Excerpts from the reviews I’ve read. Plenty more out there, if you want them. See here.
Nilay Patel, The Verge: The best smartphone camera you can get. It is without question the most iPhone you can get. And while it’s expensive, it’s not that much more expensive than the smaller iPhone 12 Pro: it’s just $100 more at every storage level, starting at $1,099 with 128GB of storage and going up to $1,399 for 512GB of storage. For that money, you get a larger display, a bigger battery, and a very different camera system. I’ll just cut to the chase and say it’s absolutely worth it over the standard 12 Pro if you can deal with the size — but it’s a lot of size. [In his YouTube review Patel suggests it may be too big.]
Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch: Worth the handling fee. Do the improvements in camera and screen size and potentially battery life make it worth dealing with the hit in handling ergonomics from its slim but thicc build? The answer? Yes, but only in certain conditions. Let’s get into it.
Joanna Stern, Wall Street Journal: Bulkiest iPhone Bumps Up Camera and Battery. I’m not going to spend this iPhone 12 Pro Max review railing about how the phone is the size of Buckingham Palace. Or how its 6.7-inch screen could double as an ice-skating rink—no Zamboni required. Or how looking at your stovetop burners might give you a good sense of the size and height of the cameras. I’m not even going to lobby to rename it the iPhone 12 Giant.
Chris Velazco, Engadget: Better, not just bigger. Going into this review, I was fairly sure I’d prefer the new iPhone 12 mini, which I was testing at the same time. I was wrong. Ultimately, the allure of the iPhone 12 Pro Max just proved too hard to ignore: It is far and away Apple’s best big iPhone, and well worth the splurge if you can handle its outsized dimensions.
Patrick Holland, CNET: Big phone energy. At its core the iPhone 12 Pro Max, like all the phones in the iPhone 12 family, has a bunch of things going for it like a new flat-sided design reminiscent of the iPhone 5 and iPad Pro. It has support for 5G, an OLED screen with support for HDR, a ceramic shield covering, an A14 Bionic processor, support for MagSafe wireless charging and it can be submerged to a depth of 6 meters (just under 20 feet) for up to 30 minutes. But at a starting price of $1,099 (£1,099, AU$1,849), or a hundred dollars more than the iPhone 12 Pro, this is the question: Are camera upgrades on the 12 Pro Max worth the extra money? The short answer is yes, but not just because of the camera.
Stuart Miles, PocketLint: The maximum experience. The changes to the cameras compared to the other phones in the range are noticeable – the main sensor is physically larger and adds in-body stabilization for better results, while the telephoto lens has a longer reach – but not to the extent that you have to buy this model to achieve great photographs. For many, we believe the iPhone 12 Pro will be more than good enough. If you want the maximal iPhone experience – enhanced photo abilities, large screen and all – then the iPhone 12 Pro Max is a big-screen dream.
Todd Haselton, CNBC: The iPhone 12 Mini is OK for small hands, but the Max is the really new thing. The iPhone 12 Pro Max is the crème de la crème of Apple’s iPhone offering this year. It’s a big honkin’ iPhone that builds upon the iPhone 12 Pro with some added camera zoom features and even better pictures and video when it’s dark. If you want the very best iPhone out there with everything Apple can fit in, this is the one you want.
Jacob Krol, CNN: Supersizes the display and takes photography a step further. The main shooter on the iPhone 12 Pro Max is a 12-megapixel wide lens with a ƒ/1.6 aperture (that’s improved from ƒ/1.8 on iPhone 11 Pro Max and delivers better low-light performance), but equally important is the fact that it’s a 47% larger sensor than on the 12 Pro. A wider sensor can capture more details, which should lead to better photos. That wide lens is paired with sensor-shift optical image stabilization. Traditionally, the image stabilization moves the lens to counteract the movement of the phone. On the iPhone 12 Pro Max, the wide lens will actually move the sensor to decrease shakes or blurs in the image.
Photographer Austin Mann: Zion National Park:
Shot on iPhone 12 Pro Max w/ Ultra Wide in Pano mode (color adjusted in Apple Photos). Click to enlarge.