As you may know, iphones are one of the best-selling phones out there. iPhone 14, iPhone 14 plus, iPhone 14 pro, and iPhone 14 pro max are the latest entrant to the market. They can be a terrific upgrade for the phone users like iPhone 6s, iPhone 7, etc. On the other hand, iPhone 12 is also available to purchase alongside iPhone 13, iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 pro.. The starting price is cheaper too. But, Is the iPhone 12 still worth buying in 2023? Let’s do a study in detail.
The iPhone 12 is still worth it for what it is. It has everything a flagship phone should have. It has performance and a good camera system. But is it still worth it? Especially now, considering the latest iPhone models on the market?
Please Read on.
We won’t say that the iPhone 12 mini is also worth it just because iPhone SE was worth it. The problem with new iPhone SE is that it is too old. In fact, iPhone SE is due for an update now.
iPhone 12 mini has awful battery life, and if you need a smaller phone, iPhone 13 mini is the one. Also, iPhone 12 mini has a small screen. iPhone 12 mini is also not a great upgrade from previous mini iPhones, and iPhone 13 mini is the right upgrade. We shall stick to iPhone 12 throughout this article.
Apple iPhone 12 was released on 13th October 2020. Ever since then, it has been selling like hot cake. Even today, it is selling well alongside iPhone 13, iPhone 13 pro, iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 pro. As iPhone 13 was released, the iPhone 12 saw a price drop, making it even more affordable.
With this price drop, iPhone 12 is totally worth it over the iPhone 11. There are many crazy sales happening that make iPhone 12 worth buying. The USA has seen the prices drop after the launch of the iPhone 13, and likely, the prices will further drop during the festival season or during another sale period.
Let’s have a comparison.
The ideal candidate to compare iPhone 12 is iPhone 13 from 2021. I would have compared it against the likes of Samsung, one plus etc. But, I really like to do an ‘apples to apples’ comparison. But iPhone 14 or iPhone 14 pro is higher in price. Hence, my choice is the iPhone 13 itself. Priced just $100 more, it is the right comparison.
Related post: is iPhone 12 worth buying?
Performance – which is more than enough?
As you know, Apple iPhones and performance always go hand in hand. Even a 5-year-old iPhone works butter smooth. The A14 Bionic chip in iPhone 12 is very, very powerful. You can do everyday tasks with ease. A 14 is a 5nm bionic chip, and it is less power-hungry. The processor is Hexa-core (2×3.1 GHz Firestorm + 4×1.8 GHz Icestorm). You can dismiss all the operations in seconds. Apple GPU is great for gaming. Very powerful and snappy. It does make iPhone 12 worth buying.
However, the A15 bionic chip is a monster of its own. It has excellent performance and, notably, it is much more efficient. The CPU has Hexa-core (2×3.22 GHz Avalanche + 4xX.X GHz Blizzard) configuration. The four core GPU is more powerful than the one in iPhone 12.
Honestly, even though the performance of the iPhone 13 is fantastic, You will be satisfied with the performance of the iPhone 12 itself. So, if you have an iPhone 12, you don’t need to upgrade to iPhone 13 for a performance boost. iPhone 12 is worth it.
However, the tale takes a U-turn for gaming. Gamers will appreciate the performance difference between iPhone 12 and 13. The performance of the new GPU will be noticeable. Hence, buying an iPhone 13 for $100 more than iPhone is totally justified for gaming.
Camera – Is iPhone 12 worth buying in 2023?
The camera is one part where the iPhone wins most of the competition. The iPhone camera is too good that you don’t actually need a secondary camera system while touring, youTube making, etc. The video camera is fantastic, and no other camera phone can match it. Let’s look at the specifications from gsmarena.
Apple iPhone 12 has a 12 MP, f/1.6, 26mm (wide), 1.4µm, OIS as the primary camera and 12 MP, f/2.4, 120˚, 13mm (ultrawide) as a secondary camera. The video specification is 4K@24/30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/120/240fps, HDR, Dolby Vision HDR, stereo sound rec.
There is a dual-tone flash that takes care of night duties and low light performances. The selfie camera is great too, at 12 MP, f/2.2, 23mm (wide), 1/3.6”. Also, iPhone 12 has a night mode. The phone supports Dolby Vision too.
For normal photographic needs, iPhone 12 is worth buying.
But is it worth the difference of $100 to buy an iPhone 13?
It is, especially if you like to take lots of videos. Why?
I will explain you. Before that, let us quickly see the specs of the iPhone 13 camera.
The primary camera is a 12 MP, f/1.6 shooter at 26mm (wide). The pixel size is 1.7µm, and Autofocus is dual-pixel PDAF and sensor-shift OIS. The secondary camera is a 12 MP sensor with an aperture of f/2.4, and the lens is 120˚, 13mm (ultrawide).
It has Dual-LED dual-tone flash for accurate colours, HDR in photos, Smart HDR and can take panorama as well.
As far as the video goes, it can take 4K@24/30/60fps videos and 1080p@30/60/120/240fps videos. It can do HDR Video recording and Dolby Vision HDR video up to 60 fps. It can also record stereo sound. HDR video recording is one of the best in the industry.
Then there is an excellent selfie camera. The camera is a 12 MP sensor at an aperture of f/2.2. The lens is 23mm (wide). As far as the videos go, it can take 4K@24/25/30/60fps and 1080p@30/60/120fps. It can also take smart HDR images. Gyro-powered EIS does the image stabilisation. It is not as good as an OIS, but nice to have it.
The new camera has sensor-shift optical image stabilisation technology. That means, instead of the lens moving on the iPhone 12, iPhone 13 has the sensor moving to produce a stable image. This increases the stabilisation performance.
The sensor in iPhone 13 is bigger compared to iPhone 12. Hence, nighttime low light photography will be excellent. With night mode on, You will get a better picture with iPhone 13 than 12.
Having a bigger sensor has one more benefit. Bokeh.
What is Bokeh?
Bokeh is the background blur on photos which gives photos excellent depth. It can also help with focusing on the needed parts more than other parts. It’s all about emotions. Right?
As the aperture increases and the camera sensor size increases, the bokeh gets beautiful and creamier.
Apple iPhones now have not only a bigger sensor but also a large aperture which lets in more light. This gives a better bokeh effect than the iPhone 12 with a similar aperture and tiny sensor. It is one of the important parameters for image quality.
With the new iPhone, Apple introduced new profiles for cameras. It is called the ‘photographic Styles’.
What is ‘Photographic Styles?’
Photographic styles are kinds of presets that can take different styles of pictures. The photographic styles of the iPhone 13 are as follows.
- Rich contrast
Tone and warmth can be customised for each style. This gives you a great picture every time.
Standard is the usual default style. It takes pictures just like the default apple camera in older phones. The image will be accurate to reality.
Rich contrast is my favourite. It takes images like Samsung phones. It makes the shadows a little darker. It slightly saturates the colour and increases the contrast of the picture. The output is a beautiful colourful image.
The Vibrant style takes a step above and improves the vibrancy of the images. This style increases brightness while keeping the colours accurate. The presentation is vivid in nature.
A warm preset adds warmth to the picture. It achieves it by increasing the yellowish content of the image. It is also eye-pleasing for me.
This mode increases the picture’s blue values, giving a cool effect to the image.
The only caveat of Photographic Styles is that it cannot be undone or changed once the picture is taken. That means it is permanent.
How are photographic styles different from the filters?
This idea is to use the photographic style while clicking the picture itself so that the filters need not be used after taking the shot. Also, The filter adjusts the tweak to everything in the picture in one go, while the Photographic styles do a lot of image processing step by step, between capturing the image and saving it on the phone.
So, the camera on iPhone 13 is better than iPhone 12, and hence iPhone 13 is the smart choice for the difference of $100. iPhone 13 pro camera is even better. Also, iPhone 13 pro has three lenses. Despite that, iPhone 13 is more value for money.
One of the places where androids cannot compete with iPhones is in videos. iPhones take excellent videos. As said earlier, HDR video recording is one of the best. With the Optical image stabilisation in action, the images that come out are stable and nothing short of amazing. They are rich in contrast, the shadow details are retained, and the colours are accurate.
And in 2021, apple added one more future, cinematic video, for iPhone 13.
Cinematic mode is simply the portrait mode for videos. The iPhone can take videos with a shallow depth of field. Thanks to AI and machine learning, they can do much more than bokeh.
When the Cinematic mode is on, the phone focuses on the subject. And, if the subject turns back to see another person, the focus shifts to the second person leaving the image of the first-person blurred. You can manually override the automatic focusing and can do manual focusing. This way, one can become very much creative.
With iPhone 13, you are getting a host of features. Basically, you will get
- Bigger sensor
- Better bokeh
- 4k HDR video recoding at 60fps
- Sensor shift stabilization
- Photographic styles
- Cinematic mode
You’re getting all these compared to Apple iPhone 12 for a difference of just $100. It is, in fact, a sweet deal. If you’re comparing iPhone 12, 128 GB variant with iPhone 13 128 GB variant, the difference is only $50 and for that difference you get a host of features more.
Battery life – the more the better.
The battery life of the new iPhones is incredible. iPhone 12 sports a Li-Ion 2815 mAh battery. It was enough for most tasks. It supports fast charging at 20 watts with an optional adapter. That means the phone can be charged up to 50% within 30 minutes, as advertised. It also supports MagSafe wireless charging at 15 watts.
With Qi magnetic fast wireless charging, it can go up to 7.5W, which is slow, IMO. The battery life is excellent and more than enough. It can clock Up to 17 h of video playback time (multimedia) with a full charge. The music playback time is up to 65 h. The battery life is good the iPhone 12 is worth buying.
With iPhone 13, things have reached a different level. iPhone 13 now has Li-Ion 3240 mA battery which is a huge step up from iPhone 12’s battery. Combined with a bigger battery and energy-efficient processor, it returns a stellar battery life. The standby time is increased from 17 to 19 h of video playback time (multimedia). The music playback time is 75h.
For $100 more, you will get better battery life with iPhone 13, and it is highly recommended. If you want more battery, you can consider iPhone pro models or pro max models. Even iPhone 12 pro or pro max would do.
The display of the Apple iPhone 12 is excellent. It used to be LCD displays until iPhone 11. After iPhone 12, we are getting AMOLED displays. AMOLED is a mobile version of LG’s OLED display. Samsung makes most of the iPhone displays, and the quality is excellent. The image is crisp, and the sharpness is more than enough.
Gone are the displays from iPhone 8 era. The 6.1 inch display is used in the latest iPhone models. The Resolution used in this new display is 1170 x 2532 pixels. This includes iPhone X and iPhone 11. The screen’s aspect ratio is 19.5:9. It is indeed a tall display, and the screen-to-body percentage is 86.0%.
The screen used in the latest iPhone models is 6.1 inch Super Retina XDR.
This 6.1 inch monster can decode and display HDR10, and Dolby Vision videos. The typical brightness of the display is 625 nits, while the peak brightness goes up to 1200 nits. It is good for HDR playback. It has a wide colour gamut and supports True Tone display. The display uses a hardened glass called ceramic shield, and therefore, Apple iPhone 12 display is tough to crack. The ceramic shield protects your phone from accidental drop from small heights.
So, how much is the upgrade with iPhone 13?
Nothing much. In fact, the only difference from the iPhone 12 display is that it has 800 Nits of typical brightness. The height is the same at 6.1 inches. There is 28% more brightness in iPhone 13 compared to iPhone 12. If you spend most of your day under the sun, it is definitely helpful. Otherwise not. If the display is the only category you’re confused with, you can blindly go with iPhone 12. Else, iPhone 13 would do, although there isn’t much of a difference.
Honestly, for display, iPhone 12 is worth it.
That infamous notch. Yes, that notch
Apple iPhone 12 has a notch which continued from the iPhone X era. Quite frankly, it is a bit ugly. Things changed with iPhone 13. Now, iPhone 13 sports a small notch. Apple managed to compress the Face id (replacement for touch id) components and moved the earpiece up a little bit for more room. All these made the notch to be slightly taller than before. Overall, the notch is smaller by 20% despite with new face id. Although the notch is smaller, Apple didn’t use the real estate saved with the smaller notch for anything. So, there is no better use for the new notch other than the aesthetic purpose. There is a small update for face id too in iPhone 13.
Sound- Still good?
Both phones have stereo speakers. They sound incredible for a smartphone, but the Apple iPhone 13 is a bit louder. Definitely, it doesn’t warrant a price tag of $100. iPhone 12 is worth buying as far as sound goes.
related post: Is iphone XR worth buying?
5G – Is iPhone 12 worth buying in 2023?
Like Apple iPhone 12, iPhone 13 too has 5G connectivity. It is a plus point. But, currently, 5g connectivity isn’t established in many places worldwide. So, it doesn’t make sense to buy a phone with 5g now for most people. Although this is not really a deciding factor now, it is good to have 5G support, especially in a new phone. In this regard, you can’t go wrong with either iPhone 12 or iPhone 13 as both are 5g iPhones.
Apple iPhone 12’s entry level starts with 64 Gb for the base model, 128 Gb on the mid-tier and 256 Gb on the topmost model. But, with iPhone 13, even the base variant starts with 128 Gb. Other than 128 Gb, it has 256 Gb and 512 Gb. It is worth buying iPhone 13 for $100 more because the base variant of the phone comes with 128 Gb space and is quite a value for money. The difference between the iPhone 12 128 GB variant and an iPhone 13 128 GB variant is just $50. For that $50, iPhone 13 is offering you a lot of hardware and features.
Software support is everything, right? iPhone 12 will have better software support for years. Even after years of release, Apple is pushing a bunch of software updates. It is gonna continue for years. But iPhone 13 will have even better software support because of the following reasons.
- The phone is the latest iPhone model
- It has more powerful processor than iPhone 12.
Hence, you will get better support for $100 more on iPhone 13. You will get at least a year more of software updates.
Conclusion – Is iPhone 12 worth buying in 2023?
Apple iPhone 12 is an incredible phone for many. Even today, it is a total value for the money. However, 13 comes with even more bells and whistles. The starting price difference is just $100 for a base variant. It is feature-rich and future-proof. Compared to iPhone 12, you will get
- Better performance
- Better camera system
- Better night shot and low light performance
- Better bokeh
- Photographic styles
- Cinematic mode
- 4k at 60 FPS
- Sensor shift stabilization
- Efficient processor
- Better battery life
- Bigger battery
- Better display
- Smaller notch
- Bit louder sound
- Higher storage
- Better software support
Compared to iPhone 12, you will get all the above for a mere $100 difference (or $50 if you compare both models with 128 GB of storage). Hence, iPhone 13 is a recommended good buy. However, iPhones are iPhones. It doesn’t matter what iPhone you choose. Be it iPhone 12 or iPhone 13, the performance will be incredible. You cannot go wrong with either of the two. However, I advise getting an iPhone 13 now and enjoying the phone for years to come.
FAQs or Frequently Asked Questions
Will iPhone 12 be available in 2023?
Yes, iPhone 12 is still available to buy from stores or from apple itself.
Is iPhone 12 worth buying in 2023?
Yes, iPhone 12 is worth buying. However, iPhone 13 is even more worth buying.
What year will the iPhone 12 be outdated?
I believe by 2025, iPhone 12 will be outdated.
Is iPhone 12 or 13 better?
iPhone 12 is nice but iPhone 13 is even better.
Is iPhone 12 good for long term?
Yes, iPhone 12 is good for long term.
What are the disadvantages of iPhone 12?
In my opinion, iPhone 12 has no major disadvantages. However, as per this article, iPhone 13 has more advantages than iPhone 12.
Is iPhone 12 future proof?
Yes, iPhone 12 is future proof.
Thanks for reading.
Aju Vignesh Sathiaraj Padma is a mechanical and audio engineer. He is a person who loves technology and things. He is also an audiophile and loves to listen to music on quality audio gear. He is an avid writer and loves to blog.
He is the founder and author of www.digitfield.com, and he is an expert in copywriting. You can find him either lurking in various forums or listening to classical music.