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Apple iPhone 8 Plus vs 12 Pro Max in 2021: What You'll Get

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

The iPhone 12 Pro Max is more expensive than the iPhone 8 Plus, but it's the best of the two.

It has better performance (+82%), better glass protection, a better display, better cameras, better battery life, and more internal storage (128GB vs. 64GB).

What else sets them apart?

The iPhone 12 Pro Max also has an AMOLED, larger (+1.2") display, better peak brightness, faster wireless charging (15w vs. 5w), and more RAM (6GB vs. 3GB).

How much more will the iPhone 12 Pro Max cost me?

If you're not considering going for a carrier subscription, you're going to shell out an extra amount of about $790.

Is it still worth buying the iPhone 8 Plus in 2021?

The iPhone 8 Plus is a pretty decent smartphone in 2021, especially now that it's cheaper. Having said that, the iPhone 12 has better performance, better cameras, more security updates, faster charging, more RAM, and better display.

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

The iPhone 12 Pro Max remains a great smartphone in part thanks to its good performance, good cameras, and excellent glass protection. That's why I'll continue to recommend it in 2021, but keep an eye on the iPhone 12 Pro too.

Just keep reading if you want to know everything about them, how they differ from their competition, and you'll know how the tech experts evaluate their specs.

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Apple iPhone 8 Plus, Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

Photo by Richard Jaimes on Unsplash


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Yes, it's time to upgrade. But even if you're one of the few that's considering the iPhone 8 Plus, you'll like to know how far into the future the iPhone 12 Pro Max is.

So let's go.

In November of 2020, Apple launched its iPhone 12 Pro Max. The iPhone 8 Plus, however, saw the light of day in September 2017.

Here you can look at the iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone 12 Pro Max, compare each other's features, and decide which one is best for you. Let us delve into the finer details.

The weight of each section

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

to check who their rivals are.

Device iPhone 8 Plus iPhone 12 Pro Max
Release Date 2017, September 2020, November 3y.
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 for performance, Geekbench 5 scores the iPhone 12 Pro Max 82% ahead of its sibling in the multi-core ranking. Do keep this number in mind, so you don't regret it later.

You can also count on the iPhone 12 Pro Max to have one of the best performances around by comparing it with other smartphones from this price range. About 26% above.

We can classify the iPhone 12 Pro Max as high-end.

Features iPhone 8 Plus iPhone 12 Pro Max
SoC Apple A11 Apple A14
Graphics Apple GPU Apple GPU
Geekbench 5 Score 2332
OS iOS 11 iOS 14.1

*Reference: 100: Apple iPhone 12.

Which Phone Has The Best Display?

Apple iPhone 8 Plus front transparent png Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max front transparent png

The iPhone 12 Pro Max is the title-holder here, and it should be noticeable.

Are you looking for small screens? Then, there aren't many devices to consider besides the iPhone 8 Plus. At least it's short when compared to the average phone for its price range.

Most phones from this price range only do around 713 nits, but there's a 183 nits gap below that for the iPhone 8 Plus.

If your next device can't do at least 450 nits, it can't do true HDR, nor is that great on a sunny day. Speaking of HDR content:

If you're leaning towards the iPhone 8 Plus, you should know that 81% of its rivals can play HDR content and have an Always-On display, and 94% have an AMOLED screen. But only 23% of them feature Gorilla Glass 6 or Victus.

Compared to the iPhone 12 Pro Max, as a reference, 89% of its rivals can play HDR content, offer you more than 60hz of refresh rate, and have an Always-On display, and all have an AMOLED screen.

Display Density (DPIs)*
Features iPhone 8 Plus iPhone 12 Pro Max
Size 5.5
Screen Type LCD AMOLED
Resolution (px) 1080x1920
Refresh Rate 60hz 60hz 0
Dots per Inch 400.53
Always-On-Display No No
Notch - Wedge
Peak Brightness 530 nits
822 nits
Sub Tek-Score
Protection Ion-strengthened glass Corning Gorilla Glass Victus

*Reference: 100: Sony Xperia 1 II.

Which Phone Has The Best Cameras?

Apple iPhone 8 Plus back transparent png Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max back transparent png

If you value quality photos, you should know that the iPhone 12 Pro Max is about 58% above other smartphones from its price range. And the iPhone 8 Plus isn't good enough to win this battle.

About the iPhone 8 Plus: This camera came out of DXOMARK's labs with a score of 104. And if you take into account its telephoto lens, you'll end up with a score of 112**. 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 and have an ultra-wide-angle lens.

About the iPhone 12 Pro Max: DXOMARK's gurus gave this shooter a score of 138. And by adding the telephoto and wide-angle lenses, this score goes up to 150 points. If you want to know more about it, check it here.

Winding it up, 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 11% of them feature a macro lens.

If you prefer, we can grade the iPhone 12 Pro Max as a high-end.

Just out of curiosity, the iPhone 12 Pro Max zoom lens is 35mm below what you'll commonly find for its price range.

**This score still needs improvement, particularly on mid-end cameras with less than 40MP and no zoom lens. These guys recently updated their test protocol, and they don't have enough reviews, so I can refine the pre-update camera scores.

Picture Quality*
Primary Camera iPhone 8 Plus iPhone 12 Pro Max
Megapixels 12
Aperture 1.8
Lens 28mm
Lens Type Regular Wide-Angle
Flash 4 2 -2
HDR Yes Yes
OIS Yes Yes
Video 2160 2160 0
Score 112

*Reference: 100: Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra.

Extra Camera(s) iPhone 8 Plus iPhone 12 Pro Max vs.
Megapixels 12
Aperture 2.8
Lens 57mm (2x zoom)
65mm (2x zoom)
Lens Type Telephoto lens Telephoto lens
Megapixels - 12
Aperture - 2.4
Lens - 13mm
Lens Type - Ultra-wide-Angle
Score 8 12 4
Selfie Camera iPhone 8 Plus iPhone 12 Pro Max vs.
Megapixels 7
Aperture 2.2
Lens 32mm 23mm -9
iPhone 8 Plus iPhone 12 Pro Max vs.

Who has the best frame?

If you're still undecided about them, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is a better choice based on its water resistance and looks.

The iPhone 12 Pro Max is 26 g. (1.02 oz) heavier than its sibling, which sits at 202 g. (7.13 oz). But because this is a bit relative, I've created an adapted score for a "weight to display size" ratio. The iPhone 8 Plus got 0.7, which suggests it's one of the heaviest phones for a 5.5 inches display. The iPhone 12 Pro Max, however, has 2.1, which indicates it's oddly heavy too.

The iPhone 8 Plus is water-resistant in up to 1 meter, while the iPhone 12 Pro Max can be immersed in 1 to 3 meters. But remember: it's for a maximum period of half an hour, and it's in standby mode only. So don't take photos underwater.

Body iPhone 8 Plus iPhone 12 Pro Max
Size 158 x 78 x 7 mm
(5.57 x 2.75 x 0.25 in)
160 x 78 x 7 mm
(5.64 x 2.75 x 0.25 in)
Weight 202 g. (7.13 oz)
228 g. (8.04 oz)
Build Front and back glass Front and back glass
Colors Gold, Silver, Space Gray, and Red Silver, Gold, Graphite, and Pacific Blue
Screen To Body Ratio 67.67%
Disp.Size To Weight Score 0.7 2.1 1.3
Looks 5.5/10
Waterproof IP67 IP68
Biometrics Front Fingerprint Face ID

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

Which has the best battery?

The iPhone 8 Plus does have a smaller battery, with 2691 mAh, while the iPhone 12 Pro Max has 3687 mAh. And according to GSMArena's tests, the winner is the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

OK, the iPhone 8 Plus isn't winning any battery contest. Apple should've opted for a larger battery, just like their equally sized rivals. Its "battery to device size" rate is 1.9.

Apple brought MagSafe from their Macbooks so you can effortlessly charge the new iPhones. That's great, but it's yet another proprietary solution.

Features iPhone 8 Plus iPhone 12 Pro Max
Capacity (mAh) 2691 3687 996
1h Talk + 1h Web + 1h Video 79% left
82% left
1h Talk + 3h Web + 1h Video 63% left
67% left
1h Talk + 1h Web + 3h Video 65% left
69% left
Bat. To Phone Size Score 1.9 2.6 0.7
Sub Tek-Score
Fast Charging 15w
Wireless Charging 5w

*Reference: 90: Samsung Galaxy A31.

Which has more storage?

The iPhone 12 Pro Max. Twice as much.

In terms of RAM, the iPhone 8 Plus brings 3GB. In terms of storage, it has 64GB. Furthermore, other devices from this budget usually deliver more RAM and more storage. They're closer to 122Gb of storage and 7GB of RAM.

On the iPhone 12 Pro Max, you'll find 128GB of internal storage and 6GB of RAM. Again, you'll get more RAM and more storage by picking any rival at that price range. They usually get close to 9Gb of RAM and 199Gb of storage.

Neither storage nor RAM should be an issue on both iPhones. However, if you plan to store some movies or record tons of videos, you'll find out that 64 GB won't be enough for you.

Features iPhone 8 Plus iPhone 12 Pro Max
Internal (GB) 64GB
Micro SD No No

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

Which is the most connectivity-friendly?

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

You can find the iPhone 12 Pro Max in the (LTE and) 5G variant.

Features iPhone 8 Plus iPhone 12 Pro Max
Network LTE 5G
Bluetooth 5.0
NFC Yes Yes
3.5mm jack No No

Which is more affordable?

Here are the prices that we've come across recently:

Apple iPhone 8 Plus

Reference: $390

Apple iPhone 8 Plus

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

Reference: $1,180

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

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 8 Plus iPhone 12 Pro Max VS
Amazon 2.30 ! - ! -
eBay 1.23 0.62 -0.61
Best Buy - - ! -
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? Let me point out the average of its competitors. They're at 6.2 (for the iPhone 8 Plus) and 7.7 (for the iPhone 12 Pro Max).

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

If you really value a fingerprint reader on the front of a phone, then you'd have to settle with the iPhone 8 Plus.

Knowing this, the iPhone 12 Pro Max will try to make up for it by giving you much more performance, a much brighter AMOLED display, much better glass protection, greatly improved cameras, better battery life, and faster wireless charging.

If that's not enough to convince you, perhaps you'd also like to have double the internal storage and double the RAM?

Pros iPhone 8 Plus iPhone 12 Pro Max
#1 Cameras Performance
#2 Fast Charging AMOLED
#3 Wireless Charging Cameras
#4 Fast Charging
#5 Wireless Charging
#6 Glass Protection
Cons iPhone 8 Plus iPhone 12 Pro Max
#1 AMOLED Always-On-Display
#2 Always-On-Display MicroSD Slot
#3 MicroSD Slot Weight
#4 Weight 3.5mm Jack
#5 3.5mm Jack Price
#6 Price
Relative Score*
Global Score iPhone 8 Plus iPhone 12 Pro Max
Gaming Score
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


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 8 Plus Related Comparisons

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max 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.



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 8 Plus 
  • ApplerivaliPhone 8
  • ApplerivaliPhone XR
  • OnePlusrival7
  • XiaomirivalMi 9T Pro
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 8
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10e
  • ApplerivaliPhone XS
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 10
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10e EX
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10+ SD
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20+ EX
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10 EX
  • OnePlusrival7T
  • OnePlusrival7 Pro
  • HuaweirivalP30
  • GooglerivalPixel 4
  • HuaweirivalMate 20 Pro
  • XiaomirivalMi 9
  • XiaomirivalMi 9 Lite
  • ApplerivaliPhone SE 2
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy A71
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 10 Lite
  • OnePlusrivalNord
  • GooglerivalPixel 4a
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 FE
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 FE 4G
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 FE 5G
  • OpporivalFind X2 Neo
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy M51
  • XiaomirivalMi 10T Lite
  • XiaomirivalMi 10 Lite
  • XiaomirivalMi 11 Lite
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy A52
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy A72
  • XiaomirivalMi 9t Pro

 Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max 
  • ApplerivaliPhone 12 Pro
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 U.SD
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 20 U.EX
  • HuaweirivalMate 40 Pro
  • OpporivalFind X2 Pro
  • XiaomirivalMi 11 Ultra
  • OnePlusrival9 Pro
  • VivorivalX60 Pro Plus
  • OpporivalFind X3 Pro

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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