iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max vs. iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max: The verdict in 2021 – CNET

Another notable difference is the screen glass. Apple unveiled its new “ceramic shield” technology with the iPhone 12 lineup, which it says gives the phone a 4x better drop performance than the Gorilla Glass screen on iPhone 11. We haven’t conducted drop or scratch tests for the iPhone 12 Pro or Pro Max, but we put ceramic shield to the test on the baseline iPhone 12 and also drop-tested the iPhone 12 Mini, and it seems virtually indestructible. The iPhone 11 Pro fared incredibly well in our drop testing, though we did find some damaged pixels on its screen. 
iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max colors: silver, graphite, gold, Pacific blue (left); iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max colors: midnight green, silver, space gray, gold (right).
Compared with 2019’s flagship, the iPhone 12 lineup features slimmer bezels that accommodate a larger screen without greatly increasing the phone’s overall size and weight. The 11 Pro’s 5.8-inch screen becomes 6.1 inches in the iPhone 12 Pro. And the iPhone 11 Pro Max’s 6.5-inch screen is now 6.7 inches in the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
Apple doesn’t release battery specs, but it says the iPhone 11 Pro’s battery will last up to 18 hours, compared with 17 hours for the iPhone 12 Pro. Apple says the iPhone 11 Pro Max and iPhone 12 Pro Max batteries will both last for up to 20 hours. One hour of potential difference is not significant enough to sway your decision, but it’s worth noting that 5G usage does tend to drain phone batteries. To combat this, Apple introduced with the iPhone 12 lineup a feature called Smart Data Mode, which toggles between 5G and 4G, or even between different bands of 5G, balancing performance with battery life.
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Read our Apple iPhone 11 Pro review..

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Both the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro charge wirelessly and by Lightning port (and the 11 comes with a charger in the box, unlike the 12). The iPhone 12 lineup also works with Apple’s new MagSafe chargers. Neither flagship supports reverse wireless charging — though the iPhone 12 might secretly have the ability to charge a future Apple accessory, likely a new version of AirPods. In lieu of a Touch ID button, both phones feature Face ID technology for unlocking your screen. Neither model allows for expandable storage but the iPhone 12 Pro line starts at 128GB compared with the iPhone 11 Pro’s 64GB.
In the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max, Apple introduced both hardware and software upgrades to its camera setup. CNET’s Patrick Holland calls it “the best overall camera system you can find.” One new feature, visible in the camera array on the back of the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max, is a sensor technology called lidar. Lidar, which stands for light detection and ranging, uses lasers to assess depth, improving portrait mode effects and low-light focus.

James Martin/CNET


There’s a lot more to explore when it comes to the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max’s cameras, but suffice it to say that amateur and pro photographers alike are very excited about them. But the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max inspired similar enthusiasm. If the camera is the most important factor in your phone-buying decision, read more on the iPhone 11 Pro and 12 Pro’s individual camera specs to see what these phones can do:

Let’s say you already know you want an iPhone, specifically the Pro version, and let’s say you’re not interested in waiting around for the iPhone 13. (Apple’s next flagship lineup should be here very soon, and it’s starting to look very cool but once we find out the price, Apple’s previous lineups will likely go on sale.) For those who have their eye on a Pro or Pro Max, the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 are still two great options.
Patrick Holland/CNET


The iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max come with Apple’s A14 Bionic chip, which is a successor to the iPhone 11’s A13 processor. All four phones, the iPhone 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max, 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max, feature a 60Hz display.

iPhone 11 Pro and 12 Pro dimensions

iPhone 12 Pro iPhone 12 Pro Max iPhone 11 Pro iPhone 11 Pro Max
Display size 6.1 in 6.7 in 5.8 in 6.5 in
Dimensions (Inches) 5.78 x 2.82 x 0.29 in 6.33 x 3.07 x 0.29 in 5.67×2.81×0.32 in 6.22×3.06×0.32 in
Dimensions (Millimeters) 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4 mm 160.8 x 78.1 x 7.4 mm 144×71.4×8.1 mm 158×77.8×8.1 mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 6.66 oz; 189g 8.03 oz; 228g 6.63 oz; 188g 7.97 oz; 226g

Ceramic shield vs. Gorilla Glass

If these drop test results have convinced you to forgo a phone case, phone colors are probably going to play at least a small role in your decision. Apple introduced some new colors with the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max (including a super-shiny, C-3PO-style gold hue), giving the phones a premium look.


If the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max continue to go on sale at third-party vendors, your decision will likely come down to whether saving that money is worth the now-outshined cameras and lack of 5G connectivity. If money is a concern, the iPhone SE is another great option, currently priced at 9 unlocked (there could be an iPhone SE 3 coming, too). And there’s always the regular iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini, or the previous year’s iPhone 11, any of which you can get starting at 0 or less.
iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max colors:

  • Midnight green
  • Silver
  • Space gray
  • Gold

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  • Silver
  • Graphite
  • Gold
  • Pacific blue
iphone 11 Pro and 12 Pro color options
iphone 11 Pro and 12 Pro color options

5G, processor, battery and performance



The squared-off edges of the iPhone 5 are back.

For reference, here are CNET’s reviews of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max. And here’s how the iPhone 12 compares to the iPhone 11

Read more: Is it still worth it to buy an iPhone 12? How about an iPhone 11?   
The most obvious aesthetic difference between the iPhone 11 Pro/Pro Max and the iPhone 12 Pro/Pro Max is the latter’s flattened sides. Apple brought back the squared-off edges look from the iPhone 5 and wrapped the iPhone 12 Pro line in a modern stainless steel frame. 


iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max colors:

Software also makes the iPhone 12 Pro’s low-light Night Mode photography even better — CNET’s James Martin called the iPhone 12 Pro’s Night Mode images “nothing short of amazing.” Apple added Night Mode to the iPhone 12 Pro’s selfie and ultrawide cameras, whereas Night Mode on the iPhone 11 Pro only functions on the standard wide lens. Night Mode portraits on the iPhone 12 Pro are now also a thing. As far as hardware goes, iPhone 12 Pro’s wide lens has been upgraded from an f/1.8 to a wider f/1.6 aperture, improving its low-light capabilities by 27%, according to Apple.