November 9, 2020

Considering getting the iPhone 12 Pro Max? Read This First.

Find out if Apple's most premium iPhone this year is worth its $1799 price tag.

Considering getting the iPhone 12 Pro Max? Read This First.

This is a pretty exciting year for iPhones in general, with more choices in terms of colour and a wider variety of phone models to choose from. The iPhone 12 series introduced a mini version for people who prefer a smaller phone that's perfect for one handed use.

An impressive new suite of cameras isn't the only thing it's packing. 

On the flip side, Apple has upgraded its Pro/Pro Max lineup with a suite of new features that surpass the last generation of iPhone 11s.

In this article, I’ll break down the features that you’ll get with an iPhone Pro and Pro Max. I’ll also take a closer look at key features of the iPhone Pro Max as well, including its upgraded camera exclusively for the Pro Max series.

I’ll try and break down the technical jargon as much as possible, highlighting the objective benefits of the phone so you know what you're paying for 👀

Are you ready for 5G? Source

1. 5G Network Supported (and what you should know)

The iPhone 12 is the first series of iPhones that support 5G. You’ll get the full benefits of this incredibly new network as it rolls out slowly over the next few years even if you choose not to upgrade your phone.

All major telcos in Singapore have already started their plans for 5G. But since Circles.Life is tapping on M1’s network, here’s what we can expect in terms of speed according to their FAQ:

Theoretical Downlink Throughput: ~ 1Gbps

Typical Downlink: 100 to 700 Mbps

Theoretical Uplink Throughput: 40 to 90 Mbps*

Typical Uplink: 10 to 40 Mbps

With the iPhone 12 Pro Max, you’ll definitely get access to the 5G network. But, as 5G is still being progressively rolled out across Singapore, it will only be accessible in select locations until at least 2025.  

We're living in exciting times here and the value of your iPhone 12 Pro Max will only appreciate as telcos continue to build up more access points to 5G. But until we get that islandwide access, I suggest managing your expectations a bit and don’t expect those 4x faster internet speeds right away 😂

2. The New A14 Chip and Screen Size

A notch is still a not notch but hey at least it's smaller. Source

Looking at all the screen sizes and comparisons with previous gen and the current gen phones, iPhone 12 Pro Max is the largest at 6.7 inches, while iPhone 11 Pro Max is at 6.5 inches only. This is definitely a great news for fans who love larger phones.

Performance wise, Apple has made it a point to release a new Bionic chip every year; boasting upgrades in performance and speeds with the latest A14 Bionic chip. The chip itself is Apple's smallest chip at just 5mm as compared to the 7mm A13. This leaves more space to fit other fun bits like the components needed to support 5G.

For you tech geeks out there, here’s the comparison for both chips that compares all the specs. But just know that it's pretty much the fastest chip on the market right now, besting even the Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra and its Snapdragon 865+ chip. The iPhone 12 Pro (and by extension Pro Max) beat the Note20 Ultra by a whole 17 seconds in loading up apps across two rounds of testing 👍

It had to be done. Such a waste of a good phone though, scroll down for a more realistic drop test. Source

3. “Ceramic Shield” Screen

One of our most innate fears is probably accidentally dropping our phones on the floor before picking it up only to find a cracked screen 😱 To help you dodge that potential heart attack, the new iPhone 12 series comes with Ceramic Shield which Apple claims is tougher than any smartphone glass ever made.

I'm always skeptical about these things because it's very easy to make a claim but at the end of the day it means nothing if you screen still cracks 😅. Naturally, to assuage these fears, I found a drop test video to really see how durable the screen is:

Ouch it just hurts to look at 😨 Source

The conclusion is that under normal circumstances, dropping your phone normally should do close to no damage to your screen even if it is a flat down drop. Cnet also did a drop test and scratch test on the phone as well if you’re interested. The results are pretty much in line with the video you saw above too!

But you know lah, Singaporeans are Kiasu. So get a screen protector if you're scared.

Sorry if all I've done so far is make you uncomfortable with these screens 😬 Source

4. “IP68” Water Resistance

Apart from accidental drops, our other innate fear is dropping our phones in the toilet bowl or pool, or just getting them wet in the rain. That’s partly because warranties don’t usually cover water damage.

But what does an IP68 certification mean? Here's what I found:

  • The IP ratings are made up of 4 characters.
  • The first 2 characters IP stands for Ingress Protection or International Protection. This is the standard industry grading now
  • The 3rd character or the first number refers to Solid Particle Protection. It is essentially how good it is at protecting against small solids like dust and sand. The rating is from 0 to 6, with 6 having complete protection against dust.
  • The 4th character is the Liquid Ingress Protection. It is how well it protects against water and liquids. The rating is from 0 to 8, with 8 being able to immerse the device in 1 metre or more depth of water.

In summary, your phone is completely protected from small solid particles and liquids. But remember, your phone is still susceptible to water pressure so don't go take it diving. Overall, based on the IP rating certification, IP68 really means that the iPhone 12 Pro Max is the best in the market.

Fancy a waterproof test? Here you go:

5. iPhone Pro Max Camera

Here comes the main highlight of the article since most of you who buy the iPhone Pro Max are probably crazy about the camera. To showcase just how dynamic and powerful these new cameras are, here’s an official video by Apple, shot by a Academy Award winning director on a iPhone 12 Pro:

Our Editor is also Immanuel but he certainly cannot shoot videos like this lol. Source

If it’s already so good, think about the possibilities of a Pro Max.

Here’s some other cool features you should be aware of that comes with your Pro Max:

LiDAR Scanner

This feature was first introduced in the iPad Pro back in March and has sneaked its way on to the iPhone Pro series as well. In case you were wondering, LiDAR stands for Light Detection And Ranging. What this tech does is help you scan and map your environment by firing out laser beams, then timing how quickly they return. Such technology helps make things like Augmented Reality more immersive and has been used by NASA for their space missions as well.

You can see a practical use of this feature in this video with the iPad Pro series:

Night Mode Portrait

With the LiDAR Scanner, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is able to shoot in low light situations and help accentuate the colours in the picture. Take a look at a sample below for a picture shot with an iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 12, and iPhone 12 Pro:

Spooky. Source

Can you guess which one is shot on the iPhone 12 Pro? I mean it’s pretty obvious it’s the one on the right as it is able to show the full spectrum of colours so go ahead and shoot away especially at dark places without fear of losing out on any details.

Smart HDR 3

This feature helps to refine highlights, shadows and contours to help you get an even-toned photo that isn’t possible without this. When you’re shooting in places like the outdoors, you’ll get way more beautiful pictures with this feature.

Take a look at a sample below:

Ahh you gotta love the great outdoors. Source

You can definitely take a look at his video and other photos as well with the link above to show you how this feature is fully utilized with your iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Dolby Vision

All you need to know about Dolby Visioned explained in one video. Source

Dolby Vision is a proprietary HDR video format, and it stands for High Dynamic Range. With the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro max, the camera is able to capture more about a scene, with more colour and visible details in the highlights and shadows.

Why this is such a big deal is because you’ll be able to capture videos at 4K at 60 frames per second, due to the extra RAM and the A14 Bionic chip.

Just wanted to take a moment to shout out the gold colour which is really shingz. Source

iPhone Pro Max Upgrades

While the iPhone 12 Pro has a lot of features similar to the iPhone 12 Pro Max, there are quite a few differences as well:

Zoom range

  • iPhone 12 Pro has 2x Optical zoom in and out, 4x optical zoom range, and digital zoom up to 10x.
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max has 2.5x Optical zoom in, 2x Optical zoom out. 5x optical zoom range and digital zoom up to 12x

Focal Length and Aperture

  • iPhone 12 Pro has 52mm focal length, ƒ/2.0 aperture
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max has 65mm focal length, ƒ/2.2 aperture

I’m not a camera expert, so let me link you to an article to explain to you what these means if you are wondering.

So should I buy or not?

Is a hard choice for sure since it's the most expensive phone in the iPhone 12 lineup. Source

While there’s many more features like Apple ProRAW and Magsafe that I didn’t cover here, the features I covered are what most people would be looking at when upgrading their phones.

With so many choices, the iPhone 12 Pro Max truly stands out to be a phone to be reckoned with in terms of its camera.  Also, with the imminent of 5G, you’ll get to enjoy the perks of enjoying a faster network first since not many phones support 5G at the moment yet.

Here’s some quick info on the Capacity, Colour and Prices


Colours available: Silver, Graphite, Gold, Pacific Blue

Price (Capacity): $1,649 (128 GB), $1,969 (256 GB), $2,299 (512 GB)

Thinking Of Getting One?

Circles.Life is also selling the iPhone 12 Pro Max along with all other variants of the iPhone 12 series which you can check out here.

If you're an existing customer like me, you can access the shop in your Circles.Life App and buy it from there instead ☺️

Hint: The most popular one would be Pacific blue since it is the new colour, and 256 GB capacity. Grab these quickly before stocks run out!