iPhone 12 vs iPhone 12 Pro vs iPhone 12 Pro Max vs iPhone 12 mini: which one should I buy?

For the first time in its long history, Apple released four new flagship phones last year: the iPhone 12 mini, the iPhone 12, the iPhone 12 Pro and the iPhone 12 Pro Max. With four different handsets to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which iPhone 12 to buy, but in this guide, we’ll be breaking down exactly what sets these devices apart.


On the surface, each iPhone 12 looks aesthetically similar. They’re each almost entirely all-screen – with the exception of a wide notch at the top – and they have a flat shape with squared-off sides.

They differ in size, weight and colour, and when you get to the Pro models, you’ll also find an additional camera on the back. When it comes to colour, the iPhone 12 and 12 mini have a distinctly fun feel, and are available in black, white, red, green, blue and purple. The Pro models look much more mature, and are available in black, gold, silver and navy blue.

As the name gives away, the mini is the smallest and lightest of the bunch, while the Max is the largest and heaviest. Each handset has a Ceramic Shield front, which is designed for better drop resistance and durability. The 12 and 12 mini have an aluminium chassis, while the Pro models have a stainless steel design.


The size of the screen may be one of the big deciding factors when choosing which iPhone 12 to buy. Let’s start with the iPhone 12 mini – it has a 5.4-inch display, which is smaller than the iPhone SE that also came out in 2020. It’s the choice you’ll likely want to make if you want a small phone you can comfortably use with one hand.

The iPhone 12 and 12 Pro both have a 6.1-inch screen with the same resolution. The 12 Pro Max stretches 6.7 inches, and it’s the biggest iPhone that Apple has ever made. With that said, be ready to carry this massive handset if you choose to buy it. Each phone in the family has an OLED display, and in use it’s bright, clear and sharp with colours that pop.



Turn the handset over, and you’ll see another big difference between the phones. The iPhone 12 and 12 mini both have two camera lenses, while the Pro models are sporting three. Each is a 12MP camera, and the lenses are a wide, an ultra-wide and a telephoto (the 12 and 12 mini are missing the telephoto lens).

Befitting its name, the iPhone 12 Pro Max has the best camera overall with an f/2.2 aperture and a 5x optical zoom range with the telephoto lens, which is marginally better than the f/2.0 aperture and 4x optical zoom range available on the 12 Pro.

The two premium models have also added a LiDAR sensor, which allows them to take better portraits in Night Mode. It’s relatively new technology for a smartphone, but it should be good at picking up faces and preserving detail in low light.

Battery life

While Apple never lists the battery sizes of each iPhone, we have those details thanks to teardowns. With limitations due to its size, the 12 mini has the smallest battery at 2,227mAh. The iPhone 12 and 12 Pro both have a 2,815mAh battery, while the iPhone 12 Pro Max boosts that capacity up to 3,687mAh.

Apple officially states that the 12 mini has enough juice for up to 10 hours of streamed video playback, while the regular iPhone 12 and 12 Pro both manage 11 hours. That number rises up to 12 hours of streamed video playback for the 12 Pro Max. As always, the battery life you get out of each phone will also depend on your usage.

The iPhone 12 range also features MagSafe capabilities for the first time, which is essentially a magnetic dock on the back of your phone. For the time being, MagSafe is primarily used to snap onto a wireless charger, and a few other accessories (such as card wallets).


Other specs and features

For four separate phones, the iPhone 12 family shares similar DNA. Each handset is powered by the A14 Bionic chipset, which is arguably better than any Android chip currently available.

They’re also the first handsets from Apple to offer 5G connectivity. 5G availability is still limited in Australia at the moment, and is mostly concentrated in the capital cities and some larger regional areas.


For some, the biggest deciding factor on which iPhone 12 to buy will come down to price. The iPhone 12 mini is the cheapest option into Apple’s latest range, with prices starting at AU$1,199 for the 64GB model. You’ll pay AU$1,279 for 128GB and AU$1,449 for the 256GB version.

For the standard iPhone 12, retail prices start at AU$1,349 for 64GB of storage, increase to AU$1,429 for the 128GB model, and jump to AU$1,599 for the largest 256GB model.

Prices rise again for the iPhone 12 Pro, and you can expect to pay AU$1,699 for the smallest storage model with 128GB onboard. Jump to 256GB and it’s AU$1,869, or go for the full 512GB and it’ll be AU$2,219.

The iPhone 12 Pro Max is the biggest iPhone ever made, and it’s the most expensive too. Starting at 128GB of storage, you’ll need to fork out AU$1,849. If you move up to 256GB it’s AU$2,019, or go for 512GB and you’ll need to pay AU$2,369.

Round-up: which iPhone 12 should I buy?

Aside from colours, what really sets the iPhone 12 family apart? The iPhone 12 mini is the smallest and cheapest among Apple’s new flagship phones, and while it’s petite size will be well-suited to those looking for a small handset, its size does result in a smaller battery life and screen.

The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are the exact same size, but the big changes come to the cameras, as the regular 12 has two lenses on the rear, while the 12 Pro adds a third in a telephoto lens. The 12 Pro also has a more mature look, with a stainless steel frame giving it an industrial-like feel.

If you want to go all out, the iPhone 12 Pro Max goes big in every way. It has the largest screen, the biggest battery and a top-tier camera array on the back. Don’t forget though, it also comes carrying the highest price tag.