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Buy the iPhone 12 Pro Max because you like big phones, not for its camera

After months of rumors and leaks, Apple finally took the wraps off of the iPhone 12 series. There are four models, including the standard iPhone 12, a smaller iPhone 12 Mini, the iPhone 12 Pro, and the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

The iPhone 12 Pro, in particular, offers a range of features that you can’t get on the smaller devices, including the new LiDAR sensor, stainless steel finishes, and more. But, it turns out, if you really want the best, you’re going to have to get the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

No, that’s not because of the fact that the iPhone 12 Pro Max offers a larger screen — some truly prefer a smaller display. Instead, it’s because of the fact that for the first time in years, Apple’s highest-end iPhone, the iPhone 12 Pro Max, offers features that you can’t get on the standard-size iPhone 12 Pro. It’s likely many have mixed feelings about this. Of course, it’s great that Apple is bringing extra features to the iPhone 12 Pro Max. On the other hand, those that spend $1,000 on a phone should already be getting the best of the best.

Sure, the iPhone 12 Pro Max does have a technically better camera — but don’t let that convince you to buy a phone that’s too big.

What’s different anyway?

As in previous years, the iPhone 12 Pro Max offers a larger display, and a larger battery — though the overall battery life is the same. However, thanks to the larger size, Apple says it was able to bring a few new features to the iPhone 12 Pro Max, too.

The extra features come largely in the form of upgrades to the camera. The standard iPhone 12 Pro offers an excellent camera, to be sure, and it’s hard to complain when the differences are unlikely to affect most users. But while the iPhone 12 Pro caps out at 4x zoom on the telephoto lens, the iPhone 12 Pro Max offers 5x zoom — though it’s important to note that Apple still only offers 2.5x zoom on the telephoto lens, and markets 5x zoom by including the ultra-wide lens. And, it also has a larger sensor that Apple says will make for better low-light photos compared to the standard Pro. Last but not least, the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s main sensor offers a sensor-shift technology that makes for better stabilization than on other iPhones.

Paying extra for more than a bigger screen

Smaller iPhone power users are faced with a tougher decision. Either compromise and get a larger, more expensive device so you can get the better features, or compromise and miss out on the better zoom and low-light photography for a more natural phone size.

But the decision doesn’t need to be that tricky. Sure, it’s a little frustrating that you’re not going to get the exact same experience on the smaller iPhone 12 Pro, but the disadvantages of buying a phone that you find too big seriously outweigh the disadvantages of getting a phone with slightly fewer features, at least for those who prefer smaller phones in the first place.

Think about it — how often do you open up the iPhone camera and find that you need to zoom in further than the iPhone 11 Pro can already zoom? Or, how often do you find that your iPhone video is too shaky and that you would seriously benefit from better stabilization? If you’re like me, these issues pop up — but very rarely. If you’re not into big-screen phones, however, compromising and getting the larger device is likely to impact you every time you use it. Sure, you might occasionally watch a video and appreciate the extra screen real estate, but when you have to force it back into your pocket, or can’t reach the top corner with your thumb, you’ll regret the decision.

That’s not to mention the fact that we still haven’t tested the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro Max, and still don’t know if the new features will actually really help. They’re likely to offer small improvements to the overall iPhone camera experience — but small improvements probably aren’t worth the added financial cost and cost of having a larger device for most.

If you don’t like big-screen phones, don’t worry too much about the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s new features. You’re unlikely to miss them. Spring for one of these Apple iPhone deals instead.

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