iPhone 11 vs. iPhone 12: Which Is Right for You?

The iPhone 12 and iPhone 11 are two comparable devices in Apple’s lineup, but which should you buy? From a visual standpoint, the devices have a similar build, but under the hood, the iPhone 12 series comes equipped with notable improvements across the board.

Here’s a comprehensive guide to choosing which iPhone is best suited for you.

iPhone 12 vs. iPhone 11: What’s the Best Choice

If you’re looking to get the most decked-out iPhone right now, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is the way to go. But for most people, who don’t need pro-level videography features, the standard iPhone 12 is the best option.

The iPhone 12 offers a decent step-up from last year’s iPhone 11 in almost every category but comes at a slightly higher price tag.

Display

The iPhone 12 has a noticeably better display than its predecessor. The iPhone 12 comes equipped with Apple’s Super Retina XDR display, which means you’re going to be getting an OLED panel compared to the traditional LCD panels of previous models.

Why is the iPhone 12’s OLED display better? It’s a higher resolution at 1080p compared to the iPhone 11, which is just over 720p. OLED technology allows this display to be brighter and more visible in direct sunlight and gives you a much better viewing experience, as the new panel supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision.

The new display on the iPhone 12 is also more durable than the iPhone 11’s as it features Apple’s new Ceramic Shield. This coating on top of the glass helps with better drop protection, but has little to no improvement over scratch resistance.

Overall, we believe you’re getting a better experience on the iPhone 12 over the iPhone 11 if you’re into watching movies and playing games; the new OLED display offers a considerable improvement over the iPhone 11.

Design

The design of the iPhone 12 is an iterative improvement over the iPhone 11, giving you the same-sized display in a slightly smaller chassis. You’re getting flat sides compared to rounded ones on the iPhone 11, and you’re also getting a lighter device; the iPhone 12 weighs 164g while the iPhone 11 comes in at 194g.

The new design of the iPhone 12 is said to offer four times better drop protection than the iPhone 11 series, but both devices use glass on both the front and back, so we recommend getting a case to go along with your new phone.

The iPhone 12 is available in five different colors:

White

Black

Blue

Green

(PRODUCT)RED

While the iPhone 11 is available in six color options:

White

Black

Green

(PRODUCT) RED

Yellow

Purple

The color of the device is very much subjective, but with the iPhone 11, you are definitely getting more options to choose from.

Camera System

The iPhone 12 also has an iterative update to the camera system, which promises to offer better low-light capabilities. The iPhone 12 features a slightly faster 12MP, f/1.6 main sensor, but has identical 12MP ultrawide and selfie cameras as the iPhone 11.

In real-world use, the difference between the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 11 in terms of camera performance is very minute; you’re going to be getting consistent-looking photos regardless of which model you choose.

Check out our iPhone camera system comparison to see which iPhone camera is best suited for you.

As for the video, the iPhone 12 has better flexibility than its predecessor since it has Dolby Vision HDR.

Dolby Vision HDR is a video format that allows you to capture a wider dynamic range, resulting in better color accuracy and detail. For most, Dolby Vision HDR isn’t necessary; it’s only beneficial for niche use cases who have to use professional color-grading software to edit your video.

Performance and Battery Life

The iPhone 12 comes equipped with Apple’s A14 Bionic chip, which provides 15 percent better performance than the A13 Bionic found on the iPhone 11. The A14’s main advantage is its ability to provide 30 percent better power efficiency over the A13, which adds to better battery life.

Surprisingly, both devices are rated to have the same 17-hour video playback time, according to Apple’s website.

If performance and battery life are important to you, you shouldn’t hesitate to choose either model; both are powerful devices and should get you through many years of use.

However, if you want to future-proof your device, we recommend the iPhone 12 just because it’s going to inherently get software updates for a bit longer than the iPhone 11.

Price

The iPhone 12 costs $799 on Apple’s website, which is $200 more expensive than the iPhone 11 for 64GB storage.

If you opt to get either phone from a third-party seller or carrier, the iPhone 11 is likely to be considerably cheaper than its newer counterpart.

Overall, if you want to save some money without sacrificing performance, battery life, and camera quality, the iPhone 11 is still a great option for many.

iPhone 12 mini: The Most Portable

The iPhone 12 mini is a stellar device for anyone wanting to get the cheapest new iPhone. The iPhone 12 mini costs $699, $100 less than the regular iPhone 12. This iPhone offers the same feature-set as its larger sibling and does so in a smaller form factor.

The 12 mini has the exact same specifications as the regular iPhone 12; the only differences between the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini are battery capacity and screen size.

The 12 mini features a 5.4-inch Super Retina XDR display in a footprint that’s just smaller than Apple’s iPhone SE or iPhone 8. This is great to see as the viewing experience on the 12 mini will match that of the iPhone 12’s, ignoring the smaller size.

The only downside to the iPhone 12 mini is the battery life.

Being a smaller phone, the 12 mini has a 2227mAh battery compared to the full-size iPhone’s 2815mAh cell. This means you’re going to get a drop in battery life if you opt for the smaller device; Apple rates the 12 Mini to get two hours less in video playback time, at 15 hours compared to the iPhone 12’s 17-hour endurance.

Overall, the iPhone 12 mini is a great option for someone looking for a smaller device. If you’re a power user, however, the battery life on this smaller device might sway you to consider the larger iPhone 12 or iPhone 11.

Which iPhone Should You Buy?

Overall, our top pick is the iPhone 12 because of its improved display, faster performance, and higher longevity down the line.

The iPhone 12 mini is our second recommendation because of its identical feature set to the iPhone 12, only falling short in battery life.

Finally, the iPhone 11 comes in third place because of its older design and hardware. Still, you’ll get most of the iPhone-12 experience without having to spend an extra $200.

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