iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Review: The Best iPhones—but Not for the 5G

iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Review: The Best iPhones—but Not for the 5G

Don’t consider Apple’s latest iPhones for the superfast 5G network connection, but for the best design in years and a great set of cameras

By Joanna Stern

Let’s start with the good news: The iPhone 12, the first with 5G, is indeed the fastest 5G smartphone. The speeds will knock(näk) your masks off, as we say in 2020.

Now the bad news: To see those speeds, you need to move really, really slowly. After locating your carrier’s(ˈkerēər) high-speed tower, stand right next to it, tap download, then freeze.

Despite being marketed as our technological(ˌteknəˈläjək(ə)l) savior(ˈsāvyər), 5G—the next generation of cellular(ˈselyələr) connectivity—is not a killer feature for the new iPhone 12 models. At least not in the U.S., not yet.

Don’t get me wrong: The cellular speeds can be insanely(inˈsānlē) fast. In some tests, it’s up to 30 times faster than my home broadband. Just persuade(pərˈswād) the marketing department at MetLife Stadium(ˈstādēəm)—home of New York’s football teams and lots of Verizon high-speed 5G antennas(anˈtenə)—to let you work on the field(fēld). (I did; see the video.) Just bring a power pack because 5G is a battery(ˈbadərē) drain(drān).

It’s best to think of 5G as an invisible feature—something that might one day come in handy(ˈhandē). What makes this the best iPhone upgrade in years are a fabulous(ˈfabyələs)-to-hold design and substantial(səbˈstan(t)SHəl) camera improvements.