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Are iPhone 12 Models a good buy in 2023? Surviving the UK cost of living crisis

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If you’re feeling the pinch from the cost of living crisis in the UK (like many of us), then cutting back on certain luxuries may be the best cause of action. One of them is more frugal when it comes to purchasing new necessities such as a new smartphone. It’s no secret that Apple’s iPhone prices have continued to increase throughout the years, so opting for an older model or refurbished iPhone may be the more economical solution in today’s climate, especially when there are arguably few innovations between iPhone generations. We’ve looked into exploring whether purchasing one of Apple’s iPhone 12 models from 2020 is still worth investing in 3-years after its initial release. Allow us to assist you in determining whether the iPhone 12, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max, or 12 Mini is the ideal choice for your needs.

Introducing the iPhone 12 Models

In October 2020, Apple unveiled the iPhone 12 models, marking the 14th generation of iPhones. It’s incredible how time flies! Due to the impact of Covid, Apple broke with tradition and introduced the iPhone 12 series in October, contrary to their usual release schedule in September. Despite a few leaks prior to the launch, there were still some surprises left for the audience.

What Sets the iPhone 12 Models Apart from its Predecessors?

One of the most pressing questions regarding Apple’s iPhone 12 models is the extent of their innovation and whether investing in a new device is worthwhile.

Redesigned Exterior

Apple made a significant change in design for the iPhone 12 models. After embracing rounded corners since introducing the iPhone 6 in 2014, they decided to return to a more angular design. Personally, I was initially unsure about this shift, as I found the rounded corners on the iPhone 6 more aesthetically pleasing and practical.

However, when I held the iPhone 12 in my hands for the first time, I was pleasantly surprised by the elegant feel of the angular design and the immersive full-screen display. While it retains a slight resemblance to the iPhone 5, switching it on immediately brings you back to the present, with little to remind you of 2012.

Upgraded Processor

As expected with any new Apple release, the iPhone 12 comes equipped with a new chip. The A13 processor has been succeeded by the A14 processor. Reports suggest that the A14 chip is 50% faster than its predecessor, allowing for smoother performance and more immediate execution of complex applications. All models in the iPhone 12 series feature this new processor, with the exception of the camera, which differentiates between the Standard and Pro versions.

Clear Device Names

Apple continues its straightforward naming convention for the iPhone 12 models, as seen in the iPhone 11 series. With names like iPhone 12 (standard), iPhone 12 mini (compact), iPhone 12 Pro (premium), and iPhone 12 Pro Max (largest screen), it’s easy to understand the unique selling points of each model.

OLED Becomes the Standard

Apple has adopted OLED as the standard display technology for all iPhone 12 models, branding it as the Super Retina XDR Display. Every device in the iPhone 12 series features this display, making it a significant upgrade from the LCD display used in the iPhone 11.

Impressive iPhone 12 Camera

Unsurprisingly, Apple has once again prioritized camera quality in the iPhone 12 series. The entry-level iPhone 12 and 12 Mini boast a dual-camera system, consisting of an ultra-wide-angle and a wide-angle lens. The aperture has been widened to f/1.8, and the two premium models, iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max, even reach f/1.8. The cameras have become more light-sensitive, allowing for excellent photo quality, even in low-light conditions. Apple’s proprietary software, the third iteration of intelligent HDR, further enhances photo quality.

Another noteworthy improvement we observed is the enhancement of the front camera. It’s a delight to see that high-resolution video calls are now achievable. Although the camera’s megapixel count remains at 12 MP, similar to the iPhone 11 Pro, the quality has significantly advanced, thanks to the integration of Deep Fusion technology and the powerful chip. So, the next time you connect with your loved ones through a video call, it might be a good idea to tidy up your appearance. However, it’s worth mentioning that there are a few competing smartphones available in the market that offer slightly superior camera quality. Examples include the Huawei P40 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G.

The difference between each iPhone 12 model

 iPhone 12 – the timeless option

The entry-level iPhone 12 smartphone impresses with its innovative Ceramic Shield technology, which provides assurance that your device won’t shatter into a thousand pieces in case of a fall. This is a remarkable advancement! The iPhone 12 boasts the most cutting-edge technology compared to its predecessor, the iPhone 11. Although it adheres to Apple’s classic pricing, you can expect exceptional value for your money with this device.

iPhone 12 Mini – compact yet powerful

As you may already know, I have a strong affinity for smartphones that aren’t oversized. After having my eye on the iPhone 11 Pro, the introduction of the iPhone 12 Mini brings forth a whole new range of possibilities. From a purely technical standpoint, the smallest model in the iPhone 12 lineup offers the same features and advantages as the standard iPhone 12, but in a more compact form with a display size of 5.4 inches (13.72 centimetres). Regarding storage capacity, you have options ranging from 64 GB to 256 GB. One frequently asked question is regarding the battery life of the iPhone 12 Mini. Due to its smaller size compared to the iPhone 12, the battery doesn’t last quite as long. It provides approximately seven hours of intensive use and 18 hours in standby mode.

iPhone 12 Pro

As is customary, photography enthusiasts will be particularly delighted with the iPhone 12 Pro. This Apple model’s camera has been enhanced with a Lidar scanner, and it now offers the capability to save photos in RAW format, which is ideal for professional post-editing. However, if photography isn’t a top priority for you and is more of a bonus, then the standard iPhone 12 will suffice. Similar to the iPhone 11 Pro, the back of the iPhone 12 Pro features three cameras.

Another noteworthy feature of the iPhone 12 Pro is its wireless charging capability. Apple has retained this convenient functionality.

Is the iPhone 12 Pro Max the ultimate iPhone?

Big, Bigger, iPhone 12 Pro Max – this premium smartphone features a massive 6.7-inch diagonal screen, almost qualifying it as a phablet. For comparison, the iPad Mini has a 7.9-inch (20.07 cm) screen, making it just slightly larger. The iPhone 12 Pro Max stands as the most powerful device in Apple’s iPhone 12 series, but its suitability for your needs remains the most crucial factor to consider. In comparison to other models in the series, the iPhone 12 Pro Max excels in size and hosts an enlarged image sensor, ensuring even better photo quality, especially in challenging weather conditions. We found that the notable distinctions lie primarily in its size and the premium camera.

A remarkable addition is the introduction of “MagSafe”: Apple’s Q1 charging module has been extended with a magnet, allowing for a whole new range of accessories. This includes items like a secure car mount or the ability to safely fasten the device in your pocket, offering protection against potential theft.

Our verdict on the iPhone 12 lineup

The iPhone 12 series showcases solid improvements over Apple’s previous offerings, although it doesn’t introduce any groundbreaking revolutions. However, this isn’t necessarily a drawback considering the overall high quality of the devices. The iPhone 12 demonstrates an evolutionary leap compared to the Samsung S20 Ultra and Huawei P40 Pro. Notably, all iPhone 12 models come equipped with 5G, ensuring they are future-ready.

Does investing in an old, refurbished iPhone 12 make sense then?

One consistent point of criticism among fans is the price of the iPhone 12 currently with each new release. For instance, the iPhone 12 in black with 64 GB storage retails for around £649 on the Apple website. Fortunately, you can find refurbished iPhone 12 devices on Back Market for as low as £296. Additionally, Back Market offers refurbished iPhone 12 Mini devices for £234, allowing you to save up to 50% off the original price.

At Back Market, all devices and iPhone generations undergo professional cleaning by experts in the lab and thorough checks for any defects. Moreover, you have the advantage of a 30-day testing period to ensure the iPhone 12 meets your specific needs. By choosing a refurbished iPhone 12 from Back Market, you can make your purchase with peace of mind.

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