iPhone 12 review: In the event you’re searching for a solid phone at a lower cost, this stays a fantastic buy This text comprises affiliate links, we may receive a commission on any sales we generate from it. Learn more
iPhone 12 has aged beautifully and stays a superb buy in 2022 …just be certain that to avoid base model with a measly 64GB of storage
What we love
- Stunning Design
- Gorgeous OLED Display
- A14 Bionic Processor Is Speedy
- Stronger Glass Can Survive Drops
- Fast 5G Downloads
- Nice Selection Of Colors
- MagSafe Accessories Work Well
What we do not
- More Expensive At Launch
- Measly 64GB Storage For Base Model
iPhone 12 offers some incredible upgrades in comparison with its predecessor, something that is quickly forgotten within the years that’ve passed because it first launched. In the event you’re selecting between an iPhone 11 or iPhone 12, trust us, the latter is a much, significantly better pick.
Even compared with the phones that Apple has launched within the years for the reason that iPhone 12, this years-old handset still stands toe-to-toe with its successors. The fashionable, flat-edged design has remained the identical, as has the 5G download speeds and edge-to-edge OLED display …something we bemoaned in our iPhone 13 review and iPhone 14 review.
Those with medically-diagnosed butterfingers shall be joyful with the iPhone 12, since that is the primary handset with Apple’s Ceramic Shield strengthened glass protecting the front and rear of the handset. With an IP68 rating, iPhone 12 may be submerged in 20ft (6 metres) of water for half an hour without the necessity to go away your phone in a bag of rice overnight.
In truth, our only real criticisms of the iPhone 12 are the measly 64GB entry-level storage, and the incontrovertible fact that you will probably find yourself with an even bigger Apple Store bill after you purchase yourself a recent USB-C charging plug and wired earbuds as these aren’t included within the box (you will not find these contained in the box with the newer iPhone 13 or iPhone 14, either). In the event you can secure considered one of the best iPhone 12 deals, you will give you the option to pocket an iPhone 12 with 128GB for lower than its successor (despite the best iPhone 13 deals significantly dropping the worth of that handset within the wake of the iPhone 14 release too).
Apart from these small nitpicks, iPhone 12 stays an Apple phone that is almost not possible to fault.
iPhone 12 review
On paper, iPhone 12 is the follow-up to the iPhone 11. But truthfully, this sensible handset has way more in common with the pricier iPhone 12 Pro than its predecessor. When Apple launched iPhone 11 back in September 2019, there have been some substantial differences between it and the costlier “Pro” line-up, which cost around £300 extra.
With the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro, that each one modified. In truth, the iPhone 12 enjoys almost the entire same goodies as its pricier sibling.
Last yr, iPhone 11 out-sold the iPhone 11 Pro and we would be surprised if that modified with the most recent line-up from Apple. But in 2020, those that buy the cheaper iPhone 12 shall be getting an almost an identical experience – from the gorgeous OLED display, to the cameras with improved low-light performance, and superfast 5G support – as those paying the additional for the “Pro” model.
iPhone 12 launches alongside an iPhone 12 mini and a costlier iPhone 12 Pro
Design & Display
Apple has totally refreshed the design of the brand new iPhone 12 with a glance that is paying homage to the older, and much-loved, iPhone 4. Meaning the curvaceous soft edges found on iPhone 11 have been replaced with a sharper and more angular chassis. On the back, there’s the identical glossy glass finish with a square-shaped camera bump fitted with two lenses.
We actually just like the look of the iPhone 12 with its solid construct and all-glass finish making it feel as premium as that £799 starting price deserves.
Nonetheless, although we have been left pretty smitten, we’ve a sense it would divide opinions because the flat sides could make it a little bit harder to grip. Thankfully, the softer curves of the iPhone 11 are still available for purchase at a less expensive price from the Apple Store when you’re not keen on the brand new look.
One thing that everyone seems to be sure to like is the brand new Super Retina XDR display, which now includes OLED technology and far thinner bezels – leading to a smaller iPhone in your pocket, despite it keeping the identical 6.1-inch screen size. The LCD panel (what Apple’s marketing department calls “Liquid Retina”) and chunkier borders across the screen found on iPhone 11 were our least favourite a part of that handset and so it’s nice to see Apple has upgraded things this time around.
iPhone 12 is available in quite a lot of different case colors and an improved OLED screen
This recent 6.1-inch touchscreen is not possible to fault. Compared with last yr, it could possibly show content at a much higher resolution with improved contrast and nearly twice the height brightness than before. There’s also native support for Dolby Vision and HDR10 which suggests watching a movie or bingeing on a box set has never looked higher.
In the event you wanted a screen nearly as good as this in your iPhone last yr, Apple charged you a minimum of £999.
Like most Apple products, the screen includes True Tone technology, which subtly adjusts the white balance to match the color temperature of the room around you. In a nutshell, it means the screen should at all times appear less harsh – or blue – in your eyes when working in dingier rooms.
Apple has totally refreshed the design of the brand new iPhone 12 with a glance that is paying homage to the older, and much-loved, iPhone 4
Thankfully, this massively-upgraded display can also be much stronger, due to the addition of a recent glass that Apple is looking “Ceramic Shield”, which it claims has 4 times higher drop performance than iPhone 11.
The rear glass panel has also been toughed up and hopefully, it’ll now be far less susceptible to smashing do you have to drop it on the ground – at all times a high-risk on any smartphone with glass on the back and front!
Thankfully, we’ve not had any accidents with our review unit, so it’s hard to inform just how significantly better “Ceramic Shield” shall be at surviving a fall. Nonetheless, expect infinite YouTube videos over the approaching weeks which is able to little question reveal whether Apple’s claims are true.
Processor & Performance
For years, iPhone has been the King on the subject of smartphone power and Apple says its recent model takes things to a complete recent level. iPhone 12 is fuelled by the A14 Bionic chip and we’re guessing that the common user won’t ever get near maxing out what these brains are able to.
On the time iPhone 12 launched, this was the fastest chip in any smartphone ever. In fact, as noted in our iPhone 13 review, this has been superseded by the sensible chip architecture teams at Apple.
A14 Bionic stays the primary system-on-a-chip in an iPhone built using a 5nm process, which suggests Apple is packing the entire brains right into a much smaller chip. This implies there’s less travel involved in every procedure, which uses less power and keeps things speedy. Not only that, however the four-core Apple-designed GPU offers a slick experience when playing high-performance games, multi-tasking with quite a few apps open at the identical time, and editing 4K video.
The iPhone 11 was already supremely powerful, however the A14 Bionic chip goes to make the iPhone 12 a really tough device to beat. While that is great news for anyone hoping to edit video, play the most recent games and open vast Photoshop images on-the-go… for the remainder of us, it really signifies that Apple should give you the option to proceed supporting iPhone 12 with the most recent features and software updates for years and years to come back.
In truth, Apple has confirmed that iOS 16 – the most recent version of the mobile operating system, scheduled to launch in autumn 2022 with a redesigned Lock Screen, improved Siri dictation and redesigned Home app to regulate smart lightbulbs and unlock your automotive – shall be compatible with iPhone 12. So those that buy an iPhone 12 today won’t miss out on any features.
iPhone 12 performance is sensible, due to the A14 Bionic. And expect iOS updates for years
But while the performance of the A14 Bionic guarantees to endure for years, what’s going to not last very long is the quantity of accessible storage in your recent iPhone.
Sadly, Apple continues to start out the range with just 64GB of internal storage, which is way too low. Shooting 4K video footage will munch through this storage very quickly and you might end up needing to delete files to download iOS updates or take recent photos.
Just about all Android phones now ship with a minimum of 128GB, but you will need to pay £70 extra to get that vital boost. In fact, you possibly can subscribe to iCloud storage to maintain your all-important family photos within the cloud – saving space for games in your iPhone – but that quickly becomes an expensive extra tax every month.
In the event you want much more storage, iPhone 12 may be purchased with 256GB but it will set you back an additional £147 over the entry-level model. As at all times, our advice is to purchase the largest memory you possibly can afford as it will future-proof the phone and prevent the pain of endlessly freeing up space on the device.
There is a dual-lens camera on the rear case
The brand new iPhone 12 encompasses a similar camera set to last yr with a dual-lens system placed on the rear case. This camera, which is powered by the A14 chip, offers the same old Ultra Wide and Wide shots together with Night and Portrait modes.
As with the last yr’s iPhone 11, this recent device will take some great shots without you having to think concerning the settings which is precisely what most individuals want from their phones. Photographs shot on the 12 all look pin-sharp and filled with detail and it’s hard to get things unsuitable when using this camera.
The largest change in 2020 is that the Ultra Wide lens now includes an f/1.6 aperture which delivers a 27% improved low-light performance.
You too can use Apple’s clever Night Mode with this wider lens which is a pleasant addition when shooting low-light landscapes.
If movies are your passion then the brand new camera can now record in Dolby Vision which captures 60x more colors. The iPhone 12 Pro also can edit encoded Dolby Vision videos right on the device, which has never been possible until now.
There’s also some impressive image stabilisation for a smooth look to your movies and there are the same old slow-motion, panorama, and Time Lapse modes. The iPhone 12’s camera is not a dramatic update but this can be a solid device for taking photos and you will have few complaints after hitting the shutter button.
iPhone 12 Night Mode selfie camera test v iPhone 11
iPhone 12 camera test
iPhone 12 camera test
Battery Life & MagSafe Charging
iPhone 11 was no slouch when it got here to battery life and we’re joyful to report that iPhone 12 is following in its footsteps. We have easily got through a day while not having to go near a plug and, depending in your usage, you might end up well right into a second day with power to spare.
We have been running quite a few battery tests, including a 7-hour Star Wars trilogy marathon with the iPhone 12 still having over 50% within the tank in any case three movies were played – now that’s impressive!
When things do run low, iPhone 12 includes wireless and wired fast-charging. But this yr, there is a recent addition with the introduction of a MagSafe charger. This clever cable snaps to the back of the case using magnets and offers faster wireless charging speeds. It does cost an additional £39, but it surely’s value investing when you want the perfect wireless charging experience on your shiny recent phone. It’s value noting that the speedy wireless charging speeds are only available with Magsafe, which is a limit put in place by Apple.
Although there are many fast-wireless chargers stocking the shelves on Amazon, iPhone 12 will revert to the slower speeds when placed on considered one of these – so don’t hassle buying one.
MagSafe permits you to snap a charger to the back of the iPhone 12, in addition to accessories like a wallet
One other thing you will need to recollect is that iPhone 12 doesn’t ship with a charger. Yes, Apple has removed the white power plug in a bid to cut back electronic waste and likewise to chop down on the scale of the packaging that it must ship its devices across the globe.
It does make loads of sense as most individuals have enough chargers littering the drawers of their homes, but one thing you would possibly find a little bit annoying is the charging cable that now comes bundled with the iPhone 12.
Apple has included a USB-C to Lightning port, which suggests the brand new cable within the box with iPhone 12 won’t fit with any of the plugs bundled along with your previous iPhones, which were at all times USB-A. So, when you’ve got a frayed charging cable, don’t think you will give you the option to swap the cable for the brand new one within the iPhone 12 box and proceed using your old plug. You are going to have to buy a recent one.
In fact, the brand new USB-C cable that comes with the iPhone does offer faster-charging speeds via Apple’s improved 20-watt plug and, when you own a MacBook or iPad Pro you possibly can now charge your iPhone with the much faster USB-C charging brick that ships with these devices.
Just bear in mind that you just might find yourself heading back to the Apple Store and adding a £19 plug to your shopping basket. Oh, and when you’re there – it is advisable to pick up a pair of £159 AirPods too as Apple has dropped the wired Lighting connector headphones from the box too.
iPhone 12 offers access to the fastest mobile data speeds within the UK via 5G
Yes, Apple is now joining its Android rivals and bringing 5G data speeds to all of its recent iPhones. It’s a superb move from the US firm and it is also nice to see every device getting this fast network technology – not only the most costly models within the range.
Samsung has followed a special path. It sells 4G-only and 5G versions of its top-end devices, with those without 5G costing less. Meaning you would possibly avoid wasting money when you’re living in an area with 5G, but does make the entire range a bit complicated and messy.
Mainly, you now know when you buy any iPhone 12, it’ll arrive with full access to 5G and the blisteringly fast download speeds it could possibly provide.
Having put 5G through its paces, Express.co.uk has witnessed downloads in excess of 300Mbps, which is around six times faster than the common UK broadband. It’s clearly the longer term, but there may be one thing to pay attention to.
Although firms equivalent to EE, Three, O2 and Vodafone proceed to boast that their coverage is expanding, there are still vast swathes of the country that are not even near getting 5G speeds. In fact, over the approaching months and years, things will improve and more places will get a 5G signal but when you’re rushing to purchase an iPhone 12 on launch day and expect blisteringly fast downloads – you is perhaps left feeling a little bit let down.
There’s something else to recollect as not all contracts include 5G and you could find you might want to pay a little bit extra every month to access it.
It’s great to see Apple now bringing this technology to its iPhones. There’s just a protracted method to go until we’re all going to get the complete good thing about this ultimate network technology.
5G is the longer term, so it’s great that iPhone 12 supports the mobile data standard out of the box
While iPhone rivals try to seek out recent ways to neatly hide the front-facing camera, Apple is sticking to its guns with the controversial notch – which dips into the highest of the screen to accommodate the cameras, sensors and speaker.
This curved black box also includes the Face ID technology, which not only unlocks the screen in a flash but is secure enough to permit payments to be made via Apple Pay and unlock your banking apps.
We’re huge fans of Face ID because it’s a quick and efficient way of accessing the phone …but it surely currently has an issue. The recent public health crisis has triggered governments across the globe to mandate mask-wearing indoors and outdoors.
And unfortunately for Apple, it makes facial recognition much less appealing because it doesn’t work when you pop a covering over your nose and mouth. In fact, it isn’t Apple’s fault – and the design of the iPhone 12 was likely finalised years before the spread of Covid-19 – but when you own an iPhone with Face ID and have tried to make use of it while out searching for the day you would possibly have noticed this frustration.
With the recent iPad Air redesign bringing a Touch ID fingerprint scanner to the ability button, it will’ve been great to see the identical system introduced to the iPhone – in addition to Face ID, in order that users have options.
iPhone 12 is offered in a large choice of color options, unlike the
Price & Availability
The iPhone 12 is, after all, filled with plenty of additional features and all of this recent technology comes at a price. At launch back in late 2020, Apple upped the fee of its recent smartphone, with iPhone 12 now ranging from £799 for the 64GB model and rising to £949 for the largest 256GB model. That is already greater than iPhone 11 cost at launch – and you are not getting a charging plug or headphones within the box, which were included in 2019.
Years on, things have modified a little bit bit. With the launch of the iPhone 13 in 2021, Apple kept across the iPhone 12 lineup with a price cut. When bought SIM-free from the Apple Store, you will give you the option to select up an iPhone 12 for £679. That is quite a saving on the worth tag from only one yr earlier.
Mobile networks have also dropped the iPhone 12 price following the launch of its successor, so there are some phenomenal deals to be found when you’re searching for a bargain upgrade!
iPhone 12 is offered in a fantastic number of colors, including a recent Purple
Upgrades just like the iPhone 12 don’t come around every yr. Compared with the iPhone 11, this is nearly a very different handset – it has a contemporary design with flat edges to match the most recent MacBook and iPad models, it has an improved OLED screen with more vivid colors and deeper blacks, and supports 5G for quick downloads when out-and-about.
Coupled with the epic battery life, A14 Bionic – compatible with the all-new iOS 16 upgraded operating system set to launch in just a few weeks, and improved low-light performance from the twin camera system, and you have a seriously impressive smartphone …even in 2022.
The built-in 5G support signifies that – even when there are not any upgraded cell masts in your local area quite yet – your recent purchase shall be future-proofed for years to come back. Apple’s stronger Ceramic Shield design will keep your shiny recent phone protected from bumps, scratches and drops. And the IP68 rating signifies that a spilled drink or drop in the bathroom or sea won’t scupper your smartphone. Yes, Apple really pulled out the entire stops in 2021 with the iPhone 12.
It is not every yr Apple treats us to an upgrade like iPhone 12, which arrives with a recent case design, recent colors, recent MagSafe system for charging and accessories, recent OLED screen, recent 5G modem for super-speedy downloads, and the list goes on…
The brand new MagSafe charger is certain to be an enormous hit – in addition to the flood of recent magnetic attachments, cases, and accessories coming to the iPhone from Apple and other firms.
Our only real criticisms of the iPhone 12 are the measly 64GB entry-level storage and the incontrovertible fact that you will probably find yourself with an even bigger Apple Store bill after you purchase yourself a recent USB-C charging plug and wired earbuds as these aren’t included within the box.
Aside from that, this can be a very hard phone to fault.
In truth, it’s totally easy to recommend – a lot so, that we would probably suggest people buy this device over the costlier iPhone 12 Pro. In the event you’ve held off buying a recent smartphone in anticipation of this release you’ve got made a clever selection and you will not be dissatisfied.