In November 2020, I bought and rated an iPhone 12, and while I liked the size and performance, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 still had attention, so I returned the iPhone 12. A month later, things changed, and the iPhone 12 Pro Max knocked out the Z Fold 2 of favor. So how does the iPhone 12 Pro Max hold up?
Regular readers and Twitter followers know that I am primarily an Android user who regularly uses an iPhone for a month after Apple has released the latest model. The iPhone 12 Pro Max has been doing this for two months as my daily driver, and I even bought AppleCare Plus coverage because there is a lot to like in this phone, and my SIM card has not left it since December.
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As a writer who covers smartphones, I have had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with the new Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G, and although it is a fantastic device with some unique camera features, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is better for my needs, and I did not buy an S21 this year. I’m actually a little surprised at how much I like this great new iPhone. I discover things every week that confirm my decision to go all-in with Apple’s latest and greatest.
Based on my use of the last two months with the iPhone 12 Pro Max, I find it very compelling for the following reasons:
- Design: I absolutely love the square edges and the flat display with a back cover in matt glass. I also like phones with colors, and Pacific Blue is beautiful. It’s really just a design feature I want to improve, and which is mentioned below.
- iOS 14: The latest Apple OS is more like Android – and it’s a great thing – with useful widgets, updated app launcher and more. There are also the little things like quickly sharing Wi-Fi login details with a friend who has an iPhone, and asking me to turn off my upcoming alarm when the phone recognizes that I’m using the phone and no longer need the alarm, Smart Stack- widget functionality, enhanced messaging experience and more.
- 5G and Qualcomm modem: In the past, iPhones have always been worse than Samsung phones for mobile reception, but that is no longer the case with the latest iPhones with Qualcomm modems inside. 5G has been fast, and more importantly, it provides coverage in areas where I previously had no mobile signal.
- Camera experience: I will dive deeper into the cameras in the future, but it’s easy to take and rely on great photos with the iPhone 12 Pro Max in hand. Today’s flagship smartphone cameras are pretty good, but Apple offers one of the most consistent and simple experiences for the masses, while providing some advanced features.
- Battery life all day: I never think about the iPhone battery, even when I’m out hiking or traveling all day. The lowest level I remember looking at was about 30% after a day of taking pictures and using the phone quite heavily.
- Face ID: Even in this time period when we use face masks a lot, I still find the flawless experience of Face ID to unlock iPhone and make me secure applications as the best security experience on a phone.
- MagSafe: I’ve tried some Apple MagSafe cases, and the simple wallet attachment is amazing and practical. I also like that wireless charging seems to be more reliable, and I plan to continue exploring MagSafe accessories.
Also: Apple iPhone 12 review: 5G, enhanced reception and iOS 14 widgets challenge Android phones
As much as I like the iPhone 12 Pro Max, there are some things I would like to see from Apple in the future. Most of these are features available on Android phones now, including:
- New ringtone breaks design: Maybe it’s my big fingers, but I have a very hard time manipulating the little ring switch and see if it is turned on or off. Maybe a handy slider that we see on OnePlus phones would be a better design element.
- Reverse wireless charging: This may be a simple convenience, but given the long battery life of the iPhone 12 Pro Max and the fact that I forgot to charge the Apple Watch 6 a couple of times, I would like to see this Samsung option come to future iPhones. It can also be used to top up AirPods while on the go.
- Apple Pencil support: I love that Samsung left the S Pen Ultra to the S21 Ultra, even though the pen is not stored with the phone. It would be great to note on the large iPhone 12 Pro Max screen.
- Increased telecommunications capability: Samsung’s new dual telephoto camera system sets the limit for a zoom experience, and I would like to see a more significant optical zoom feature in a future iPhone.
There is a lot to cover in the iPhone 12 Pro Max, and I will continue to dive deep and use it as my daily driver. Stay tuned for articles that take a closer look at the cameras, Siri shortcuts, LiDAR and more. Let me know if you have other specific areas you want to further discuss or explore on Apple’s best iPhone.