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Apple iPhone 11 Pro vs 12: Which iPhone Should You Buy?

author Luis Silva (October 2020 Updated: August 2021 - 6 min. reading time)

The iPhone 12 may cost you a few bucks more, but it's the best of the two.

It comes with a better display.

What else stands out?

The iPhone 12 also gives you a larger (+0.3") display and faster wireless charging (15w vs. 5w). But with the iPhone 11 Pro, you can get a telephoto lens (+39 mm).

How much more will the iPhone 12 cost me?

If you're going off-contract, it'll cost you around $130 more.

Is the iPhone 11 Pro still worth getting in 2021?

The iPhone 11 Pro is holding up pretty well in 2021, and while it isn't the best device out there, at least it's more affordable now. Nevertheless, you should also check other phones like the iPhone 12 Pro because it has better performance, better cameras, more storage, more security updates, and more RAM.

Is it still worth buying the iPhone 12 in 2021?

The iPhone 12 was indeed released in 2020, but it still stands out, thanks to its good performance, good cameras, and excellent glass protection. If you can find a great deal, it does make sense in 2021, but don't just ignore the iPhone 12 Mini.

Keep reading to learn more about what sets them apart, how they fare against their competition, and you'll know how the tech experts evaluate their specs.

Check prices on Amazon Check prices on Amazon
Click here or scroll down to check prices on eBay, BestBuy, and Walmart.

I earn a small fee from qualifying purchases. It doesn't affect the price you pay nor my opinions.

Apple iPhone 11 Pro, Apple iPhone 12

Photo by Soragrit Wongsa on Unsplash

CONTENTS

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Introduction

So, you're into smaller smartphones. But being them about the same price, should you go for the iPhone 11 Pro?

Let's find out.

Apple introduced its iPhone 12 model in October 2020. Meanwhile, Apple's iPhone 11 Pro started to sell in September 2019.

With this article, you'll be able to compare every feature of the iPhone 11 Pro and the iPhone 12. Then, you can decide what model better suits your needs. Let's start.

The weight of each section

For additional information regarding our smartphone comparisons, check this FAQ.

to check who their rivals are.

Price*
vs.
Device iPhone 11 Pro iPhone 12
Release Date 2019, September 2020, October 1y.
OS Updates 6 years 6 years 0y.
Security Updates 6 years 6 years 0y.

*Reference: 100: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

Which One Has The Best Performance?

About performance: Geekbench 5 scores the iPhone 12 19% ahead of its sibling in the multi-core ranking. You should notice that it is a bit faster if you test them side by side.

The iPhone 12 is also a top performer for its price range. It got a score of 4067, compared to the usual 2658, or close to that.

One can entitle both of them as high-end.

Performance*
vs.
Features iPhone 11 Pro iPhone 12
SoC Apple A13 Apple A14
Graphics Apple GPU Apple GPU
Geekbench 5 Score 3428
4067
639
OS iOS 13 iOS 14.1
Tek-Score
7.7
8.8
1.1

*Reference: 100: Apple iPhone 12.

Which Phone Has The Best Display?

Apple iPhone 11 Pro front transparent png Apple iPhone 12 front transparent png

They both share the same score, so don't worry about it. But the iPhone 12 features better glass protection.

If you're into small displays, the iPhone 11 Pro is the one. Most phones from its price range don't even come close.

If you're leaning towards the iPhone 11 Pro, 89% of its rivals can play HDR content. Plus, all have an AMOLED screen, and 93% have an Always-On display.

Regarding the iPhone 12, I should say that 88% of its rivals can play HDR content. Plus, all have an AMOLED screen, and 96% have an Always-On display.

Display Density (DPIs)*
vs.
Features iPhone 11 Pro iPhone 12
Size 5.8
6.1
0.3
Screen Type AMOLED AMOLED
Resolution (px) 1125x2436
1170x2532
221940
Refresh Rate 60hz 60hz 0
Dots per Inch 462.63
457.25
-5.37
Always-On-Display No No
Notch Wedge Wedge
Peak Brightness 811 nits
639 nits
-172
HDR HDR10 HDR10
Sub Tek-Score
3.3
2.9
-0.3
Protection Corning toughened glass Corning Gorilla Glass Victus
Tek-Score
5.9
7.5
1.6

*Reference: 100: Sony Xperia 1 II.

Which Phone Has The Best Cameras?

Apple iPhone 11 Pro back transparent png Apple iPhone 12 back transparent png

I don't see a meaningful winner in the camera department.

About the iPhone 11 Pro: I would've loved it if DXOMARK reviewed this camera, but by doing some math, it scored 134*. Then, if you consider the telephoto and wide-angle lenses, the final score goes up to 145** points.

PS: you should know that all of its rivals can record videos in 4K or more and have an ultra-wide-angle lens, and 93% feature Optical Image Stabilization. Yet, only 11% of them feature a macro lens.

About the iPhone 12: DXOMARK's gurus gave this shooter a score of 132. And by adding its wide-angle lens, this score goes up to 139 points. You can click here to check it out.

Furthermore, just to let you know, all of its rivals can record videos in 4 or 8K and have an ultra-wide-angle lens, and 96% feature Optical Image Stabilization. Regardless, only 8% of them feature a macro lens.

We can classify these two as high-end.

*I do recommend DXOMARK's reviews. Unfortunately, they don't test every smartphone camera out there. That's why when I come across one of them, I try to do my best by giving a similar score based on hardware specs only (OIS, Sensor size, Aperture, Lenses, HDR, and so on). Our lastest test on our formula showed a deviation of up to 2 points.

**Consider this as an estimative, at least for phones with no zoom and up to 35 to 40MP. They moved to a new camera test protocol, and there aren't enough reviewed phones to extrapolate a backward-compatible score.

Picture Quality*
vs.
Primary Camera iPhone 11 Pro iPhone 12
Megapixels 12
12
0
Aperture 1.8
1.6
-0.2
Lens 26mm
26mm
0
Lens Type Wide-Angle Wide-Angle
Flash 4 4 0
HDR Yes Yes
OIS Yes Yes
Video 2160 2160 0
Score 145
139
-6

*Reference: 100: Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra.

Extra Camera(s) iPhone 11 Pro iPhone 12 vs.
Megapixels 12
12
0
Aperture 2.0
2.4
0.4
Lens 52mm (2x zoom)
13mm -39
Lens Type Telephoto lens Ultra-wide-Angle
Megapixels 12 -
Aperture 2.4 -
Lens 13mm -
Lens Type Ultra-wide-Angle -
Score 11 7 -4
Selfie Camera iPhone 11 Pro iPhone 12 vs.
Megapixels 12
12
0
Aperture 2.2
2.2
0.0
Lens 23mm 23mm 0
iPhone 11 Pro iPhone 12 vs.
Tek-Score
8.5
8.2
-0.4

Who has the best frame?

The iPhone 12 does have an advantage here, thanks to its weight. But that doesn't mean the iPhone 11 Pro is that bad.

The iPhone 11 Pro is 24 g. (0.85 oz) heavier than its sibling, which sits at 164 g. (5.78 oz). But because screen size also matters, the "weight to display size" score of the iPhone 11 Pro is 3.0, which means it's kind of weighty for a 5.8 inches screen. In the meantime, the iPhone 12 has 6.9, which is pretty nice.

You can drop the iPhone 11 Pro into the water, up to 1 to 3 meters deep, much like the iPhone 12. That should be for up to 30 minutes, in standby and freshwater only, so no saltwater or pools here.

Looks*
vs.
Body iPhone 11 Pro iPhone 12
Size 144 x 71 x 8 mm
(5.08 x 2.50 x 0.28 in)
146 x 71 x 7 mm
(5.15 x 2.50 x 0.25 in)
-9230
Weight 188 g. (6.63 oz)
164 g. (5.78 oz)
-24
Build Front and back glass Front and back glass
Colors Space Gray, Gold, Silver, and Midnight Green Black, Red, White, Green, and Blue
Screen To Body Ratio 80.80%
88.18%
7.38
Disp.Size To Weight Score 3.0 6.9 3.9
Looks 8.5/10
10.0/10
1.4
Waterproof IP68 IP68
Biometrics Face ID Face ID
Tek-Score
7.3
8.6
1.3

*100% = 4+ colors + front and back glass + S2BR: 86+%.

Which has the best battery?

At 3046 mAh, the iPhone 11 Pro is the owner of the biggest battery, while the iPhone 12 only features 2815 mAh. But according to GSMArena's tests, you should get the same battery life with either device.

On any of the new iPhone 12 siblings, wireless charging is also magnetic. That's great, but it's yet another proprietary solution.

Battery*
vs.
Features iPhone 11 Pro iPhone 12
Capacity (mAh) 3046 2815 -231
1h Talk + 1h Web + 1h Video 79% left
79% left
0
1h Talk + 3h Web + 1h Video 63% left
64% left
1
1h Talk + 1h Web + 3h Video 65% left
64% left
-1
Bat. To Phone Size Score 6.7 6.4 -0.3
Sub Tek-Score
6.9
6.9
0.0
Fast Charging 18w
20w
2
Wireless Charging 5w
15w
10
Tek-Score
6.2
6.6
0.4

*Reference: 90: Samsung Galaxy A31.

Which has more storage?

None of them has.

The iPhone 11 Pro features 64GB of internal storage and 4GB of RAM. Furthermore, other devices from this budget usually deliver more RAM and more storage. Right now, the average is 139Gb of storage and 8GB of RAM.

In its turn, the iPhone 12 also has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of integrated storage. Again, you can effortlessly get more RAM and more storage from most of its opponents. 8Gb of RAM and 143Gb of storage: that's the average, not the best you can find.

Most people should be OK with only 64 GB of internal storage. However, if you love to store 4k videos, 64 GB will be a problem sooner than later.

Storage*
vs.
Features iPhone 11 Pro iPhone 12
RAM (GB) 4GB
4GB
0
Internal (GB) 64GB
64GB
0
Micro SD No No
Tek-Score
2.8
2.8
0.0

*Internal Storage + 256GB Memory Card (Max: 512GB).

Which is the most connectivity-friendly?

The iPhone 12, unless you don't care about 5G.

The iPhone 12 is (LTE and) 5G compatible.

Connectivity
vs.
Features iPhone 11 Pro iPhone 12
Network LTE 5G
Bluetooth 5.0
5.0
NFC Yes Yes
3.5mm jack No No
Tek-Score
3.6
4.6
1.0

Which is more affordable?

Here are their recently updated prices:

Apple iPhone 11 Pro

Reference: $750

Apple iPhone 11 Pro

Apple iPhone 12

Reference: $880

Apple iPhone 12

I earn a small fee from qualifying purchases. It doesn't affect the price you pay nor my opinions, but it will mean a lot if you click on one of these buttons before purchasing your next phone (or whatever else you end up buying). You'll be helping to take this to the next level.

Prices on eBay are in $US but Europe-based. You can click to check the prices in your country.

Prices marked with ! are from renewed/refurbished/carrier-locked phones (except eBay prices that, as a last resort, can be from bids or used devices).

How much of a "phone" can your money buy?
That's how much "score" you can get with $100 based on the global score that you'll see in the next section (higher is better).

Have you found better prices elsewhere? The formula is simple: score/price*100.

Value for money iPhone 11 Pro iPhone 12 VS
Amazon 1.01 ! - ! -
eBay 0.89 0.98 0.09
Best Buy - 0.93 -
Walmart - - -

Also, don't forget to check the latest deals from these four stores, and the state of the art on mobile technology, if you don't want to overpay on your next smartphone.


Related articles:


Best smartphone deals


The Best Unbiased Smartphones For All Budgets


Smartphone Specs Statistics: The State Of The Art (Q1 2021)

Are you ready for that final score? We're almost there. Let me point out the average of its competitors. They're usually close to 7.0 for both iPhones.

Verdict: What Makes the Apple iPhone 12 Stand Out?

These two have tons of features in common, including the most relevant, like size, price, storage, cameras, and performance. With that said, this should make it easier for you to pick any of them.

Still, there are a few things that you should keep in mind. The iPhone 11 Pro has a telephoto lens, but it lacks the ultimate glass protection from Corning. Aside from that, the iPhone 12 can beat it on wireless charging speeds and weight.

But most likely, in the end, you'll pick one of them based on their looks.

Pros iPhone 11 Pro iPhone 12
#1 Performance Performance
#2 AMOLED AMOLED
#3 Cameras Cameras
#4 Fast Charging Fast Charging
#5 Wireless Charging Wireless Charging
#6 Glass Protection Glass Protection
Cons iPhone 11 Pro iPhone 12
#1 Always-On-Display Always-On-Display
#2 MicroSD Slot MicroSD Slot
#3 Weight 3.5mm Jack
#4 3.5mm Jack Price
#5 Price
Relative Score*
vs.
Global Score iPhone 11 Pro iPhone 12
Gaming Score
6.2
6.3
0.1
Tek-Score
6.12
6.76
0.64
Your Score

Scroll the sliders down below to get your own personalized score. Let's suppose you value performance and battery life, and you don't really care about anything else. Then, just set the "Performance" and the "Battery" sliders up to 5 (5+5=10), and then the other sliders down to 0. You'll know what's the best phone for you.

Performance 1.9
Display 1.7
Cameras 1.4
Frame 0.9
Battery 1.9
Storage 2.0
Connectivity 0.4
Total Should be 10 or as close as possible: 9.6

*Reference: 100: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

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About me

Hello!

My name is Luis Silva, and I have a degree in computer management. Ever since I was a teenager, I've loved everything to do with tech. Music, pictures, video editing, I've done it all! This site is a place for me to share some of the knowledge I have, as well as keep up-to-date with current trends. This is a wonderful place for tech-geeks and everyone else that just want to learn more about tech and smartphones in general.


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Apple iPhone 11 Pro Related Comparisons


Apple iPhone 12 Related Comparisons

×

"Display size to phone weight" ratio explained

This indeed is a "display size to phone weight" ratio, but because every phone ended up somewhere between 0.0272 and 0.0421, I've amplified (adapted) those values so they would fit in a 0-10 scale. As of now, the best smartphone is the Samsung Galaxy A40, with 140g. (4.94 oz) for a 5.9 inch display. It got a score of 9.92. While the worse device is the iPhone 8 Plus, which weighs 202 g. (7.13 oz) and has a 5.5-inch display. It ended up with a score of 0.75.

Please, be aware that this score is subject to change if and when a new smartphone comes along that ends up being outside of this scale.

×

"Battery to device size" ratio explained

This score should give you an idea about the energy footprint of the devices you're considering. It reflects not only the hardware and the energy that it requires but also the amount of energy that the battery can deliver.

The major spenders on any device should be the display and the SoC. But everything from a notification led to its modems need to be optimized, or else, the OEM should simply include a bigger battery as a compensation. Unfortunately, it isn't always possible due to size limitations. But in the end, if a particular OEM can do a good job and give you excellent battery life on a small device, so should everyone else. That's why I've added a "battery to device size" ratio. But since the real scale went from 119 (for the Galaxy S10e, Snapdragon variant) and up to 164 (for the iPhone 7 Plus), I've decided to convert them so they would fit in a 0-10 scale, being 0 the worst device, (the iPhone 7 Plus) and 10 the one every OEM should look up to.

As an example, Apple did an excellent job on the iPhone 7. It has a score of 8. Despite having a small capacity, the hardware is well optimized, and it still gives you decent battery life considering its size. The iPhone 7 Plus, on the other hand, with those bezels shrinking its display size, clearly could've been the #1 in our top 10 list of best battery devices if Apple simply filled all that empty space with a bigger battery.

As a side note: I haven't included the dept of the devices in this formula because even if a device ended up being 1mm/0.03 inches thicker, it wouldn't matter that much to those who really value battery life.

Please, be aware that this score is subject to change if and when a new smartphone comes along that ends up being outside of this scale.

×

Rivals

As of now, these are the rivals that were considered for each of them. They may change every time its prices are updated.

These are the lowest prices found on Amazon, eBay, BestBuy, and Walmart.


 Apple iPhone 11 Pro 
  • ApplerivaliPhone 12
    $689
  • SonyrivalXperia 1
    $688
  • SonyrivalXperia 5
    $649
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 10+
    $565
  • ApplerivaliPhone X
    $579
  • ApplerivaliPhone 11
    $575
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 9
    $598
  • ApplerivaliPhone XS Max
    $650
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10 Plus
    $689
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10+ EX
    $689
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 EX
    $697
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 U.EX
    $789
  • HuaweirivalP30 Pro
    $599
  • GooglerivalPixel 4 XL
    $780
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20
    $697
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 Plus
    $600
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 Ultra
    $809
  • HuaweirivalP40 Pro
    $799
  • HuaweirivalP40
    $666
  • OnePlusrival8 Pro
    $799
  • XiaomirivalMi 10 Pro
    $600
  • GooglerivalPixel 5
    $580
  • ApplerivaliPhone 12 Mini
    $739
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S21
    $729
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S21 Plus
    $600
  • OnePlusrival8T
    $549
  • OpporivalReno4 Pro
    $594
  • SonyrivalXperia 1 II
    $650
  • XiaomirivalMi 11
    $698
  • OnePlusrival9
    $551
  • OpporivalFind X3 Lite
    $554

 Apple iPhone 12 
  • SonyrivalXperia 1
    $688
  • SonyrivalXperia 5
    $649
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 10+
    $565
  • ApplerivaliPhone X
    $579
  • ApplerivaliPhone 11
    $575
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 9
    $598
  • ApplerivaliPhone 11 Pro
    $684
  • ApplerivaliPhone XS Max
    $650
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10 Plus
    $689
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10+ EX
    $689
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 EX
    $697
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 U.EX
    $789
  • HuaweirivalP30 Pro
    $599
  • GooglerivalPixel 4 XL
    $780
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20
    $697
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 Plus
    $600
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 Ultra
    $809
  • HuaweirivalP40 Pro
    $799
  • HuaweirivalP40
    $666
  • OnePlusrival8 Pro
    $799
  • XiaomirivalMi 10 Pro
    $600
  • GooglerivalPixel 5
    $580
  • ApplerivaliPhone 12 Mini
    $739
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S21
    $729
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S21 Plus
    $600
  • OpporivalReno4 Pro
    $594
  • SonyrivalXperia 1 II
    $650
  • XiaomirivalMi 11
    $698
  • OpporivalFind X3 Lite
    $554
×

Formula deviation

Since the guys at DxoMark don't review every camera out there, I've come up with a formula based on the ones that they do rate, so I could get an equivalent score for the ones they don't review. After testing it against these cameras, I got the deviation between that and their DxO score.

Device: DxOScore Deviation
Samsung Galaxy A50: 88 -1
Apple iPhone XR: 104 1
Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro: 108 -7
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro: 87 1
Sony Xperia 1: 99 -1
Sony Xperia 5: 101 1
Samsung Galaxy Note 8: 100 0
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus: 126 2
Apple iPhone 8 Plus: 96 -3
Xiaomi Pocophone F1: 92 -1
Apple iPhone 7 Plus: 90 -1
Apple iPhone X: 101 3
Apple iPhone 11: 112 -1
Samsung Galaxy Note 8: 100 0
Samsung Galaxy Note 9: 107 1
Apple iPhone XS Max: 110 -2
Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max: 124 1
Samsung Galaxy S10: 124 2
Apple iPhone XS: 110 -1
Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus: 120 -2
OnePlus 7 Pro: 122 0
OnePlus 7T Pro: 122 0
Huawei P30 Pro: 125 -1
Google Pixel 4: 117 0
Google Pixel 3: 103 0
Google Pixel 2: 100 0
Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus: 127 -2
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra: 132 2
OnePlus 6: 100 0
OnePlus 6T: 101 1
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus: 105 -1
Huawei Mate 20 Pro: 120 0
Xiaomi Mi 9: 115 0
Huawei Mate 30 Pro: 132 0
Huawei P40 Pro: 140 -1
Apple iPhone SE 2: 101 0
OnePlus 8 Pro: 126 0
Xiaomi Mi 8: 105 1
Samsung Galaxy A71: 89 1
Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro: 134 0

As you can see, most cameras sit between 1 and -1, while a few of them go up to 2 or -2. That means it's reasonable to assume other similar cameras that they don't review to, in the worst-case scenario, be anywhere from -2 to 2 points from the score that the formula gets.

For example: Given that the Pixel 4 got 117 points and that the Pixel 4 XL share the same year and camera specs, it's reasonable to expect a score of 117 too. But in reality, if they do review that camera, it may end up anywhere between 115 and 119.

Be aware that at DxO, they give a score based on their opinion, not based on any formula. That's why I think there's an odd difference of 6 points between the iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X. In theory, they should have the same camera.

I'm guessing that the Mi 9T Pro got a deviation of 7 points because they tested its Chinese variant (the K20 Pro).

Update: They just changed their protocol to include preview image evaluation and trustability. I'm keeping the old table (for now) for reference purposes, and I'll be adding a new one as soon as they review at least a couple of new mclass-range cameras.

You can expect the same (or a bit bigger) deviation for high-end cameras, but anything with a score below 100-110 should be taken with a grain of salt.

This is valid for all cameras tested with the previous protocol. For those that they dclassn't test, the deviation may be up to twice as much.

×

About GeekBench 5

This is just a quick note to let you know that, if, by any chance, the smartphone you're looking for isn't on the GeekBench site yet, you can check on GsmArena.com, as they also usually test smartphones with that benchmark tool.



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