Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max: Not just bigger, but better

The latest Apple iPhone lacks a high refresh rate (90Hz or 120Hz as on OnePlus' and Oppo's) but everything felt smooth including heavy graphic games

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max is protected with Ceramic Shield, which Apple claims make it durable and scratch-resistant Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max is protected with Ceramic Shield, which Apple claims make it durable and scratch-resistant
  • Price: Rs 1,29,900
  • Specs: 6.7-inch OLED screen, 2778 x1284-pixel resolution at 458 PPI, A14 Bionic chip with Neural Engine, 128/256/256GB storage, 12MP ultra-wide + 12 MP wide-angle rear camera, 12M front camera, HDR video recording with Dolby Vision up to 60 fps, Face ID, 5G, iOS 14, wireless charging, MagSafe, 228 grams
  • Colour: Silver, Graphite, Gold, Pacific Blue
  • What's in the box: iPhone 12 Pro Max, USB-C to lightning cable

Right from the Mini to the Pro Max with the 12 and 12 Pro in between, the iPhone 12 series has something for everyone. The 12 Pro Max being the top end of the four, has a bit more to offer than just a bigger display.

The design language primarily remains the same. Glass at the front flushing into the flattened side frame with rounded corners. Frankly, I love this flat edge (surgical grade stainless steel) design with rounded corners. With everyone in the industry having the curved edges (even Apple did), the iPhone 12 Pro Max looks different (in a positive sense). Is this big a phone uncomfortable to use... not really.

If you have big hands, you will find it comfortable to hold. With not-so-small hands like mine, using it with one hand was a little challenging as reaching out the top was almost impossible. But the back tap feature came in handy. Use it with two hands and it's simply great for typing, gaming and more.

The 6.7-inch display feels bright with decent sunlight legibility. It lacks a high refresh rate (90Hz or 120Hz as on OnePlus' and Oppo's) but everything felt smooth including heavy graphic games. The display is crisp with deep blacks and bright colours. And is protected with Ceramic Shield, which Apple claims make it durable and scratch-resistant.

Unlike previous years, Max isn't just about a bigger display. There is also a better camera and a bigger battery to back all up. This better camera will not just be loved by the professionals but even you and I can capture stunning images with a few photography skills. I am talking about basics like framing and holding the hand still. The primary camera setup remains the same with 12MP wide, ultra-wide and telephoto lens.

But some significant hardware changes that make it a superb camera include 47 per cent larger main sensor which helps with mode light, the OIS sensor-shift stabilisation instead of the lens-based stabilisation that helps in capturing less blurry, steady shots and the new 2.5x telephoto lens. All combined, the Pro Max delivers impressive results.

While the daylight images looked stunning (similar to the ones on 12 Pro), there was a massive improvement in low light imaging. Low light/night is when the camera needs more light and night mode kicks in automatically. As this new bigger sensor gathers more light, the night mode just didn't activate that often. When turned on, the exposure time was reduced from 3 seconds on the 12 Pro to just one on the 12 Pro Max.

Even with a small light source, I captured some stunning low light images. My favourite being the coal burning in a small pot - as Pro Max captured great hues of blacks and orange. It was such a vibrant pic that I used it as the wallpaper on not just the iPhone but also across many devices. However, it lacks macro. Yet simply focusing on the subject and zooming in worked. I was able to capture some stunning macros of plants including details in the petals and stigma. In addition, it has the LIDAR sensor, light detection and ranging scanner on the rear, which helps with faster autofocus and Night Mode portraits.

Overall, all shots captured on the iPhone looked stunning with sharp fine details and great colour accuracy. With the iOS 14.3, images can be captured in ProRAW format which combines the information of a standard RAW format along with iPhone image processing. I am not too much into editing, but professional can have flexibility when editing the exposure, colour, and white balance in a photo. The 12 Pro Max can shoot 4K video at 60 frames a second, and in Dolby Vision HDR too.

Apple doesn't get into the specification competition. Instead, it just focuses on what it has to do - performance. And it is fast, super quick. Gaming was blistering fast. Capturing photos and videos, editing them right on the device, everything feels snappy. Not just using the default app but also third-party editing apps. Switching between multiple running apps was smooth.

Used for extended durations for work and fun (thanks to the bigger display), the Max handled all this without any hassle or heating issues. The Pro Max has the same A14 Bionic processor as on the other iPhone 12 siblings. I mostly used it on the 4G network but the Pro Max is 5G enabled.

When 5G networks roll out in the country, or if you happen to travel to a country with 5G network, Apple says this will work. All this would fail without a good battery backup. And in my case, the Pro Max still had around 20 per cent charge after a heavy day's usage. It supports wireless charging and works best with Apple's MagSafe. A big screen, brilliant camera and a better battery backup make the iPhone 12 Pro Max the best of the lot.

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