Which of the four new iPhone 12 devices are the best overall value for your money?

iPhone 12 deals
(Image credit: Future)

iPhone 12 is the base name for a whole host of new phones, with the iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max all also available. But which iPhone 12 device gets you the best value for money?

To be clear we're not talking about getting the best iPhone 12 deals here or even just the cheapest handset, we're diving into which of the devices gets you the most for the money you're spending. 

You could spend the cheapest amount for the iPhone 12 Mini and feel you're getting enough. But equally you could splash out near double the money on an iPhone 12 Pro Max and be left wanting because it's too big, or you don't have enough camera skills to take advantage of all that power.

So to help make your decision easier, and to find the best iPhone 12 for you, we've taken the work out of it for you by considering each handsets value and what you get for your money with each option.

To be clear all iPhone 12 models come with the latest A14 Bionic processor, no headphone jack, 4K video capture, 12MP cameras, iOS 14 and 5G connectivity plus IP68 water resistance and wireless charging.

iPhone 12:

This is the middle of the pack device. It has the same 6.1-inch display as the Pro but has a dual 12MP camera setup rather than triple. The only difference between this and the more affordable iPhone 12 Mini is that larger screen.

This and the Mini comes with 64GB, 128GB and 256GB storage options while the Pro and Pro Max go up to 512GB. This and the Mini also top out at 15 hours battery rather then the 17 hours of the Pro models. The lack of a third camera means no telephoto lens for that 4x optical zoom that the Pro features.

If you're looking to save money on the new iPhone 12 range but the Mini just feels a bit too small, this will be the best value option for you, especially as it has already started to fall a little bit in price from some retailers.

The iPhone 12 starts at £799, $829, AU$1,349.

iPhone 12 Mini:

The iPhone 12 Mini is the most affordable of the bunch thanks to its smaller 5.4-inch display. Yet this still packs in 476ppi, making it more than the larger screened iPhone 12 that tops out at 460ppi.

Battery tops out at 15 hours compared to the 17 of the Pro models, but then it's near half the price. It is also the world's smallest 5G phone and although 5.4-inches will feel tiny in some hands, to others it might be just right.

In essence, this is the device that stands out the most. Like small phones or just want the cheapest of the bunch? This will be the way to go. Despite being the cheapest of the bunch, it hardly features any significant spec decreases other than its smaller battery.

The iPhone 12 Mini starts at £699, $729, AU$1,199.

iPhone 12 Pro

The iPhone 12 Pro jumps up from the first two models by offering an extra camera thanks to a triple setup. This is telephoto, meaning you get 4x optical zoom. This also adds Lidar scanning for greater depth perception and spatial awareness making this more augmented reality future-proof. 

As mentioned, the battery also goes longer at 17 hours. While all iPhone models can shoot in Dolby Vision mode, the first two top out at 30fps while the Pro manages 60fps.

Where this device gets its value is being the cheapest of the two more powerful options, getting you that extra camera lens without having to delve into the Pro Max level budgets. At just under the $1000 mark, it is still far pricier than the two smaller options.

The iPhone 12 Pro starts at £999, $999, AU$1,699.

iPhone 12 Pro Max

The iPhone 12 Pro Max is the top of the pile with the largest screen at 6.7-inches. It has that longer claimed 17 hours battery, 60fps Dolby Vision video and Lidar of the Pro as well as the triple lens camera.

It's this camera that is different here, with a 47 percent larger sensor and sensor-shift optical image stabilisation as well as a telephoto lens with a larger 65mm (compared to 52mm on the Pro) capable of 5x optical zoom (rather than 4x on the Pro).

Expect this larger screen to draw more power and cut battery life more than the claimed 17 hours, though. For the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max, the difference is about two hours.

This really is the device for those that want Apple's best and are willing to pay for it. If you're trying to decide between the Pro and Pro Max, the Pro could be the better way to go if the price tag here is making you feel unwell.

The iPhone Pro Max will start at £1,099, $1,099, AU$1,849.

iPhone 12 alternatives:

While the four handsets referenced above are Apple's newest and most powerful phones, there are other options available from Apple that could better suit what you need from a device.

While nothing will compete for camera prowess, processing power and other similar specs, there are older and much cheaper Apple handsets worth considering.

iPhone 11 deals:

The iPhone 11 seems like the most obvious competitor to the newer iPhone 12 range. It provides a slightly weaker processor and a similar camera, battery and design to the iPhone 12 and while it loses out on 5G and the new MagSafe features, it provides you with a much lower price tag.

Arguably, this is the phone you should be considering if the iPhone 12 feels like a financial stretch, pushing you over your budget. Yes, it won't be quite as powerful but in the grand scheme of things, it's not far off while saving you as much as $300/£300.

iPhone XR deals:

An even cheaper option than the iPhone 11 is the older iPhone XR. Recently the XR has crashed down in price and now it can be yours for a price not far off Apple's cheapest ever phone (the iPhone SE).

This gives you the ability to get a phone with a similar size and style to the iPhone 11 on a pretty affordable budget. However, it is well worth mentioning that while it is a lot cheaper than the iPhone 12 range, it doesn't come near to comparing for specs or features.

iPhone SE deals:

Apple's cheapest phone and...a pretty big departure from the iPhone 12 range. The iPhone SE looks and feels like the iPhone 8 - a phone from way back in 2017 - but it has a lot of 2020 features to make it more desirable.

It uses the same processor as the iPhone 11 series, features an improved camera and other features have seen improvements. While it won't be as powerful as the iPhone 11 or 12 range by a long way, it is the perfect budget iPhone.

In essence, if you wanted a newer iPhone with guaranteed security updates for a few years but don't like the prices above, this could be an excellent choice. Just make sure you're not wanting Apple's most powerful phone...because this is definitely not that. 

Alex Hughes

Alex is a journalist who has written extensively about all things broadband, SIMs and phone contracts, as well as scouring the internet to land you the best prices on the very latest in gadgets and tech. Whether that be with the latest iPhones and Android handsets, breaking down how broadband works or revealing the cheapest SIM plans, he's in the know, and will help you land a bargain.