iPhone 12 First Impressions: Should You Get It When Drops Tomorrow?

Well, the wait is finally over: the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro will be available tomorrow, and it’s shaping up to be one of the more exciting models in recent years.

We managed to get an early look at the “regular” iPhone 12 ahead of its official release, and here are our first impressions after using it for a day:

Edging Out The Competition

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The most obvious change of the iPhone 12 from previous models is its form factor — it sports an iPhone 5-esque flat-edged design, which is a lot more ergonomic as compared to its curved counterparts.

The phone feels a lot more secure in our hands with its new (or is it old…?) shape, and it’s a refreshing design in a time when every other smartphone seems to be using rounded edges.

One important thing that you should take note of, however, is the iPhone 12’s physical dimensions. While the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro measure at 6.1 and 5.8 inches respectively, both the 12 and 12 Pro now come in at 6.1 inches.

The iPhone 12 (Left) and iPhone 11 Pro (Right) / Image Credit: Vulcan Post

This might be a bit jarring for those coming from the iPhone X/XS/11 Pro (0.3 inches make more of a difference than you’d think), and your mileage may vary depending on how big or small you like your phones.

Dimensions aren’t the only thing that have been standardised across all models,  and every iteration of the iPhone 12 now comes with a Super Retina OLED display.

The iPhone 11’s LCD display was probably the our biggest gripe with it, and Apple equipping its “regular” model with an OLED makes it a significantly easier product to recommend.

Hello, A14 Bionic

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On the performance side of things, both the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are equipped with Apple’s new 5nm A14 Bionic Chip. iPhones have always been smooth when it comes to general performance, but we expect the 30% boost to CPU performance to show when it comes more intensive tasks like mobile gaming.

It should be noted that despite being the exact same size, the iPhone 12 has a slightly shorter battery life than the iPhone 12 Pro. The folks at Apple are notoriously tight-lipped about the exact mAh value of their batteries, but their website lists the iPhone 12 as having 2-3 hours less life than its Pro counterpart.

Similar to its general performance we’ve never had a problem with the iPhone’s battery life, and the iPhone 12 will have no problem lasting a full day of use (it’s been 20 hours and the battery is at 20% from 85% when we first took it out of the box).

It’s a little hard to judge this aspect of the phone in a single day, but here’s our initial assessment: the iPhone 12 runs as well as you’d expect an iPhone to, and you most likely won’t have anything to worry about in this respect.

Two Cameras Is Plenty

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Like the iPhone 11 before it, the iPhone 12 comes with dual 12MP Ultra Wide and Wide cameras.

This is one less camera than the Pro model (you lose out on a telephoto camera), but Apple has once again thrown the iPhone 12 a bone by equipping it with Night Mode.

Night mode / Image Credit: Vulcan Post
Portrait Mode / Image Credit: Vulcan Post
Landscape / Image Credit: Vulcan Post

We were pleasantly surprised when Apple first introduced Night Mode last year, and this year’s iteration is no different. Low-light images remain sharp, and the colours and details are retained as well.

If you can do without the telephoto camera, the iPhone 12 is a solid photography setup that will suffice for most.

The Return Of MagSafe

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One of the more notable additions to the iPhone 12 is MagSafe, which embeds a circle of magnets around the phone’s wireless charging coil to make it compatible with Apple’s new lineup of accessories.

The most frequent use of this will be with the new MagSafe Charger (sold separately for S$59), which — in addition to ensuring a secure connection with its satisfying “click” — doubles wireless charging speeds from 7.5W to 15W.

What’s more exciting, however, are the endless possibilities that can be achieved with this technology.

Apple is already selling a MagSafe wallet that you can attach to the back of your phone (S$89), and off the top of our head we’re expecting to see cases, docks and car mounts from third-party manufacturers in the coming months. It might not be particularly exciting now, but the possibilities are endless.

The Verdict

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Throughout its 13-year history, there are two key years that defined the iPhone: 2010 when the iPhone 4 first adopted the fan-favourite flat-edged design, and 2017 when the iPhone X ditched the home button and and introduced features like an OLED screen and Face ID.

The iPhone 12 is a combination of those two milestones. It makes a triumphant return to a superior form factor (one we hope they’ll stick with for a long time), and adds significant upgrades like 5G support and MagSafe as well.

In previous years there was a clear distinction between the “regular” and Pro models, but with the inclusion of features like an OLED display and night mode, which iPhone 12 to get will boil down to how badly you need a top-of-the-line camera setup.

As previously mentioned the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro will be available on the 23rd of October, and the crazy thing is that they’re not even done yet. Pre-orders for the iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max start on the 6th of November, with availability beginning 13th November.

If you’ve been holding back on upgrading your iPhone, we’d say that now would be a good time to pull the trigger; the iPhone 12 is huge leap forward for Apple’s smartphone, and it’s not going to get any better than this for a while.

Feature Image Credit: Vulcan Post

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