Second impression: the iPhone 12 Pro Max after three months

The iPhone 12 Pro Max has been on the market for a while, so it is high time for a second impression. We used the largest iPhone ever on a daily basis for three months. You can read our experiences in this article.

Our second impression of the iPhone 12 Pro Max

We already wrote it in our first review of the iPhone 12 Pro Max: this is a very hefty smartphone. It is only slightly larger than the iPhone 11 Pro Max, but the difference is also due to the angular design. Even with big hands, it is sometimes a challenge to operate the device.

If you can live with that, you will of course get a wonderful 6.7-inch OLED screen in return. We have been walking around with the iPhone 12 Pro Max for three months now and in this second impression you can read how the device works now.

Fantastic performance

Apple manages to produce the fastest processor on the market every year. The biggest compliment you can give the iPhone 12 Pro Max is that you never have to think about performance. The A14 chip is fast, very fast. Apps open immediately and even with the most demanding games, the device cannot be heated.

That is of course nice, because it ensures that you use the iPhone 12 Pro Max with peace of mind. This is a thoroughly reliable smartphone that makes you forget the underlying technology. Because it is so fast, you can also assume that the device will last for many years.

The only drawback we can come up with is that the iPhone 11 Pro Max was also very fast. You will only notice the difference between the two phones at the moment if you subject them to a rigorous test. However, the newer version is a bit more future-proof. Apple will support the device for longer and the iPhone 12 Pro Max also has 5G on board. That will become an increasingly important advantage in the coming years.

Design threatens to become old-fashioned

Apple blew high about the new design of the iPhone 12 Pro Max. If you look at the sides of the smartphone, you will indeed see a significant change. The angular edges provide a flashback to the industrial design of the iPhone 4 and 5. That is certainly not a criticism, because they are perhaps the most beautiful smartphones that Apple has ever made. In addition, the design is close to the current iPad Pro, so that both devices now have a uniform appearance.

However, if we look at the front, we see no significant difference compared to the iPhone X from 2017. Despite all the rumors that the notch would be smaller, the cut-out is still just as large as before. The fact that Apple has not succeeded in reducing the notch in the intervening years can be called striking, to say the least. Many Android competitors now work with a tiny camera hole or even have a completely uninterrupted screen.

The fact that Apple is sticking to a relatively large cutout has partly to do with Face ID. The required sensors take up a lot of space and cannot simply be placed behind the screen. That’s too bad. Face ID works great, but it threatens to become a block to Apple’s leg. The iPhone 12 Pro Max looks a bit old-fashioned because of the notch.

Large screen is perfect for demanding user

The iPhone 12 Pro Max is the largest iPhone ever. With a 6.7-inch screen, the smartphone is very suitable for those who like to play games or watch Netflix. But even if you only want to browse or e-mail, such a huge display is very nice. As said, the device is logically quite large and heavy. We therefore recommend that you always try the 12 Pro Max in the store first as soon as this is possible again. Then you know for sure that you can live with its large dimensions.

We can be brief about the quality of the screen: it is excellent. The OLED panel offers a high resolution, ditto brightness and a great contrast. It is a pity that Apple still uses a 60Hz screen. That means that the content refreshes 60 times per second. Competitors have now switched en masse to 90 or 120Hz, even for much cheaper devices. For example, scrolling through your social media looks much smoother on such displays.

Apple has also provided the 12 Pro Max with a Ceramic Shield. This should ensure that the phone is up to four times better protected against impact damage. Fortunately, we have not yet dropped our device, so we cannot verify that claim.

It is noticeable that the smartphone is again quite sensitive to small scratches on the screen. That has been a pain point with iPhones for years. Even if you handle your phone with care, micro-scratches will still form over time. You don’t see it when you use the iPhone, but you can see it when it is switched off. Anyone who wants to keep their smartphone as new is actually obliged to apply a screen protector.

Powerful battery, no charger

An important advantage of large smartphones is that they often have a solid battery. That certainly applies to the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Although the battery capacity is slightly smaller than that of its predecessor, the device easily lasts a whole day. Even with intensive use, we never had to recharge in the meantime, or worry about the battery at all.

Unfortunately there is also bad news. In 2019, we praised Apple because the iPhone 11 Pro Max finally came with a faster USB-C charger. This year there is no charger (or earplugs) with the new iPhones at all. If you don’t have a copy, you will have to buy one. Apple offers one fast charger of 20 Watt for 25 euros.

iPhone 12 Pro Max second impression

A more luxurious option is MagSafe. With this magnetic connection you can click accessories as well as a ‘wireless’ charger on the back. MagSafe is of course not really wireless, because a cable runs from the charger to the socket. But at least you no longer have to poke it into your iPhone. An advantage over real wireless chargers is that you can continue to use your phone while charging.

Cameras are excellent, but …

The iPhone 12 Pro Max has Apple’s best camera system ever. Those who take a lot of photos with their smartphone cannot ignore the device. All cameras still have a resolution of 12 megapixels, but the primary sensor is a lot bigger. In addition, this lens now has better stabilization. This produces excellent photos in almost all circumstances. The colors look realistic and the contrast is usually fine.

The Night mode ensures that you can take great photos even in low light. It is nice that the ultra-wide-angle lens on the 12 Pro Max also has this function. This sensor is a lot smaller, so the results are not as good as those of the ‘normal’ camera. The photos often contain less detail, especially when it gets darker.

With the telecamera you can now optically zoom in 2.5 times. That was 2 more times with the iPhone 11 Pro Max. So that difference is quite small, but portraits look fine nonetheless. This also applies to the selfies you take with the front camera.

Apple has provided the iPhone 12 Pro models with an interesting feature: Apple ProRAW. That is a new file format. Photos taken in Apple ProRAW have some important advantages over ‘regular’ photos. You can edit the files very well with minimal loss of quality. This is very useful for those who like to be creative. ProRAW files are very large, so you will use up your storage space faster.

iphone 12 pro max second impression

Still, the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s cameras aren’t perfect. If there is a strong light source in the frame, such as the sun or a bright lamp, one or more white dots will sometimes appear on the photo. Above you see one next to the tree. Those peculiar spheres can really mar the result. With a little patience you can polish these imperfections afterwards, but you probably don’t want that.

Conclusion iPhone 12 Pro Max second impression

The iPhone 12 Pro Max is a great choice for the discerning user who wants a large smartphone. The device is super fast, has a nice OLED screen and excellent battery life. The cameras are versatile and take very good photos in most conditions. Avid smartphone photographers can also squeeze even more quality out of the lenses with Apple ProRAW.

The fact that we still ‘only’ come out on an 8 is mainly due to a lack of innovation. The iPhone 12 Pro Max is solid, reliable and stable, but lacks a ‘wow’ factor. The design is now quite old-fashioned and the competition uses displays with a higher refresh rate. We therefore hope for some more innovation in Apple’s next top device.

To buy

Do you want the iPhone 12 Pro Max? For a separate iPhone 12 Pro Max, you will spend at least 1262.10 euros at Apple, but many online stores sell it for a few tens less. If you order an iPhone 12 Pro Max with a subscription, you pay this substantial amount in installments. The device is available in the colors Graphite, Gold, Silver and Ocean Blue.

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