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iPhone 12 Pro vs iPhone 11 Pro

By Nadeem Sarwar December 8, 2020, 7:00 am
iPhone 12 Pro comparison

The iPhone 12 Pro is a notable upgrade in ways more than one. A faster processor, next-gen cellular connectivity support, improved photography prowess, and of course, a cool new design. However, the need to jump the upgrade wagon comes into question when you already have a predecessor that is still one of the best devices out there. We’re talking about the iPhone 11 Pro here. How about a detailed iPhone 12 Pro vs iPhone 11 Pro face-off then?

If you already own an iPhone 11 Pro and are wondering whether the iPhone 12 Pro is worth making the switch, we’re here to answer. Dive right into this comparison to see how the two phones differ based on on-paper data and if the upgrades are worth your thousand dollars (or more) for Apple’s shiny new device:


Design Matters!

iPhone 12 Pro with purple background
iPhone 12 Pro comes in a new graphite shade that looks pretty slick

Let’s start with the design first. The iPhone 12 Pro rocks a fresh design that adopts flat sides compared to the iPhone 11 Pro’s rounded curves. Now, it would boil down to your personal preference whether you like the curved edges that don’t dig into your palms, or if the shiny flat sides of the iPhone 12 Pro simply are an irresistible aesthetic touch for you.

Do keep in mind that the iPhone 12 Pro’s flat sides are not uncomfortable by any means. To get a better idea about how the iPhone 12 Pro feels in your hands, watch the first impression video by Pocketnow’s Jaime Rivera below to get a clear idea: 

Both the phones use surgical grade stainless steel for the sides and glass on the rear panel. Also, the contrasting glossy and matte finish for the rear panel and camera isle is a common trait between the iPhone 11 Pro and its successor. But there is another small difference between the two devices. The front glass on the iPhone 11 Pro is slightly curved alongside the edges, while the front panel on the iPhone 12 Pro is totally flat. 

Now, coming to the color options, the iPhone 12 Pro is up for grabs in Silver, Graphite, Gold, and a new Pacific Blue color that simply looks stunning. As for the iPhone 11 Pro, it is available in Gold, Space Gray, Silver, Midnight Green. 

Internal Upgrades

Now, let’s talk about the innards. The iPhone 12 Pro draws power from the new A14 Bionic chip that is based on the 5nm process and has a 16-core Neural Engine that is claimed to offer an 80% performance boost. As for the main processor itself, it is said to offer almost a 50% higher CPU and GPU output compared to the fastest non-Apple mobile SoC out there. To put it simply, the A14 Bionic is crazy fast and has enough firepower to handle anything you throw at it, at least for the next couple of years.

As for the iPhone 11 Pro, it is powered by the A13 Bionic, which is still powerful enough to give the fastest Qualcomm chips a run for their money. So, if you are eyeing the iPhone 12 Pro primarily for that extra dash of processing power, you should save a few hundred benjamins and stick to the iPhone 11 Pro for at least another year. 

iPhone 12 Pro on wooden table
iPhone 12 Pro introduces the new MagSafe wireless charging system

We don’t know the amount of RAM Apple has fitted inside the iPhone 12 Pro (or if it is more than the iPhone 11 Pro), but with a steady update cycle and system optimizations, you can rest assured that your iPhone 11 Pro won’t run into performance or multi-tasking bottlenecks anytime soon. However, if you need more onboard storage than what your daily driver iPhone 11 Pro has to offer, then the upgrade to a more GB-heavy iPhone 12 Pro model is justified.

Interestingly, the battery has not received any major upgrade this year. The streamed video playback duration on the iPhone 12 Pro stands at 11 hours, which is identical to what you get on the iPhone 11 Pro as well. Audio playback longevity on a single charge also remains the same at 65 hours. However, if you’re playing a local file, the iPhone 12 Pro will only last you an hour longer than the iPhone 11 Pro. 

iPhone 12 Pro vs iPhone 11 Pro side by side comparison
The flat sides of iPhone 12 Pro (right) against the curved frame of the iPhone 11 Pro (left)

But there is one big difference this year. Apple has fitted a magnetic ring just below the iPhone 12 Pro’s rear panel, and it is a part of the MagSafe charging system. Thanks to it, the tiny new MagSafe charging disc can conveniently attach itself to the device. What this means is you can keep using the iPhone 12 Pro while it charges wirelessly, just like you would with a cable plugged into the phone’s Lightning port. 

Talking about charging, both phones can be juiced up to 50% in just 30 minutes with a compatible fast charger. In case you’re wondering, the iPhone 12 Pro and its predecessor, both support wireless charging over the Qi standard. Also, both the phones support dual-SIM connectivity. 

Talking about connectivity, the iPhone 12 Pro takes a leap forward with support for 5G, while the iPhone 11 Pro is limited to 4G. If you really, really want those blazing fast download speeds, make sure that the area you live in, or work, offers good 5G reception. Otherwise, you would just end up paying the proverbial ‘5G tax’ like many others who live in regions where the state of 5G rollout is abysmal.

Camera Enhancements

iPhone 11 Pro cameras and LiDAR sensor
The iPhone 12 Pro adds a LiDAR sensor to the triple rear camera setup

The iPhone 12 Pro is a big leap when it comes to imaging capabilities. Yes, it has three cameras just like the iPhone 11 Pro, but it also adds a LiDAR sensor. The LiDAR sensor, aside from opening the doors for new AR applications, also assists at quicker focus lock and enables features such as Night Mode portrait shots. Let’s have a look at the camera hardware first and few areas where the iPhone 12 Pro takes a lead:

iPhone 12 ProiPhone 11 Pro
Wide: 12MP, f/1.6Wide: 12MP, f/2.4
Ultra-wide: 12MP, f/2.4Ultra-wide: 12MP, f/2.4
Telephoto: 12MP, f/2.0Telephoto: 12MP. f/2.0
Apple ProRAW
Night mode portraits
Smart HDR 3 for photosSmart HDR for photos
Dolby Vision HDR video
recording at up to 60fps
Night mode Time-lapse
12MP, f/2.2 TrueDepth12MP, f/2.2 TrueDepth
Smart HDR 3 for photosSmart HDR for photos
Dolby Vision HDR video
recording at up to 30fps
Night Mode
Dep Fusion

Both the iPhone 11 Pro and its successor feature a triple 12MP camera hardware. But there are a few differences here. The iPhone 12 Pro’s main camera has a wider f/1.6 aperture that is claimed to bring in 27% more light, which essentially means brighter and more detailed photos. Another difference is that the wide camera on iPhone 12 Pro uses a 7-element lens system, while the one on its predecessor has a 6-element lens setup. 

But hardware is just half the story. The iPhone 12 Pro introduces a host of new camera capabilities. The first one is the ability to capture night time portraits, a feature that has been brought to life by taking advantage of the LiDAR. Talking about low-light photography, the iPhone 12 Pro also adds support for capturing Night mode Time-Lapse videos.

iPhone 11 Pro 3 cameras
iPhone 11 also has a triple camera setup, but it has a less powerful wide camera compared to iPhone 12 Pro.

Notably, the front camera has also gained support for Night Mode, which means you can now capture brighter and crisper selfies. Apple has also upgraded the HDR performance, introducing the improved Smart HDR 3 technology with the iPhone 12 series.

Coming to video capture, both the phones can capture up to 4K 60fps using the front as well as rear cameras. But there are a few areas where the iPhone 12 Pro again takes a lead. The most important one is the iPhone 12 Pro’s ability to capture DolbyVision HDR videos at up to 60fps using the rear camera, and up to 30fps Dolby Vision HDR videos with the 12MP front camera

Another iPhone 12 Pro feature that serious photographers as well as enthusiasts will enjoy is the new ProRAW mode. Apple says the ProRAW combines the benefits of RAW capture with its computational photography and multi-frame image processing to offer more creative control. And all that editing can be done natively on the iPhone 12 Pro. 

To put it simply, camera capabilities are the iPhone 12 Pro’s main selling points, and it should be your main reason for upgrading from an iPhone 11 Pro. If you’ve been holding on to your two or three generations old iPhone and waiting for a legitimate successor that can justify the price premium, the iPhone 12 Pro is definitely worth serious consideration. But if you own an iPhone 11 Pro, you might want to keep it for another year and wait for Apple’s 2021 iPhone lineup. 

Oh hey, don’t forget to check out Pocketnow’s iPhone 12 review and watch the video below:


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