Available this Friday, the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro seem very close on paper and visually. However, Apple applies a price difference of 250 euros. Which model should I choose? What are the concrete differences? We have scrutinized the technical data sheet.
Each year, it is important to compare the different iPhone models offered by Apple to better understand the range of the brand. In 2020, Apple has decided to launch no less than 4 models and blurs the differences between each range a little. Here is a comparison to better navigate.
A variable price difference: from 200 to 350 euros
Let’s start by recalling that the brand offers the following 4 models: the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 mini, the 6.1-inch iPhone 12, the 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro and the 6-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max, 7 inches. If we take the minimum price displayed by Apple for each range, we obtain a price difference of 350 euros between the iPhone 12 mini and the iPhone 12 Pro.
However, it seems smarter and more reasonable to us to compare the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro which offer the same display diagonal, which translates into a difference of 250 euros between the two devices. This is a way for Apple to discreetly raise the price of its accessible model, the iPhone 11 had indeed been launched at the price of the iPhone 12 mini.
By digging a little more, we see that the iPhone 12 starts at 64 GB, while the iPhone 12 Pro has 128 GB. If we take the same storage capacity on both sides (256 GB), we go to a difference of “only” 200 euros (1,079 euros compared to 1,279 euros). Obviously, if you only need 64GB or you don’t mind a smaller screen, keep in mind that the 64GB models and the iPhone 12 mini are offered cheaper.
Many points in common
If the question will arise this year, more than all the previous ones, it is because on paper the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro seem particularly close. The design looks identical, with the same degree of waterproofing and protection Ceramic Shield. We are entitled to the same Apple A14 chip or an OLED screen for both devices. These were historically points on which models differed. We can also mention the absence of a charger on the entire iPhone 12 range, which makes one last difference (the Pro models had the exclusivity of the fast USB-C charger in previous years).
Face ID, 5G compatibility or Wi-Fi 6, again the two smartphones seem identical. Let’s take a closer look at the differences.
The difference is in the photo
The big difference between the two iPhone ranges this year is on the back of the smartphone, at the photo module. In addition to offering a third lens, a telephoto lens with 2x zoom, the Pro model also includes a LIDAR already seen on the iPad Pro. Apple spent a good part of the conference praising the merits of the new iPhone 12 Pro camera capable of taking better pictures in all circumstances, and especially in a new format (for Apple), the ProRAW.
The Apple ProRaw format is exclusive to the iPhone 12 Pro and offers more possibilities at the photo editing stage, thanks to an uncompressed file that still preserves all the algorithmic information of the images so that you took advantage of a maximum of tools to modify them. This function is aimed at a rather informed public, which allows Apple to better justify the name “Pro” for its smartphone.
That’s not all, Apple also leaves the exclusivity of Portrait mode in Night mode, and the ability to shoot in 4K at 60 frames per second with Dolby Vision HDR. On the iPhone 12, this HDR video capture is limited to 30 frames per second. LIDAR also opens up new possibilities with augmented reality applications.
A very slightly different screen
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro feature a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display with a definition of 2532 x 1170 pixels. We may have the impression that it will therefore be the same screen. In reality, according to Apple, the iPhone 12 Pro’s OLED screen can push its brightness to 800 cd / m², or up to 1200 cd / m² in HDR, while the iPhone 12’s screen is limit to 625 cd / m² (and still 1200 cd / m² for HDR).
It is likely that the difference between the two panels comes from the production lines used by Apple. The iPhone 12 Pro is probably entitled to the best and newer OLED panels on the market, while the iPhone 12 probably uses slightly older benchmarks, but still very good.
The question of colors
Now that we have reviewed the biggest differences, there is a point that we have not addressed, aesthetics. Like every year, Apple makes the difference between the two ranges in terms of the colors offered. The iPhone 12 will be offered in 5 tones: black, white, blue, green, and the iconic red.
For the iPhone 12 Pro, you will have to be content with choosing between: graphite black, silver, gold and Pacific blue.
It is obviously also a way for the owners of the Pro models to highlight the range they have chosen. If you have selected a Pro model, your iPhone will not look like that of previous years or a “simple” iPhone 12. An image is cultivated, as they say.
Unfortunately, Apple does not give all the details regarding the technical sheet of its smartphones. It is likely that some differences between the two ranges lie in its details hidden by the manufacturer. We think in particular of the amount of RAM, which will undoubtedly be more important on the Pro models. We are talking about 4 GB for the iPhone 12 and 6 GB for the iPhone 12 Pro.
So this difference?
If we had to make a brief summary of the differences between the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro, it would probably only have one line: the photo module. All the other differences we found are really, more than ever, in the detail. Overall, you will have exactly the same quality of experience between the two smartphones. The same performances, the same autonomy, the same display, the same OS, the same diagonal, and perhaps the same storage capacity.
Are the differences in the photo worth the 200 to 350 euros of differences? Difficult to answer without having been able to test both devices. Based on Apple’s promises, it all depends on your user profile. If for you photography is the most important element of the use of your smartphone, then we answer you a big yes obviously. In fact, if so, it might be that the iPhone is already a professional tool for you, if you are a photographer, videographer, or more generally a content creator. If you are able to take full advantage of a feature like Raw Photo.
In all other cases, it would probably be more reasonable to turn to the iPhone 12. But is a smartphone purchase still reasonable?