It goes without saying the “pro” variant of any iPhone series is always going to be better than the “regular” variant. Think: the iPhone 11 Pro is better than the iPhone 11, for example. However, what happens when a few generations pass? Is the “pro” model of a few years ago still better than the most recent “regular” iPhone?
That’s what many iPhone XR owners are asking. The XS was the “pro” model of the iPhone that came out in 2018. At the time, the iPhone XS was the best iPhone you could buy. But in the two years since the XS has come out, have things changed? Specifically, is the iPhone XS better than the new “regular” iPhone 12?
Let’s take a look.
iPhone 12 vs iPhone XS Quick Comparison
- iPhone XS – The iPhone XS features a glass and stainless steel body with rounded edges. It came in silver, space grey, or gold.
- iPhone 12 – The iPhone 12 features a glass and aluminum body. However, the iPhone 12 features flat edges, ala the iPhone 4, and has a narrower bezel. Its glass is also made up of what’s called Ceramic Shield, which means its 4x more drop-resistant than the iPhone XS’s glass.
Winner? iPhone 12 – Even with the aluminum body, the iPhone 12 still looks better than the iPhone XS. You can thank the flat edges and narrower bezels for that.
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- iPhone XS – The iPhone XS features an OLED Super Retina HD display that is 5.8in and has a 2436 x 1125-pixel resolution.
- iPhone 12 – The iPhone 12 features an OLED Super Retina XDR display that is 6.1in and has a 2532 x 1160-pixel resolution.
Winner? iPhone 12 – It’s got the bigger display, the narrower bezels, and twice the contrast ratio of the XR.
- iPhone XS – the iPhone XS features the A12 Bionic chipset.
- iPhone 12 – the iPhone 12 features the A14 Bionic chipset.
Winner? iPhone 12 – The A14 flies. Matter of fact, it could be up to twice as fast as the A12. You’ll see everything from quicker launch times to faster processing of AR and graphics.
- iPhone XS – The iPhone XS features a 7MP selfie camera. Its rear camera is a dual-lens 12MP wide-angle and 12MP telephoto. It also features a 2x optical zoom in.
- iPhone 12 – The iPhone 12 features a 12MP selfie camera. On the rear you get a dual-lens 12MP wide-angle and a 12MP ultra wide lens setup. It features a 2x optical zoom out. However, it also features advanced processes like Night Mode and Deep Fusion.
Winner? iPhone 12 – Arguably, the telephoto lens on the XS is more valuable than the ultra-wide, but because the iPhone 12 features modes like Night Mode and Deep Fusion, it’s got the better camera.
- iPhone XS – 64GB, 256GB, or 512GB
- iPhone 12 – 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB
- iPhone XS – The iPhone XS’s battery gets you about 14 hours of battery life. It features regular wireless charging.
- iPhone 12 – The iPhone 12 gets you about 17 hours of battery life. It features wireless charging with Apple’s new MagSafe tech.
Winner? iPhone 12 – You get an extra THREE hours of battery life. It also features wireless MagSafe charging.
- iPhone XS – The 5.8in iPhone XS is no longer sold by Apple.
- iPhone 12 – The 6.1in iPhone 12 costs $799 (64GB) and $849 (128GB) and $949 (256GB).
The iPhone XS was a killer phone two years ago–and it’s still a better phone than most modern Android flagships. However, Apple has brought so many “pro” features from a few years ago over to the “regular” iPhone 12, it’s hard to see how the XS can compete against it.
For starters, the iPhone 12 has a superior display, which is not only bigger but has a much better contrast ratio. Then the A14 Bionic chip in the iPhone 12 blows the A12 in the XS away. And the rear camera system is far superior too, thanks to support for tech like Night Mode.
And that’s not even to mention that the iPhone 12 has the superior design, offers 5G support, has MagSafe wireless charging, and even has better waterproofing. Oh, it’s also lighter and thinner than the iPhone XS.
So, do you NEED to upgrade your iPhone XS for the iPhone 12? No. The iPhone XS is still a great phone. However, if you have the cash and WANT to upgrade, yes–you’ll be getting a lot more out of the iPhone 12 than the iPhone XR.
iPhone 12 vs iPhone XS: Specs
Here are the specs for the iPhone XS:
- Display: 5.8in OLED Super Retina HD display with a 2436 x 1125-pixel resolution
- Dimensions: 143.6 mm x 70.9 mm x 7.7 mm
- Weight: 177 grams
- Storage: 64, 256, or 512GB
- Processors: A12 Bionic chip
- Front camera: 7MP FaceTime HD camera
- Rear camera: 12MP Wide and 12MP Telephoto. 2x optical zoom in
- Battery: Up to 14 hours (video playback)
- Other: 4G, Face ID, NFC, wireless charging, IP68 waterproof (2m)
And here are the specs for the iPhone 12:
- Display: 6.1in OLED Super Retina XDR display with a 2532 x 1160-pixel resolution
- Dimensions: 146.7 mm x 71.5 mm x 7.4 mm
- Weight: 164 grams
- Storage: 64, 128, or 256GB
- Processors: A14 Bionic chip
- Front camera: 12MP FaceTime HD camera
- Rear camera: 12 MP Ultra Wide and 12MP Wide. 2x optical zoom out
- Battery: Up to 17 hours (video playback)
- Other: 5G, Face ID, NFC, wireless charging with MagSafe, IP68 waterproof (6m)