LOOKING for an Apple smartphone on a budget? You can find great deals on older generations, and the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 are two great options.
If you are struggling to choose between these two, fear not, we’ve put them head-to-head to help you decide which will work best for you, read on to find out more.
If you have your heart set on an Apple device but are on a tight budget, you can save yourself a bundle on older models.
The iPhone 11 was released back in 2019 and its successor, the iPhone 12, was released in 2020 with a new design but lots of the same features as its predecessor, so which is best for you?
This guide will put these two former flagships head to head, comparing everything from design, features, cameras, and price. Read on to find out which suits you.
For a deep dive into each device, our tech editor Sean Keach takes a look at both devices and gives us his expert verdict in his iPhone 11 review and iPhone 12 review.
We’ve also rounded up all of the best iPhone deals on the iPhone 11, 12 and more generations.
iPhone 11 vs iPhone 12: at a glance
The iPhone 12 shares a lot in common with its predecessor, with both these devices sharing a 6.1-inch Retina display with True Tone and impressive battery life with up to 17 hours worth of video playback.
Both the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 also sport a nearly identical camera set-up, featuring a dual 12MP Ultra Wide and Wide camera lens with two times optical zoom range and Night mode.
The similarities don’t stop there either, you’ll find both have Face ID and in terms of specs, both come with a minimum of 64GB of storage and a maximum of 256GB, and 4GB of memory.
While there are clear similarities between the two devices, Apple has made some noticeable upgrades to the iPhone 12 that sets it apart from its predecessor.
The iPhone 12 is the first 5G device to come out of Apple, and comes with the new A14 Bionic chip, which compared to the iPhone 11 makes the iPhone 12 fit for the future.
Though you will get Qi wireless charging on both devices, the iPhone 12 comes with the all-new MagSafe charging to utilise the MagSafe Battery packs now sold by Apple.
There have also been some subtle upgrades to iPhone 12, like its improved water resistance, now resistant to a depth of six metres compared to the iPhone 11’s two.
iPhone 11 vs iPhone 12: Camera
The cameras on the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 echo each other, with some improvements to the iPhone 12 that may put it ahead of its predecessor for some.
Both come with an identical dual rear 12MP camera system setup, with an Ultra Wide and a Wide lens. But there have been some tweaks to the iPhone 12 which has a slightly larger aperture of (f/1.6) on the Wide lens, making it cope better with low-light sensitivity.
The iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 both feature 12MP front-facing cameras, but the front-facing camera on the iPhone 12 takes a leap ahead, and now includes both Night mode and Deep Fusion.
You will also find the iPhone 12 comes with Dolby Vision HDR video recording of up to 30 fps and can now record in Night mode and Time-lapse, something lacking on the iPhone 11.
But the caveat here is all these improvements will only be appreciated if you are a keen photographer, for the average user the iPhone 11 has more than a decent camera and will suit most users.
iPhone 11 vs iPhone 12: Design
These two iPhones share many of the same design choices which you would expect as they are only separated by one generation, however, Apple has ‘refined’ areas to make the iPhone 12 have a more modern feel.
Both the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 come with a 6.1-inch footprint and Retina displays. But the iPhone 12 brings back the squared-off design that harks back to the iPhone 4 and 5, while the iPhone 11 retains the rounded bezels that many have come to love, with its pastel colour options.
The iPhone 12 has gained some improvements that you won’t find on the iPhone 11, like the new nano-crystalline Ceramic Shield screen that was introduced in 2020 with the 12-series, making it tougher and improving scratch resistance.
When buying the design comes down to preference, while the new Cermanic Shield technology is a step forward, you can achieve this with a screen protector on the iPhone 11, so consider whether it’s a dealbreaker on not for you.
iPhone 11 vs iPhone 12: Features
Both the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 have similar setups and while the iPhone 12 has had some upgrades, you will find the same features in its predecessor.
For instance, the iPhone 12 is now resistant to a depth of six metres for up to 30 minutes, a step up from the iPhone 11 which is also certified waterproof for just two meters over the same duration.
There have been noticeable moves forward as we have seen with the camera on the iPhone 12, like the added Night mode and Deep Fusion making an appearance on the Front-facing camera.
MagSafe is one of the real dividing points between the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12, which separates the old generation from Apple’s newer series from the iPhone 12 and on.
Not only does it allow for an additional means of charging, but it also lends itself to Apple’s new lineup of magnetic accessories, like the Apple wallet. But, as with all these grand leaps in design, they are nice if you have the budget but can be achieved with a case on the iPhone 11.
iPhone 11 vs iPhone 12: Battery life
The iPhone 11 actually has a larger 3,110 mAh battery, compared to the iPhone 12 with its 2,815 mAh battery. But as touched on, you’ll find both the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 perform similarly when it comes to battery life.
Apple gives ballpark figures that are helpful when gauging how it will perform for you, suggesting both devices have a battery life of up to 17 hours and can charge up to 50% in just 30 minutes.
Both the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 support Qi wireless charging which is a nice touch for those on the go, but as said you will only find the new MagSafe charging possibility on the iPhone 12.
iPhone 11 vs iPhone 12: Price
On their respective releases, both the iPhone 11 and 12 entered the market at around £799. Subsequent flagship releases from Apple have naturally seen prices drop on its older models.
At the moment, there is a £110 disparity between the SIM-free handsets, with the iPhone 11 being the more affordable choice.
For those of you looking for a pay monthly plan, you can pick up the iPhone 11 with 100GB of data for £26 per month on the Vodafone network, while the same plan on the iPhone 12 will cost you £32 per month.
Here are all the retailers that offer both devices:
iPhone 11 vs iPhone 12: Which to choose
Both the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 come with some great features and offer a premium design.
The choice between the two comes down to which features are important to you, but the iPhone 12 does provide improvements if your budget allows it.
Hopefully, this guide has helped you decide which device is more your speed, and which you want to commit to.
Choose the iPhone 11:
- You are on a tighter budget
- You prefer Apple’s rounded bezels
- You want the pastel colour options
Choose the iPhone 12 if:
- You want a 5G device
- You want MagSafe charging
- You prefer the new squared design
- You enjoy the new camera features
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