Review: Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

The one the others have to beat

iPhone 12 Pro Max wipes floors with the competition and has the best camera we have seen so far.

Published 2020-11-22 - 9:00 am
Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max
Peter Gotschalk

Apple’s iPhone 12 Pro Max is the largest and wildest iPhone ever. But also the most expensive. You have to bleed almost 1200 bucks if you get the largest model with 512 gigabytes of built-in storage. We have seen the giraffe and just have to state that even though the price is insane, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is really worth all the money!

Apple’s new iPhone 12 Pro Max is available in the colors silver, graphite gray, gold and Pacific blue. (Photo: Apple)

Appearance and construction

In terms of design, the iPhone 12 Pro Max, like the other iPhone 12 models, is unique. The smooth, rounded edges we know from the iPhone 11 Pro are gone. Instead, the angular form factor that is found on the new iPad Air , iPad Pro as well as the classic iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 models, is back on all iPhone 12 models, including of course also iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Aesthetically, it is a wise choice that gives Apple’s latest iPhones an exclusive design language and a luxurious touch. In addition, the straight edges actually provide a more secure grip on the mobile.

Just like the regular iPhone 12 Pro, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is also waterproof down to six meters for 30 minutes (in terms of IP68 certification) compared to its predecessor’s four meters for 30 minutes.

There is a significant size difference between the iPhone 12 Mini and the iPhone 12 Pro Max, which is Apple’s largest iPhone to date. (Photo: Apple)

The glass on the new iPhone 12 Pro Max has also been improved in various ways to increase robustness. The so-called Ceramic Shield technology means that Apple has added ceramic crystals in the molding of the glass to make the phone more shatterproof, while the glass on the back is double ionized to make it more scratch-resistant.

The glass on the front and back is also flush with the metal frame around the mobile, which also protects the glass better than on phones where the glass is curved at the edges.

Screen and sound

According to DisplayMate , the iPhone 12 Pro Max has the best mobile screen on the market ever. With as many as 11 records, it beats all competing smartphones by several lengths. Thus, the 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR OLED screen scores top marks, as far as i.a. absolute color accuracy, image contrast accuracy, contrast ratio, screen reflection, visible screen resolution, etc.

At the same time, the experts at DisplayMate estimate that Apple’s lightning – fast processor and graphics engine as well as the OLED screen’s response time are sufficient compensation for the fact that the iPhone 12 Pro Max screen does not have a refresh rate of 120 Hz like most Android mobiles in the same price range. for power consumption still has to settle for a refresh rate of 60 Hz. It corresponds very well to our user experience.

There is a slight hint of warmth in the colors, which can be seen on skin tones, white text on a black background and the like. This is partly due to True Tone, which adapts the white balance to the ambient light.

The built-in stereo speakers deliver 3D sound via Dolby Atmos, and it’s not just marketing nonsense. It is a completely unsurpassed experience to watch video on its iPhone 12 Pro Max. (Photo: Peter Gotschalk)

The mobile supports video viewing with HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision, and the contrast and color reproduction on film and video look phenomenal. Video has never looked so good on a mobile screen. Then it is to live with the fact that it looks less velvety soft when scrolling on web pages or in the mobile menus, as is the case on e.g. OnePlus 8 Pro .

The sound experience is also the best so far from an iPhone. The built-in stereo speakers deliver 3D sound via Dolby Atmos, and it’s not just marketing nonsense. Try playing this trailer on your iPhone 12 Pro Max and you can clearly hear what we mean. Playing games or watching video on his iPhone will never be the same again!

The phone comes with three cameras: a 12 megapixel 13 mm f / 2.4 120 degree ultra wide angle and a 12 megapixel 26 mm f / 1.6 wide angle. In addition, 65 mm telephoto with optical image stabilization and 2.5x zoom. As something completely new, the camera also has a LiDAR scanner, which is used to scan the pixel depth of the subject. (Photo: Apple)


Even the iPhone Xs Max was Apple’s iPhones far behind on the camera front compared to the Android competitors from Huawei and Samsung in particular. First with the iPhone 11 Pro, Apple came up with an acceptable camera phone with both ultra-wide-angle and telephoto lenses as well as a more light-sensitive sensor and better image processing.

However, with the new iPhone 12 Pro models, Apple is taking a seven-mile step on the camera front. Not only does the iPhone 12 Pro Max have a significantly better camera than its predecessor – it is simply one of the very best camera mobiles you can buy for money at all.

The color reproduction in i.a. Landscape photos are some of the best we have seen from a mobile camera. (Photo: Peter Gotschalk)

The phone comes with three cameras with a total of 5x optical zoom: A 12 megapixel 13 mm f / 2.4 120 degree ultra-wide angle and a 12 megapixel 26 mm f / 1.6 wide angle. In addition, 65 mm telephoto with optical image stabilization and 2.5x zoom.

As something completely new, the camera also has a LiDAR scanner, which is used to scan the pixel depth of the subject. The advantage of LiDAR is that the camera focuses better in low light, and that portraits taken with wide angle in low light are more evenly illuminated and better exposed. LiDAR scanning does not work long distances, but works fine when it is dark and the subject is close enough. LiDAR is also used if you want to scan and measure a room, e.g. to Augmented Reality, where you can play with festive effects in AR apps.

To date, the best reproduction of skin tones in daylight from any mobile camera. (Photo: Marcus Engelbrecht)

The front camera is called True Depth camera in Apple language, and in addition to supporting Face ID, which identifies the user of the mobile phone, it has the same 12 megapixel resolution as the other cameras.

Summa summarum delivers iPhone 12 Pro Max images with unsurpassed high image quality. Not least when it comes to subjects in low light. The camera’s HDR properties are also useful for e.g. landscape images and has to date the best reproduction of skin tones in daylight from any mobile camera.

The day is coming to an end. But the iPhone camera manages to reproduce the sunset without overexposure and with lots of detail in the image. (Photo: Peter Gotschalk)

Performance and features

Beneath the screen sits Apple’s latest and most powerful processor to date, the A14 Bionic, which we first became acquainted with on the new iPad Air. The A14 Bionic is a 5 nm chip, which according to Apple provides space for an unprecedented number of transistors. This makes the iPhone 12 Pro Max lightning fast, which our benchmark tests also confirm. In almost all benchmark tests, it dries the floor with top models like Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra , OnePlus 8 Pro and Sony Xperia 5 II .

Ultra-wide angle provides great depth in the images. (Photo: Peter Gotschalk)

Note, however, that the small USB charger we know from previous iPhone models is not included in the box with the iPhone 12 Pro Max. The familiar Lightning-to-USB cable is included, but the charger must be purchased separately. For example. Apple’s recently launched MagSafe Charger – a wireless charger with a round Qi charging plate that is magnetic and placed on the back of the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

It will certainly annoy many users that you do not get the charger with you when you give so much money for your mobile, but Apple’s argument is that it is a waste of resources, because so many of us still have the small chargers lying in big amounts. And that’s not entirely wrong.

Strøget in Copenhagen in the evening with normal exposure. (Photo: Peter Gotschalk)


This is nothing short of the best smartphone Apple has ever created. The large screen scores top marks for color reproduction, contrast and brightness, and is absolutely fantastic to watch pictures and movies on. The performance is formidable and places the iPhone 12 Pro Max well ahead of the competition, and when you can soon use 5G in earnest, you have an insanely fast mobile.

In addition, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is in our opinion the best camera phone on the market right now. Not just for amateurs, because with the cameras’ many options (including LiDAR) and the mobile’s intelligent image processing, photo enthusiasts also have a powerful tool in their pocket.

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max
High End

We think

The fastest smartphone on the market, excellent camera with sublime image and video quality, bright mobile screen with true-to-life color reproduction, 5G, waterproof and robust, MagSafe integrated. Screen with 60 Hz refresh rate. Supplied without charger. Pricey price.

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