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iPhone 12 Pro Review: Hands-On and Initial Impressions

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Iphone 12 pro hands on 1

Apple’s latest iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro launched in Canada on Friday. We got our hands on an iPhone 12 Pro and one day later, here are some initial impressions compared to the iPhone 11 Pro Max. Not a fair comparison of course, but before the iPhone 12 Pro Max launches later in November, here’s what we noticed this year.

Instead of regurgitating iPhone 12 Pro specs and features and writing a 25,000-word review, we’re going to try something new and start doing Haiku reviews. Short, sweet and to the point (it’s about reflection, okay).

iPhone 12 Pro Haiku Review

Design is stunning 

Stainless steel edges return

Blue is the new green

Gosh, I was born to be a poet, don’t you think?

iPhone 12 line up retail boxes this year (along with other 2020 iPhone boxes) are now much smaller than before, as headphones and AC power adapters are no longer included. It’s for the environment says Apple, and I’m okay with this move. How often do you take out the AC adapter from your new iPhone box to replace the one you’ve been using for your old iPhone?

You get a Lightning to USB-C cable, which for some, means going out and buying your own USB-C AC power adapter (here’s a $29 adapter from Anker). Take that, environment. Also, you now only get one Apple sticker in the box (that you’ll never use; or stick on your car’s bumper like a weirdo).

Iphone 12 pro hands on 2

This year also debuts a paper screen protector that has plastic lined on the back, along with icons indicating volume up and down, the mute switch, power button and Lightning charge port. This isn’t a paper screen protector. It’s just a plastic screen protector taped onto paper (we peeled this protector and tried to tear it but we couldn’t—because plastic).

Let’s talk about the design of the iPhone 12 Pro. It seems what’s old is new again as it reminds me of the iPhone 5. The polished stainless steel sides are gorgeous and Pacific Blue is gorgeous. It gets me excited. Sorry, Midnight Green–you’re so yesterday’s news, buddy.

Today’s generation of ‘hypebeasts’ were still in diapers when Apple’s iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 was out, so they can experience some flat-edge premium iPhones now (not counting the iPhone SE from 2016). This phone is thin and beautiful.

Iphone 12 pro hands on 3

Notice the LiDAR sensor on the back as it’s an extra addition for this year’s Pro models. The new sensor is to help with low light photography.

Iphone 12 pro hands on 4

This side view of the polished stainless steel sides is the best. Pacific Blue looks really good:

Iphone 12 pro hands on 5

Here’s the bottom of the iPhone 12 Pro with 5 speaker and 3 speaker holes:

Iphone 12 pro hands on 6

The SIM card tray this year moved to the other side of the phone.

As for the iPhone 12 Pro display compared to the iPhone 11 Pro Max, we found the newer screen to be slightly warmer. The 6.1-inch display looks great and this phone feels great in the hand. The iPhone 11 Pro Max is still clumsy with one-handed use. With the iPhone 12 Pro Max set to be slightly larger, those with butterfingers better invest in a decent case.

The new A14 Bionic chip in the iPhone 12 Pro is a beast, but we didn’t notice much compared to the A13 Bionic in the iPhone 11 Pro Max in casual usage. Surely in gaming or video processing you’ll see the differences. If you’re coming from something like an iPhone 6, you’ll easily notice the speed differences.

The speakers are loud but at max volume, the iPhone 11 Pro Max still took a slight edge.

Face ID in casual tests was faster to unlock on iPhone 12 Pro versus iPhone 11 Pro Max at times.

Apple’s ability to have a perfect 50/50 weight distribution for its iPhones is highly underrated. The iPhone 12 Pro is not top or bottom-heavy, it’s pretty much balanced perfectly. You can balance the phone on your index finger when the latter is placed under the centered Apple logo on the back.

It’s pretty cool to have an iPhone that can stand up on its own again. Time to use the Cycloramic app again?

As for battery life, no extensive tests were performed but we did have enough juice to last a full day until bedtime. That’s all that should matter.

As for testing 5G on iPhone 12 Pro in Canada, we will be testing out the Telus 5G network soon so stay tuned for that.

We haven’t been able to test out low light images yet, specifically Night mode on the Wide and Ultra Wide cameras. Apple says LiDAR allows for Night mode portraits now and faster autofocus. You can now also take Night mode on the front camera. Check out this iPhone 12 Pro camera review from Austin Mann instead.

iPhone 12 Pro (2020) vs iPhone 5 (2012) vs iPhone (2007)

Here are some bonus photos comparing the iPhone 12 Pro next to the iPhone 5 and the original iPhone. By golly, we’ve come a long way in terms of size and cameras. The original iPhone didn’t even have video and now there’s Dolby Vision HDR recording on the 12 Pro in 4K 60fps:

Iphone 12 pro vs iphone 5 2

The original iPhone and its classic ‘Slide to Unlock’ still works great. iPhoneOS at the time really was light years ahead of old phone manufacturers:

Iphone 12 pro vs iphone 5 1

The chamfered edges of the iPhone 5 are not on the iPhone 12 Pro. But there are similarities in the flat design. The iPhone 12 Pro corners are at a softer arc versus the iPhone 5. But heck, the iPhone 5 was definitely an engineering marvel at the time.

Iphone 12 pro vs iphone 5 3

Overall, the iPhone 12 Pro’s design is simply stunning. It makes the rounded edges of my iPhone 11 Pro Max feel old and bloated (I’m tossing it in the bin). The flat sides do make for a better grip when holding the phone naked. Despite the slick design, most people will still toss their phone into a case, since these phones are big and expensive to drop. Using an iPhone 12 Pro without a case would be a real treat. Ceramic Shield may save the front display, but you’re on your own for the back glass. Just get AppleCare+ and move on.

Apple’s iPhone 12 Pro starts at $1,399 in Canada for the 128GB model, working out to over $1,500 after taxes. If you’re still using an iPhone 6, iPhone 7 or iPhone 8, this may be the one to get if you’re ready to fork out extra cash compared to the iPhone 12.

Well, this fake news Haiku review turned out longer than normal. How are you liking your iPhone 12 Pro? What phone did you upgrade from?

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