iPhone 12 Pro Max – impressions

Yes, I have a new phone! At this writing, I’ve had it for about a week and boy, do I have some things to say about it.

First off, I LOVE IT. Second, it’s MASSIVE. Third, it’s expensive. Fourth, the PHOTOS ARE AMAZING. Fifth, read on for my regular person, non-expert review.


Specs on mine
model: iPhone 12 Pro Max
color: Pacific Blue
storage: 512 GB

more info: https://www.apple.com/iphone-12-pro/specs/

iPhone 12 Pro Max
iPhone 12 Pro Max, just opened

first impressions
After rocking the smaller iPhone XS, it’s been a little strange going back to a larger phone. The 12 Pro Max is the biggest iPhone ever made and it’s taking me a bit of time to adjust. But oh, I’m adjusting. I waited the whole day on Friday the 13th for my phone to arrive and I was not disappointed.

I ordered the 512 GB Pacific Blue version and it’s GORGEOUS. Oh, and MASSIVE. The screen is so easy on the eyes and I’m finding that I don’t need my readers as much while using the phone (yes, getting old sucks). The phone is very responsive and my apps work as they should, maybe (probably) with a tad more zip.

I still had my XS on hand so I was able to basically clone my apps and many of my settings to the new phone. So I have a phone that is new and fast but also familiar with the placement of the apps and such. I’ll probably change things around when I’ve figured out more stuff but for now, having the familiar layout makes it easier to compare to the older phone.

I was TEMPTED by the iPhone 12 Pro but I wanted the best camera and the larger display. When the phones were announced, I told myself I could wait wait even as people I knew were buying the iPhone 12 Pro. I watched the tech reviews and asked myself if it was necessary to buy the biggest (and consequently most expensive phone). For me, the answer was yes. And I am very glad I waited.

The camera takes AMAZING photos. Coming from the XS, there’s a substantial leap when it comes to the camera and photo quality. The XS takes fantastic pictures but the 12 Pro Max shots are rather glorious. I really dig the ultra wide and the 2.5x zoom, which I did not have on the XS. It bums me a little that I didn’t have this phone when we went camping but I’ll get over it.

1.0 zoom
0.5 x - ultra wide
0.5x ultra wide zoom
2.5 x
2.5 x zoom
portrait mode
portrait mode, main camera
portrait mode
portrait mode, main camera 2.5x

I am going to try not to stress out about the battery, as I have in the past. I’m the kind who likes it at 100% for as long as possible but I know that’s not healthy for the phone. Or so I’ve read. I think I’ll just charge it here and there during the work day but not to take it to 100%. (Though it doesn’t look like I could take it to 100% if I wanted by plugging in to the computer. I think charging that way must be super slow.) Ideally, I wouldn’t charge it and maybe I can get myself trained to not micromanage the battery life. We shall see.

So far I went through one work day without charging it but the rest of the time, I’ve charged it for a couple of hours after lunch.

other stuff
With my previous phone, I used an Otterbox case with a Popsocket on the back. I loved the convenience of that Popsocket but right now, I am just rocking an ESR case. After watching a scratch test, I went ahead and installed the screen protector that came with my case. So far, so good! But I do miss the Popsocket just a bit. I’m thinking of getting the Otterbox case with the Popsocket integrated into it. There’s a clear case so I can still show off the pretty Pacific Blue of my phone. For now, I think I’ll save the money and just use my ESR case and see how it goes without the Popsocket.

my phone in the case
my phone in the ESR case… for now…

The Pro Max is a 5G enabled phone but good luck finding 5G! At this rate, 5G in your device is more about future proofing than actual practical use. That said, I did see that 5G on my phone when we were in Walnut Creek, coincidentally at the Apple Store. The speeds were all right, nothing too fancy. LTE works fast enough right now and unless you live in those cities that have actual 5G and your carrier has it enabled, I wouldn’t recommend buying a phone just because of 5G.

The Pro Max is expensive, especially in the configuration I purchased, but if you play your cards right (have a device to trade, find a deal), you can figure out a way to buy it. Is the extra money worth the bigger screen and better camera? For me, yes, absolutely. For you? Maybe not. But here’s some advice I heard from somewhere– when it’s time to buy a phone (or whatever device), buy the best one you can buy. To me, this means the newest and best equipped for my needs. I can justify the cost but maybe you can’t and that is cool. To each their own.

the iPhone 12 lineup
the iPhone 12 line up

I’ve held the iPhone 12 Pro and the iPhone 12 Mini and those two phones are pretty sweet. I love that there are so many choices in the iPhone line up and if you like iPhones, you can have whatever size you want. You really can’t go wrong with any of the iPhone 12 lineup (unless of course you just don’t like iPhones).

the iPhone 12 Mini
the iPhone 12 Mini does fit rather nicely in the hand

I should mention that I was also very seriously tempted by both the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G and the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G. I was especially tempted by the Galaxy Z Fold2 5G after touching it at Best Buy. I really would have loved that phone but I think the technology and hardware are still too new for me to plunk down so much money. Maybe in two or three years, I will consider a switch back to Android. Then again, maybe in two or three years, Apple will have tried their hand at foldables.

parting words
The iPhone 12 Pro Max is a huge phone and not for the faint of heart. If I didn’t care so much for having the best camera– however a small improvement over the next model– I would have probably gotten the iPhone 12 Pro. The 12 Pro Max is not for everyone but it’s definitely for me. I’m actually glad to be back on a large phone but I need to re-learn how to hold it so that I don’t drop it. So far, so good. (Fingers crossed!)

I can’t say I’ll miss the iPhone XS but I will say that we made some great memories. It was a great phone, the one I called “Your Grace.” We had great adventures, exchanged messages with lovely people, and took so many pictures and videos. Maybe I’ll miss the smaller feel of the device?

Good bye iPhone XS
Thanks for the memories, iPhone XS

I recommend the iPhone 12 Pro Max if you like larger phones and iOS in general. For me, the phone is a definite upgrade from the XS so if you have that phone or older, the iPhone 12 line is certainly one to consider if you’re thinking of upgrading. The camera is amazing and the OS is zippy

Now I will post a few too many photos to show off the loveliness of the camera of the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Can’t go wrong with Guinness…
portrait mode in the evening
portrait mode in the evening – WEAR YOUR MASK!
that ultra wide though
loving that ultra wide
On my desk
stuff on my desk
those autumn colors
autumn colors, using that ultra wide…

If you’d like to read my other regular person, non-expert reviews, you can find them as follows:

iPhone 5 review – https://kiari.com/2012/09/iphone-5-first-impressions/
iPhone 6 Plus review – https://kiari.com/2015/02/do-you-think-its-easy/ (bits and pieces)
iPhone 7 Plus review – https://kiari.com/2017/03/twitl-week-ten-iphone-7-plus/
iPhone XS review – https://kiari.com/2018/10/twitl-week-forty-two-rockin-the-iphone-xs/