The big-screen wonder in the new Apple iPhone 12 family is the iPhone 12 Pro Max, which gets a 6.7-inch screen as well as a telephoto camera with a slightly longer focal length, 5x optical zoom compared to 4x optical zoom.
Like the rest of the iPhone 12 devices, it also comes with Apple’s A14 Bionic, a new 5nm SoC with 5G baked in, plus MagSafe wireless charging as well as speedy WiFi 6 connectivity, while its triple camera module adds a LiDAR depth sensor for more accurate photography and AR.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max comes in a significantly slimmer box than its predecessor, without charger or EarPods, which does not bother me as I have plenty of Qi wireless charging docks and Bluetooth audio gear (note: the NXT editor is not an average tech geek), the new Pacific Blue colourway looks outstandingly glossy and colourshifts like the deep blue sea.
The revised design has a flush-mounted screen, without the slight protruding rise to the front Gorilla Glass panel that’s on the iPhone 11 Pro Max, and the 12 Pro Max is also slightly larger in length than its predecessor, with a 6.7-inch screen compared to 6.5-inch screen, but also slightly slimmer and just 4g heavier. Apple has also now adopted the same flat stainless-steel band design that’d present on the current iPads.
MagSafe used to be what Apple called the power connector for its MacBooks, which attached magnetically so that if the power cable was pulled unintentionally, it would detach safely. The new version of MagSafe is essentially a magnetic ring around the iPhone 12’s wireless charging node that enables compatible chargers to dock simply and safely, and also allows you to secure compatible accessories such as wallets and cases.
The new iOS 14.2, which I’ve been using before I received the 12 Pro Max (on my 11 Pro Max) works well, and regular apps like FaceBook and Instagram open swiftly, while the updated Home screen looks good and the Apps Library means I don’t have to scroll through 6 screens to find an App I put in a wrong folder. Apple has also added a Translate App to Siri and iOS 14, though it will take some use of the voice recognition system to properly understand your pronunciations and the language choice is currently a bit limited.
The new processor and LiDAR sensor also makes point-and-shoot photography impressive with DeepFusion, and I was surprised at how easy it is to take good photographs. I once took a quick snap of an indoor scene under fluorescent light, about 10 metres away from me, with the 5x optical zoom, and was very impressed that I could zoom in and make out small text on the side of a mineral water bottle, while edgings were all sharp, as the LIDAR was able to accurately judge the distance of multiple objects in the image.
The only feature that I thought was a little lacking, when compared to other ‘big zoom’ smartphones, was image stabilization at 12x digital zoom. The LiDAR also improves AR experiences as it enables more precise virtual object placement due to improved depth detection, and I had fun trying out the [AR]T Museum App that lets you put up historic artwork virtually on your walls.
Photographs look great on the new screen, and it’s also brilliant for streaming content, such as Greyhound, the latest Tom Hanks action movie on Apple TV+, with very good sound from the two bottom-mounted speakers.
Rating 4.5 out of 5
We sayThe Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max is simply impressive, with fast performance, great photography and video features, an excellent screen with all-day battery life. It’s also expensive, but if you need a big-screen smartphone, or love taking high-quality photos, it is well worth it.
Processor Apple A14 Bionic
Display 6.7 inches Super Retina XDR display AMOLED 2778×1248 resolution, 458ppi
Memory 6B RAM, 512 GB SSD
Rear Camera 12MP main camera, 12MP wide-angle, 12MP telephoto, LIDAR scanner
Front Camera Dual 12MP
Operating System iOS 14.2
Connectivity WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/6, Bluetooth 5.0, Lightning, NFC
Supported Audio Codec AAC‑LC, HE‑AAC, HE‑AAC v2, Protected AAC, MP3, Linear PCM, Apple Lossless, FLAC, Dolby Digital (AC‑3), Dolby Digital Plus (E‑AC‑3), Dolby Atmos, and Audible
Dimensions 160.8 x 78.1 x 7.4 mm (HxWxD)
First published in NXT Magazine December 2020. A digital edition can be purchased from Magzter.