The iPhone 12 Pro Max arrives and the American press has put its hand (or s) on it. We were curiously awaiting the arrival of this giant because it adopts a camera system very different from the 12 Pro.
Last month, we tested the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. Since Apple has decided to release its iPhones in two stages, here are the iPhone 12 mini and 12 Pro Max. You can pre-order them from November 6 for delivery scheduled for November 13.
While waiting for our test, we offer you a review of the iPhone 12 Pro Max tests, we will mainly focus on the photo-video part. This is the main difference when compared to the iPhone 12 Pro.
It’s not just a question of size anymore
The iPhone 12 Pro Max is coming! It’s the biggest, biggest, most expensive, and heaviest iPhone. But generally, it’s also the most standalone iPhone in the line. This year there is a noticeable difference. It’s not its 6.7 inches diagonally… OK, it’s really a big iPhone that could have claimed the title of tablet a few years ago. Besides, The Verge advises all potential buyers of the 12 Pro Max to make a call with it before purchasing it.
It is on the photo part that the 12 Pro Max clearly differs from the 12 Pro: it has a different wide-angle camera as well as a camera different telephoto lens. On the wide-angle, the main camera, we find the same lens with f / 1.6 aperture as the 12 and 12 Pro, but it also has47% larger sensor which can capture more light with less noise.
The wide camera is also stabilized differently from other iPhone 12 models, which have traditional lens-based Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) to reduce vibration and therefore blur. The 12 Pro Max uses a sensor stabilization system (optical stabilization by moving the sensor), similar to the system gimbal, which moves the entire camera to reduce vibration. According to Apple, this system, which could be miniaturized for the 12 Pro Max, reduces a wider range of vibrations than the classic OIS of the iPhone 12 Pro. All this would allow the 12 Pro Max to stand out clearly from the other iPhone 12s, with a higher sensitivity (ISO 7616 against ISO 5808 on the Pro 12).
But all this, for what result?
For The Verge, it is difficult to distinguish iPhone 12 photos in daylight with the main camera. These additional capacities will be clearly visible in low light: “But when the light fades, the 12 Pro Max really starts to stand out», Said the verge.
Even against the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and Pixel 5, the iPhone 12 Pro Max stands out in low light. However, the exposure time is less important according to Engadget : « Apple says this new system can make up to 5,000 micro-adjustments per second, for sharper photos and less shaky videos.».
In all the test examples that we have read, the wide-angle of the iPhone 12 Pro Max displays slightly better sharpness, lower noise and better color rendering than the iPhone 12 Pro. The benefits of the larger sensor are less noticeable in video – instead, it’s the stabilization system that smooths out videos when you’re on the move.
The same goes for the much better telephoto camera. As a reminder, the 12 Pro Max’s telephoto camera uses a larger zoom with better optics. The difference is obvious.
Overall, the combination of the larger sensor, improved stabilization, better optics, LIDAR, and processing power means that iPhone 12 Pro Max has the best camera in the 2020 iPhone lineup. Is it better than the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra? We will have to wait for our tests to certify it.
On the other hand, it is large and often requires the use of two hands to handle it. It therefore has a much poorer ergonomics than the other iPhone 12. We did not mention autonomy, but for all the testers… Big phone = big battery = big autonomy. It is therefore, unsurprisingly, the iPhone with the greatest autonomy. It is quite the opposite of the iPhone 12 mini. When the latter does not last a day, the Pro Max can last the next morning.
One of the weak points that we find on all the tests is the absence of a refresh rate greater than 60 Hz. It is incomprehensible to the American media. Most high-end Android smartphones are 90 or 120 Hz… and even higher. We will have to wait until at least 2021 to take advantage of this advance on the iPhone.
We haven’t mentioned Apple’s new ProRAW format, which promises the flexibility of editing RAW images from this sensor with Smart HDR processing… but it’s not yet available, so we’ll have to wait.