Tuesday, October 20, 2020

iPhone 12 Reviews

Tim Hardwick:

As we wait for the iPhone 12 review embargo to lift later today, more pictures are circulating of the devices in real-world lighting conditions, providing a better look at the different colors available.

On the subject of LiDAR and the Pro camera:

Matthew Panzarino:

The LiDAR array is very nice to have on the iPhone 12 Pro. There is one completely new mode that is not available on the iPhone 12 here — Night Mode Portraits. The autofocus improvement is active in any low light situation.

The ISP and Neural Engine improvements on iPhone 12 mean that these devices can now use Deep Fusion and Smart HDR 3 on all cameras. And, of course, on the iPhone 12 Pro they also handle LiDAR integration for autofocus and even Night Mode portraits now.

But Dieter Bohn says Night Mode Portraits are available on the iPhone 12:

Night mode portraits are one of the major new features, and they’re worth a try, but the range of lighting conditions where they’ll look good isn’t massively bigger.

Nilay Patel:

Unless you are extremely committed to either AR gimmicks or night mode portrait photos, I don’t think you’ll get much value out of the iPhone 12 LIDAR sensor. When you take photos in regular light, the camera focuses just like always; the LIDAR sensor isn’t active. In many ways, it feels like LIDAR is mostly on the phone so that Apple and other people can figure out what to do with it in the future.

Apple is providing conflicting information about Ceramic Shield and scratch resistance.

Jason Snell:

I should also be clear: Apple is making zero claims about improved scratch resistance on these phones. The improvements in materials are specifically for shatter resistance.

Nilay Patel:

Apple claims the iPhone 12 line has four times better drop performance than the previous models, with the same scratch resistance. (I drop my phone a lot, so I’m excited to see how this goes.) On the back, you’ll find the same type of glass as last year, but the new design should improve its drop performance as well, Apple says. One thing Apple would not tell me is how resistant this stainless steel frame is to nicks and scratches… and we’ve already put a tiny nick in the frame of our review unit, even though all it’s really done is travel from video shoot to video shoot.


Tough is great, but we also wanted to make it scratch-resistant. So, using our dual ion-exchange process we use on the back glass, we protect against nicks, scratches, and everyday wear and tear.

Matthew Panzarino:

I have seen a few fine scratches crop up on my iPhone 12’s screen. I am not particularly careful with my review units, as I think it is my duty to treat these things as utility items that will get intense daily usage. Which is what they are. Nothing insanely noticeable, mind you, but whatever the improvements to overall hardness the new Corning Ceramic Shield process brings to the table it is not and will not be invincible to wear and tear.

paustovsky has a great chart showing the different iPhone prices over time.

Jon Porter (tweet):

I think Apple’s approach is generally a good thing, but it should have gone further by switching away from its proprietary Lightning port entirely and fully embracing USB-C. Right away, that Lightning to USB-C cable would turn into a much more useful USB-C to USB-C cable that could charge basically all of your electronics. Or better still, Apple could remove the cable entirely and just ship the phone by itself, eliminating even more duplicitous waste.


5 Comments RSS · Twitter

The only thing I am interested in knowing about iPhone 12 is how good or bad the PWM is on the all OLED lineup. I had to return an iPhone 11 Pro to get the iPhone 11 with LCD because the PWM on the Pro OLED was making my eyes and head hurt so bad that it was intolerable to use.

This is a clear Accessibility issue and given that PWM negatively impacts something like 27% of people, I would expect this to be discussed.

@Toodles I’m interested in that, too. All the Apple OLED displays I’ve seen so far look weird to me, especially when scrolling.

[…] strange thing about the 12 Pro is that it apparently does not use its LiDAR sensor to create Portrait images unless the environment is sufficiently dark. Why […]

I think it is important to note PWM only kicks in if you lower brightness. That was not much of a problem with iPhone X because Apple tailored their own OLED and PWM only kicks in at if I remember correct sub 60% brightness. iPhone XS and 11 Changed back to industry norm OLED panel ( likely for cost reduction ) and PWM kicks at at 80%.

Not to mention in reality the so called 4xx PPI is only valid for Green colour, your other two colour still operate at 360PPI.

I too hope it will be PWM free, but I find that highly unlikely given the use of OLED panels. MicroLED will use the same backplane technology too, so if this issue isn't fixed it will be a problem for us PWM sensitive users for years to come.

If PWM kicks in at a lower brightness or not doesn't matter. Many sensitive to PWM are also sensitive to bright light and keep their displays dim. I live far north so through most of the winter I'm at 10-20% brightness and that's plenty bright for the ambient light available.

Is Apple, the king of accessibility, ignoring a not insignificant user base to please OLED crazy reviewers? Reviewers said the XR wouldn't do well with its "subpar" display, but it was the best selling iPhone at the time. Most users don't care if the blacks are truly black on their phones.

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