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iPhone 12 vs. iPhone 12 Pro

Apple iPhone 12 Review

In 2020, Apple launched the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro as successors to the iPhone 11 and ‌iPhone 11‌ Pro. The iPhone 12 family is the largest number of phones Apple has ever launched simultaneously. The lineup features a squared-off industrial design, the A14 Bionic chip, OLED displays, and MagSafe wireless charging.

The back of Apple’s iPhone 12 Pro. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

Apple has officially discontinued the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. However, you might be able to get these phones from third-party retailers. Following the announcement of the iPhone 13 lineup, Apple gave the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini $100 price cuts. They now cost just $699 and $599, respectively. 

The starting price for the iPhone 12 is $599, while you can get the iPhone 12 Pro at prices below $999 in third-party stores.

If you want a new iPhone, check out this iPhone 12 vs iPhone 12 Pro guide.

Read our full review of the iPad Air 2022.

Comparing the iPhone 12 vs iPhone 12 Pro

Apple iPhone 12 Review
Apple iPhone 12 back Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are very similar devices which makes choosing between them quite tricky. However, these iPhones have key differences, especially in price and camera features.

Similarities between the Apple iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro

Apple’s iPhone 12 Pro on a table. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro share quite a number of the same features. These include 5G support, battery life, and display size. Here’s a list of shared features between the two phones:

  • 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display with 2532-by-1170-pixel resolution at 460 PPI.
  • HDR display, True Tone, P3 Wide Color, and Haptic Touch
  • A14 Bionic chip featuring a 6-core CPU with two performance cores and four efficiency cores
  • 4-core GPU
  • 16-core Neural Engine
  • Sub-6GHz 5G connectivity (and mmWave in the U.S.)
  • 12MP Ultra Wide and Wide cameras
  • Face ID
  • Battery life with up to 17 hours of video playback, 11 hours of streamed video playback, and 65 hours of audio playback.
  • Display protected by Ceramic Shield technology.
  • Water resistant to a depth of six meters for up to 30 minutes
  • Compatible with ‌MagSafe‌ accessories and wireless chargers
  • They’re both available in 128GB and 256GB models
  • Lightning connector

There are a number of notable differences between the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro. Such as the LiDAR scanner, support for Apple ProRAW, and telephoto lens. In this iPhone 12 vs iPhone 12 Pro guide, we’ll cover these key differences extensively.

Display

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Main
Apple iPhone 12 Pro with display turned on. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro have practically the same display technology. They both feature 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED screens with a resolution of 2532 x 1170 pixels at 460 pixels per inch.

Both screens support HDR and have a maximum HDR brightness of 1,200 cd/m2. Like recent iPhones, they feature 8-bit panels, not the typical 10-bit HDR panels.

The key difference between both displays is that the iPhone 12 Pro display features a higher brightness under typical conditions. The iPhone 12 Pro hits 800 nits, while the iPhone 12 hits 625 nits of brightness. Both the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro have a maximum brightness of 1200 nits.

The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro displays are both protected by Ceramic Shield technology. Apple says this offers 4x better drop performance than previous iPhones.

It was rumored that the iPhone 12 Pro would feature 120Hz displays for extra smooth motion. This is not the case as both the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro still feature a 60Hz screen.

Both iPhones feature a 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio, Haptic Touch, True Tone display, and Wide color display (P3).

The iPhone 12 Pro Max has a display size of 6.7 inches and 2778 x 1284 resolution. The iPhone 12 mini has the smallest display size in the lineup with a 5.4-inch, 2340 x 1080 screen.

Design

Apple iPhone 12 Review
Apple iPhone 12 Notifications. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

The iPhone 12 comes in two sizes – the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 mini and the 6.1-inch iPhone 12. The iPhone 12 Pro has a display size of 6.1 inches, while the iPhone 12 Pro Max features a 6.7-inch display. All iPhone 12 models sport a smaller notch on the front to house the facial recognition sensors.

Apple iPhone 12 Review
Apple iPhone 12 back on a table Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro have similar designs reminiscent of the iPhone 4 and 5 era. They both have a squared-off industrial design with flat edges. The flattened edges may reduce the occurrence of severe damage if the phone is dropped.

The key difference in design is that the iPhone 12 is made from Aerospace-grade aluminum, while the iPhone 12 Pro is made from surgical-grade stainless steel. The difference in these materials gives these iPhones different appearances. The iPhone 12 has a brushed aluminum finish, while the iPhone 12 Pro has a shiny stainless steel finish.

The iPhone 12 features a single piece of polished glass on the back. In contrast, the iPhone 12 Pro features a single piece of matte glass on the rear. The glass backs on the phones facilitate wireless charging.

Quality Materials

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Lightning Port
iPhone 12 Pro’s Lightning charging port. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

The camera bump on the iPhone 12 Pro is made from the same slab of glass as the rest of the back. On the iPhone 12, the camera array is nested in a separate piece of material from the rest of the back.

This difference in materials used also affects the weight of the phones. The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro have the exact dimensions. They are both 5.78 inches tall, 2.82 inches wide, and 0.29 inches thick. However, there’s a significant 26-gram difference in the weights of both iPhones. The iPhone 12 weighs 162 grams, while the iPhone 12 Pro weighs 188 grams.

Both phones share an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance. This means they are water resistant at a maximum depth of 6 meters for up to 30 minutes. Note that pool water doesn’t count as the chemicals used in treating the water might erode the water-resistant seal around the phone.

The phones also come in different colors. The iPhone 12 Pro comes in shiny Silver, Graphite, Gold, and Pacific Blue. The iPhone 12 comes in Blue, Green, PRODUCT(RED), White, Purple, and Black.

iPhone 12Image source: Apple

The 12 Pro has a more premium feel than the iPhone 12. The materials used for the iPhone 12 Pro have no advantage besides aesthetic impressions. Quite frankly, Apple has perfected the art of making phones that feels premium and expensive for people who care about such details.

Apple iPhone 12 camera

Apple iPhone 12 Review
Apple iPhone 12 camera. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

The rear camera technology is the major difference between the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. However, the pictures taken on them are quite similar in quality. The iPhone 12 features a dual 12MP camera system with an ultra-wide lens and wide lenses.

The Apple iPhone 12 offers a two-times zoom in, and a two-times out. It also offers software features such as Night mode, Deep Fusion processing, and optical image stabilization.

Here’s the full list of the Apple iPhone 12 camera features:

  • Dual 12MP camera system (Wide and Ultra Wide lenses)
  • Wide: ƒ/1.6 aperture
  • Ultra Wide: ƒ/2.4 aperture, 120° field of view
  • Night mode (Wide, Ultra Wide)
  • Deep fusion (Wide, Ultra Wide)
  • Optical image stabilization (Wide)
  • 2x optical zoom out, Digital zoom up to 5x
  • Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth Control
  • Portrait Lighting with six effects (Natural, Studio, Contour, Stage, Stage Mono, High‑Key Mono)
  • True Tone flash with Slow Sync
  • Smart HDR 3 with Scene Detection
  • Five‑element lens (Ultra Wide), seven‑element lens (Wide)
  • Panorama (up to 63MP)
  • Sapphire crystal lens cover
  • 100% Focus Pixels (Wide)
  • Wide color capture for photos and Live Photos
  • Lens correction (Ultra Wide)
  • Advanced red‑eye correction
  • Auto image stabilization
  • Burst mode
  • Photo geotagging
  • Image formats captured: HEIF and JPEG

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Camera

iPhone 12 Pro on a table. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

The iPhone 12 Pro features a triple 12MP camera system with Ultra Wide, Wide, and Telephoto lenses. It supports Night Mode portraits and enhanced AR experiences thanks to the LiDAR scanner.

The LiDAR scanner is a time-of-flight sensor that allows the device to get a 3D map of the room you point its cameras at. This process is done almost instantly. The LiDAR scanner facilitates faster autofocus, particularly in low-light settings.

Here’s the full list of features for the Apple iPhone 12 Pro:

  • Pro 12MP camera system (Telephoto, Wide, and Ultra Wide cameras)
  • Telephoto lens: ƒ/2.0 aperture
  • Ultra Wide lens: ƒ/2.4 aperture and 120° field of view
  • Wide lens: ƒ/1.6 aperture
  • Five-element lens (Ultra Wide); six‑element lens (Telephoto); seven-element lens (Wide)
  • Night mode (Wide, Ultra Wide)
  • Deep Fusion (Wide, Ultra Wide, Telephoto)
  • Dual optical image stabilization (Wide & Telephoto lens)
  • Smart HDR with Scene Detection
  • Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth Control
  • Night mode portraits enabled by LiDAR Scanner
  • Portrait Lighting with six effects (Natural, Studio, Contour, Stage, Stage Mono, High‑Key Mono)
  • 2x optical zoom in, 2x optical zoom out; 4x optical zoom range
  • Digital zoom up to 10x
  • 100% Focus Pixels (Wide)
  • Brighter True Tone flash with Slow Sync
  • Panorama (up to 63MP)
  • Sapphire crystal lens cover
  • Advanced red-eye correction
  • Lens correction (Ultra Wide)
  • Photo geotagging
  • Auto image stabilization
  • Apple ProRAW
  • Wide color capture for photos and Live Photos
  • Burst mode
  • Image formats captured: HEIF and JPEG

Camera software

Asides from differences in hardware, there are notable differences in the software features of these phones’ cameras. ‌iPhone 12‌ can use digital zoom to zoom in up to five times, but ‌iPhone 12‌ Pro doubles this to a ten times digital zoom.

The ‌iPhone 12‌ Pro can also capture photos using Apple ProRAW. This new RAW file format will give iPhone photographers more control over their images and new tools for post-processing.

Both phones share the same video recording capabilities. Except, the iPhone 12 Pro can record Dolby Vision HDR at up to 60 fps, while the iPhone 12 Dolby Vision support is limited to 30 fps. The iPhone 12 Pro also features a digital zoom of up to 6x when recording, while the iPhone 12 has a digital zoom of up to 3x.

Both iPhones can shoot 4K videos at 24fps, 30fps, or 60fps, and 1080p at 30 or 60fps. They can also capture slow-motion videos at 1080p and either 120fps or 240fps.

The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro include a front-facing camera at 12MP (ƒ/2.2 aperture). They also feature the TrueDepth sensor array found in flagship phones since the iPhone X. This facilitates the facial recognition features of the phones.

For most users, the iPhone 12 camera setup will be sufficient. Features like HDR video recording with Dolby Vision, Night mode time-lapses, front-facing Night mode, and Deep Fusion offer a range of significant advances.

The iPhone 12 Pro offers a more fully featured rear camera setup for those passionate about phone photography. Excluding the telephoto lens, many features such as Apple ProRAW won’t matter to most users.

Battery life

iPhone 13 Pro Lightning Port
iPhone 13 Pro Lightning Port Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

According to Apple, the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro feature the same battery life. They both offer up to 17 hours of video playback, 11 hours of streamed video playback, and 65 hours of audio playback.

The two phones support fast charging. They can get up to 50% charge in 30 minutes with a 20W adapter or higher. They also support 7.5W Qi wireless charging and 15W wireless charging using MagSafe wireless chargers.

Both the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro have 2815mAh batteries. This is a step back from the 3046mAh iPhone 11 Pro battery and the 3110mAh iPhone 11 battery. There are slight differences between the rated battery life of the iPhone 12 models.

The iPhone 12 mini is rated for up to 10 hours of streamed video playback, 15 hours of video playback, and 50 hours of playback. The iPhone 12 Pro Max offers a longer battery life than the rest of the lineup. It offers up to 20 hours of video playback, 12 hours of streamed video playback, and 80 hours of audio playback.

Apple iPhone 12 vs iPhone 12 Pro Connectivity

Image source: Apple

The iPhone 12 family is the first iPhone lineup to support 5G connectivity. All phones in the iPhone 12 lineup support 5G speeds. In the United States, the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro both support sub-6GHz 5G and mmWave 5G. This means that you’ll get the fastest 5G experiences regardless of your location.

Internationally, however, iPhone 12 5G support is limited to sub-6GHz connectivity. Every iPhone 12 model features Smart Data Mode. This automatically adapts between 4G and 5G based on your location to save you data and power.

All models in the iPhone 12 lineup have support for Dual SIM mode, with one nano-SIM and one eSIM. This allows users to have two numbers active on the same device. For example, you can have one SIM for work and the other for business.

Using two SIMs in the same phone allows you to have multiple data plans. You can use a SIM from a different location to avoid roaming charges if you travel a lot. You also get to choose different combinations of local minutes and data plans from different companies.

iPhone 12 uses DSDS (Dual SIM Dual Standby) technology which allows users to receive calls and text messages from both SIMs. However, you can only use the data plan on one of the SIMS at any time.

Apple also offers models of the iPhone 12 lineup with Dual-nano SIMs. However, these models are only sold in Hong Kong, Macao, and mainland China. These models allow you to buy SIMs from any carrier instead of searching for eSIM availability in your area. Some users purchase these models from online retailers who import from these countries.

Apple iPhone 12 vs iPhone 12 Pro: specs and performance

Image source: Apple

The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are nearly identical when it comes to processor performance. The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro feature Apple’s latest A14 bionic chip. The A14 Bionic chip features a 6-core CPU with two high-performance and four efficiency cores.

Both phones feature a Neural Engine for improved machine learning features and capabilities. Apple says the new 16-core Neural Engine offers a 70% increase in performance compared to the prior generation.

The major difference here is that the iPhone 12 Pro features 6GB of RAM, while the iPhone 12 features 4GB. The additional RAM of the iPhone 12 Pro enhances some camera features. Asides from this, the difference in RAM size does not have any pronounced effect on performance. Apple claims the A14 Bionic chip is the fastest in a smartphone as of its release.

Both phones offer different storage options. The iPhone 12 comes in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB configurations. While the iPhone 12 Pro comes in 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB configurations.

MagSafe and Ports

Apple MagSafe ChargerImage source: Apple

The iPhone 12 lineup still features just one port: Apple’s Lightning connector. Most of the industry has switched to USB-C, including Apple’s Mac and iPad teams.

The MagSafe wireless charger for the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro is similar to the magnetic charger for the Apple Watch. It works by pressing your phone against a magnetic charging pad. This miniature charging pad uses the Qi standard to charge the device.

These iPhones contain a magnetic solution that ensures that the phone perfectly aligns with the charging pad. Older model iPhones supported Qi wireless charging. But as Apple didn’t manufacture its own wireless chargers at the time, charging speeds were limited to 7.5 watts.

Apple iPhone 12 vs iPhone 12 Pro Price and availability

Apple has officially discontinued the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max models. However, you might still be able to purchase them from authorized resellers. We do not know if resellers will choose to retain the original price of the iPhone 12 Pro models. However, some are already selling these devices for under $999.

The iPhone 12 is available at a starting price of $699. This goes for models tied to Verizon, AT & T, and T-mobile. Factory unlocked iPhones are available at a starting price of $729 from Apple. The starting storage size on these models is 64GB.

As seen in this iPhone 12 vs iPhone 12 Pro guide, the major difference between these phones is in the rear camera features. Besides this, there’s no prominent distinguishing feature between both phones.

Both phones feature 6.1-inch OLED displays, 5G connectivity, Apple’s fastest A14 Bionic processor, and similar designs. They also have the same battery life. The iPhone 12 Pro does not offer that much improvement on iPhone 12 or even the iPhone 11 Pro. The differences do not seem to be enough justification for the $200 premium on the iPhone 12 Pro.

For most users, the iPhone 12 will suffice in terms of performance and camera features. If you’re very particular about the camera features 0r interested in 512GB storage, then you can choose to get the iPhone 12 Pro.

What is the difference between iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro?

There are a number of key differences between the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro. The major difference between the phones is in the rear camera hardware and software features.

The iPhone 12 features a dual 12MP camera system with Ultra Wide and Wide lenses. The Apple iPhone 12 offers 2x optical zoom.

The iPhone 12 Pro features a triple 12MP camera system with Ultra Wide, Wide, and Telephoto lenses. It also features a LiDAR scanner and supports the Apple ProRAW file format.

The iPhone 12 Pro can record Dolby Vision HDR at up to 60 fps, while the iPhone 12 Dolby Vision support is limited to 30 fps. The iPhone 12 Pro also features a digital zoom of up to 6x when recording, while the iPhone 12 has a digital zoom of up to 3x.

Is there a performance difference between iPhone 12 and 12 pro?

There’s essentially no difference in the performance of both phones. They both feature the latest A14 Bionic chip from Apple. The A14 Bionic chip features a 6-core CPU with two high-performance and four efficiency cores.

The key difference is that the iPhone 12 Pro has 50% more RAM than the iPhone 12. The iPhone 12 Pro has 6GB RAM, while the iPhone 12 has 4GB of RAM. The difference in RAM size doesn’t translate to any notable difference in performance.

Is iPhone 12 better or iPhone 12 pro?

The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro have several impressive features. However, there are a number of notable differences between the two phones. Particularly when it comes to the rear camera features & hardware, and storage size.

The iPhone 12 Pro has a number of features missing from the iPhone 12, but they’re both great phones. Ultimately, choosing between the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro depends on personal preference and budget.

For more information, visit the Apple website.

FAQ

Is iPhone 12 and 12 pro the same size?

The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are practically the same when viewed from the front and side. They both have the same dimensions – 5.78 inches tall, 2.82 inches wide, and 0.29 inches thick.

Is it worth getting iPhone 12 over 12 Pro?

Yes, it’s worth getting an iPhone 12 over an iPhone 12 Pro. The features of the iPhone 12 Pro that are missing in the iPhone 12 aren’t a good enough reason to get the former. For example, the LiDAR sensor and 5G might not reach their full capabilities for a while.
Personal preferences also play a big part in deciding which of these iPhones is best for you.

Is the iPhone 12 waterproof?

The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro have an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance. This means they are water resistant at a maximum depth of 6 meters for up to 30 minutes. Note that pool water doesn’t count as the chemicals used in treating the water might erode the water-resistant seal around the phone.

Is iPhone 12 just as good as the Pro?

The iPhone 12 Pro has features that put it ahead of the iPhone 12. However, they share a ton of features that place them on an almost equal playing field.

Is the iPhone 12 bigger than the iPhone 12 Pro?

No, the iPhone 12 is not bigger than the iPhone 12 Pro. The phones share the same dimensions – 5.78 inches tall, 2.82 inches wide, and 0.29 inches thick. The phones are the same in size.

Toby Grey contributes as a How To expert for BGR. Typing away like a keyboard super hero, he covers just about anything you can think of. If Toby isn't writing, he's probably reading a book or playing video games.