Looking to upgrade phone or switch to iOS ? iPhone 12 is among the least complicated

If you have an older iPhone or looking to switch to iOS and not sure about which latest model to check, it’s probably the regular iPhone 12 – the least complicated and most value-provider of the lot

Looking to upgrade phone or switch to iOS ? iPhone 12 is among the least complicated
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Manik Kakra

Apple has been making and releasing iPhones in a single year than ever before. There were four new ones announced recently, and there was iPhone SE (2020) earlier this year, too. Among those four phones is the iPhone 12 that falls somewhere between the Pro models and the Mini. There’s no moniker after the 12; it has the least confusing name, has many bells and whistles, and isn’t too large. So let’s try and see if it’s worth that price tag.

The new iPhone 12 comes up with a new-ish design language that seems a mesh between the iPhone X and 5, more so of the iPhone 5, which is a good thing. The sides are straight and flat with only curved around the corer edges. There are tiny antenna lines around upper half on the sides and at the top and similarly one at the bottom, though these antenna lines don’t exactly pop out on the Blue model. The phone’s front has what the company calls ceramic shield for better durability lower chances of cracking it with a fall. While the back is all glass and is prone to catching dust and fingerprint rather quickly, the sides are matt-finish aluminium that have no such downside.

The back houses the dual camera setup alongside true tone flash and secondary mic, and then just the Apple logo. While the sides, have longer Power/lock button in the right side, and volume buttons and alert switcher on the left side (towards the upper half), plus the SIM card slot (lower half). The bottom sports the primary mic, loudspeaker, and the lightning port in the middle.

Other than the new ceramic material as per the company, there’s not whole lot changed in the front in terms of looking at the device, there’s the familiar notch that houses the front camera, infrared sensor for FaceID and speaker grille, and the thin bezel at the bottom of the screen. The whole design seems a refresh from the X, and you could say rightly so. Fair to say iPhone 12 lighter and smaller than the iPhone 11 and is a more comfortable device to carry around. Those who liked the iPhone 5’s design among all earlier iPhones are definitely going to like it. Apple seems to have done a solid job with the whole look and feel of their new smartphone – brining something new to their last effort while retaining something from yesteryears that was liked by many.

The device has a 6.1-inch (2532x1170 resolution) Super Retina OLED screen instead of an LCD like on the iPhone 11. The display looks very much like the iPhone 11 Pro, which is bright, sharp for videos and photos, and visible under sunlight. It supports HDR content though it’s a little complicated when the HDR kicks in and doesn’t depending on the source, but when it does, the display does a good job of handling high contrast and higher brightness. Apple still hasn’t gone with a higher refresh rate than the traditional 60Hz refresh rate while a lot of Android phones have jumped to 90 and some even higher. Apple’s own iPad Pro switched to a 120Hz screen years back, and this is pretty much the only way one might feel the display isn’t the best out there, especially if you have used phones with higher refresh rates. Otherwise, this is a top-quality display.

The device boasts of the Bionic A14 chipset (with Neural Engine) along with 4 GB of RAM. The overall performance of the phone is more than good enough. The multitasking seems to have improved a little with shorter wake-up time when switching between apps. Apps also take a little less time to get installed as compared to previous phones, though it isn’t a huge difference. Webpages open quickly, and there’s no lag in scrolling between Home screens and widgets. The device runs on iOS 14.2 with a few new features. First is the automatic app library where the OS itself groups apps in different folders as per the type of app – all on a single page. Another change is, now you can change the default Web browser and Email client, but the bug here is that whenever you update the third-party default app, the default client switches back to Apple’s own. Another little feature is light indication, so whenever an app is using your mic, a small Orange light would pop on the top right of your screen; and a green one would pop of to indicate an app is accessing your phone’s camera. Swipe down to see open Control Center to see which app is accessing it. There are now widgets on the Home screen that you can change size, stack with one another, and so on. Basically, a lot closer to what Android has had for a long time -- being more customizable and data richer now. There are some little useful changes within Apple’s own apps like redesigned Notes, and new call screen where an incoming call doesn’t occupy the whole screen when you have an app open. Overall, iOS 14 seems like a fine upgrade to the OS, adding some privacy features and adding some customization options, too. There are one or two of bugs here and there, but nothing deal-breaking.

On the back there’s a dual camera setup – 12 MP ultra-wide and wide standard cameras with a bigger f/1.6 and f/2.2 aperture size. The camera is quick and has the familiar options available for an iOS device. Night shots and selfie in low-light are now sharper and just better look at. The rear camera can take 4k videos at 60 FPS, while the front camera can shoot it at 30 FPS. The main improvement seems to be the low light performance, and maybe that’s why the new phones also have Night Portrait shots for every model, including from the 12 MP front-facing camera. The new HDR can try to detect the scene now, though you might want to switch it off and try your own way when outdoors. Overall, this is a great camera phone with some industry-leading performance especially for videos and low-light shots, stereo audio recording within apps, the previous phones produced some of the best portrait shots for a smartphone, in my opinion, and that continues to be the case here.

There’s no charging adapter and earphones inside the iPhone 12 box, but the company didn’t reduce the pricing due to that. The phone has 5G, but that shouldn’t be even on your radar considering it’s expected to take anywhere close to 2 years more where 5G can be used mainstream here. Bluetooth, WiFi, WiFi calling, and call quality is all top notch and there are no complaints to make here. Network reception (4G LTE) seems to have been improved and that’s mainly due to the Qualcomm chip X55 being used by Apple this time around.

The phone is powered by 2,815 mAh battery and it lasted me a day comfortably. The improved cellular reception also seems to have contributed to it. It isn’t a huge battery pack, but the phone still does fine with regular use. Some continues gaming and video recording and you might have to charge it again before end of the day.

All in all, the iPhone 12 is a great high-end smartphone that can handle its own in most departments. And here’s the thing, if you have any of the iPhone 11 models, then this might not be that big an upgrade and you can wait longer if your phone is working fine. But if you have an older iPhone or looking to switch to iOS and not sure about which latest model to check, it’s definitely the regular iPhone 12 – the least complicated and most value-provider of the lot.

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