iPhone 12 Pro vs iPhone XS: Should You Upgrade?

iPhone 12 Pro vs. iPhone XS

It has been almost two years since Apple launched the iPhone XS. People who have purchased this smartphone are probably still holding on to it because one wouldn’t want to break the bank for a new one only one year after they have spent a fortune on their existing smartphone.

However, most people can hold their desire to upgrade to a new phone for only so long. If you are one of them, you are probably feeling the itch to upgrade to the newly-launched iPhone 12 Pro. But the question is, is it worth upgrading to the new iPhone? Read our comparison to find out.

iPhone 12 Pro vs iPhone XS: Should You Upgrade?

Design

iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone XS: Size – 143.6mm x 70.9mm x 7.7 mm, IP68 water and dust resistant up to 2 meters
  • iPhone 12 Pro: Size – 146.7mm x 71.5mm x 7.4 mm, IP68 water and dust resistant up to 6 meters

The iPhone XS uses the same design as the iPhone X. While the iPhone 11 Pro did feature a new design, it wasn’t all that different compared to that of the iPhone XS. The iPhone 12 Pro, on the other hand, brings a significant design improvement. The iPhone 12 Pro features flat sides and sharp edges which makes it look much more modern compared to the iPhone XS. However, most people use a case for their iPhones. So even though the iPhone 12 Pro has a better design, most people won’t even notice it.

Display

Apple iPhone 12 Pro
  • iPhone XS: 5.8-inch, OLED, 2436 x 1125 pixels resolution, 625 nits brightness, HDR10, Dolby Vision
  • iPhone 12 Pro: 6.1-inch, OLED, 2532 x 1170 pixels resolution, 800 nits brightness, HDR10, Dolby Vision, Ceramic Shield protection

The display of the iPhone 12 Pro is larger and brighter than that of the iPhone XS. However, not by a huge margin. The screen of the iPhone XS is already so good that you wouldn’t be able to spot the difference between the display of the iPhone XS and the iPhone 12 Pro. While it is always good to have a larger and brighter screen, we think the display shouldn’t be the deciding factor for you to upgrade from iPhone XS to the iPhone 12 Pro.

Camera

Apple iPhone 12 Pro rear camera setup
  • iPhone XS: Rear – 12MP primary camera with f/1.8 aperture, dual-pixel PDAF, OIS; 12MP telephoto camera with f/2.4 aperture, PDAF, OIS; Quad-LED flash, 4K60FPS video recording; Front – 7MP camera with f/2.2 aperture, 1080 video recording at 60 FPS.
  • iPhone 12 Pro: Rear – 12MP primary camera with f/1.6 aperture, dual-pixel PDAF, OIS; 12MP telephoto camera with f/2.0 aperture, PDAF, OIS; 12MP ultrawide camera with f/2.4 aperture, 120-degree FoV; 4K60FPS video recording; Front – 12MP camera with f/2.2 aperture, 4K60FPS video recording.

The iPhone XS was praised for its camera performance when the device was launched. But it nothing compared to the image quality of the iPhone 12 Pro. The newly launched smartphone offers brighter, sharper, and more detailed images. At least that is what the initial reports suggest.

Plus, the iPhone 12 Pro comes with an ultrawide camera, which is extremely handy when you want to take photos of a wide scene. The rear camera setup of the iPhone 12 Pro also has a LiDAR scanner that not only helps with AR but also with portrait images. ‘

The iPhone 12 Pro also offers a much superior selfie camera compared to that of the iPhone XS. While the iPhone 12 Pro has a 12MP selfie sensor, the iPhone XS has a 7MP selfie camera. The more advanced senor with its higher resolution will give you significantly better selfies.

The iPhone 12 Pro is a huge upgrade over the iPhone XS in terms of camera performance. We use cameras on our phones on a regular basis for capturing moments and sharing them on social media. So even a slightly better image quality makes a huge difference in the long term.

Performance

Apple A14 Bionic SoC
  • iPhone XS: Apple A12 Bionic (6-core CPU, 4-core GPU, 7nm transistors), 4GB RAM
  • iPhone 12 Pro: Apple A14 Bionic (6-core CPU, 4-core GPU, 5nm transistors), 60% faster CPU performance and 50% faster GPU performance compared to A12 Bionic, 6GB RAM

The A14 Bionic chipset of the iPhone 12 Pro is much faster than the A12 Bionic SoC of the iPhone XS. However, the chipset of the iPhone XS is already so powerful that you wouldn’t be able to spot the extra performance that the iPhone 12 Pro offers.

Sure, it is always great to have the extra graphics and processing power as it will mask the performance degrade of the chipset over time. But if you don’t find any issues with the performance of the iPhone XS, it doesn’t make sense to buy a new smartphone for extra power.

Storage

iPhone 12 mini storage
  • iPhone XS: 64GB, 256GB, 512GB storage options
  • iPhone 12 Pro: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB storage options

The iPhone XS as well as the iPhone 12 Pro come with NVMe storage chips. And you can expect them to offer similar storage performance. The iPhone 12 Pro does come with 6GB RAM that will help with multitasking.

Battery Backup and Charging Speed

iPhone 12 mini charging
  • iPhone XS: 2658mAh battery, 14 hours video playback, 60 hours audio playback, 20W charging, 50% charge in 30 minutes
  • iPhone 12 Pro: Battery capacity unknown, 17 hours video playback, 65 hours audio playback, 20W charging, 50% charge in 30 minutes

The iPhone XS has an excellent battery backup. It lasts almost one day on a single charge with moderate usage for most people. However, the iPhone 12 Pro offers an even better battery backup. It will last you more than one day on a single charge. If you are someone who is always on the run, the extra battery backup of the iPhone 12 Pro will definitely help you.

Connectivity

iPhone 12 mini 5G
  • iPhone XS Max: Dual-SIM with 4G, VoLTE, and VoWiFi; dual-band Wi-Fi ac with MIMO, Bluetooth v5.0, GPS with GNSS, Lightning port
  • iPhone 12 Pro: Dual-SIM with 5G, VoLTE, and VoWiFi; dual-band Wi-Fi ax with MIMO, Bluetooth v5.0, GPS with GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, and BeiDou, UWB, Lightning port

The iPhone 12 Pro features 5G connectivity, which is much faster than the 4G connectivity that you get with the iPhone XS. However, the faster internet speed is not of much use considering that the 4G is fast enough for all your streaming and browsing needs. Plus, 5G networks are relatively spotty so the higher download speeds that the network offers will only be available in some places.

The iPhone 12 Pro also has a faster Wi-Fi, support for more positioning systems, and UWB technology, which is said to come in handy in many applications in the future. The connectivity on the iPhone XS is satisfactory. But the iPhone 12 Pro with its advanced connectivity features will offer you much more convenience on a day to day basis.

Security and Privacy

  • iPhone XS: Face ID
  • iPhone 12 Pro: Face ID

Both smartphones feature the Face ID authentication system. And therefore, they offer the same level of protection.

Price

  • iPhone XS: Started at $999 for 64GB storage variant
  • iPhone 12 Pro: Starts at $999 for 128GB storage variant

The iPhone 12 Pro costs the same amount of money as the iPhone XS did when it was launched. However, the iPhone 12 Pro offers double the storage, making it a more value for money device than the iPhone XS was at its launch.


The iPhone 12 Pro is better than the iPhone XS in every aspect. However, most of those upgrades are marginal. We think that you should upgrade to the iPhone 12 Pro only if you want a better camera setup. It doesn’t make sense spending the money to upgrade to the iPhone 12 Pro for any other features as you won’t notice much of a difference.

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