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iPhone 12 vs iPhone X: should you upgrade to Apple’s latest?

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Whether you have read our iPhone 12 Review or our iPhone X Review, you may not be able to see much in common between these phones. They are separated by three years which is a smartphone term.

The iPhone X upgrade process is getting longer, so there will be many iPhone X owners looking to upgrade in the months ahead. While the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro seem like the best alternatives, we believe there is strong support for the iPhone 12.

This phone is still a top iPhone, if it’s not the best smartphone.

There are also some interesting parallels. Apple’s recent two major smartphone redesigns have been the iPhone 12 and iPhone X.

How will this pioneering couple stand against one another in 2022, you ask? This is the iPhone 12 vs iPhone X comparison.

iPhone 12 vs iPhone X – Price and availability

The iPhone X partially drove a longer upgrade cycle for smartphone users. The iPhone X was the first major phone to offer a $1,000/PS1,000 price tag. This resulted in users upgrading less frequently and spending more.

The X was released on November 3, 2017. Prices start at $999 / PS999 / AU$1,579 if you choose the 64GB model. You can increase the price to 256GB, which is the only size option. It will cost you $1,149 / PS1,149 / AU$1,829.

This was, in fact, one of the most popular iPhone models ever. Apple ended the line in less than a year following its launch. This was due to the introduction of the iPhone XR and the iPhone XS in 2018. Due to its limited availability and age, it will be difficult for third-party sellers to sell a new handset.

On October 23, 2020, the iPhone 12 was made available for purchase. Prices start at $799 / AU$1,349 64GB models, rising to $849 / PlayStation849 / AU$1,429 128GB, and $949 / PlayStation949 / AU$1,599 256GB.

This suggests that the iPhone 12 is the more affordable of the two phones if we consider launch RRPs. Apple will eventually repackage the X’s premium offering under its Pro moniker.

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iPhone 12 vs iPhone X: design

When discussing these phones, design is often the most important topic. It is easy to forget how bold the iPhone X was when it launched. With its larger display, minimal bezels and Face ID notch, the iPhone X is a bold departure.

While the iPhone 12’s front continues to echo the iPhone X in all of these aspects, it is very different from any other angle. The iPhone X was fresh looking from the front. However, it still had the same rounded metal rim that the iPhone 7 and iPhone 6S. It actually gave off distinct iPhone 3G vibes, as we noted in our original review.

Flat edges are a hallmark of the iPhone 12. Image credit: TechRadar

The iPhone 12 uses lower-grade aluminum, whereas the iPhone X was made of premium stainless steel. It also switches to a flat-edge design language, which is reminiscent of the iPhone 5/5S and iPhone 4. The X is the more attractive of the two phones. However, the X’s soft corners make it easier to hold.

The iPhone 12 is 3mm taller than the iPhone X and half a millimeter wider than the iPhone X, but it’s also thinner at 0.3mm and lighter at 10g. Apple has made some significant design changes, as we have already mentioned.

The iPhone X is slightly heavier than the iPhone X (Image credit to TechRadar).

The iPhone 12 is a cheaper phone but it has more advanced manufacturing standards. The iPhone 12 has IP68 dust and water resistance, while the iPhone X only has IP67. It also has a stronger nano-crystalline Ceramic Shield screen that is more resistant to scratches and cracks.

The iPhone 12 offers far more color options. The iPhone X offers only dull Space Gray and Silver options, while the iPhone 12 has Black, White and Red as well as Green and a beautiful deep Blue.

iPhone 12 vs iPhone X – display

The iPhone X and iPhone 12 have vibrant, edge-to-edge Super Retina OLED screens with resolutions of a near identical 458ppi and 460ppi. The iPhone 12 offers a few advantages.

It is larger than the iPhone X’s equivalent of 5.8 inches at 6.1 inches. The XDR designation, which stands for Extreme Dynamic Range, is easy to overlook on the iPhone 12 display. It is brighter and can output more natural colors than its older brother. The iPhone 12 also has an enhanced True Tone system.

The refresh rate of both phones is 60Hz, which is disappointing in the case the iPhone 12. Many people expected Apple to increase the refresh rate to 120Hz as other Android phones have done. It’s just as fluid as the iPhone X display.

The iPhone 12 features a larger screen (Image credit to TechRadar).

The difference between the two displays is not significant despite their three-year age gap. Both displays are beautiful, with the iPhone 12 being a subtle improvement in size, brightness, and dynamic range.

An interesting side note: The iPhone X has Apple’s now-defunct 3D Touch technology. Although it’s no longer supported in iOS, you might still find third-party apps and games that support this pressure-sensitive screen technology.

iPhone 12 vs iPhone X – camera

Although the differences are minor, and even subjective to this point until now, the iPhone 12 wins its first major camera win.

Apple’s camera technology has improved at a remarkable rate over the years to the point that the iPhone 12 easily outperforms the iPhone X in nearly every aspect.

It might seem strange to see the specs printed on paper. Each phone has a pair 12MP camera sensors. However, the iPhone 12’s main camera features a wider f/1.6 aperture than the iPhone X. This allows for more light to reach the lens.

The iPhone 12 has an ultra-wide sensor, whereas the iPhone X had a telephoto sensor as its secondary camera. The older phone is more suited for zoomed shots while the newer one is better suited for wide-angle landscape shots.

The setup of the dual-lens cameras on both phones is different (Image credit to TechRadar).

This is where the comparison becomes uninteresting and impossible to make. Apple’s image processing and hardware advancements (such as a larger sensor with larger pixels) mean that the iPhone 12 captures sharper images, faster, and better shots.

Smart HDR 3 standards are added to the phone, which means that your photos will have a better dynamic range.

Night Mode is an even greater technological advancement that Apple has made since the iPhone X was released. The iPhone 12’s iPhone 12 now offers a better low-light mode. The iPhone 12 can be used to take great photos in low light, but the iPhone X is not as capable.

The iPhone X’s Dolby Vision recording technology allows for better video quality than its older sibling. Both can also capture 4K 60fps footage.

Overall, the iPhone X’s camera was a great one, but things have improved significantly. Upgrade to the iPhone 12 to get a huge improvement in your photos under all lighting conditions.

iPhone 12 vs iPhone X – specs and performance

In terms of performance, the gap between these phones is just as wide. The iPhone X’s A11 Bionic chipset and iPhone X were extremely fast, but it was well beaten by A14 Bionic on the iPhone 12.

Apple switched to a 5nm fabrication method for the A14. This is a significantly smaller process than the A11’s 10mm. Practically, this means that the A14 can contain more transistors to provide faster performance and higher energy efficiency.

The chip’s newer version has a massively increased memory bandwidth, a 25% faster clock speed and a far more powerful GPU. The iPhone 12 runs 3D games much faster and with better settings.

For machine learning tasks, the A14 has a 16-core Neural engine that is superior to the A11’s dual core equivalent. The A11 can handle 600 billion operations per seconds, but the A14 Neural Engine can run 11 trillion operations per minute.

The iPhone X’s performance is considerably lower (Image credit: TechRadar).

Although Apple does not disclose such information, we do know that the iPhone X has three times the RAM of the iPhone 12 and has four times the storage. This gives the iPhone X an additional boost, especially for multitasking which requires the phone to store data in temporary storage.

The performance gap between the two phones is so large that almost all users will notice a better experience switching to the newer model. This includes things like home screen navigation and opening the camera app. The iPhone 12 will continue to be fast for many years, while the iPhone X will become slower over time.

The base model has 64GB storage, while the top-end models have 256GB. This is a significant improvement on the iPhone X over the iPhone 12. Apple’s iPhone 12 looks a bit tighter. The iPhone 12 also offers a 128GB middle option.

The iPhone 12’s 5G connectivity is one way it has kept up with times. You’ll be able connect to super-fast networks if your area supports it.

iPhone 12 vs iPhone X: battery

Although the iPhone 12’s battery is slightly larger than that of the iPhone X (which it also has), They’re very close at 2,815mAh and 2,716mAh. The difference between the two phones is not significant, considering the smaller and less vibrant display on the older model and the absence of 5G (which really suckers the power), but it doesn’t seem to have a lot to do with the phone’s newer features.

Apple claims that the iPhone 12 can play music for 65 hours and the iPhone X for 60 hours, respectively. This is likely due to the iPhone X’s more powerful A14 chipset. We found that the iPhone 12 had decent stamina compared with older iPhones like the iPhone X.

Our reviewer said that the iPhone 12 could be used for 16-18 hours, while the iPhone X took 12 hours. These use cases aren’t exactly the same, but they give you an idea. The iPhone 12 will last you through a moderate to light day of use with plenty of battery life, while the iPhone 12 will usually have more.

You also need to consider the 5G effect. The battery will suffer if you switch between 4G or 5G networks using a newer model. This is not an issue that the iPhone X must face.

MagSafe is supported by the iPhone 12 (Image credit to TechRadar).

The iPhone 12 supports fast wired charging at 20W, while the iPhone X only can reach 15W. Both phones can charge wirelessly with Qi, but the iPhone 12 has a faster standard of 15W. The iPhone X is limited to 7.5W.

However, we encourage iPhone X owners to keep the slow charger that came with their phone when upgrading to iPhone X. In an eco-friendly/cost-cutting measure (delete according to level of cynicism), the iPhone 12 doesn’t come with a power brick of any description.

MagSafe is another feature that the iPhone 12 has. Apple has reused its MacBook magnetic charging standard to provide wireless charging with greater stickability. You can use it with NFC-enhanced case and snap-on wallets. However, it remains to be determined if this is more than a joke.

iPhone 12 vs iPhone X: Takeaway

The iPhone 12 is clearly a better phone than iPhone X in almost every way. The iPhone 12 is faster, lighter and more elegant than the iPhone X. We prefer its more angular design. It also has a better camera.

The battery life on the newer phone is also better, and you can also take full advantage 5G networks when they become available.

The iPhone X was a forward-thinking phone. Some of its advanced features – a front filling OLED display with Face ID authentication, wireless charging and wireless charging, a fast processor and a decent dual lens camera – make it very useful today.

It’s about to end its useful life and the iPhone 12 is well-placed to replace it. It’s a simple upgrade that will cost less than the iPhone X back then.


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