Apple’s newest high-end smartphone, the iPhone 12 Pro Max, boasts some of the best features we’ve seen on an Apple device. But should you get it over last year’s 11 Pro Max?
Each year, Apple reveals a new premium handset alongside its latest series of smartphones to satisfy its ardent fans.
Indeed, in 2019, those who forked out the most for the iPhone 11 Pro Max enjoyed state of the art cameras, extra long battery life and a powerful, hexa-core processor.
Now, though, it’s the iPhone 12 Pro Max that’s got Apple enthusiasts talking. But is it really that much better than its predecessor? And should you meet the hefty price-tag?
Let’s take a look…
iPhone 12 Pro Max vs iPhone 11 Pro Max: what’s the difference?
Image credit: Apple - iPhone 11 Pro Max
As plus-sized flagship smartphones, both the iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone 11 Pro Max have a lot in common.
They have multiple cameras, powerful chipsets and were made to attract those looking for a larger handset.
Difference is, as the newer model, the iPhone 12 Pro Max features some subtle – and some not so subtle – improvements and, as such, is a little more expensive.
Let’s compare the two in more detail…
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iPhone 12 Pro Max vs iPhone 11 Pro Max design
Image credit: Apple - iPhone 12 Pro Max in Gold.
Both phones feature full screen displays, notches that house front-facing cameras and, like all recent iPhones, no physical home button.
Difference is, the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s design borrows heavily from the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5, incorporating a flat front and rounded edges over the 11 Pro Max’s slim curved sides.
To some this aesthetic might look a bit dated – but for us, it’s a retro makeover that’s long overdue.
You’ll also notice that the 12 Pro Max appears slightly bigger than its predecessor. But we have to say, for a chassis that clocks in at 6.33 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches and 8.03 ounces, it doesn’t feel that obtrusive in the hand.
And don’t let their premium allure fool you; both phones are sturdy, too.
The 12 Pro Max, for example, features Apple’s new Ceramic Shield coating, which is four times more likely to survive a drop than previous iPhones. And to protect the 11 Pro Max, Apple opted for super tough Gorilla Glass coating on its front and back.
Both handsets have an IP68 rating, which means they can withstand submersion in water at a depth of six meters for up to 30 minutes.
You can choose from the iPhone 11 Pro Max in midnight green, space grey, silver and gold hues. And the iPhone 12 Pro Max comes in blue, gold, graphite and silver.
Verdict: It’s a tie. Both handsets look pretty slick.
iPhone 12 Pro Max vs iPhone 11 Pro Max camera
We reckon you won’t be disappointed with the cameras on either phone.
On the iPhone 12 Pro Max, there’s a 12-megapixel main sensor, a 12-megapixel ultra-wide sensor and a 12-megapixel telephoto lens, plus 5x optical zoom range capabilities.
We have to say, the 12 Pro Max’s new telephoto lens was exceptional. And we found that images maintained stunning sharpness, even from very far away.
iPhone 12 Pro Max Wide Angle lens vs Telephoto lens
Conversely, the 11 Pro Max has the same triple-camera array, with 4x optical zoom and TrueDepth technology for similarly striking, true-to-life images.
iPhone 11 Pro Max
So what’s the difference between these two excellent cameras?
Well, this time around, Apple has included its popular Night Mode feature to the 12 Pro Max’s selfie and ultra wide cameras – it’s only available on the 11 Pro Max’s basic wide lens.
The 12 Pro Max also has a larger main sensor, too. And its Lidar sensor is bigger this time too, lending significant extra clarity to portrait shots.
Lastly, both handsets are capable of recording in gorgeous 4K for a vivid viewing experience.
Verdict: If you’re a budding photographer, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is definitely the handset to go for. Although you might not notice a difference in picture quality at first glance, look closely and the distinctions are stark.
iPhone 12 Pro Max vs iPhone 11 Pro Max screen
Image credit: Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max
The iPhone 12 Pro Max has an OLED screen that clocks in at almost 6.7-inches, making it the largest to appear an iPhone. It also boasts a 2.8K High Resolution Full HD+ display, with 2778x1284 pixels.
The iPhone 11 Pro Max OLED display measures almost 6.5 inches and has a resolution of 2688 × 1242 pixels.
Again, because of the extra screen real estate you may prefer the 12 Pro Max. But to be honest, although on paper the iPhone 12 Pro Max has the better, brighter and technically superior screen, you probably won’t notice a major difference.
With the size and clarity of both screens, watching your favorite movies or TV shows on either will be a pleasure.
Verdict: On paper, the iPhone 12 Pro Max has a better quality screen.
iPhone 12 Pro Max vs iPhone 11 Pro Max battery life and performance
The iPhone 12 Pro Max comes with Apple’s latest juggernaut processor, the A14 Bionic. It’s 16% faster than the 11 Pro Max’s A13 Bionic, so you should see a noticeable difference in things like load time for apps.
In terms of battery life, the iPhone 11 Pro Max packs a 3,969mAh power pack, while the 12 Pro Max comes in at 3,687mAh. Despite the difference in size, Apple says the more economical A14 Bionic processor inside the 12 Pro Max counteracts the difference, so both batteries perform equally.
Elsewhere, both phones offer up to 20 hours of video playback, up to 12 hours of streamed video playback and up to 80 hours of audio playback.
Verdict: It’s a tie.
iPhone 12 Pro Max vs iPhone 11 Pro Max software
Image credit: Apple - iOS 14
Although the iPhone 11 Pro Max shipped with iOS 13, it’s still compatible with Apple’s newest operating system, iOS 14.
It’s easy to upgrade to Apple’s newest operating system, and both should be compatible with the Apple’s future operating systems, too.
iPhone 12 Pro Max vs iPhone 11 Pro Max verdict
These phones are excellent additions to Apple’s iPhone lineup. However, if you’re willing to spend a little more on a contract, the iPhone 12 Pro Max has just that little bit more to offer.
Right now, you can get a contract for around £40 to £50 per month. But if you want to get the best deals, we recommend that you shop around first.
Compare iPhone 12 Pro Max vs iPhone 11 Pro Max contracts
Set on the iPhone 12 Pro Max? Compare out pick of today’s standout iPhone 12 Pro Max contracts.
Think the iPhone 11 Pro Max is more for you? See our comparison table for our best iPhone 11 Pro Max deals.