iPhone 12 Pro Max vs iPhone 11 Pro Max: Should You Upgrade?

iPhone 12 Pro Max vs iPhone 11 Pro Max

Apple launched the iPhone 12 series smartphones on 13th October. And the star of the show is the iPhone 12 Pro Max. It comes as a successor to the iPhone 11 Pro Max that was launched last year. If you are an iPhone 11 Pro Max user and wondering if you should upgrade to its successor, you’ve landed at the right place. Here is a detailed rundown of both devices to make it easier for you to decide if you should upgrade to the iPhone 12 Pro Max or not.

The iPhone 11 Pro Max is still a great phone by all means and there really is no reason for you to consider upgrading to the iPhone 12 Pro Max unless you specifically want that improved camera system, 5G connectivity, and a few other new features.

iPhone 12 Pro Max vs iPhone 11 Pro Max Comparison: Should You Upgrade?

Design

iPhone 12 Pro
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max: Dimensions – 160.8mm x 78.1mm x 7.4mm; Weight – 228 grams; IP68 water and dust resistant up to 6 meters
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max: Dimensions – 158mm x 77.8mm x 8.1mm; Weight – 226 grams; IP68 water and dust resistant up to 4 meters

One of the biggest changes between the iPhone 11 Pro Max and the iPhone 12 Pro Max is their design. While the former has curved sides and edges, the latter comes with flat sides and sharp edges, making the device look much sleeker and futuristic. The iPhone 12 Pro Max also has super-shiny sides, which gives the device a much premium look compared to its predecessor.

While the new iPhone is slightly longer and wider compared to its predecessor, it is also thinner. So, holding the iPhone 12 Pro Max won’t be any harder than holding the iPhone 11 Pro Max.

The iPhone 12 Pro Max is undoubtedly more attractive than the iPhone 11 Pro Max and it is definitely a head-turner. If you are someone who cares about looks, the iPhone 12 Pro Max would a major upgrade for you.

Display

iPhone 12's Ceramic Shield display protection
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max: 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR display, OLED, 2778 x 1284 pixels resolution, 458 PPI, 800 nits typical brightness, 1200 nits peak brightness, wide color display, HDR, Ceramic Shield protection
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max: 6.5-inch Super Retina XDR display, OLED, 2688 x 1242 pixels resolution, 458 PPI, 800 nits typical brightness, 1200 nits peak brightness, wide color display, HDR, Ion-strengthened glass protection

The iPhone 12 Pro Max packs a bigger display compared to its predecessor. However, the increase in size is only marginal and you wouldn’t notice it coming from an iPhone 11 Pro Max. The other change between the displays of two smartphones is that the iPhone 12 Pro Max features Ceramic Shield protection, which, according to Apple, is four times stronger than the glass on the iPhone 11 Pro Max’s display. However, if you are someone who uses a tempered glass screen protector, the Ceramic Shield display of the iPhone 12 Pro Max wouldn’t benefit you much. All in all, the display shouldn’t be a deciding factor for you to upgrade to the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Camera

iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max: Rear – 12MP primary (f/1.6 aperture, dual-pixel PDAF, sensor-shift OIS) + 12MP telephoto (2.5x optical zoom, 65mm focal length, f/2.2 aperture, PDAF, OIS) + 12MP ultra-wide (f/2.4 aperture, 120-degree FoV, 13mm focal length, fixed focus) + 3D ToF LiDAR Scanner, 4K60FPS video recording with Dolby Vision; Front – 12MP (f/2.2 aperture, 23mm focal length), 4K60FPS video recording
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max: Rear – 12MP primary (f/1.8 aperture, dual-pixel PDAF, OIS) + 12MP telephoto (2x optical zoom, 52mm focal length, f/2.0 aperture, PDAF, OIS) + 12MP ultra-wide (f/2.4 aperture, 120-degree FoV, 13mm focal length, fixed focus), 4K60FPS video recording; Front – 12MP (f/2.2 aperture, 23mm focal length), 4K60FPS video recording

The imaging is where the iPhone 12 Pro Max is significantly ahead of its predecessor. The new iPhone not only has a much better primary camera at the rear but it also packs a higher-zooming telephoto camera, LiDAR Scanner, and Dolby Vision video recording. Apple is using a bigger primary sensor on the iPhone 12 Pro Max which should help with its low-light imaging performance. The telephoto lens also has a slightly higher reach so you can zoom a wee bit more into subjects.

While you can expect the iPhone 12 Pro Max to offer the same image quality as its predecessor with the ultra-wide camera, it will put out significantly better images with the primary and telephoto lenses compared to that of the iPhone 11 Pro Max. The new iPhone will also capture better portrait images, thanks to the LiDAR Scanner. And the Dolby Vision video recording will offer much superior quality compared to standard 4K60FPS video taken with the iPhone 11 Pro Max.

We capture images and record videos on a regular basis. And even slightly better image and video quality will make a huge difference on a day to day basis. If you are a shutterbug, the iPhone 12 Pro Max will be a worthy upgrade for you.

Performance

Apple A14 Bionic SoC
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max: Apple A14 Bionic (5nm fabrication process, 6-core CPU, 4-core GPU), 40% faster CPU and 30% faster GPU compared to Apple A13 Bionic
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max: Apple A13 Bionic (7nm fabrication process, 6-core CPU, 4-core GPU)

The iPhone 12 Pro Max has much more processing and graphics power compared to the iPhone 11 Pro Max. However, you won’t be able to notice the increase in performance coming from an iPhone 11 Pro Max because last year’s iPhone is already very powerful. That being said, the extra horsepower would come in handy two or three years down the line when Apple upgrades the software with more features, which would take a toll on the processing power.

If you are going to use your iPhone for long, it makes sense to upgrade to iPhone 12 Pro Max as its more powerful SoC will keep the phone running smooth and fast. But if you are someone who changes smartphones every one or two years, the extra horsepower isn’t worth spending on.

RAM and Storage

iPhone 12 mini storage
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max: NVMe storage technology; Storage options – 128GB, 256GB, 512GB; 6GB RAM
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max: NVMe storage technology; Storage options – 64GB, 256GB, 512GB; 4GB RAM

The iPhone 12 Pro Max starts at the same price as the iPhone 11 Pro Max did. But it offers double the storage for that price, which, in our opinion, makes the new iPhone much more value for money compared to the older flagship. The iPhone 12 Pro Max also has 2GB additional RAM capacity. However, we don’t know how much will that help as the 4GB RAM on the iPhone 11 Pro Max kept the phone running smoothly without any hiccups even under heavy multitasking.

If you had purchased a 64GB storage variant of the iPhone 11 Pro Max and falling short on storage, this would be a right time to upgrade to a higher capacity iPhone 12 Pro Max. But other than that, the storage shouldn’t be a deciding factor for you.

Battery Life and Charging Speed

iPhone 12 mini charging
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max: 3,687 mAh capacity; 20 hours video playback (downloaded videos), 12 hours video playback (streamed videos), 80 hours audio playback; 18W wired charging, 50% charge in 30 minutes, 15W wireless charging, MagSafe compatibility
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max: 3,969 mAh capacity; 20 hours video playback (downloaded videos), 12 hours video playback (streamed videos), 80 hours audio playback; 18W wired charging, 50% charge in 35 minutes, 15W wireless charging

Although the iPhone 12 Pro Max has a significantly smaller battery pack compared to its predecessor, it offers a similar battery backup. At least that’s what official numbers say. Apple has been able to achieve similar battery backup with a smaller battery with the help of its A14 Bionic chip which is much more power-efficient than the iPhone 11 Pro Max’s A13 Bionic SoC. Since the iPhone 12 Pro Max packs a smaller battery and has the same charging wattage as its predecessor, it charges faster.

Speaking of, one of the coolest features of the iPhone 12 Pro Max has to be its MagSafe technology. It is basically an accessory mounting system that has magnets to hold the accessories in place. Wireless chargers compatible with MagSafe will be a lot easier to use with the iPhone 12 Pro Max than standard chargers with the iPhone 11 Pro Max as Magsafe will keep it in place even when you pick the device in your hand and use it.

Connectivity

iPhone 12 mini 5G
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max: Dual-SIM, 5G, dual-band Wi-Fi 6 (ax) with MIMO, Bluetooth v5.0, GPS, NFC, Ultra-Wideband, Lightning port
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max: Dual-SIM, 4G, dual-band Wi-Fi 6 (ax) with MIMO, Bluetooth v5.0, GPS, NFC, Ultra-Wideband, Lightning port

One of the biggest talking points of the iPhone 12 Pro Max is the 5G connectivity. It is among the first set of iPhones to feature support for the 5G network. However, the availability of 5G is very limited at the moment. And in our opinion, it doesn’t make sense spending on a new phone just for 5G.

Price

  • iPhone 12 Pro Max: Starting $1099
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max: Started at $1099

The iPhone 12 Pro Max offers only marginal improvements over its predecessor in many aspects. Imaging is the only criterion where it is vastly better than the iPhone 11 Pro Max. We think that you should upgrade to the iPhone 12 Pro Max if you are not satisfied with the imaging on your iPhone 11 Pro Max. However, if that is not the case, it is better for you to stick to your iPhone 11 Pro Max and save the money for iPhone 13 series.