Apple is following a staggered launch approach for its iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro lineup this year that sees the company launching the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro first, with the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max launching next month. If you are confused about whether you should buy the iPhone 12 or the iPhone 12 Pro, read our comparison below to find out.
There are nine key differences between the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro but even after reading about them, if you are unable to make your mind on which iPhone 12 variant is right for you, read our guide below.
iPhone 12 Pro vs iPhone 12: Which One Should You Buy?
- iPhone 12 Pro – 146.7mm x 71.5mm x 7.4 mm, 187g, IP68 water and dust resistant up to 6 meters
- iPhone 12 – 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4 mm, 164g, IP68 water and dust resistant up to 6 meters
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are very similar in the design department. Their dimensions are largely the same, with the iPhone 12 Pro being slightly thicker due to its stainless steel chassis. This gives the latter a more premium in-hand feel as well, though the iPhone 12’s aluminum body is not bad in any way as well. Both phones are also IP68 certified for up to 6m depth. One minor difference is in terms of colors. The iPhone 12 is available in five bold and funky colors while the iPhone 12 Pro is available in four colors, with only the new Pacific Blue color standing out from the other options.
- iPhone 12 Pro – 6.1-inch, Super Retina XDR display, 2532 x 1170 pixels (460 ppi), 800 nits brightness, Haptic Touch, True Tone, HDR10, Dolby Vision, Ceramic Shield protection
- iPhone 12 – 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display, 2532 x 1170 (460 ppi), 650 nits brightness, Haptic Touch, HDR Display, True Tone, HDR10, Dolby Vision, Ceramic Shield protection
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are pretty much the same in the display department. They have the same size OLED panel with Dolby Vision and HDR support. They are even protected by Ceramic Shield, a new type of cover glass from Apple which offers 4x better drop performance. The only minute difference between the two iPhones here is that of the brightness. The iPhone 12’s display has a typical brightness of 600 nits, while the iPhone 12 Pro can reach up to 800 nits.
- iPhone 12 Pro – A14 Bionic, 5nm fab, 16-core Neural engine
- iPhone 12 – A14 Bionic, 5nm fab, 16-core Neural engine
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are powered by the same A14 Bionic chipset. This means there is not going to be any performance difference between the two devices. The A14 Bionic is the fastest mobile chip in the market right now, with Apple claiming a 50% lead in the CPU and GPU department over its competition.
RAM and Storage
- iPhone 12 Pro – 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 6GB RAM
- iPhone 12 – 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 4GB RAM
This is an area where the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro differ from each other. The former ships with 64GB base storage and tops out at 256GB of storage. In comparison, the iPhone 12 Pro starts with 128GB of base storage and is available with a maximum of 512GB storage. More importantly, perhaps, the iPhone 12 features 4GB RAM while the iPhone 12 Pro has 6GB RAM. The additional 2GB RAM on the Pro means it will be much better at multitasking and switching between multiple apps than the iPhone 12.
- iPhone 12 Pro – Triple 12MP cameras f/1.6 aperture for the primary camera, Focus Pixels, OIS; 12MP telephoto camera with f/2.0 aperture, OIS; 12MP ultrawide camera with f/2.4 aperture, 120-degree FoV, 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, ProRAW support, LiDAR sensor
- 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
This is an area where the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro differ greatly from each other. While both phones have the same 12MP f/1.6 aperture primary shooter and 12MP f/2.4 ultrawide, the iPhone 12 Pro also features a third 12MP telephoto camera sensor with f/2.0 aperture. This allows the phone to offer 2x optical zoom which the iPhone 12 misses out on. The iPhone 12 Pro also has a LiDAR scanner at its rear. This not only helps in improving the AR experience but also helps with focusing speed in low-light scenarios. It also allows the iPhone 12 Pro to offer Night mode portraits.
Lastly, the iPhone 12 Pro will gain support for ProRAW, a powerful and customizable image format that will allow photographers to manipulate the image as they like while still taking advantage of Apple’s Smart HDR and Deep Fusion processing technology. The video recording capabilities of both phones are the same.
When it comes to the front camera, both phones have the same 12MP f/2.2 TrueDepth camera system.
- iPhone 12 Pro– 5G, Gigabit LTE, 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 12 Pro are the same in this department. They both support mmWave 5G in the US, have dual-SIM support, Wi-Fi 6, LTE speeds of up to 2Gbps, Ultra-Wideband chip, and more. It is good to see that Apple is finally offering the same connectivity experience across its iPhone lineup.
Battery Life and Charging
- iPhone 12 Pro – Up to 17 hours video playback, 65 hours audio playback, Fast charge support, MagSafe Charging support
- iPhone 12 – Up to 17 hours of video playback, 65 hours of video playback, Fast charge support, MagSafe Charging support
Up until last year, the iPhone lineup had a weird oddity where the iPhone 11 offered better battery life than the iPhone 11 Pro. This year though, both phones offer the same level of battery life. In every other aspect — fast charge, MagSafe, etc. — these devices are the exact same, right down to Apple not including a power adapter in their box.
- iPhone 12 Pro: Starts at $999
- iPhone 12 – Starts from $799
The entire confusion on whether to buy the iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro boils down to the difference in their price. Up until last year, there was a $300 gap between the Pro and non-Pro iPhone. This year though, the iPhone 12 starts from $799 while the iPhone 12 Pro is available from $999. This means there’s a $200 gap. For that additional money, you get a more premium build quality, slightly more camera features and a telephoto sensor, better AR experience, more RAM and storage, and that’s about it. In my opinion, the jump from the iPhone 12 to the iPhone 12 Pro does not offer enough features to warrant the upgrade unless you are a power user.
In the money that you buy the iPhone 12 Pro, you can get the iPhone 12, AppleCare+, MagSafe charger, MagSafe case, and a few other accessories for it. This is an important consideration to make if you are thinking of extending your budget to get the iPhone 12 Pro. If you are paying monthly for the iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro, the higher price tag is not going to hit you outright and that makes the jump much more justifiable.
Which iPhone do you plan to go with — the iPhone 12 or the iPhone 12 Pro? Drop a comment and let us know!