“New Phone, Who Dis”: The iPhone 12


The iPhone 12. Free Use Image Courtesy of Wikimedia.com.

Since Apple released the new iPhone 12 series on October 23, 2020, many people might consider purchasing the newly revamped iPhone, but is it really worth it? The Apple website shows the starting price to be $799, with previous models like the 11 coming in at $599. Considering the $200 price difference, are the advantages of the 12 enough to warrant a purchase?

The build of this iPhone isn’t that different from recent previous models. According to Apple they have made their phone with rounded edges since the iPhone 6, but with the new phone, they have reverted to flat sides that resemble earlier models such as the iPhone 5. While I do appreciate the design update, that alone is not a reason to buy a new phone. The 12 is slightly lighter and has smaller bezels, meaning that it has a slightly bigger screen, but this size difference is minimal. 

Another difference between the screens is that the older phones have an LCD display while the new 12 utilizes an OLED display. This OLED display has perfect black levels, higher contrast ratios, and you can view HDR content. It also does not require backlighting like the LCD display. Gregory McFadden, a tech reviewer who has evaluated the iPhone 12, reports that the new display is great for watching movies, but he says, “For most of your phone’s use […] I still think the LCD display of the iPhone 11 holds up very well and I personally had no issues switching back to the LCD displays after using OLED phones”. The OLED display can also potentially cause headaches and migraines in some users because of an unnoticeable flickering that occurs in LED lights. In a study, Arnold J Wilkins, Professor of Psychology at the University of Essex, found that people were half as likely to get headaches from non-flickering lights. 

Some internal features have been improved, but they are still comparable to the older models like the 11. The iPhone 11 runs on the A13 processor and the iPhone 12 runs on the A14, according to the Apple website. Although the A13 is one generation older, both have 4 gigabytes of RAM which stores data for quick access and allows for multiple things to be running with speed. According to the Apple website, the iPhone 11 and the iPhone 12 have the same battery life with up to 17 hours of video playback and both come with the options of 64, 128, or 256 gigabytes of storage. 

Both phones also have very similar camera systems with two lenses. The main differences are that the iPhone 12 has Dolby Vision recording, features like night mode on all cameras, and a slightly faster wide angle aperture, which translates to the ability to have a shallower depth of field and lighter photos when it’s dark. That being said, the iPhone 11 still takes excellent photos and can hold its own against the iPhone 12. McFadden says, “Pictures on the iPhone 11 still look great […] and hold up really well even against other modern-day Flagship phones. It also has one of the best video qualities on any smartphone, easily beating out rival Smartphone footage from Android competitors.”

There are additional features to this phone like 5G connection and charging that don’t necessarily show great improvement when it comes to practical use and could possibly cause inconvenience. 5G may seem like a big upgrade, but it’s really not that useful at this point in time and it can take up to two hours off the battery life. 5G is used when you aren’t connected to wifi and, as of now, there haven’t been any features that really utilize this high speed connection. According to Joanna Stern from the tech section of the Wall Street Journal, usage of the speed just isn’t practical. “To see those speeds, you need to move really, really slowly. After locating your carrier’s high-speed tower, stand right next to it, tap download, then freeze,” she says. “Despite being marketed as our technological savior, 5G—the next generation of cellular connectivity—is not a killer feature for the new iPhone 12 models. At least not in the U.S., not yet”. 

The iPhone also utilizes a USB-C charging cable and gives the option of using the MagSafe charger which is similar to the ones seen on the apple watch. I do think a MagSafe charger is a nice option, but the fact that this phone isn’t compatible with the lightning cable used on the previous models could be a downside. Because it doesn’t use the charger that most of the other phones do, you would either have to have the USB-C charger on hand  or bring an adapter with you. This, to me, is a major inconvenience although this could change in the future as more of their products shift to USB-C usage. One thing that I like about Apple products is the updates to their software. The new phone runs on ios14 which brings new features like widgets, the app library, and new emojis, but ios14 isn’t unique to this phone. Most phones that are out now can install this new update and gain access to all of these features regardless of the phone model.

Overall, I think the iPhone 12 has some slight improvements, but they don’t outshine their previous models especially considering the price difference. You won’t be sacrificing anything with an iPhone 11, but if you are still drawn to the 12 series, I would go for the iPhone 12 Pro MAX. Although it comes at a steeper price, it offers more features that can be taken advantage of like the improved three lens camera system, better battery life, and a much bigger screen to utilize the HDR abilities. 


  1. https://www.wsj.com/articles/iPhone-12-and-iPhone-12-pro-review-the-best-iPhonesbut-not-for-the-5G-11603198919
  2. https://www1.essex.ac.uk/psychology/overlays/1989-82.pdf?source=post_page
  3. https://theconversation.com/the-scientific-reason-you-dont-like-led-bulbs-and-the-simple-way-to-fix-them-81639?source=post_page
  4. https://www.crucial.com/articles/about-memory/support-what-does-computer-memory-do