This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl.


The iPhone 12 and 12 Pro went on sale on October 23, with the compact iPhone 12 mini and the larger version of the Pro series, the iPhone 12 Pro Max, set to go on sale on November 13, but the two models in the middle are the first. Whereas the iPhone 12 has been downsized with the screen size of the iPhone 11 intact, the iPhone 12 Pro has a larger screen size than its predecessor, while keeping the width of the body largely intact. As a result, the two models are the same size and share the same accessories, including cases.

Apple iPhone 12 Pro
I opted for the gold iPhone 12 Pro and got it on launch day.

I bought the iPhone 12 Pro on launch day. I switched from my iPhone 11, which I had been using since last year. Going from the iPhone 11 to the iPhone 12 Pro was a sort of upgrade, and there's a reason for that: first, I was knocked down by the gold of the shiny frame. When it was announced, I was obsessed with the idea that it was good from the first glance, and I didn't hesitate to choose the gold iPhone 12 Pro on the day of pre-order. I wasn't too concerned about the spec difference or the price difference.

Due to the new coronavirus pandemic, no real presentation was held this year, and we weren't able to see the actual product (or the realistic photos taken by the press) right after the announcement. As a result, I was a little nervous about whether the shimmering effect of the product photos would really come out until I received the actual product, but it is almost exactly what I expected. In a classy way, it has the presence of a gold accessory. It matches the design of the straightened frame well.

Apple iPhone 12 Pro
I fell in love at first sight with the golden frame, which shines like precious metal.

On the other hand, the back of the device is thinner than I expected, and if anything, it's more of a beige shade, and it looks a little less like the glass-to-metal texture of the iPhone 11 Pro. That's a nice quality feel, but I also remember the product photos being a bit darker. It's difficult to get accurate color from photos, especially those on the internet, due to the color of the display, but I was reminded again that reproducing the feel of the material is a very difficult task.

Apple iPhone 12 Pro
The back is a lighter shade, and in brighter light, it looks like beige.

When I actually use it, I can see the improvement in the camera's performance. In a nutshell, HDR is now more effective. When you take a picture of food, the colors are vibrant, and even when you take a picture of a backlit scene, the background doesn't go blank, which is great. This can be said to be an effect of the "Smart HDR3", which suddenly started to claim the "3" in the third generation of the technology.

Apple iPhone 12 Pro
The camera performance has evolved significantly with the help of the A14 Bionic. You can see the changes in the settings screen as well.
Apple iPhone 12 Pro
Food, landscapes, and people are now even more beautiful with just a press of the shutter. The colors are even more accurate now.

What's more, the evolution is easy to see at a quick glance is the video recording that supports Dolby Vision. It performs real-time grading to capture high contrast, crisp images. The iPhone 12 Pro, which I purchased, is capable of shooting at 4K and 60fps. When viewed on the iPhone 12 Pro's display, which also supports Dolby Vision, everyday scenes look like scenes from a movie.

Apple iPhone 12 Pro
The iPhone 12 supports shooting with Dolby Vision. This photo has been corrected to look closer to how it looks when displayed on the iPhone.

However, the trouble is that it's difficult to share that with people over the network. Currently, when you upload a video to YouTube as shown below, it seems to be recognized as "HDR," but even if you watch it on another Dolby Vision-compatible phone, the video doesn't look like the pictures you see on the iPhone 12 Pro with the brightness lifted up a notch. Because the television at home (BRAVIA) also supported Dolby Vision in 4K, I let it display with AirPlay2 of BRAVIA built-in, but the image quality is not good. Moreover, it became crunchy for some reason.

After all, because watching with iPhone 12 series comes closest to the original, sharing the video with AirDrop, and showing each other with iPhone which is equipped with OLED and supports HDR, may be the best for now. It would be great if Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking services could support this, but it may take some time before these services are compatible with the iPhone 12 series' video.

Choosing a communication line is also quite difficult. I usually use au as my line for my iPhone. Since the iPhone 12 Pro I purchased was SIM-free, I had to call the au customer center (157/0077-7-111) immediately after receiving the phone and ask them to switch to 5G. I was a little nervous because the initial communication wasn't engaging for some reason, but once I was passed on to a representative, the process went smoothly. The phone call took less than 20 minutes, and when I inserted the SIM card after the device was set up, it was properly recognized and connected to the network.

Apple iPhone 12 Pro
The au SIM card is the old one, but the switch to 5G was completed by phone application.

So far, so good, but the question is what to do with the eSIM? I love eSIMs, and I usually used my iPhone with DSDS (dual-SIM/dual standby) by setting up an IIJmio eSIM separate from the au. In addition, due to the waiver of the migration fee, I also had my Rakuten Mobile SIM card set up as an eSIM, so I loaded this one into the iPhone 12 Pro as well. However, turning on the eSIM disables 5G on the physical SIM side. So you're left with two choices: take 5G or DSDS with eSIM.

Apple iPhone 12 Pro
Turning on eSIM and DSDS will also disable 5G on the physical SIM side.

I'd love to experience the au 5G, but if you set up Rakuten Mobile as your second line, you can use unlimited data transmission for free for now, even though it's 4G. Even in Tokyo, there are still times when you can't get coverage, especially in high places in buildings and underground, but with DSDS, you can just switch to au just in that case. On the other hand, at the moment, 5G areas are limited. So, I basically use Rakuten Mobile with DSDS and turn off eSIM only when I want to experience 5G. When the frequency conversion from 4G progresses and the area expands, it may be good to change the setting.

I bought the iPhone 12 Pro for the above reasons, and I feel that the size of the phone is moderate and provides both ease of use and visibility. I'm at an age where I find the screen difficult to read on a compact phone like the iPhone 12 mini and I have a feeling that the iPhone 12 Pro Max is too big and too heavy. So I'm proud to say that it's a good choice for a phone for myself.


Related Article: Trying 5G on a SIM-free iPhone 12, what about Rakuten without handling?


This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl. The Japanese edition of Engadget does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of this article.