Apple's top-of-the-range phone from 2020 is a super-sized smartphone with specs to match. We take a comprehensive look at what it's got to recommend it in our iPhone 12 Pro Max review.
Is the iPhone 12 Pro Max worth buying in 2023?
It’s the super size iPhone that set the tone in 2020. The iPhone 12 Pro Max, with its epic 6.7-inch screen feels more like a tablet than a smartphone, but with added super powers.
Its sharp design is the best in the business, even at a time when it’s been replaced on the Apple roster by the iPhone 13 Pro Max.
While the latter has even better specs, the iPhone 12 Pro Max keeps everything that’s good about the iPhone 12 Pro while offering a better screen and more powerful camera.
The fact it’s older means you can also get great iPhone 12 Pro Max deals. This is still a device worth buying.
Our iPhone 12 Pro Max review in summary
With its massive display, excellent camera and superb internal specs, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is one of the best smartphones available.
The design is arguably Apple’s best ever, while its prowess means that only true tech aficionados will want to opt for the newer iPhone 13 Pro Max.
Throw in its slightly lower price point and this is an iPhone we simply cannot get enough of.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max review in full
As with the iPhone 12 Pro, the iPhone 12 Pro max comes with a triple lens camera set up, each one with 12 MP.
There’s an f/2.4 ultrawide camera, an f1/.6 wide angle camera and an f/2.0 telephoto camera. Lidar tech allows for depth of field scanning.
However, there are some key differences. The sensor on the main wide lens is 47% bigger than that on the iPhone 12 Pro, meaning pictures look even better in low light conditions.
If you love taking snaps on a night out or trying to capture live action images at gigs, then this is the phone for you.
The Night mode and options to shoot in ProRAW mode make the main camera one of the finest around.
Optical zoom comes in at 2.5x, a bump up from 2x on the iPhone 12 Pro. Everything else is the same, though. That’s no bad thing.
The 12MP front facing camera is excellent and the inclusion of Dolby HDR video recording at 60fps in 4K means the iPhone 12 Pro Max can handle video with aplomb.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max enjoys the same design as the iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini.
It’s a stunning look, with its toughened front preventing any nasty bumps and scrapes, the metal finish taking inspiration from the iconic iPhone 4.
The notch is marginally bigger than that on the iPhone 13 Pro Max, but not so much that it’s noticeable. This is as good as it gets when it comes to smartphone design.
With a huge 6.7-inch display, packing the same Super Retina XDR OLED tech as the iPhone 12 Pro, the iPhone 12 Pro Max can lay claim to having one of the best screens of any smartphone.
At 458 pixels per inch, it looks ultra sharp and is especially good for watching Netflix or gaming. Photos also look sensational.
The higher refresh rate on the newer iPhone 13 Pro Max may tempt gamers and power users, but in real world terms there is little to choose between the two.
iOS and performance
The A14 Bionic chipset inside the iPhone 12 Pro Max isn’t Apple’s latest processor. But it does still pack a punch.
It’s 40% more powerful than 2019’s A13 chip and makes web pages, games and video load in rapid time. There’s also 5G tech on board for connecting to the UK’s fast expanding rapid network.
There are 128GB, 256GB and 512GB versions available. That means if you want more storage, the 1TB iPhone 13 Pro Max might be a better bet.
But with iOS 15 out of the box and years of ongoing support promised, the iPhone 12 Pro Max still enjoys the best Apple has to offer when it comes to software.
That larger frame means that the iPhone 12 Pro Max has space for a massive battery, clocking in at 3,687mAh.
While that’s smaller than the 4373mAh unit found on the iPhone 13 Pro Max, it’s still capable of running up to two days between charges.
That's no mean feat at a time when power intensive features like games and streaming services can leave some devices needing power within hours of being at 100% capacity.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max supports Apple’s MagSafe wireless charging accessory, and works with its 20W fast charger.
However, there’s no power adapter in the box, meaning you’ll need to use an old one or invest in something better to enjoy fast or wireless charging.
iPhone 12 Pro Max's deals and incentives
You can get some great iPhone 12 Pro Max deals here at Moneysupermarket. O2 has a 128GB model with unlimited calls and texts, plus 100GB of 5G data and access to its ace O2 Priority service for £50 per month over 24 months, plus a £30 up front fee.
Three has the device for no upfront cost and then £56 per month for two years, with unlimited calls and texts plus 100GB 5G.
iPhone 12 Pro Max pricing
Apple does not sell the iPhone 12 Pro Max directly, although it often has cut price deals in its refurb store.
A brand new, SIM-free 128GB model will cost around £849 when bought from a third party. Contracts range between £49 and £56 a month, with varying upfront costs depending on the network you choose.
iPhone 12 Pro Max review: Verdict
With its standout screen, excellent camera and computing prowess, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is still one of the best smartphones available, even if the iPhone 13 Pro Max has since become top dog.
Its battery life puts it out ahead of most rival phones, while support for the latest iOS software means it still feels as fresh and powerful as it did in 2020.
Pros and Cons of choosing iPhone 12 Pro Max in 2023
- Great screen
- Two day battery life
- Slightly more affordable than the newer iPhone 13 Pro Max
- Still expensive despite being superseded by newer models
How does the iPhone 12 Pro Max compare against other iPhones?
Compared with the iPhone 13 Pro Max, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is still excellent, even if it lacks the impressive screen refresh rate, 3x optical zoom and truly epic battery that mark out the 2021 Apple flagship.
Up against the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini, it's noticeably more powerful thanks to greater RAM and a better camera setup.
As ever, it comes down to preference. If you want a huge screen without paying the very highest prices, then the iPhone 12 Pro Max is an excellent shout.