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6 Jan 2021

iPhone 11 vs iPhone 12: which should you buy?

We've put the new iPhone 12 and 12 Pro through our test labs: find out if the new models improve on the old range, or if you're better off making a saving

You might be tempted by one of Apple's latest 5G iPhones, but if super-fast data connections don't appeal, you can make a saving on an iPhone 11.

Apple is notorious for rarely offering discounts on its pricey products. However, when a new phone launches older models usually see a price drop.

Find out if it's worth pocketing the cash, or whether there are enough shiny new upgrades to splash out.

Interested in future-proofing with a 5G phone? Prices have dropped dramatically. Take a look at our guide to the best mobile phone deals.

Tech tips you can trust-get our free Tech newsletter for advice, news, deals and stuff the manuals don't tell you.

Video: iPhone 11 vs iPhone 12

Take a video tour of the new models to find out what's changed.

iPhone 12 (£799) vs iPhone 12 Pro (£999)

First up, it's worth considering what the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro have to offer:

iPhone 12iPhone 12 Pro
Screen size6.1 inches6.1 inches
Rear cameras2 (12Mp wide and 12Mp ultra-wide lens)3 (12Mp wide, 12Mp ultra-wide and 12Mp telephoto lens)
Front cameras1 (12Mp wide lens)1 (12Mp wide lens)
Battery size2815 MaH2815 MaH
Internal memory64GB128GB

These first phones have a lot in common. Their large 6.1-inch display is the same size as last year's iPhone 11, although it's been upgraded from Super Retina LCD to an OLED screen.

The main difference is storage. At 128GB, the 12 Pro has double, which could be useful as there's no slot on either phone to add on more. The 12 Pro also has an extra camera on the back to tempt you to go for the pricier model.

Find out how we rate their display, camera quality and battery life by reading our iPhone 12 review and iPhone 12 Pro review.

Should I buy an iPhone on contract or Sim-free?

Although it's not always the case, at the moment it looks like for every iPhone, going Sim-free is your best option.

Last year's contracts offered better value than we're seeing this year. They will cost you more over the two years and for the newer models you'll often need to pay a lot upfront, so if you can it's best to buy the handset outright. Use our phone contract calculator tool to find out if deals you've seen work out better on contract.

iPhone 11 vs iPhone 12

With the same 6.1-inch screen size, two 12Mp wide rear cameras and IP68 waterproofing, the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 are very similar phones.

The 12 does have some new features, though. The main one is 5G, but it also has an upgraded OLED display and a magnetic ring on the back for wireless charging and attaching accessories.

If these new features aren't essential to you, there are temping deals on the older model, whether you want to buy it outright or get a 24-month contract.

Read our iPhone 11 review and iPhone 12 review to see how they compared in our test labs.

iPhone 11 Pro vs iPhone 12 Pro

The iPhone 12 Pro is 2019's 11 Pro's natural successor, with the same triple 12Mp rear camera set up and OLED, HDR display.

You get a bigger screen on the 12 Pro (6.1-inches to the 11 Pro's 5.8), a newer processor (Apple's own A14 Bionic chip) and 5G capability. It also has double the amount of storage, which could come in handy as you can't extend this on either phone.

Although you'll save money when buying outright by picking the 11 Pro, it actually works out cheaper to choose the new 12 Pro if you're after a contract.

See how they shaped up in our test lab by reading our iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro reviews.

iPhone SE vs iPhone 12 mini

Apple's most recent launches have favoured large screens and 'phablet'-style phones, so those with smaller hands (and pockets) may be relieved to see a smaller phone in the 12 range.

The 12 mini has a 5.4-inch edge-to-edge screen, so it's still larger than the 4.7-inch 2nd Gen SE.

There are other differences too, mainly the 5G capability, extra camera on the back, more advanced waterproofing, Face ID to unlock the phone and a newer processor.

You'll need to pay for these extra features. Both a contract and a Sim-free iPhone 12 mini will cost nearly £300 more than the SE.

Read our iPhone SE review and iPhone 12 mini review to see how they compare.