It has barely been in the market for a few days, but already the talk of the tech town is about how big the iPhone 12 Pro Max is. “Huge” “Big” and “Bigger” are just some of the adjectives that are being tossed around to describe the latest Max in the iPhone Pro range. Judging from what a lot of folks are saying, the phone is downright huge and difficult to handle.

But wait a minute, is it actually so?

Those “small” Pixel 4a feels

Size is a rather dodgy matter and when combined with other factors, it can sometimes make judgments seem a little odd. We saw it happen when a lot of folks went crazy over how small the Pixel 4a was when it actually was pretty much similar in size to the iPhone 11 Pro. Of course, in that case, the much lighter weight of the Pixel made some folks think it was smaller than it actually was – just for the record, we do think the Pixel 4a was a remarkably compact device.

Unfortunately, some similar judgments are being passed about the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Now, let me get one thing really clear: this is not a small phone. It is not a compact phone – it is called Max for a reason. It is well above the half a foot size that for many people marks the difference between a small-er) phone and a large one. But is it as staggeringly large as some folks are making it out to be? One of our colleagues referred to as the T-Rex of phones, and another said that using it tired out his hands within minutes. We are not saying that ALL reviewers are saying this but a significant number are.

What is a big phone?

Well, before we get stuck into the subject, let us just take a look at what makes a phone appear “big.” Well, in most cases, it is the length simply because it is in almost all cases the largest dimension of the phone, the width and thickness also play a role, but in most cases, if you hear a reference to a big phone, the chances are people are talking about its length. And big, of course, is comparative to the sizes of other phones – a phone is big compared to others. Going by what we are hearing

So…is the iPhone 12 Pro Max really “big”?

So as we start, let’s get the official figures for the dimensions of the “huge” iPhone 12 Pro Max. They are

160.8 mm = length
78.1 mm = width
7.4mm = thickness

Or to put it in a simpler manner: 160.8 x 78.1 x 7.4 mm
The phone also weighs 226 grams.

No, those are not the proportions of a super small phone. But they are not as huge as some would like us to believe. The four-year-old iPhone 8 Plus was barely 2.4 mm shorter (2.4 mm is about a quarter of a centimeter and about a tenth part of an inch), had the same width and was just a little thicker at 7.5 mm. The iPhone 11 Pro Max on the other hand was about 2.7 mm shorter and 0.3 mm less wide but was 0.7 mm thicker. The 11 Pro Max actually weighed 226 grams, so even the weight difference is not as staggering as it seems. Unless of course, you happen to be blessed with an internal scale.

But if the iPhone 12 Pro Max does not seem TOO much bigger than its own predecessors, the difference between it and the recent Android flagship phone crowd is…well, interesting: (we have kept the iPhone 12 Pro Max at the base, just for comparison)

OnePlus 8 Pro
165.3 x 74.3 x 8.5 mm
Samsung Galaxy Note 20
161.6 x 75.2 x 8.3 mm
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
164.8 x 77.2 x 8.1 mm
Xiaomi Mi 10
162.5 x 74.8 x 9 mm
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
159.8 x 74.5 x 8.4 mm
OnePlus 8T
160.7 x 74.1 x 8.4 mm
iPhone 12 Pro Max
160.8 x 78.1 x 7.4 mm

In fact, let’s get away from the flagships and even look at the mid-segment and even the lower segment: (once again, we have kept the iPhone 12 Pro Max at the base, just for comparison)

Redmi Note 9 Pro
165.75 x 76.68 x 8.8 mm
Realme 7 Pro
160.9 x 74.3 x 8.7 mm
Redmi 9 Prime
163.30 x 77 x 9.1 mm
Redmi 9i
164.9 x 77.07 x 9 mm

(Note: we have opted to pick devices that we think are well-known and have generally done well in the market as they reflect what is available and what consumers are used to).

Widest? Yes, but not the tallest or thickest

A few things become clear here: the iPhone 12 Pro Max is not the tallest phone out and it actually one of the slimmer ones around, but it certainly is wide and one of the heavier ones as well. But does that qualify it to be called “Huge” or extraordinarily big? If big is a comparative term, the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s proportions certainly do not make it appear as massive as some would have us believe. There are other phones out there that are longer, and most are thicker than it is. Yes, it is wider than the other phones in this list, but that is only one out of three parameters. Its weight might be making it appear a little more massive than it is, but in terms of size, it certainly does not seem to be as much out of the routine as we are being made to believe.

This is an era of big phones and the 12 Pro Max is definitely not a small one.
But is it as big and as huge as many are claiming?
Well, look at those numbers and make up your mind.

Note: We are not trying to prove anyone right or wrong with this story, but just stressing the need for consistency in adjectives and comparisons.

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