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iPhone 12 quick review: Looks perfect

Apple's latest phones in India are on sale now. The iPhone 12, which comes with a price of Rs 79,900, looks like a perfect phone with an improved design, and all the features most people will need.

Javed Anwer | October 31, 2020 | Updated 14:55 IST

Highlights

  • The iPhone 12 is on sale in India at a price of Rs 79,900.
  • Compared to the iPhone 11, the iPhone 12 features a new design.
  • iPhone 12 is closer to the iPhone Pro this year, though its price is also up.

Apple rarely makes product mistakes. It may struggle a while to give the right direction to some products, like it did with the iPad for a few years in beginning, or it may try to milk something good for longer than appropriate, like it did with the 4-inch iPhone several years ago, but on the whole it doesn't make a shoddy gadget. Nothing changes with the iPhone 12. This new phone looks great on paper, and it works well in real. That is what I feel on the basis of the couple of days that I have spent with the iPhone 12 so far.

The full iPhone 12 review, with details on battery performance, camera samples and other related bits will come in a few days, but in the meantime I do have a quick review of the iPhone 12 to share in case you are looking to buy it in India.

The iPhone 11 last year was a great phone. This is the reason why it was received well by tech reviewers as well as by consumers, who made it one of the best-selling phones of all time. This year, with the iPhone 12, Apple keeps it simple. It is aiming to give users everything that the iPhone 11 is, along with a few extra features, borrowed from the iPhone Pro line, to make the iPhone 12 almost a default choice for anyone looking to get an iPhone this year. Sure, addition of these premium features means price is up. Compared to the debut price of Rs 64,900 for the iPhone 11, the iPhone 12 comes in at Rs 79,900. It is also worth it.

It is worth because the design is better, much better, cameras seem to be better with more features, screen is better, though that may not matter much because the iPhone 11 too has a fantastic screen, and the presence of the A14 Bionic chip means it is going to be supported at least one year longer with software updates compared to the iPhone 11.

iPhone 12 is sleeker, lighter and better

It is the design of the iPhone 12 that sets the tone for it. Unlike the iPhone 11, which was clearly a notch below the iPhone 11 Pro in terms of the design, the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro are almost the same. The big difference here is that the Pro has a steel frame, and the iPhone 12 has an aluminium frame. This means in the hand, the Pro will feel more solid and also more hefty. The iPhone 12, meanwhile, is extremely light.

It is also fairly slim. In fact, I find the weight and size of the iPhone 12 perfect. It's usable without requiring two hands to support it. It doesn't weigh down the wrist, like the iPhone Pro Max phones can. It's not broad, so fingers don't tire after gripping it the whole day. And no, its edges are not so sharp that you can peel an Apple with it like someone showed in a video a few days ago. After trying the iPhone 12, I can say that the viral video was rubbish.

An image shot with the iPhone 12

The iPhone 12 looks quite good, though not exceptional. But then nowadays there is rarely a phone that looks exceptional. Its frame has matte finishing. And the glass cover is shiny, which shows different hues depending on how light falls on it. Though, it is not iridescent like some Android phones.

The iPhone 12 also harks back to old days, and gives a nod to the boxy design of the iPhone 4. The frame has flat rectangular edges. One difference, however, is the glass on the back and front, which is flat and sits flushed with the edges, instead of having curved edges. This is the new industry trend. Curves are out. And the iPhone 12 follows the trend here.

The workmanship is top class. I looked closely at the iPhone edges, or the way its SIM slot fits in the frame, or the way speakers grills are made, or how the buttons sit in their slots, and there is no blemish I could notice.

I am trying the iPhone 12 in Red. This colour is a little tacky. It will appeal to those who like all things scarlet. If you want your phones more subtle, you will likely prefer blue. On the back, there is the shiny Apple logo. The two rear cameras, along with the LED flash and a microphone, are in a square shaped island, which uses a different shade of red. It's lighter and, unlike the rest of the phone, has matte finish. It looks a little out of sync with the rest of the back cover, but it doesn't look jarring like the way the shiny Pixel 4a camera module does.

Apple says that the iPhone 12 comes with IP68 certification, which means it has better protection against water and dust compared to the iPhone 11. It also has a ceramic shield on the screen, which is four times more durable compared to glass shield on the iPhone 11. In use, I don't find any discernible difference between the ceramic shield and glass shield. The four times durability is Apple's claim and it can't be tested unless thousands of iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 units are put through drop tests.

The iPhone 12 now comes with an OLED screen. The iPhone 11 has an LCD screen. The colours do look richer and more vibrant on the iPhone 12. But the difference, given how good is the iPhone 11 screen, is less pronounced than what LCD vs OLED will lead you to believe. I find the brightness of the iPhone 12 screen adequate, and colours, once TrueTone is enabled, pleasantly warm. But compared to the iPhone 11 Pro Max screen or for that matter screens in a few Android phones I find the iPhone 12 screen a shade less bright.

There are noticeable bezels around the screen, and that notch is there on the top. The iPhone 12 doesn't have almost non-existent bezels like some Android phones. But it also doesn't have any chin on the bottom edge of the screen, and its design is symmetrical and more pleasing to the eye compared to what Android phones with their chins display.

iPhone 12 performance and other bits

I am still exploring the iPhone 12 so this section is going to be taken care of in the full review. But so far, I haven't noticed anything amiss with the phone. The performance looks great. No lags. No jitters. The software is the iOS 14. It is almost as flexible as Android and is more cohesive than all the custom variants of Android that phone companies put in their phones.

There are two rear cameras and they both support night mode. The camera performance with both lenses regular and ultra-wide looks good. The selfie camera now supports night mode, although I have a feeling that in extreme low light selfie cameras in a Pixel phone may edge it out. In good light, I find the selfie camera in the iPhone 12 one of the best I have seen in a phone.

An image shot with the iPhone 12

The rear camera comes with a number of unique features, including Dolby Vision video recording, which is first for any phone. I have recorded some HDR videos using this feature and they look great on the phone. But I need to spend more time with these videos and the iPhone 12 camera before I share more details.

Same is with the battery life. That too is something that can be figured out only after some more use.

How do you charge the iPhone 12? You heard it right. There is no charger bundled with the phone. In fact, the phone comes in a very sleek box. It is barely one-inch deep. So, there is .no charger. But there is a USB C-to-Lightning cable in the box. If you have a compatible charger, you can use that. Or you can get a 20W fast charger from Apple, which costs Rs 1,900. The iPhone 12 also comes without any earphones in the box.

15W fast wireless charging is supported on the iPhone 12 through the new MagSafe connector, but I haven't tried that yet.

If you are thinking of whether you should get the iPhone 12 or the iPhone 12 Pro, check out our comparison here. If you are wondering if there are any launch offers on the iPhone 12, see this. As for the full review of the iPhone 12, stay tuned. For now, I can say that it looks fantastic, not just in its design, but also in what it offers to consumers in terms of camera performance, general performance, software, feature set and overall value

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