For the last couple of years, the only difference between the ‘Pro’ and the ‘Pro Max’ iPhone was in terms of battery life and display size. However, this year, there is a bigger gap between the iPhone 12 Pro and the iPhone 12 Pro Max. If you are confused as to which iPhone 12 Pro is right for you, read our comparison guide below.
The iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max are very similar to each other and only have a few differences. It’s just that these differences are big enough to tilt the balance in the iPhone 12 Pro Max favor for many. If you are looking to buy the iPhone 12 Pro but are eyeing an upgrade to the iPhone 12 Pro Max instead, read the comparison guide below to make the right choice.
I have not talked about performance, connectivity, storage, and other aspects of the two devices where they are exactly the same. The iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max both ship with 6GB RAM, 128GB of base storage, and offer 5G connectivity. They also make use of the A14 Bionic chipset and are basically the same in these departments.
iPhone 12 Pro vs iPhone 12 Pro Max Comparison: 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 Pro Max – 160.8mm x 78.1mm x 7.4mm, 228 grams, IP68 water and dust resistant up to 6 meters
The iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max has the same design and IP rating. They both feature a stainless steel chassis and are available in four different colors. Both phones are also IP68 certified and can withstand being submerged in up to 6m depth of water. Where the two phones differ is in their size. The iPhone 12 Pro Max is notably bigger and heavier than the iPhone 12 Pro. The bigger size might not be an issue for many but the additional weight could definitely be a problem since at 228gms, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is definitely on the heavier side.
- 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 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
The bigger size of the iPhone 12 Pro Max means that it also comes with a bigger Super Retina XDR display. Unlike the last few Max iPhones, the iPhone 12 Pro Max features a bigger 6.7-inch display — up 0.2-inch from the iPhone XS Max and iPhone 11 Pro Max. The additional 0.2-inch of screen space will please a lot of power iPhone users who have always wanted an even bigger screen. Apart from the size, the display of both phones is the same in terms of brightness and other features. They both are also protected by Ceramic Shield which offers 4x better drop protection.
- iPhone 12 Pro Max – 12MP primary (f/1.6 aperture, dual-pixel PDAF, sensor-shift OIS, 1.7um large pixel) + 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, Brighter True Tone Flash, Night Mode, Deep Fusion, Dolby Vision with HDR recording, Night mode Time-lapse, ProRAW support, LiDAR sensor
- 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
You might not care about the display or battery life but if you care about camera performance, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is the one you need. The primary camera resolution of the iPhone 12 Pro and the iPhone 12 Pro Max is the same at 12MP. However, the iPhone 12 Pro Max has a 47% larger camera sensor and bigger 1.7um pixels that should allow it to offer better dynamic range and low-light performance. It also comes with superior sensor-shift stabilization which Apple claims allow for up to an extra stop of light in handheld mode. It even offers a slightly higher zoom level of 2.5x which could come in handy if you love taking photos from the telephoto camera.
If you really care about camera performance, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is a no-brainer. It promises to offer an even better camera performance than what the entire iPhone 12 series already offers.
- 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 MagSafe wireless charging, MagSafe compatibility
- iPhone 12 Pro – Up to 17 hours video playback, 65 hours audio playback, 18W wired charging, 50% charge in 30 minutes, 15W MagSafe charging, MagSafe compatibility
The bigger size of the iPhone 12 Pro Max means there’s more room for a bigger battery inside. If battery life is of utmost importance to you, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is the iPhone that you must go for. It is rated for up to 20 hours of video playback, three hours more than the iPhone 12 Pro. And like the iPhone 12 Pro, it has fast charging support, 15W MagSafe wireless charging support, and more. For someone who is always on the go and never around a wall socket, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is the obvious choice due to its battery life.
- iPhone 12 Pro Max – Starting $1,099
- iPhone 12 Pro – Starts at $999
Ultimately, everything comes down to price. The iPhone 12 Pro Max is only $100 more expensive than the iPhone 12 Pro. While $1,000 itself is a lot of money for the iPhone 12 Pro, if you are ready to spend that much money, I will strongly recommend you to spend that $100 that get the iPhone 12 Pro Max. For that extra 100 bucks, you are getting a bigger display, a better primary camera, a telephoto camera with a slightly longer reach, and longer battery life. That’s a lot of improvements for just $100 more.
If you are set on buying a 6.1-inch iPhone, I will recommend you to save money and get the iPhone 12 instead of the iPhone 12 Pro. The latter just does not bring enough new features to the table to warrant an extra $200 over the iPhone 12.