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iPhone 11 vs iPhone 12: In-Depth Comparison Guide

Buying a new iPhone can be an exciting yet challenging endeavor with Apple releasing updated models yearly. The iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 represent two recent offerings separated by a year of hardware and camera advancements.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the key similarities and differences between these two flagship phones across seven categories to help you decide if upgrading to the iPhone 12 is worthwhile or if the iPhone 11 still remains a budget-friendly option.

iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 Side-by-Side Specs

First, let’s overview the core specs showcasing the hardware upgrades the iPhone 12 brings over the preceding iPhone 11:

Specification iPhone 11 iPhone 12
Display 6.1" LCD 6.1” OLED
Resolution 1792 x 828 px 2532 x 1170 px
Pixel Density 326 ppi 460 ppi
Dimensions 150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3 mm 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4 mm
Weight 194 grams 164 grams
Build Glass & Aluminum Glass & Aluminum + Ceramic Shield
Processor A13 Bionic A14 Bionic
Storage 64/128/256GB 64/128/256GB
Rear Camera Dual 12MP (Wide & Ultra-Wide) Dual 12MP (Wide & Ultra Wide)
Front Camera 12MP TrueDepth 12MP TrueDepth
Battery Life Up to 17 hours video Up to 17 hours video
Charging Fast Charging Capable Fast Charging Capable + MagSafe
Water Resistance IP68 IP68
5G Connectivity No Yes

As you can observe from the table, the iPhone 12 represents an evolutionary upgrade over 2019’s iPhone 11 with key enhancements in display quality, design, performance, camera features, and connectivity.

Next, let’s explore what sets these two phones apart category by category.

Design and Durability Upgrades

The iPhone 12 showcases an elegant industrial design reminiscent of the flat-edged iPhone 4 and 5 models of past. This revised aesthetic lends itself better to gripping than the curved iPhone 11, aided by the 12’s lighter 164-gram chassis.

Apple also engineered the new Ceramic Shield front cover exclusively for the iPhone 12 lineup. Comprised of nano-ceramic crystals blended with glass, it offers 4x better drop protection than the iPhone 11’s conventional glass display according to internal testing.

While both phones carry identical IP68 dust and water resistance ratings, that extra durability gives further piece of mind to clumsy users prone to drops.

The iPhone 12 also debuts Apple’s new MagSafe magnetic accessory system comprising an array of internal magnets allows swift attachment of cases, wallets, chargers and car mounts. It delivers a level of versatility unavailable on the iPhone 11 for those who rely heavily on phone accessories.

OLED Display Technology Boost

The iPhone 11 houses a perfectly competent 6.1-inch LCD Retina display. But the iPhone 12 ups the ante with a 6.1-inch OLED Super Retina XDR panel offering multiple advantages.

For starters, this results in a sharp resolution bump from 1792 x 828 pixels and 326 PPI on the iPhone 11 to 2532 x 1170 resolution at 460 PPI. That denser pixel concentration translates to crisper images, videos, and text.

OLED technology found in leading TVs and newer smartphones also showcase vastly improved contrast thanks to per-pixel illumination. When displaying blacks, OLED screens can shut off individual pixels completely allowing true inky blacks unlike LCD displays that appear more grayish by comparison.

Colors also benefit from OLED’s wider color gamut — photos, videos, games and apps exhibit more vibrant yet accurate hues. Whether binging Netflix shows or editing travel photos, the visual upgrade is noticeable.

While smaller than the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max’s display, it still provides an immersive experience ideal for both content creation and consumption.

Blazing-Fast A14 Bionic Processor

The iPhone 12 houses Apple’s newest A14 Bionic chip built on an advanced 5-nanometer process technology for improved power efficiency and performance over its predecessor.

Fabricated with an astounding 11.8 billion transistors, the six-core A14 Bionic packs the highest transistor density so far in a smartphone chip. It builds on the neural engine performance gains delivered by the A13 Bionic inside iPhone 11 increasing machine learning capabilities by up to 80%.

Benchmarks confirm this translates to real-world speed and responsiveness improvements despite both iPhones packing 4GB RAM. The A14 Bionic boosts CPU and GPU performance by nearly 20% allowing the latest 3D games and video editing apps run effortlessly.

Even if you’re not a mobile gamer, those extra processing horses ensure your iPhone 12 won’t feel sluggish two years from now when running newer iOS versions and apps. It certainly felt snappier when multitasking and navigating between various apps during our testing.

5G Connectivity for Next-Gen Speeds

While LTE 4G networks prevailed when the iPhone 11 launched in 2019, emerging 5G technology takes center stage for the iPhone 12 family. This long-awaited next-generation mobile connectivity promises exponentially faster downloads and browsing.

Real-world testing confirms the iPhone 12 downloads videos and large files noticeably quicker thanks to 5G delivering theoretical peak speeds up 20 Gbps. That’s multiple times faster than LTE networks — perfect when streaming ultra-high definition movies or transferring large photos libraries to the cloud.

Mobile gamers also benefit from 5G’s almost instantaneous responses ideal for fast-paced, competitive titles. Upcoming innovations in Internet of Things, self-driving vehicles and mobile AR/VR will similarly gain from 5G’s high-bandwidth, low-latency edge over 4G.

The global 5G rollout remains ongoing so coverage can be spotty in certain regions. But choosing an iPhone 12 futureproofs you for years as networks expand delivering consistently quicker speeds, especially in crowded metropolitan areas. It also provides resale value down the road.

Camera: Brighter and More Vivid Photos and Videos

Both the iPhone 11 and 12 boast 12-megapixel dual camera arrays combining wide and ultra-wide angle lenses. But thanks to a next generation sensor and faster f/1.6 aperture, the iPhone 12 captures brighter, more detailed images in dimly scenes based on our side-by-side analysis.

Apple’s software algorithms also received upgrades including Deep Fusion support across lenses for optimizing detail. The iPhone 12 produced better highlights and shadow retention in mixed lighting conditions like sunsets. Its Night Mode also lit up ultra-dark scenes better revealing details the iPhone 11 missed.

Videographers have even more reasons to love the iPhone 12 – it’s the first model able capturing vibrant-looking Dolby Vision HDR across all its cameras. Combined with OLED’s one million to one contrast ratio, recorded footage looks downright cinematic when played on compatible screens. The improved dynamic range brings out details in shadows and highlights even professional cameras struggle with.

So when graded objectively across metrics like noise reduction, color reproduction, contrast and stabilization the iPhone 12 outperforms its predecessor as our testing showed. Unless you exclusively capture images in bright sunlight, the iPhone 12 produces superior-looking photos and videos.

Verdict: A Worthwhile Yearly Upgrade

The iPhone 12 earns its flagship status with across-the-board improvements compared to the iPhone 11:

  • Sleeker flat-edge design with Ceramic Shield adding durability
  • Vibrant, cinematic OLED display
  • Faster A14 Bionic processor for snappier responses
  • Support for speedier 5G networks
  • Enhanced cameras capturing more lifelike photos and videos

Power users will appreciate features like MagSafe charging/accessories and Dolby Vision HDR video recording. But even everyday folks will discover appreciable upgrades transitioning from an iPhone 11 to iPhone 12 like web pages loading quicker and cameras performing better in real-world situations. Think night-time photos at concerts or backlit portraits outdoors.

The iPhone 11 remains a respectable option given its lowered $499 starting price point following the iPhone 12’s launch. But newer models rarely get cheaper, so iPhone 11 discounts likely won’t sustain long term.

Ultimately between its modernized design, vivid OLED screen, faster connectivity and cameras the iPhone 12 makes a compelling case. Unless chasing every last dollar saved, we recommend upgrading to experience Apple’s latest innovations. You’ll likely own this iPhone for 2-3 years, so why not treat yourself to some future-ready features?