IPhone 12 Pro Max review: a great vintage

by Kelvin
iphone 12 pro max design

Like last year, Apple declines its iPhone 12 in a Pro Max version. Like last year, this model is a larger and heavier version than its brother. Like last year, it is also more expensive.

That’s all ? No. This year, Apple equips the iPhone 12 Pro Max with a better camera making this model the best iPhone ever. At least on paper. What about on a daily basis? Answer in this comprehensive review of the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Price and release date

The iPhone 12 Pro Max is available from 1259 euros. For this price, you can afford the 128 GB version. The model with 256 GB of storage is marketed at 1379 euros, the one with 512 GB at 1609 euros.


The biggest iPhone 12 available in four colors : Graphite (test model), Silver, Gold and Pacific Blue.


Is the iPhone 12 Pro Max a bigger iPhone 12 Pro? Yes, even much bigger. With its giant dimensions (160.8 x 78.1 x 7.4 mm) and its overweight (226 g), it completely transforms the way of using a smartphone.

If you didn’t have a Max version in previous years, get ready to approach your smartphone differently. No more one-handed use, unless you have the talents of a contortionist or live dangerously. Also forget the phone in the pocket of your jeans worn close to the body.

Rest assured, the new design of this iPhone 12 Pro makes it easier to hold it in the hand than with the iPhone 11 Pro Max. While not comfortable, the flat edges and angular lines prevent the slippery effect.

I still advise to opt for a shell and a protective glass for the screen even if the latter is covered with treatment ensuring it a solidity foolproof. Either way, the iPhone 12 Pro Max will be more likely to fall than other models.

For the rest, Apple opts for the same materials as the iPhone 12 Pro (matt glass on the back, stainless steel frame). You will find the physical buttons in the usual locations.

Like the iPhone 12 mini, the iPhone 12 Pro Max isn’t for everyone. In my opinion, the former is too small for a good multimedia experience, the latter too large for typical use.

In my opinion, iPhone 12 and 12 Pro adopt the ideal format, both small enough to understand them easily on a daily basis and large enough to enjoy a certain visual comfort.

Screen and audio

The iPhone 12 Pro Max also has a HDR compatible Super Retina XDR OLED display, the ultimate at Apple, but also one of the best screens on the market. Contrast ratio of 2,000,000: 1, maximum brightness of 1,200 nits in HDR (800 nits as standard), P3 color space coverage: the iPhone 12 Pro Max has the same strengths as the 12 Pro.

Yes, but … his panel displays a diagonal of 6.7 inches which makes it the best iPhone for multimedia uses. Whether you are a fan of Netflix series, Youtube videos or games, you will not sulk your pleasure.

iphone 12 pro max screen

Apple could have done better. With regard to its price, do we allow a certain level of requirement. The screen of the iPhone 12 Pro Max only has a 60Hz refresh rate when most competitors opt for 90 or 120 Hz. If you have ever tasted these smoother panels, you will undoubtedly see the difference. If you’ve always had iPhones, you’ll see nothing but fire.

On the other hand, you will not miss the notch, always prominent. The giant format of the 12 Pro still has the advantage of making this protuberance more acceptable since it only cuts very little on the displayed content. Hopefully the iPhone 13 will sign the death of this element, let’s face it, quite unsightly.

iphone 12 pro max notch

On the audio side, we take the same ones and start over. The speakers deliver powerful, high-quality stereo sound. Since iPhone 7, the 3.5 mm jack is no longer part of the game, since iPhone 11 the jack / lightning adapter is no longer supplied. Comfort yourself, in France Apple provides lightning headphones in the box.

With a headset (wired or bluetooth), the sound quality is necessarily much better. Without impressing, the iPhone 12 Pro Max remains a very good smartphone for listening to music, podcasts or watching movies and series.

Performance and interface

The iPhone 12 Pro Max inherits the same configuration as the iPhone 12 Pro. We therefore find the A14 Bionic chip (like the rest of the range) accompanied by 6 GB of RAM.

Beyond the excellent scores on the various benchmarking applications, the iPhone 12 Pro Max shines, like its brothers, by its speed of execution, its great fluidity and its ability to switch from one app to another at a high speed. crazy.

iphone 12 pro max ios

Obviously, players will be able to have a blast. The most demanding 3D games from the App Store orApple Arcade run perfectly with the highest graphics configurations. I did not shy away from my pleasure, especially as the larger screen lends itself perfectly to the exercise.

Like other family members, iPhone 12 Pro Max comes with iOS 14. Those familiar with the iPhone know the strengths of the OS ofApple. Extremely fluid, it shines with its fast and light animations and transitions.

If you follow tech news, you probably haven’t missed the arrival of widgets, a big novelty in iOS 14. With this larger screen, the contextual information is more readable which gives more meaning to these small blocks distributed on the home page. The iPhone 12 Pro Max is in my opinion the model that best illustrates the relevance of these widgets.

Autonomy and recharging

Although it retains more or less the same format as the iPhone 11 Pro Max, the 12 Pro Max incorporates a slightly smaller battery (3687 mAh against 3969 mAh) to leave more room for photographic equipment (especially the LiDAR scanner) .

iphone 12 pro max autonomy

Autonomy does not really suffer. Allow a day and a half for versatile use, a day if you play regularly on your smartphone. The 12 Pro Max seems to have some difficulty managing the power consumption of 3D games. With the most demanding licenses, the battery is quickly melting. A problem that I hope will be fixed with the updates.

Charging side, iPhone 12 Pro Max inherits fast, wireless, and MagSafe charging trio. If there is no charge unit in the box, you will need to bring the equipment already in your possession or go to the cash register.

iphone 12 pro max recharge

The battery being more imposing, the charging times lengthen. With a 20W wired charger, count 1h45. It’s long. Qi wireless charging is not recommended since it will take several hours for the smartphone to refuel. MagSafe (15W) doesn’t do much better: allow almost 4 hours for a full charge.


This year, Apple decided to use the space available in the chassis of the Pro Max version to integrate more efficient photographic equipment than on the Pro model. Thus, the iPhone 12 Pro Max has a main module capable of capturing more light as well as a more advanced telephoto lens. Its triple photo module is therefore made up of:

  • a wide-angle 26 mm (f / 1.6); 12 Mpx sensor (1.7 μm photosites); Dual Pixel; PDAF; Sensor-shift OIS
  • an ultra wide-angle 13 mm (f / 2.4); 120 ° field of view; 12 Mpx sensor
  • telephoto 65mm (f / 2.2); 12 Mpx sensor (1 / 3.4 ″; 1 μm photosites); PDAF, OIS, 2.5x / 5x optical zoom, digital zoom up to 12x
  • a LiDAR scanner

Everything is sprinkled with artificial intelligence based on and pending the addition of, expected in a future update.

iphone 12 pro max camera

Whether wide-angle or ultra-wide, vYou won’t see much difference between the iPhone 12 Pro Max and the iPhone 12 Pro. The pictures all shine with their excellent sharpness and good contrasts. As with the previous generation, Apple manages to keep a similar rendering whatever the objective used.

You won’t notice any major difference in portraits shot in good light conditions either. The iPhone 12 Pro Max is again very effective with a very clean clipping and a much more natural bokeh than the competition.

IPhone 12 Pro Max does well in low light and for photos captured from a long distance. The integration of a 65 mm telephoto lens provides access to a 2.5x optical zoom (compared to 2x for the Pro) and up to a 7x digital zoom. You can therefore shoot from further afield with results just as clean as with the 2x zoom of the iPhone 12 Pro.

The 12 Pro Max is therefore particularly gifted in low light. The main sensor, larger than that of the 12 Pro, has larger photosites that record more precise light information. The sharpness, the contrasts, the brightness, the colorimetry, everything is much better with the iPhone 12 Pro Max. And this also applies to portraits. It might not be obvious on a small screen, but photography enthusiasts or professionals will see a real difference on a computer monitor. After all we are talking about an iPhone 12 “Pro” Max right?

If the ultra wide-angle logically achieves the same results as with the iPhone 12 Pro, the telephoto lens is a little more disappointing in low light. Noise and grain deteriorate the pictures, especially when there are many sources of light (streetlights for example).

As good as it can be iPhone 12 Pro Max does not fix management issues (parasitic reflections due to the lenses of the objective), one of the big weak points of the iPhone for a few years now. Too bad he was almost perfect.

I will not dwell on the talents of the front device, identical to the other three models, nor on the talents of videographer of the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Like the 12 Pro, it can shoot 4K HDR at 60fps with flawless stabilization. It is also the first consumer device to know how to film directly in Dolby Vision in order to produce a better quality image on compatible equipment.

My opinion

Assuming size isn’t a big deal, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is arguably the best iPhone ever. Elegant, powerful, enduring, gifted in photography, it provides (almost) everything one expects from an excellent smartphone.

Almost because some essentials remain for absent subscribers. Apple could (should?) have integrated a 90 or 120 Hz screen, provide a really fast charger (to compensate for the slowness of the charge on this large model), or even (as long as we do) offer a MagSafe in the box. After all, the iPhone 12 Pro Max costs $ 1,259, which is more than the new Macbook Air with M1 chip. At this price, we are entitled to demand perfection.

iPhone 12 Pro Max


iphone 12 pro max review

Performance and interface

10.0 / 10

Autonomy and recharging

8.5 / 10

WE love

  • Exemplary design and finishes
  • Magnificent screen
  • High performance
  • Good autonomy
  • Excellent camera

We like less

  • Giant format (not necessarily suitable for everyone)
  • No charger supplied
  • Very (very) slow recharge
  • Still flare problems!
  • Very (very) high price