iPhone 11 vs iPhone 12: Should You Upgrade?

iPhone 12 vs iPhone 11 - Should You Upgrade

Own an iPhone 11 and tempted to upgrade to the iPhone 12? Apple’s latest iPhone does pack a number of amazing new features and specs that would make one consider upgrading to it. But should you? Are the improvements worth the money? Read this comparison to find out.

The iPhone 11 has been Apple’s best selling iPhone since the beginning of 2020 and rightfully so because of the sheer amount of features it packs and the value for money it offers. The iPhone 12 offers even more features and performance than the iPhone 11 but then it is also more expensive than the former. This makes the question of whether one should upgrade to it tricky. Below is a look at how the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 differ which should help you answer the question as to whether you should make the upgrade or not.

Read: iPhone 12 Vs iPhone 12 Pro: 9 Key Differences

iPhone 11 vs iPhone 12 Comparison: Should You Upgrade?

Display

  • iPhone 11 – 6.1-inch True Tone Liquid Retina HD LCD display, 1792 x 828 pixels (326 ppi), Haptic Touch, True Tone
  • iPhone 12 – 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display, 2532 x 1170 (460 ppi), Haptic Touch, HDR Display, True Tone, HDR10, Dolby Vision

One of the biggest upgrades on the iPhone 12 is the new Super Retina XDR display. This is the same display that Apple uses on its iPhone 11 Pro lineup. The OLED panel on the iPhone 12 is vastly superior to the LCD panel of the iPhone 11 in almost every aspect — brightness, colors, contrast, and even resolution. The iPhone 12’s Super Retina XDR display supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision content, higher peak brightness of 1200 nits, and a near-infinite contrast ratio. If you consume a lot of content, the iPhone 12’s display is going to bring about a noticeable jump in the viewing experience.

What’s even better is that Apple has reduced the bezel size so the iPhone 12 is actually smaller and lighter than the iPhone 12 despite featuring the same display size.

iPhone 11 Pre-order tips
iPhone 11

Design

  • iPhone 11 – 150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3 mm, 194g, IP68 certified
  • iPhone 12 – 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4 mm, 164g, IP68 certified

The iPhone 12 features a redesigned chassis and the switch to the OLED panel has allowed Apple to reduce the bezel size. This means the iPhone 12 is lighter, thinner, and more compact than the iPhone 11. Apple says the iPhone 12 is 11% thinner, 15% smaller, and 16% lighter than the iPhone 11 despite packing the same size 6.1-inch display.

The water-resistance capabilities of the device have also been improved and it is now rated for a maximum depth of 6m for up to 30 mins. The iPhone 11 also has an IP68 certification but it is only rated for up to 2m depth. Another relatively minor difference is that the iPhone 12 is available in five colors while the iPhone 11 is available in six colors, with yellow being missing from the iPhone 12 color palette.

iPhone 12

Chipset

  • iPhone 11 – A13 Bionic, 7nm+ EUV, Third-generation Neural engine
  • iPhone 12 – A14 Bionic, 5nm fab, 16-core Neural engine

Apple says the A14 Bionic features 11.8 billion transistors and it is based on a 5nm fabrication process. The 6-core CPU of the chip offers a 40 percent boost in performance while the 4-core GPU brings about a 30 percent performance jump. The Neural Engine has also gotten a major boost and now boasts of 16 cores making it twice as fast as before. Lastly, the second-generation ML boosts machine learning calculations by 10 times.

Apple claims the new CPU is 50% faster than other smartphone CPUs in the market. The GPU is also up to 50% faster than any other smartphone GPU. With such a massive performance bump across the board, the iPhone 12 lineup is once again going to set a new bar in terms of performance. The faster Neural Engine, ISP, and ML will also greatly benefit apps that are increasingly relying on them for complex and specific tasks.

The A13 Bionic chip inside the iPhone 11 is no slouch but with the A14 Bionic, Apple is once again raising the bar high for mobile CPUs just like it has done in the last few years.

Storage

  • iPhone 11 – 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
  • iPhone 12– 64GB, 128GB, 256GB

This is an area where the iPhone 12 offers no upgrade over the iPhone 11. Both devices are available with the same base storage and top out at 256GB of maximum storage.

Camera

  • iPhone 11 – Dual 12MP camera setup f/1.8 and f/2.4 aperture, OIS for Primary sensor, 100% Focus Pixels for primary camera, Smart HDR 2, Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth control, Brighter True Tone Flash, Night Mode, Deep Fusion
  • iPhone 12 – Dual 12MP camera setup with f/1.6 and f/2.4 aperture, 1.4um large pixels, OIS, Smart HDR 3, Focus Pixels, Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth control, Brighter True Tone Flash, Night Mode, Deep Fusion, Dolby Vision with HDR recording, Night mode Time-lapse

On paper, the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 both come with a similar dual-camera setup. The difference, however, lies in their aperture and processing. The iPhone 12’s primary shooter features a wider f/1.6 aperture that allows it to take in 27% more light which allows for better low-light photos. Additionally, the iPhone 12 features Smart HDR 3 and an improved image processing algorithm that allows for better photos. Other notable improvements on the iPhone 12 include Dolby Vision with HDR video recording at 4k 60fps resolution, Night mode support for all cameras, and a new Night mode time-lapse. The iPhone 11’s camera is not bad but the iPhone 12’s camera takes the performance up another level.

Connectivity

  • iPhone 11 – 1.2Gbps LTE modem, VoLTE, Dual-SIM, Wi-Fi 6 with MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC with Reader mode, Ultra-Wideband chip
  • iPhone 12 – 5G, Gigabit LTE, Dual-SIM, Wi-Fi 6 with MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC with Reader mode, Ultra-Wideband chip

The iPhone 12 and iPhone 11 come with Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, U1 Ultra Wideband chip, and NFC with reader mode. Where they differ is in terms of mobile network connectivity. The iPhone 12 supports 5G and Gigabit LTE while the iPhone 11 tops out at offering “Gigabit-class LTE.” The iPhone 12 models sold in the US will also support mmWave 5G connectivity while variants sold in other countries will only have sub-6GHz connectivity.

Biometrics

  • iPhone 11 – Face ID
  • iPhone 12 – Face ID

Another area where the iPhone 11 and the iPhone 12 are essentially the same. Both phones feature Face ID as the only biometric authentication option and there’s no change in its performance or speed on the iPhone 12 as well.

Battery Life and Charging

  • iPhone 11 – Up to 17 hours of video playback, 65 hours of video playback, Qi wireless charging support
  • iPhone 12 – Up to 17 hours of video playback, 65 hours of video playback, MagSafe Charging support

Despite the addition of 5G, an OLED display, and other improvements, the iPhone 12 offers the same battery life as the iPhone 11. In fact, the streaming video playback time has increased by 1 hour from 10 hours. Both iPhones also support fast charging so they can be charged from 0-50% in just 30 minutes.

One area where the iPhone 12 differs from the iPhone 11 is in terms of wireless charging. While both phones ship with wireless charging support, the iPhone 12 features MagSafe charging which allows MagSafe-compatible chargers to automatically snap at the back of the device. Additionally, the device also supports up to 15W wireless charging when used with a MagSafe charger.

Price

  • iPhone 11 – Started from $699, Now available for $599
  • iPhone 12 – Starts from $799

Compared to last year, consumers are actually going to pay $100 more for the iPhone 12. While the new iPhone does bring a lot of new features to the table, the $799 price tag becomes a bit difficult to digest if you already have an iPhone 11. You can always trade-in the device to lower the cost of purchase of an iPhone 12 but you are still going to end up losing money.


The iPhone 12 is definitely a compelling device but when you compare it with the iPhone 11, the upgrades are not worth the additional hundreds of dollars that you will have to spend. The iPhone 11 is still a great device and you are better off using it for another couple of years before thinking of upgrading.