Opinions and Legal Insights

iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max — the initial reviews are in

IPhone12lineAlthough Apple started to sell the new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro on October 23, 2020, that was only half of the iPhone 12 family.  Apple is now taking pre-orders for the other two phones:  the iPhone 12 mini and the iPhone 12 Pro Max.  The new phones go on sale this Friday.  Apple provided review units to select journalists, and their initial reviews were posted yesterday.  If you are trying to decide if these new phones are right for you, these reviews may help you to make your decision.  The reviews convinced me that the medium size was best for me, but I’m sure the small and large sizes will be attractive to lots of folks.  It is great that you now have so much to choose from in an iPhone family.

iPhone mini

The iPhone mini does everything that the iPhone 12 does.  It’s just smaller and $100 cheaper.  For many, smaller is a really “big” deal because it makes it easier to hold the iPhone, use it in one hand, and fit it in a pocket.  Note, however, that it also means that the battery is smaller, and the initial reviewers found that you need to keep an eye on how much you use it if you want the battery to last all day.  The iPhone mini is a little bigger than the iPhone 5, and a little smaller than the iPhone 6, which makes it noticeably smaller than the iPhone 12. 

Here are some of my favorites of the initial reviews:

iPhone 12 Pro Max

Two things make the iPhone 12 Pro Max special.  First, it is big.  Really big.  And that makes it heavier and harder to hold in one hand.  Reviewers tended to find that it was either too big or right at the end of feeling too big in your hand — which is precisely why I know that it is not for me.  But if you can get past that, you get the largest screen ever available in an iPhone.  Heck, it is almost like a smaller iPad.  And you also get more battery life.

Second, the extra $100 that you spend for the 12 Pro Max over the 12 Pro gets you a slightly better camera system.  The normal camera (which Apple calls “wide”) has a larger sensor than the other phones in the iPhone 12 family.  As a result, it captures more light with less noise.  If you are in bright sunlight, no big deal.  But if the light is dim, your pictures with the iPhone 12 Pro Max will have more detail and will look better.  There are situations in which the iPhone 12 Pro would use Night Mode because of the low light but the iPhone 12 Pro Max can take a normal picture without resorting to Night Mode, resulting a more detailed and overall better quality picture.  Also, if you shake your hand while you are taking a picture or video, the 12 Pro Max has a different system that does a better job reducing the vibration.  And finally, the telephoto camera can zoom a little bit more than the iPhone 12 Pro (2.5x instead of 2x) and can do so with a little less light.  It is worth noting that, overall, most of the reviewers didn’t find the camera improvements to be substantial over the iPhone 12 Pro.  But the improvements are there if you look for them.

Here are some of my favorites of the initial reviews:

Bonus tip:  Wall Street Journal and Apple News+

If you click on one of the Wall Street Journal links above and you don’t subscribe to the Journal, you probably cannot read the articles (although you can still watch the great video that Joanna Stern included with her iPhone mini review).  But if you subscribe to Apple News+ (which I do, now since I signed up for the Apple One Premier account), here is a workaround that seems to work with any Wall Street Journal article:

First, open the article in Safari on an iPhone or iPad.  Second, tap the share button at the top right (the box with the arrow pointed up).  Third, in the row of app icons, scroll across until you find the News icon.  (If you don’t see it, tap More, and then you will find it.  Better yet, tap More and then tap Edit to add News to your normal list of icons and to avoid the need to tap More in the future.).  Tap the News icon, and the article will open in the Apple News app.  And because you can read full Wall Street Journal articles in the News app if you subscribe to Apple News+, you will be able to read the entire article.