iPhone 12 Pro Max: First Impressions

It was with some trepidation I chose the Pacific Blue iPhone 12 Pro Max. Online reviewers exclaimed its hugeness, a gigantic phone that might as well be called an iPad Mini.

What have I done?

Early Signs

In eager anticipation, I ordered a new case to arrive before the iPhone. The Nomad leather folio arrived a few days before the pre-order gates opened.

I panicked.

Had Nomad sent me the wrong case? The size was small, and on the side, I read “iPhone 6 7”.


And it came from Hong Kong. With my glasses on, it read the new iPhone 6.7″. But the case barely looked bigger than my current iPhone XS. Was the Pro Max the giant monolith reviewers have led me to believe?

The iPhone 12 Pro Max is not a small iPad; it is an iPhone slightly, yes slightly, larger than my trade-in iPhone XS. Less than 2cm taller and 7mm broader.

That’s all.

But compare those figures with the standard iPhone 12 Pro.

The Max is 14mm taller and 7mm wider than the non-Max. Hardly a defining measure between massive and medium.

The squared edges and frosted glass back make the phone feel and look like an entirely new product compared to the slippery slab of ice that was my iPhone XS and the previous generation 11s.

The screen offers excellent space, and my reduced collection of apps don’t get lost.

While the steel edge attracts fingerprints, remember that edges are for feel not for staring. I’ve not taken any notice of fingerprints; they don’t register.

The iPhone 12 Pro Max feels like a sharp, solid piece of tech, offering more grip.

After some months of use, I would consider the phone to be less comfortable to hold compared to rounded iPhone generations. The change in comfort is not overbearing, but noticeable.

The iPhone feels heavier than the previous version, but that means it feels like a £1200 phone.

Deep Dive

I love blue.

Pacific Blue looks okay on Apple.com and YouTube, but in real-life, it is drop-dead gorgeous. Thank God Apple has moved away from producing only dull grey and white phones.

Due to the pandemic, there was no in-store pick-up option.

The home delivery option gave me some concern. Though given the drop tests on YouTube, I needn’t have worried. iPhones work despite massive abuse. However, there were no signs of any abuse to the package. All arrived in top condition.

I’ll not choose in-store pick up again. The home experience is much more superior.

No crowded shop, no apple employees asking lots of questions and unboxing the new iPhone for you.

In the comfort of my own home, I had the pleasure of unboxing and using the on-screen blue QR misty cloud code thingy to transfer my data from the old to the new phone. Set up was a breeze.

Other Observations

  • The lens array is chunky and larger than the standard Pro models.
  • Volume and power buttons are slimmer, and I do question their longevity, appearing less sturdy compared to older phones.
  • Sound from the speakers is fantastic.
  • No charging brick included, so to help the environment, I bought the new 20W charger. 😉
  • MagSafe purchased too, to keep my Apple Watch charger company.
  • Heaven knows why Apple includes one pointless sticker in the box.

Why Buy?

I wanted the Pro Max for the larger camera sensor, and because I wanted my next iPhone to look and feel different.

And it does.

The keyboard is slightly larger for writing and publishing directly from the phone.

Photos look superior to those taken with my previous iPhones, particularly in low light conditions.

I do query if Apple made the right decision to offer different types of iPhone 12s.

I am unclear how the market is tested for the iPhone Mini, but a fuzzy line appears between the standard and Max sized phones. The size difference isn’t vast.

The difference between the Pro and non-Pro models is also narrow.

My advice is to buy the iPhone you prefer – colour, size, capacity. Let the camera sway you a bit, but be assured; there is no bad iPhone.

iPhone 12 Pro Max; it doesn’t feel enormous; it feels like an iPhone.