Buyer’s guide. iPhone 11 vs iPhone 12, why the old iPhone is better


The emergence of a new line of iPhone 12 has led to the fact that even Apple does not believe in the sale of these devices and therefore produces them in minimal quantities, saves on buying components for them, and does not place enough orders for production. The explanation can be that the price of the iPhone 12 is out of touch with the market, noticeably higher than that of the previous generation. In 2020, the most popular iPhone in the world and in Russia was the iPhone 11 128 GB. Please note that not the basic version is 64 GB, but the next one is 128 GB. In 2021, this alignment of forces will remain and last year’s model will remain the most popular smartphone, which is supported by the fact that immediately after the announcement of the iPhone 12, sales of the 11th iPhone soared and set records every week.

In week 42, Apple shows the entire iPhone 12 line, announces prices for these models, while simultaneously adjusting the cost of previous devices. Key models in sales up to this point are iPhone 11 128 GB, iPhone 11 64 GB, iPhone Xr. The share of sales from all Apple sales (they are plus or minus unchanged week to week) is 41, 15 and 10% in the 7st week, respectively. After the announcement from Apple, there is a spike in sales of older models (a price cut is a good factor, but in previous years there was nothing like that). Already on the 42nd week, the share of these devices in sales is growing – 22, 16 and 7%. In the 43rd week, sales increase in absolute numbers, it is these three models that are growing and pushing them up. By mid-November, the trend is undeniable, Apple sells three of these devices more than ever in history, other models just make up a long tail, including new items. On average, Apple shipped to partners about 58 thousand smartphones per week in the fall (the same 41st week), by the end of November it is about 70 thousand smartphones, demand is growing only for old models, their shares are growing with an increase in absolute numbers.

There is no unique situation in that old iPhones are selling better than new ones, since 2016 this is the norm for the market. The uniqueness is in how the sales of the iPhone 11 are growing, how much they have become in demand. At the end of November, this even gave a market share of 15% for Apple, let me remind you that before that it was about 9%. Within a year or quarter, the share will not exceed 10%, but the very fact of local growth is remarkable. This is a characteristic of how the company missed the mark with the 12th generation, it just does not need a noticeable mass of loyal audience, and it chooses the old devices. Something similar is happening in other markets, but they explain it to us by the deficit. But scarcity can create deferred demand, rather than push people to choose the old model.

I think that the shortage is a direct consequence of the understanding within Apple that these devices are not for sale at such prices. And therefore, in fact, production is being increased not for them, but for old devices. The puzzle is easy to fold.

But within the framework of this material, you need to understand how much the iPhone 11 is more profitable than the iPhone 12, what advantages each model has, and also what disadvantages are present. This is not a comparison of devices with competitors, but a direct comparison of two models from Apple. Let’s start with the design!

Buyer's guide. iPhone 11 vs iPhone 12, why the old iPhone is better

Design, dimensions, body materials

The size of the iPhone 11 is much larger than that of the iPhone 12 – 150.9×75.7×8.3 mm versus 146.7×71.5×7.4 mm, weight is 194 grams versus 164 grams. If you look at these devices only on paper, then the advantage of the iPhone 12 will be unequivocal. In practice, the iPhone 11 is larger, but due to the curvature of the case, it fits in the hand much better, does not cut. In the iPhone 12, you have to get a case, otherwise the device is simply inconvenient. Both models have the same screen size – 6.1 inches.

The aesthetics of these models are different, but their noticeable bezels near the screen, the cutout of the FaceID sensor, as well as the location of all control elements are related. The bodies of both models are made of aluminum, there are also no differences here.

The first difference is the glass in the iPhone 12, which covers the screen (ceramic shield), according to Apple, it is four times stronger than in the iPhone 11, it can withstand drops better. Glasses are scratched in about the same way, there are no special differences.

Another change is support for IP68, in the 11th model the device can withstand immersion to a depth of 2.5 meters for 30 minutes, in the 12th it is already 6.5 meters at the same time. It is difficult to consider this difference to be fundamental, but it may please someone. Another thing is that by drowning the device, you automatically lose any warranty for repair.

The back panels of both models are made of glass, it is more or less easily soiled, but in the iPhone 12 the insert around the camera is made glossy, and there are handprints there, they are clearly visible.

Buyer's guide. iPhone 11 vs iPhone 12, why the old iPhone is betterBuyer's guide. iPhone 11 vs iPhone 12, why the old iPhone is better

The bottom line is that the materials in the iPhone 12 are noticeably better, but the brick-class ergonomics are killing these achievements. Surprisingly, despite the larger size of the iPhone 11, it is more enjoyable to use in everyday life.

Display – TFT vs OLED

The iPhone 11 has a TFT screen, which for several years does not match the level of flagships, where OLED screens are used without exception. The advantage of OLED screens is very simple – more battery life, better color reproduction. But in the iPhone there are no additional settings for the screen as such, you are limited by what the manufacturer has done.

The iPhone 12 has a noticeably better screen, with a standard brightness of up to 625 nits, as in the previous model, but for HDR content, brightness can go up to 1200 nits. Yes, and support for HDR content in the previous model was absent, the screen did not allow displaying it. The contrast ratio of the iPhone 11 is 1400: 1, while in the iPhone 12 it is 2000000: 1, the difference needs no further explanation.

In practice, the differences between the screens are clearly visible in difficult conditions, when you are photographing something on a sunny day, look through the screen of the device at the outside world. On the iPhone 11, the colors are faded, a little faded, and this is clearly not what you get in the photo.

Buyer's guide. iPhone 11 vs iPhone 12, why the old iPhone is betterBuyer's guide. iPhone 11 vs iPhone 12, why the old iPhone is better

iPhone 11 (bottom) and iPhone 12

Buyer's guide. iPhone 11 vs iPhone 12, why the old iPhone is better

iPhone 11 (left) and iPhone 12

In the room, you will not see much difference. For TFT fans, there is also one important advantage, the OLED matrix has PWM (the screen flickers, although the eye cannot see it). Among iPhone users, the maximum number of those who choose TFT for their convictions, since OLED screens give them a headache. In practice, I did not notice this, but this point is worth mentioning, although it is definitely not worth attaching great importance to it.

The iPhone 12’s screen is head and shoulders above that of the previous generation, but in terms of service capabilities and settings, they are exactly the same. You won’t get anything new with the iPhone 12. And those who are not accustomed to OLED screens will be happy with the iPhone 11, among the audience loyal to Apple they are the majority.


In terms of battery life, we have almost full parity in terms of battery life. The presence of an OLED screen and a processor made according to the technological standard of 5 nm, in the iPhone 12 allowed us to supply a 2815 mAh battery, in the iPhone 11 it is 3110 mAh. But in practice, the operating time in most modes is the same plus or minus, you will not see much difference. When playing a video, the iPhone 12 gives one hour more (11 versus 10 hours). Charging time, wireless charging speed are all exactly the same and have no noticeable differences. Therefore, in terms of battery, we can talk about parity between the models.

Buyer's guide. iPhone 11 vs iPhone 12, why the old iPhone is better

Communication capabilities

The key difference is the iPhone 5’s 12G support, but for most people this technology is overkill at this stage. Nowhere, except for trips to countries where there are 5G networks, you will not be able to take advantage of the delights of 5G. The rest of the support for aggregation of LTE frequencies is the same for a Russian user, all technologies coincide to the point.

Memory, processor and performance

In terms of built-in memory, there is a complete coincidence of versions – 64, 128 and 256 GB, in sales the most popular average. The amount of RAM has not changed either, only 4 GB.

But the processors differ, in the iPhone 11 it’s the A13 Bionic, in the iPhone 12 – the A14 Bionic. This practically does not affect the system performance, the interface speed has not directly depended on the processor for a long time. But on additional features, for example, image processing, computational photography, this is noticeable, the cameras in the iPhone 12 are formally comparable to the 11th, but they were improved with the help of additional modes, and this is the merit of the processor.

Buyer's guide. iPhone 11 vs iPhone 12, why the old iPhone is better


The front camera in both models is the same in hardware, but the iPhone 12 has a night mode, for some it will be important. The main module consists of two 12-megapixel cameras, for a wide-angle camera they made a faster aperture (f / 1.6 versus f / 1.8 earlier). The iPhone 12 supports HDR (Dolby Vision) video recording, but that’s where the differences end. Look at the comparative pictures, they are the same plus or minus for the majority, you should not look for fundamental differences. The difference is in the little things, it is present, but it is impossible to say that the cameras are far apart from each other.

As a conclusion and conclusion

Russian prices for these devices at the moment are as follows:

64 GB 128 GB 256 GB
iPhone 11 54 990 rubles 59 990 rubles 69 990 rubles 
iPhone 12  79 990 rubles 84 990 rubles 94 990 rubles

It’s not hard to guess that the choice of the iPhone 11 stems from the cost, as well as the similarity of characteristics (for example, cameras). Yes, there are a number of improvements in the iPhone 12 – glass covering the screen, a different and better display – but that doesn’t justify such an increase in cost from the point of view of buyers. People vote with the ruble, and they made their choice, this is the iPhone 11 128 GB. In December, this device is guaranteed to become one of the three most popular on the Russian market, now it has grown to the second position among all available smartphones in weekly sales.

This means that people choose last season’s model for reasons of rationality, which in Apple’s aspect is ridiculous in itself. At a cost equal to the current generation of flagships on Android, last year’s solution from Apple is weaker, and the new iPhone 12 loses to such devices.

Buyer's guide. iPhone 11 vs iPhone 12, why the old iPhone is better

But for the Apple loyal audience, there are no other models, and the update of older devices goes to the iPhone 11 128 GB. They buy this device with the expectation of using it for at least 2-3 years, some for a longer period. If only the iPhone exists for a person, then this is a reasonable purchase. For those who are not narrow-minded and not limited to one brand, of course, this is a big overpayment for rather modest characteristics. But since we were comparing two models from the same company, I will leave all other thoughts for other materials. Enjoy the shopping!

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