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iPhone 12 Pro Max review: Apple's longer lasting superphone

Guardian Technology 26 Nov 2020 07:00
The iPhone 12 Pro Max is a hell of a lot of smartphone, if you can manage its giant size and weight. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The iPhone 12 Pro Max is the biggest, heaviest and most expensive version of Apple’s smartphone for 2020, a beast in every dimension.

The top-of-the-range iPhone costs from £1,099 and sits above the 12 Pro (£999), the 12 (£799) and 12 mini (£699).

The 12 Pro Max has the same fresh design as the rest of the iPhone 12 range: squared-off sides, all-screen front with slimmer bezels and a frosted glass back. It has the same drop-resistant “Ceramic Shield” technology covering the screen and the new MagSafe magnetic attachment system on the back for wireless chargers and accessories, but that’s where the physical similarities end.

iphone 12 pro max review
The stainless steel sides of the 12 Pro Max polished to a mirror-like shine, shown here in the gold colour. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The huge OLED display measures 6.7in on the diagonal, which dwarfs all other iPhones and rivals the Android superphones, such as the 6.78in OnePlus 8 or the 6.9in Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

Specifications

Top performance, 5G and two-day battery

The iPhone 12 Pro Max has the same A14 Bionic processor as the regular 12, 12 Pro and iPad Air, and has 6GB of RAM with a starting storage of 128GB – double the iPhone 12’s 64GB. Performance is equally excellent all round: snappy, slick and fast to process photos, videos or when playing games. Speeds on 5G were similar, with slightly better reception than the iPhone 12 Pro and negligible impact on battery life.

The 12 Pro comes with the same iOS 14.2 version as the 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro and all other iPhones from 2015 or newer. This includes the home screen visual overhaul with widgets and the App Library folders, enhanced privacy tools and the new Translate app. For more see the iOS 14 overview and iPhone 12 review.

The iPhone 12 Pro Max has the same selfie camera and ultrawide camera as the 12 and 12 Pro, which perform just as well, but different main and telephoto cameras on the back.

In good light it shoots photos that are indistinguishable from the 12 Pro: highly detailed with good colour accuracy and control of high-contrast scenes.

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