GB of storage.

For comparison, the 12 Pro costs from £999, the 12 costs £799, the 12 Mini costs £699 & the iPhone SE costs £399. The Samsung Galaxy chú ý đôi mươi Ultra costs £1,179 and the OnePlus 8 Pro costs £799.

Verdict

The iPhone 12 Pro Max is the most feature-rich Apple smartphone this year, but comes at a significant price – both monetary and physically.

It sits firmly in the superphone bracket alongside the Samsung Galaxy chú ý trăng tròn Ultra and the OnePlus 8 Pro, so big that you may struggle lớn fit it in small pockets và will almost exclusively need two hands lớn use it.

You get a huge 6.7in screen, 48-hour-plus battery life, a significantly better camera & improved design and ergonomics over its predecessors. It is certainly not perfect và costs a lot, even if it is only £100 more than the smaller iPhone 12 Pro, but you are getting a lot of phone for the money.

If you can manage its sheer gargantuan kích thước & cost, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is one hell of a superphone.

Pros: very long battery, top performance, improved low-light camera, longer optical zoom, portraits with night mode, water resistant, wireless charging, MagSafe, Face ID, fantastic screen, 5G, long software tư vấn.

Cons: no USB-C, need your own charger, enormous, super heavy, very expensive.


The iPhone 12 Pro Max is a very big phone that will be hard to lớn fit in pockets & use on-handed. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

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