Hands-On Comparison: iPhone 12 vs. iPhone 12 Pro

For those still trying to make a decision between an iPhone 12 or an ‌iPhone 12‌ Pro, we picked up both models and in our latest YouTube video, did a hands-on comparison between them. Our video highlights the similarities and the differences so you can which one is the best fit for you and whether the ‌iPhone 12‌ Pro is worth an extra $200.


When it comes to design, the ‌iPhone 12‌ and 12 Pro are the exact same size with the same OLED display, but the ‌iPhone 12‌ Pro has a higher-quality stainless steel frame and matte glass back while the ‌iPhone 12‌ uses an aluminum frame and a glossy glass back.

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The ‌iPhone 12‌ Pro's stainless steel is heavier and prone to fingerprints, but it looks higher-end, while the ‌iPhone 12‌ is noticeably lighter and comes in a wider variety of colors (blue, red, green, white, and black vs. graphite, silver, blue, and gold for the Pro).

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There are also three cameras and a LiDAR Scanner on the ‌iPhone 12‌ Pro, while the ‌iPhone 12‌ features a dual-lens camera setup. The ‌iPhone 12‌ has the exact same Wide and Ultra Wide lenses available on the 12 Pro, but it lacks a telephoto lens and of course, the LiDAR Scanner.

The loss of the telephoto lens isn't a huge deal unless you frequently used it for zoomed in 2x photos, but most people probably stick primarily to the Wide lens. The LiDAR Scanner is a bit more of a loss because it does bring improvements to low light photography, enabling Night Mode portraits and speeding up autofocus when lighting is poor, but that's not going to matter to people who primarily take daytime photos.

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The LiDAR Scanner has uses for augmented reality apps because it can provide an accurate depth scan of the area around you, plus it can do things like measure a person, but these are somewhat niche uses that most people can likely do without.

If you don't care about AR apps and just want a camera that's going to take great photos in standard lighting conditions, the ‌iPhone 12‌ Pro probably isn't worth the upgrade.

Both iPhones use the same A14 chip, but the ‌iPhone 12‌ Pro has 6GB RAM while the ‌iPhone 12‌ has 4GB RAM. You're not going to notice a huge difference in 6GB vs. 4GB RAM in everyday use, but it's something to keep in mind and could be a reason for those who want the maximum performance and device longevity to upgrade.

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Storage is a consideration when choosing which iPhone to buy. The $799 ‌iPhone 12‌ only has 64GB storage, which may not meet some people's needs. Upgrading to 128GB costs another $50, putting you at $850, which narrows the gap a bit between the ‌iPhone 12‌ and the ‌iPhone 12‌ Pro, which has 128GB at the entry-level $999 price point.

We're still talking about an extra $150 for the upgrade, but for those who pay monthly through a carrier or through Apple, it's less of a hit to the wallet and equates to somewhere around $6 per month, so it could be worth it to some to get the extra features by shelling out just a bit more money.

OLED displays with Ceramic Shield, TrueDepth camera with Face ID and notch, 5G, battery life, water resistance, and A14 chip are available on both models, so there's less than ever before separating the standard ‌iPhone 12‌ from the Pro model. Most people will be more than happy with the ‌iPhone 12‌, but those who want maximum performance and better camera hardware in a 6.1-inch package should choose the ‌iPhone 12‌ Pro.

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There is, of course, the iPhone 12 Pro Max coming with even better camera equipment so those who are interested in the Pro for the camera upgrade will need to decide if the further Pro Max upgrade is worthwhile, which is something we'll explore in a future video when the entire ‌iPhone 12‌ lineup is available.

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We have a buyer's guide that goes into even more detail on the differences between the ‌iPhone 12‌ and ‌iPhone 12‌ Pro if you want to supplement the video, plus we have detailed iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro roundups with everything you need to know about each phone, both of which are worth checking out if you're still undecided.

Did you choose an ‌iPhone 12‌ Pro over an ‌iPhone 12‌? Let us know why in the comments.

Related Roundup: iPhone 12
Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

citysnaps Avatar
27 months ago
So far I'm very happy with my 12 Pro. Here's a photo I made yesterday of some ravens.




Attachment Image
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nutmac Avatar
27 months ago
I picked iPhone 12 (upgrading from iPhone XS). My reasons from most significant to least significant.

* I vastly prefer iPhone 12's matte aluminum side, as well as more vibrant color.
* After holding both iPhone 12 and 12 Pro, I appreciate iPhone 12's lighter weight.
* 2x digital zoom on 26mm wide (normal) angle looks better to my eyes than 52mm telephoto lens, most likely owing to 26mm's superior optics. On XS, I never shot beyond 2x.
* $120-150 price difference (when configured to 128GB) pays for all the accessories I want (and then some), such as a case and wireless charger.
* LiDAR sounds interesting on paper, but in reality, I would never use AR and low light auto focus is frankly excellent on iPhone 12.
* I prefer videos shot in more cinematic 24-30 frames per second over soap opera like 60 frames per second. iPhone 12 supports Dolby Vision that frame rate.
* I don't care about ProRAW.
* To me, extra 2GB RAM is a theoretical benefit. I never craved for more RAM on iPhone XS.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
UnusedLoginID Avatar
27 months ago
Still a lot of folks here fooled by Apple pricing advertising. The 12 is not $799, it’s $829 if you’re not activating. And it’s only 64GB. A 128GB will run $879.
Compared to the 128GB iPhone 12 Pro at $999 and you’ve got a price difference of $120 !!
To me that’s a no-brainer, with the 12 Pro 2x optical zoom, lidar scanner, night mode portrait, stainless steel body, brighter display (800 nits vs 600 nits), 6GB RAM (vs 4GB), ProRAW image format…
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
EvilEvil Avatar
27 months ago
I'm a photgrapher and went with the 12. $300 (including tax) extra for telephoto and LiDAR wasn't worth it for me.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GeeMillz22 Avatar
27 months ago
I chose a 256GB black iPhone 12 for a few reasons:

1a. Ideal body/screen size for me
1b. Wanted the lighter phone
2. T-Mobile discount was insane
3. “Just” $120 diff is still $120 saved
4. If 12S/13Pro has 120Hz...insta-buy
5. Ordered on 10/21; still got it 10/23

There is a part of me that wants the 12 Pro because I like the look and few extra features, but I know I’m highly (100% if 90/120Hz) likely to get the 2021 iPhone Pro. So, I’m content with saving a buck and enjoying 90% of the same experience.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mindsaspire Avatar
27 months ago
Picked the Pro for the 6 GB RAM because I plan on keeping it for a few years (upgraded from an iPhone 8).
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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