I know how to use an Android phone but not iPhone. Although I’ve owned a number of iPhones in the past decade, I didn’t have enough experience with iOS to make me feel confident using it.
Last year, that changed when I began using my iPhone 11 with my Android smartphone. What struck immediately the most was how easy it was to make the switch from Android to iOS — I didn’t have to change the way I use my phone and all the Google services I rely on every day, including Gboard, Maps, YouTube, Gmail, Drive, and Chrome, work just as well on iOS as they do on Android.
In 2020, the two dominant mobile operating systems are more close than ever. Key feature addition in iOS 14 is widgets — a mainstay on Android for a decade — and Google took a few features from Apple and added them to Android 11. Both platforms have matured and are polished. If you use Google services primarily, then there is plenty to love in iOS.
The iPhone 12 is the result. Apple has focused on 5G as the distinguishing feature of its new flagship smartphone with an attractive design. If you have used Android phones in the past 18 months you will know 5G is not a new technology. However, the iPhone 12 series’ 5G capability brings this standard to the forefront of the Android phone market in a way that few other phones on the market have. A new MagSafe connector, which relies upon magnets, is included under the hood.
You can now get the iPhone 12 for just $799. And there are lots of excellent Android phones around this price. So, let’s take a look at what the iPhone 12 offers and compare it with its Android counterparts.
Apple iPhone 12 Design
iPhone 12 returns to familiar design territory. The phone features a style aesthetic similar to that of the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5. These features are quite different from Android phones which are built around an aluminum-and-glass sandwich with flowing curves.
The iPhone 12 is shaped with a square back and smooth edges. It feels wonderful to hold, use and feel great.
From the Galaxy S20 FE, I changed to the iPhone 12 and the experience was amazing. The iPhone 12 weighs 26g less and is a lot shorter than the S20 FE. This makes it more comfortable to hold and easier to use. This phone features a glass back, with matte textures on its sides. I love the blue color choice.
This year’s rear camera design doesn’t change much. The housing includes both the flash and two modules. There is very little movement when you use the iPhone 12 on a flat surface.
The iPhone 12’s large front notch feels outdated, especially when compared to the standard hole-punch cutouts on Android smartphones in 2020. However, this phone is thinner than previous generations. The cutout houses the 12MP front camera and 3D module for FaceID. Additionally, it has an earpiece that doubles up as a second speaker.
The introduction of a glass protection layer is another key design improvement. It covers the iPhone’s front with the strongest glass protection layer ever created. This layer has the same scratch resistance and shatter resistance as the iPhone 11 but is better than the iPhone 11.
It is important to remember that the toughened layer only covers the front. The rear glass pane offers the same protection last year. It is still one of the most durable glass layers you’ll find on a phone today — it’s on par with Gorilla Glass Victus on the Note 20 Ultra.
Overall I love the iPhone 12 design. It’s easy to use, it is lightweight, has a great form factor, and is very comfortable. This design is a throwback and it’s exciting to see Android companies follow its lead next year.
Apple iPhone 12 Display
Although the iPhone 12’s screen is identical to its predecessor’s 6.1 inches, it features an OLED panel. This screen has an increased resolution to 2,532 by 1,170. It also has a higher pixel density (460ppi). This is a significant change. The iPhone 12 weighs less and is lighter than the iPhone 11. It also has a larger screen with 460ppi.
This OLED display has a 120Hz refresh speed, which is a drawback. However, it’s one of the most beautiful OLED displays available today.
Unlike the iPad Pro’s 120Hz refresh rate, 60Hz is the refresh rate of the display. OLED will be the main differentiator for the iPhone 12 next year. It’s likely that high-resolution panels will make their way onto the iPhone 12. Although it’s disappointing that the panel is 60Hz instead of 120Hz on the S20FE, those who have an older iPhone will still love the new screen.
With excellent color accuracy and contrast, the OLED panel is amongst today’s best. HDR10, Dolby Vision, and stereo speakers make streaming videos and playing games easy on the iPhone 12.
Apple iPhone 12 Hardware
5G connectivity is the most important feature on the iPhone 12. This is the feature most people won’t have access to yet. This is especially true for most international markets where 5G networks have not yet been made available to consumers. While Verizon and T-Mobile have made great strides to make 5G easier in the U.S.A, you won’t get 5G coverage beyond a few urban areas.
Switching to an iPhone 12 should not be based on 5G. Although 5G will eventually be available in commercial networks, the difference between 4G and 5G is minimal for real-world usage. The feature is even more limited in countries like India — where 5G won’t be a reality for at least two to three years.
One key distinction exists between the iPhone 12 models sold in the U.S. and global markets. Standard mmWave connectivity allows the iPhone 12 series in America to connect to Verizon 5G. The global version does not include mmWave bands as most international carriers are focusing on Sub-6 in their 5G rollout.
Even though 5G isn’t yet very useful, its inclusion of necessitated design changes for the iPhone 12. Apple has chosen to use a QualcommX55 5G modem as it does not have its own 5G modem. That means that the mainboard must be freed up for the 5G chips. Combining that with the 5-G antennae located at the sides of the iPhone 12, you can see why it has a very boxy appearance.
The world’s fastest mobile chipset is the A14 Bionic 5nm.
Although 5G may not be something you are excited about, it is a hardware feature with a significant impact. Apple’s A14 Bionic 5nm chipset powers the iPhone 12. It is the world’s first mobile chip with 5nm technology and delivers a blistering level of performance for day-to-day usage. Although the A13 Bionic was a strong chip in the iPhone 11, the A14 delivers up to 50% more performance.
With the 16 neural cores of the A14 Bionic, the generation’s focus is on machine learning. It is said to run 11 trillion operations per second and perform machine learning models up to 80% faster. A14 Bionic features 11.8 million transistors. It has two performance cores up to 3.1GHz and four energy-efficient cores at 1.8GHz. The GPU has been praised for being the fastest in a smartphone.
The iPhone 12 is currently the fastest phone on the market, and it will remain so for quite some time. Apple holds a unique position within the market in that it owns the whole hardware stack. This allows Apple to make the most of the hardware advances like no other Android manufacturer.
iPhone 12 is flawless in everyday use. It handled all I asked it to with ease. It’s not that the A14 Bionic runs fast, but it’s still very responsive two to three years later. That’s a big advantage that Apple has.
The iPhone 12 is equipped with 4GB RAM while the base version has 64GB. The base model only has 64GB of storage. Most Android phones within this category offer 128GB. It is frustrating.
Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5, NFC, Face ID, and Wi-Fi 6 are all available in the iPhone 12. The iPhone 12’s facial authentication system is among the best. This phone is also IP68 waterproof and it can work at 6 meters for 30 min.
Apple iPhone 12 Battery life
The iPhone 12 is the first phone to not come with a wall plug in the box — the retail packaging consists of just the phone and a USB-C to Lightning cable. Apple claims it has removed the charger and headphones from the iPhone 12 for environmental reasons. However, this logic is not valid when the device charges using a Lightning port instead of USB-C.
You won’t find a charger or earbuds inside the box. The battery life has not changed from last year.
Apple can continue to license Lightning for one year by continuing with it for another generation. You will need to purchase a USB charger with at least 20W charging if your iPhone 12 is older than the iPhone 12. There are many great USB-C chargers on the market. You can even find one as cheap as $17
Apple’s removal of the charger from the iPhone 12 packaging and the use of earbuds paves way for Android makers to follow suit next year. The Galaxy S21 will not include a charging cable, as Samsung had already considered the idea in July.
Battery life is excellent with the iPhone 12’s 2815mAh capacity. The iPhone 12 can run for full days on one charge. Apple made no significant improvements in this area last year. But, Apple’s switch to the 5nm Node enabled them to provide the same battery life while decreasing the size of the device by 10%.
While the iPhone 12 charges at 20W with USB-PD for charging, MagSafe’s 15W wireless charging is a bigger deal. MagSafe wireless charging is supported by magnets at the back of the iPhone 12, and Apple will be introducing a range of MagSafe-compatible accessories and cases to go with it 12.
MagSafe, an extremely cool charging method for the iPhone 12, works exceptionally well. The iPhone 12 can be charged wirelessly using a Qi wireless charging pad, however, these are limited to only 7.5W.
It takes the iPhone 12 nearly 90 minutes for a full charge using a wired 20W USB PD charger. While that is longer than other Android phones, it does allow you to get up to a half-charge in 30 minutes, or 85% in 60 minutes. MagSafe is a new and interesting way to charge your iPhone. It takes longer than usual.
Apple iPhone 12 Cameras
Imaging is not a major difference between the iPhone 12 and its predecessor. You’ll find the 12MP f/1.6 main lens, which is joined by the 12MP-f/2.4 wide-angle module. A 12MP camera can also be found at its front.
Apple’s machine learning is being used to produce better iPhone 12 photos
Apple uses the A14 Bionic’s prowess to capture better photos under any kind of lighting. Smart HDR has entered its third iteration. The scene recognition algorithms of Smart HDR have been improved to allow you to get stunning shots in any lighting situation.
The iPhone 12 features machine learning, which is an essential part of its camera. Night Mode and sky segmentation are two examples. Deep Fusion technology and Deep Fusion make it possible to get vibrant shots even when there are grey clouds.
iOS 13’s camera interface has not been updated. You can change between modes by using a swipe gesture, as well as toggles to activate flash, timer, and camera lenses.
With a great dynamic range, the iPhone 12 can take stunning photos even in bright daylight. While the images don’t have as much saturation as Samsung phones, they are rich in detail. Although the wide-angle lens is excellent, you can see some graininess at the edges.
Low-light situations are also very well handled by the phone. Night Mode has improved more than ever, while regular mode still produces great photos with minimal noise and vibrant colors. I still prefer Google’s portrait mode — particularly for shooting inanimate objects — but the iPhone 12 offers a great all-around package. The iPhone 12 is a great choice for video recording.
Apple iPhone 12 Software
iOS 14.1 comes with the iPhone 12 out of the box. iOS 14 doesn’t differ from iOS 13 in terms of the user interface, but there are some notable additions like widgets and app drawers.
iOS is a great platform — regardless of whether you use Apple, Google, or Microsoft services.
As I use Chrome to browse the web, this last point has been especially useful to me. Now it’s possible to make Google’s browser my default browser in iOS. This is the best thing about iOS. The overall experience is not affected by the fact that I don’t use too many Apple services.
Google Drive for files backups, Google Photos for photos backups, Google Maps to navigate, Gboard for primary keyboard, Google Home for controlling all smart home devices, and Google Keep keeping track of to-dos lists. Google Duo is for video calls. These services all work perfectly on iOS and it doesn’t seem like there’s anything missing compared with Android.
In terms of features, iOS is on par with Android — you’ll find a system-wide dark theme, navigation gestures, granular privacy controls, and now widgets. It’s a big deal to be able to clean up your home screen with App Library and use widgets.
The software update’s longevity is what really makes iOS stand out from Android. Apple will provide at least five years’ worth of software upgrades for the iPhone 12. While Samsung and Google do better than Apple in this area, Apple remains unbeaten. While you may not like the idea of using the same iPhone 12 for more than five years, it should still work well after just two to three years. Vertical integration can be a great thing.
Apple iPhone 12: The Competition
The Galaxy S20 FE, one of the most exciting Android phones, is available from many manufacturers. It features a 120Hz AMOLED display, powered by the Snapdragon 865 chipset, 5G connectivity, and the same 12MP camera as the Galaxy S20. The 4500mAh battery is also big, with both 25W fast charging and wireless charging. Amazon sells the Galaxy S20 FE at $699, $100 cheaper than the iPhone 12.
The OnePlus 8T is another option. It runs Android 11. The phone comes with the most recent hardware, such as a 120Hz AMOLED display, Snapdragon 865 processor, 4500mAh battery, fast charging of 65W, and a 48MP rear camera. While the iPhone 12 camera may not be as sharp, the iPhone 8T offers stunning design options and new hardware at a price of $749.
Also, the Pixel 5 is a good alternative. This phone has a Snapdragon 765G processor and 5G connectivity. It also boasts the best Android camera right now. Although the imaging module hasn’t seen much change over the past three years, Google still relies on its software to produce outstanding photos. Pixel 5 features an OLED panel at 90Hz, a wide-angle lens at the back, and wireless charging. It also offers IP68 water resistance. Amazon’s Pixel 5 is $699, just like the S20 FE.