Tom’s Guide Verdict
The iPhone 12 Pro Max is the best iPhone 12 of the agglomeration, with an immersive 6.7-inch display, amazing cameras, 5G and stiff battery life.
Excellent battery life
Immersive half dozen.7-inch brandish
User-friendly MagSafe charging
Charger sold separately
A bit heavy and bulky
No 120Hz display
iPhone 12 Pro Max specs
6.7 inches (2778 10 1284)
Silverish, Graphite, Golden, Pacific Blue
128GB, 256GB, 512GB
12MP wide (f/1.six), 12MP ultra-wide (f/2.4), 12MP telephoto (f/ii.2)
2.5x optical/12x digital
Front photographic camera:
12MP TrueDepth (f/ii.2)
10 hours 53 minutes
6.33 10 3.07 ten 0.29 inches
The iPhone 12 Pro Max is much more than simply a large-screen version of the iPhone 12 Pro. With its 6.7-inch brandish, this is the biggest display e’er on an iPhone. But the iPhone 12 Pro Max (from $ane,099) lives upward to its proper noun in other ways, with an even more avant-garde camera than the regular iPhone 12 Pro and considerably longer battery life.
Of form, y’all go the same blazing fast A14 Bionic chip and 5G connectivity equally all the other iPhone 12 models, simply this is the Apple phone to get if yous desire the best of everything. Is all this worth an extra $100 over the regular Pro? Absolutely.
- See our full
iPhone 12 Pro review
if you want something smaller
- iPhone 13 release date, price, specs and leaks
- Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs iPhone 12 Pro Max: Which phone wins?
In fact, based on my testing, this is the top iPhone 12 of the range, assuming the big screen is right for you. If you’re on the fence about that, check out our iPhone 12 Pro vs iPhone 12 Pro Max comparison.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max topped our Tom’s Guide Awards 2021 for phones in multiple categories, and used to exist our number 1 pick for the best phones. Nonetheless the iPhone 13 series is at present here, and that spot now belongs to the iPhone 13 Pro Max. The new iPhone line also means the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max have been discontinued, meaning it may be difficult to buy one new from at present on. But nevertheless, here’southward the full lowdown on the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
iPhone 12 Pro Max review: Price and release date
The iPhone 12 Pro Max came out November 13, 2020 with a starting cost of $ane,099/£1,099 for 128GB of storage. Upgrading to 256GB costs $1,199/£1,199, and the 512GB version costs $1,399/£1,399.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max by and large costs $100/£100 more than the regular iPhone 12 Pro regardless of the storage.
Note that the iPhone 12 Pro Max does not come with a charger. A fast 20W charger costs $nineteen and Apple’s MagSafe charger costs $39. See our
iPhone 12 deals
page for the latest discounts from retailers and all the major wireless carriers and our Apple Store coupons page for the latest offers straight from Apple. If you buy your iPhone 12 Pro Max from Apple, for example, you can get up to $525 off the cost of the new iPhone by trading in your own device. (Only newer models fetch that high of a return, though — a two-yr-former iPhone XS Max fetches you a $320 rebate from Apple.)
iPhone 12 Pro Max review: Design and colors
The iPhone 12 Pro Max is a beast of a phone compared to the regular iPhone 12 Pro. It’s really the departure between having a flagship phone you lot tin comfortably use with one hand and, well, not.
But in substitution yous get a much more expansive and immersive display, which not only fits more content on the brandish at once merely gives you a bigger keyboard for typing and a mini movie house in your pocket.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max looks more premium than the
iPhone xi Pro Max. And that’s because of the new phone’south sleeker-looking flat edges. The polished gleaming aureate stainless steel on my unit was particularly eye-catching. Information technology’s the smartphone equivalent of jewelry. However, the terminate picks up fingerprints in a hurry.
Likewise gilt, the other color options include the more deadening silver and graphite, as well as the head-turning Pacific Blue I actually like on the regular iPhone 12 Pro.
The notch on the iPhone 12 Pro remains pretty large, but the TrueDepth camera nevertheless comes in very handy for Face ID. I just wish Apple institute a way to integrate Touch ID in the brandish or the power button like it did for the new iPad Air.
At 6.33 x three.07 10 0.29 inches at 8.03 ounces, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is a bit heavier than its predecessor. Only you get a bigger display in roughly the same size, every bit Apple trimmed the borders effectually the screen.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max is also tougher this fourth dimension effectually. Yous go a Ceramic Shield brandish up front that’s rated for iv times the drop performance as well equally a improve IP68 h2o resistance rating that goes downwards to six meters instead of 4 meters.
iPhone 12 Pro Max review: Display
With its half dozen.7-inch OLED display, the iPhone 12 Pro Max’south OLED panel is smaller but brighter than the vi.9-inch
Milky way Note 20 Ultra. When watching Stranger Things, I enjoyed an explosion of colors that virtually made me forget I was holding a telephone.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max too happens to offer the nigh color-accurate brandish nosotros’ve ever tested. The panel registered 0.07 on the Delta-E test, where 0 is perfect. The Note 20 Ultra notched 0.24.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max’south display averaged 654 nits in our lab tests, compared to a slightly higher 662 nits for the Galaxy. But outdoors we found the iPhone’s screen easier to read in directly sunlight.
The only matter missing from the iPhone 12 Pro Max is a smooth 120Hz rate, which would accept made for smoother scrolling and even improve gameplay like it does on the latest Samsung flagships. Here’s hoping for the
iPhone 12 Pro Max review: Cameras
The iPhone 12 Pro Max offers the best cameras on any phone, and that’s saying something considering how skilful the Galaxy Notation twenty Ultra and
The iPhone 12 Pro Max has a larger primary sensor than the iPhone 12 Pro, which is designed to deliver an 87 percentage improvement in low light conditions vs the iPhone eleven Pro Max. The main lens on the iPhone 12 Pro Max also features a fast f/ane.6 aperture and a LiDAR sensor for faster machine focus.
You also get a ii.5x optical zoom from the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s 12MP telephoto lens, which is behind the Note 20 Ultra’s 5x zoom just is better than the 2x on the iPhone 12 Pro.
As you’ll see in this gallery of iPhone 12 Pro Max images, the photographic camera does a superb job in low light; I’ve never been able to get good shot of the moon until I used this phone. The moon itself could exist clearer, only the surrounding clouds are remarkably sharp.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max camera’s Smart HDR iii adequacy also did an amazing chore capturing a challenging scene of a river in the background of several trees with a complex mix of sunlight and shadows.
For camera comparisons, let’s kickoff with this photo of mums captured by the iPhone 12 Pro Max. The iPhone’s shot is a brighter and richer yellowish, while the Pixel v shot turns the flowers more gold. There’southward no popular to the Pixel photo.
The iPhone 12 Pro also beats the Pixel v in this shot of produce. There’south much more of a sheen to the peppers in the iPhone’due south epitome. Google’s photograph looks flat and boring by comparison.
The iPhone 12 and Pixel v were more evenly matched in this portrait. The iPhone does a better job rendering my face up, peculiarly in the shadow. However, the yellow in my Star Wars shirt looks more vibrant and there’south more contrast overall with the Pixel.
How nearly zoom? At 7x, the iPhone 12 Pro Max’southward photo of this mural looks ok, while the Pixel v’s version looks like a watercolor painting.
The Milky way Note 20 Ultra has the sharper and more than powerful zoom. At 12x y’all clearly make out the text style across the street on the fish market sign and even the license plate numbers on the cars. Plus, the Note xx Ultra can keep going all the way to 50x.
When it comes to low-light functioning, the Pixel 5 has the edge in this Christmas tree shot. The greens are richer and you can brand out more detail in the jade pieces. The iPhone 12 Pro Max’southward paradigm looks more done out.
Outdoors, the iPhone 12 Pro Max gets the nod, every bit information technology captures a bit more item in the pumpkin and flowers. The Pixel 5’southward shot is brighter only at that place’southward a flake of a moving-picture show over it.
In this selfie, both the iPhone 12 Pro and Pixel 5 capture satisfying images, simply they excel in different ways. The Pixel 5’due south shot offers more item in my stubble and shirt, while the iPhone 12’s shot is a bit warmer and delivers more than fifty-fifty lighting across my face up.
Last but not least, this Night Way shot shows how Apple’due south LiDAR sensor gives it an reward. It can pull off portraits in night mode, while the Pixel 5 cannot. The upshot is that my face is much more than in focus in the iPhone 12 Pro Max shot.
iPhone 12 Pro Max review: Video
The iPhone 12 Pro Max uses what’south called sensor shift stabilization to keep things steady, as opposed to optical paradigm stabilization. But the results were still quite impressive. Fifty-fifty when walking at a brisk pace, the iPhone 12 Pro Max did a superb task keeping this park footage smooth, even if some lens flare crept in from the dominicus.
And this sweeping panorama of the Manasquan river recorded by the iPhone 12 Pro Max looks absolutely gorgeous. You hands make out lots of ripples in the h2o, and the wisps of clouds confronting the blue sky look well divers. This is thanks to the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s Dolby Vision HDR back up for video.Even at 2.5x the allegiance is splendid.
iPhone 12 Pro Max review: Performance
When information technology comes to sheer operation, the A14 Bionic processor in the iPhone 12 Pro Max, paired with 6GB of RAM, has no equal. When playing the Loonshit fighting game, I kicked, slashed and impaled enemies with carelessness and the gameplay remained every bit fluid and smooth equally a panel.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max besides outperformed the Galaxy Notation 20 Ultra on the 3D Mark Wild Life graphics criterion. Apple’due south handset notched 41 frames per 2d, compared to just 24 fps for the Milky way.
As expected, the iPhone 12 Pro Max also blew away the Android competition on Geekbench 5. Apple tree’s phone hit 4,111 on the multi-core test and one,603 on single cadre. Compare that to the Galaxy Notation 20 Ultra, whose Snapdragon 865 Plus bit scored simply iii,294 and 985.
On our own video editing test. It took the iPhone 12 Pro Max only 28 seconds to transcode a 4K video to 1080p, compared to 1 minute and 16 seconds for the Note 20 Ultra.
iPhone 12 Pro Max review: 5G
The iPhone 12 Pro Max supports every flavour of 5G, including sub-6GHz and mmWave. I tested the phone on T-Mobile’s network, and saw solid speeds in central New Jersey — but aught blazing.
app, the iPhone 12 Pro Max maxed out at 211 Mbps for downloads and 77.v Mbps for uploads.
Like other iPhone 12 models, the iPhone 12 Pro Max can automatically switch to 4G via its Smart Information Mode. This comes in handy mostly when the screen is off, such as when you lot’re streaming music.
iPhone 12 Pro Max review: Battery life
One of the biggest reasons to splurge on the iPhone 12 Pro Max is the actress endurance you get from its larger battery.
On the Tom’s Guide battery test, which involves continuous web surfing over 5G, the iPhone 12 Pro Max lasted 10 hours and 53 minutes. That’s nearly 2 hours longer than the regular iPhone 12 Pro, which endured for 9:06.
Samsung’due south Galaxy Notation xx Ultra was slightly behind the 12 Pro Max with a runtime of x:26 over 5G, which dropped to vii:59 with the 120Hz brandish mode on.
iPhone 12 Pro Max review: Charging
Similar the balance of the iPhone 12 lineup, Apple tree doesn’t include a charger in the box with the 12 Pro Max. That might be the green thing to exercise, as Apple tree has argued, just it’s also annoying, specially if you desire to fast accuse your telephone.
A $19 20W fast charger will go a drained iPhone 12 Pro Max to just under 50% in xxx minutes. But MagSafe is getting more attending, because it works with the magnets in the dorsum of the iPhone 12 Pro Max to hands attach a charger. This $39 charger is 15W, which is slower, but it’s twice as fast equally previous iPhone wireless chargers.
But go on in heed that you’ll need a power brick and MagSafe adapter, as they’re sold separately.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max also works with a growing array of MagSafe accessories, including cases and wallets you can adhere, also equally Apple’s $129 MagSafe Duo charger that juices your iPhone and Apple Watch simultaneously. Once again, though, you’ll need to spring for a 20W charger for this accessory to work.
iPhone 12 Pro Max vs iPhone 12 Pro
The iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone 12 Pro share most of the same features, but there are some key differences. While both flagship phones offering Apple’s A14 Bionic chip, 5G and OLED displays, the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s vi.7-inch screen is a lot larger than the 6.one-inch console on the iPhone 12 Pro.
In addition, the iPhone 12 Pro Max offers a bigger optical zoom than the iPhone 12 Pro (2.5x vs 2x) and larger digital zoom (12x vs 10x). The iPhone 12 Pro as well benefits from having a larger sensor for its main broad camera, which lets in more lite.
Other than the larger display, the biggest reason to get the iPhone 12 Pro Max over the regular iPhone 12 Pro is the longer bombardment life.
iPhone 12 Pro Max vs Samsung Milky way S21 Ultra
The iPhone 12 Pro Max has a stiff competitor in the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, which features powerful dual telephoto cameras for upward to 10x optical zoom. Information technology also features a more dynamic 120Hz AMOLED display, longer battery life and even S Pen back up. However, the S21 Ultra costs $100 more to showtime and it falls a bit behind the iPhone 12 Pro Max in terms of functioning and overall image quality.
Run across our in-depth Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs iPhone 12 Pro Max face up-off to see which phone is right for your needs.
iPhone 12 Pro Max review: Verdict
The iPhone 12 Pro Max lives up to its name in a few key means. You get a much bigger display than the regular iPhone 12 Pro and much longer bombardment life. Personally, I didn’t notice that the Max’due south larger camera sensor produced much ameliorate looking images than what you get from other iPhone 12 models, just information technology is nice that y’all get a more powerful zoom.
It really comes down to whether yous want a more than compact phone or you really like big screens. I fall into the latter camp, merely y’all won’t go wrong with either iPhone 12 Pro model. Every bit for the Android competition, the iPhone 12 Pro Max put them all on observe with generally better cameras and faster functioning. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is a swell culling with its more powerful zoom and dynamic 120Hz brandish, but the iPhone 12 Pro Max is still the superior phone overall.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max remains a great phone even a year after launch. It’due south just going to exist much harder to buy now that the iPhone 13 Pro Max is on auction. The iPhone thirteen Pro Max improves on the 12 Pro Max in several ways though, so information technology is worth the extra money if you can’t find the older phone in stock anywhere at present it’s been discontinued.