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Apple iPhone 12 vs 12 Pro in 2021: Is It Just Size?

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

You'll spend more on the iPhone 12 Pro, but it also has better specs.

It comes with more internal storage (128GB vs. 64GB).

What else sets them apart?

The iPhone 12 Pro also has a telephoto lens (+39 mm) and more RAM (6GB vs. 4GB). But the iPhone 12 features a lightweight body (25 g./0.88 oz less).

How much will the additional specs cost me?

If you're considering a new and unlocked smartphone, you'll have to invest an additional amount close to $240.

Is the iPhone 12 still worth buying in 2021?

The iPhone 12 is still one of the best phones you can buy in 2021 (depending on your budget), and while it isn't the best device out there, at least it's more affordable now. But the iPhone 12 Mini is also a great option.

Is it still worth buying the iPhone 12 Pro in 2021?

The iPhone 12 Pro continues to be a rock-solid smartphone because of its good performance, good cameras, and excellent glass protection. If you can find a great deal, it does make sense in 2021, but the iPhone 12 Pro Max could give you a better optical zoom.

Just keep reading if you want to know everything about them, how they compare to similarly priced rivals, and how the industry is scoring 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 12, Apple iPhone 12 Pro

Photo by STIL on Unsplash

CONTENTS

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Introduction

So, you want to find out if the iPhone 12 is good enough? Or should you spend even more and go for the iPhone 12 Pro?

These phones were released in October 2020.

In this article, we see how the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro compare to each other to help you decide and see which one of these is the right one for you.

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 12 iPhone 12 Pro
Release Date 2020, October 2020, October 0y.
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?

As you may have guessed, Geekbench 5 gave these two the same performance. Basically, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

These two also have their performance well above the average for their price range.

It's safe to say that both of them can be tagged as high-end.

Performance*
vs.
Features iPhone 12 iPhone 12 Pro
SoC Apple A14 Apple A14
Graphics Apple GPU Apple GPU
Geekbench 5 Score 4067
4056
-11
OS iOS 14.1 iOS 14.1
Tek-Score
8.8
8.8
0.0

*Reference: 100: Apple iPhone 12.

Which Phone Has The Best Display?

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

There isn't a winner here, so you can pick any of them.

Usually, devices in this price range rarely stay far from 810 nits, but the iPhone 12 can only do 21% below that.

About the iPhone 12, you should know that 96% of its rivals can play HDR content and have an Always-On display. Plus, all have an AMOLED screen, and 81% have Gorilla Glass 6 or better.

For the iPhone 12 Pro, just so you know, 94% of its rivals can play HDR content and have an Always-On display. Plus, all have an AMOLED screen, and 76% offer you more than 60hz of refresh rate.

Display Density (DPIs)*
vs.
Features iPhone 12 iPhone 12 Pro
Size 6.1
6.1
0.0
Screen Type AMOLED AMOLED
Resolution (px) 1170x2532
1170x2532
0
Refresh Rate 60hz 60hz 0
Dots per Inch 457.25
457.25
0.00
Always-On-Display No No
Notch Wedge Wedge
Peak Brightness 639 nits
802 nits
163
HDR HDR10 HDR10
Sub Tek-Score
2.9
3.2
0.3
Protection Corning Gorilla Glass Victus Corning Gorilla Glass Victus
Tek-Score
7.5
7.6
0.1

*Reference: 100: Sony Xperia 1 II.

Which Phone Has The Best Cameras?

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

You should note that the iPhone 12 Pro is in the neighborhood of 44% above other competitors with comparable prices. But between these two, it doesn't matter.

About the iPhone 12: DXOMARK tested this camera and gave it a score of 132. If you also consider its wide-angle lens, it'll get 139 points. If you click here, you can check what they think of it.

Last (but not least), all of its rivals can record videos in 4K or more, have an ultra-wide-angle lens, and feature Optical Image Stabilization. Although only 4% of them feature a macro lens.

About the iPhone 12 Pro: DXOMARK evaluated this camera, and here's the score: 135. By considering the telephoto and wide-angle lenses, this score goes up to 147 points. You can click here to check it out.

Furthermore, just like the other device, all of its rivals can record videos in 4 or 8K, feature a telephoto lens, have an ultra-wide-angle lens, and feature Optical Image Stabilization. That said, only 6% of them feature a macro lens.

We can classify these two as high-end.

As a side note, the iPhone 12 Pro telephoto lens is, on average, 52mm lower than what you'd get on related-priced phones.

Picture Quality*
vs.
Primary Camera iPhone 12 iPhone 12 Pro
Megapixels 12
12
0
Aperture 1.6
1.6
0.0
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 139
147
8

*Reference: 100: Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra.

Extra Camera(s) iPhone 12 iPhone 12 Pro vs.
Megapixels 12
12
0
Aperture 2.4
2.0
-0.4
Lens 13mm 52mm (2x zoom)
39
Lens Type Ultra-wide-Angle Telephoto lens
Megapixels - 12
Aperture - 2.4
Lens - 13mm
Lens Type - Ultra-wide-Angle
Score 7 12 5
Selfie Camera iPhone 12 iPhone 12 Pro vs.
Megapixels 12
12
0
Aperture 2.2
2.2
0.0
Lens 23mm 23mm 0
iPhone 12 iPhone 12 Pro vs.
Tek-Score
8.2
8.6
0.5

Who has the best frame?

The iPhone 12 does have an advantage here, thanks to its weight. But I don't see any meaningful winner here.

Be aware that the iPhone 12 Pro is around 15% smaller than other devices at this price level.

The iPhone 12 Pro is a little bit heavier: About 25 g. (0.99 oz). But because screen size also matters, I've developed a formula for a kind of "display size to phone weight" ratio. The iPhone 12 got a score of 6.9, which means a pretty nice weight for a 6.1 inches screen. Having said that, the iPhone 12 Pro has 3.8, which suggests it's considerably hefty.

You can drop the iPhone 12 into the water, up to 1 to 3 meters deep, and the same goes for the iPhone 12 Pro. That shouldn't last over half an hour, in standby and freshwater only, so no saltwater or pools here.

Looks*
vs.
Body iPhone 12 iPhone 12 Pro
Size 146 x 71 x 7 mm
(5.15 x 2.50 x 0.25 in)
146 x 71 x 7 mm
(5.15 x 2.50 x 0.25 in)
0
Weight 164 g. (5.78 oz)
189 g. (6.67 oz)
25
Build Front and back glass Front and back glass
Colors Black, Red, White, Green, and Blue Silver, Gold, Graphite, and Pacific Blue
Screen To Body Ratio 88.18%
88.18%
0.00
Disp.Size To Weight Score 6.9 3.8 -3.0
Looks 10.0/10
10.0/10
0.0
Waterproof IP68 IP68
Biometrics Face ID Face ID
Tek-Score
8.6
7.6
-1.0

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

Which has the best battery?

They do share their battery capacity: at about 2815 mAh. And by GSMArena's standards, you should get the same battery life with either device.

Wireless charging is magnetic on the new iPhones. It's handy, but I'd favor a non-proprietary USB-C port.

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

*Reference: 90: Samsung Galaxy A31.

Which has more storage?

The iPhone 12 Pro. Clearly.

The iPhone 12 comes equipped with 64GB of integrated storage and 4GB of RAM. Be aware that at this price segment, others offer more RAM and more storage. They're closer to 150Gb of storage and 9GB of RAM.

The iPhone 12 Pro offers 128GB of storage and 6GB of RAM. Again, you'll get more storage and more RAM on most of its rivals. They'd give you around 196Gb of storage and 10Gb of RAM.

Most people should be OK with only 64 GB of internal storage. However, if you love to store 4k videos, you'll soon figure out that 64 GB is too short for you.

Storage*
vs.
Features iPhone 12 iPhone 12 Pro
RAM (GB) 4GB
6GB
2
Internal (GB) 64GB
128GB
64
Micro SD No No
Tek-Score
2.8
6.0
3.3

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

Which is the most connectivity-friendly?

There isn't much to see here.

You can connect them to (LTE and) 5G networks.

Connectivity
vs.
Features iPhone 12 iPhone 12 Pro
Network 5G 5G
Bluetooth 5.0
5.0
NFC Yes Yes
3.5mm jack No No
Tek-Score
4.6
4.6
0.0

Which is more affordable?

Here are the best deals on some major online stores:

Apple iPhone 12

Reference: $880

Apple iPhone 12

Apple iPhone 12 Pro

Reference: $1,120

Apple iPhone 12 Pro

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 12 iPhone 12 Pro VS
Amazon - ! - ! -
eBay 0.76 0.70 -0.05
Best Buy 0.85 0.74 -0.11
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)

Want to know about that global score? For reference purposes, I'll tell you where most of its rivals average. They're in the ballpark of 7.3 for the iPhone 12 and 7.6 for the iPhone 12 Pro.

Verdict: What Makes the Apple iPhone 12 Pro Stand Out?

These two do have their similarities. I'd prefer it if Apple opted for a slightly larger display on the iPhone 12 Pro. Something in the lines of 6.3 inches. But they didn't. Maybe that's easier for you to pick one of them.

They share their performance and display, so nothing to state here. Their cameras, on the other hand, tell a different story. Apple added a telephoto lens on the iPhone 12 Pro, and that can really make a difference. Still, 2x of optical zoom is way too low for its price-point.

And that leads us to their weight. I guess the extra camera weighs about 25 grams (0.88 oz).

Another major difference is the 4+64GB vs. 6+128GB of RAM and storage.

Aside from that, they're pretty much the same.

Pros iPhone 12 iPhone 12 Pro
#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 12 iPhone 12 Pro
#1 Always-On-Display Always-On-Display
#2 MicroSD Slot MicroSD Slot
#3 3.5mm Jack Weight
#4 Price 3.5mm Jack
#5 Price
Relative Score*
vs.
Global Score iPhone 12 iPhone 12 Pro
Gaming Score
6.3
6.8
0.5
Tek-Score
6.76
7.40
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 12 Related Comparisons


Apple iPhone 12 Pro 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 12 
  • SonyrivalXperia 1
    $688
  • SonyrivalXperia 5
    $649
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 10+
    $949
  • ApplerivaliPhone 11
    $700
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10 Plus
    $689
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10+ EX
    $689
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20+ EX
    $749
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 U.EX
    $795
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 20 U.SD
    $949
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20
    $697
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 Plus
    $749
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 Ultra
    $809
  • HuaweirivalMate 30 Pro
    $849
  • HuaweirivalP40 Pro
    $799
  • HuaweirivalP40
    $666
  • OnePlusrival8 Pro
    $799
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 20 U.
    $949
  • XiaomirivalMi 10 Ultra
    $846
  • OpporivalFind X2 Pro
    $950
  • GooglerivalPixel 5
    $682
  • ApplerivaliPhone 12 Mini
    $739
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S21 Ultra
    $949
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S21
    $658
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S21 Plus
    $650
  • XiaomirivalMi 11
    $698
  • OnePlusrival9 Pro
    $909
  • VivorivalX60 Pro
    $900

 Apple iPhone 12 Pro 
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 10+
    $949
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 U.SD
    $1049
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 20 U.EX
    $982
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 20 U.SD
    $949
  • HuaweirivalMate 30 Pro
    $849
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 20 U.
    $949
  • HuaweirivalMate 40 Pro
    $1065
  • XiaomirivalMi 10 Ultra
    $846
  • OpporivalFind X2 Pro
    $950
  • ApplerivaliPhone 12 Pro Max
    $1180
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S21 Ultra
    $949
  • SonyrivalXperia 1 II
    $1050
  • XiaomirivalMi 11 Ultra
    $1079
  • OnePlusrival9 Pro
    $909
  • VivorivalX60 Pro Plus
    $1177
  • VivorivalX60 Pro
    $900
  • OpporivalFind X3 Pro
    $1149
×

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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