I put the OnePlus 12 vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max through a 7-round face-off — here’s the winner

OnePlus 12 vs. iPhone 15 Pro
(Image credit: Tom's Guides)

OnePlus 12 vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max is a battle worth paying attention to. It shows both how big and how small the gap between flagship phones of different prices can be at the same time, making you question exactly how much you need to spend to get a great new phone.

The OnePlus 12 is a new arrival on the market, undercutting rivals on price while featuring many of the same parts, including a few unique ones like an alert slider, Aqua Touch display and very speedy charging. The iPhone 15 Pro Max is the more established of the pair, and boasts market-leading performance, great photography and a refined titanium design, albeit for quite a bit more money.

If these two phones are the finalists competing to be your next phone, or you want to just see how Apple and OnePlus' latest square up, here's a detailed look at how the OnePlus 12 and iPhone 15 Pro Max compare.

OnePlus 12 vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max: Specs

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Row 0 - Cell 0 OnePlus 12iPhone 15 Pro Max
Starting price$799$1,199
Display6.82-inch OLED ()6.7-inch OLED ()
Refresh rate1 - 120Hz1 - 120Hz
Rear cameras50MP main, 48MP ultrawide, 64MP 3x telephoto48MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 12MP 5x telephoto
Front camera32MP selfie12MP selfie
ChipsetSnapdragon 8 Gen 3A17 Pro
Storage256GB, 512GB256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Battery5,400 mAh4,441 mAh
Charging80W wired (100W outside U.S.), 50W wireless20W wired, 15W wireless
Size6.47 x 2.98 x 0.36 inches6.29 x 3.02 x 0.32 inches
Weight7.76 ounces7.8 ounces
ColorsFlowy Emerald, Silky BlackNatural Titanium, Titanium Black, Titanium White, Titanium Blue

OnePlus 12 vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max: Price and availability

The iPhone 15 Pro Max has been on sale since September 2023. The OnePlus 12 is a little newer, only appearing on store shelves since February 2024.

At $799, the OnePlus 12 is more expensive than the OnePlus 11 last year, but that's still only the equivalent price of a basic iPhone 15. The iPhone 15 Pro Max meanwhile costs at least $1,199, which is needless to say quite a bit more expensive. You get the same storage to start with for both: 256GB.

OnePlus 12 vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max: Design

The OnePlus 12 has a classic premium Android look, with its larger 6.82-inch body, curved display edges and aluminum side rails. It also retains the classic OnePlus alert slider for easily switching between normal, vibrate and silent profiles.

(Image credit: Tom's Guides)

There's no confusing the OnePlus with the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Apple's flagship has a drastically different silhouette with its flat sides and flat display, plus it offers matte-textured titanium side rails, which gives the phone quite a different feel too.

(Image credit: Tom's Guides)

Instead of its old silent toggle, the iPhone 15 Pro Max has an Action button, which can be pressed and held to switch loud mode on or off, or do several other tasks depending on what you select in Settings.

(Image credit: Tom's Guides)

Looking at dimensions, the OnePlus 12 is taller and thicker while the iPhone 15 Pro Max is wider, although it's not much of a difference in any case. Both phones are about the same weight too.

Although the OnePlus 12's IP65 rating means it's more waterproof than the OnePlus 11, that's a worse IP rating than iPhone's IP68. In a similar vein however, the OnePlus 12 also offers a unique Aqua Touch feature for its display for better interactions when the screen or your fingers are wet. It's easy to notice if you're using the phones out in the rain how much more responsive the OnePlus is.

You'll also find an IR blaster on the OnePlus 12, which is on precious few modern phones, and something that the iPhone definitely can't equal. This can be used to control your TV, air conditioning or other devices with traditional remotes with a little set-up.

The OnePlus 12's color choice is limited to Flowy Emerald or Silky Black, whereas the iPhone 15 Pro Max has four options: Natural Titanium, Titanium Black, Titanium Blue and Titanium White.

OnePlus 12 vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max: Display

OnePlus offers a slightly higher QHD (1,440 x 3,168) resolution than Apple's Pro XDR (1,290 x 2,796) standard, but both offer 1 - 120Hz refresh rates too for the perfect mix of smooth but efficient display performance.

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Row 0 - Cell 0 OnePlus 12iPhone 15 Pro Max
Color accuracy (∆E, lower is better)0.20.14
DCI-P3 color gamut coverage (%)78.984.5
Peak brightness (nits)1,1151,550

Although the OnePlus 12 promises a much higher brightness than the iPhone 15 Pro Max on paper, in our own testing we found that the iPhone was the brighter of the two phones. The iPhone was also superior in color gamut coverage and color accuracy according to our labwork too.

OnePlus 12 vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max: Cameras

The OnePlus 12 and iPhone 15 Pro Max have a similar selection of cameras. The OnePlus has higher-res sensors on all of its cameras, offering 50MP main, 48MP ultrawide, 64MP 3x telephoto and 32MP selfie shooters. The iPhone meanwhile comes with 48MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 12MP 5x telephoto and 12MP selfie cameras, only winning with its zoom magnification level on paper.

But let's see how they do in practice, starting with the main cameras. We have this shot of a statue sat on a bench in Paddington Basin. The OnePlus has made a much bigger deal out of the highlights of the image, particularly the light reflecting from the statue, and offers a brighter, cooler image than the iPhone overall. There's little to no difference in detail between the two.

In this ultrawide image of part of the Paddington Fan Bridge, it's the iPhone's shot that's the brighter one. There's perhaps a bit more detail in the OnePlus image, but it's quite close overall.

Now we have two telephoto comparisons. The first takes place at 3x, the OnePlus' optical zoom level. Even though the iPhone's relying on a cropped main camera image here, it's still a decent shot, if a little overexposed. The birdbox as shown by the OnePlus looks a lot more natural.

Now we move to a comparison between the 5x telephoto camera of the iPhone with the OnePlus 12's 6x zoom pre-set, the highest you can zoom from the default on-screen option in the Camera app. Now the iPhone's the sharper shooter, although with a much warmer coloration still. The overall shot taken by the OnePlus is pretty good, except it's lost a fair amount of detail in the birdbox's wood grain by having to zoom in further.

Finally, a selfie portrait comparison. The iPhone has a stronger bokeh effect by default, and a warmer shot overall. But I still like the OnePlus and its flatter, more natural coloring. Both phones have done a good job cutting out my glasses frame from the background too, something many phones struggle to do.

OnePlus used to have a problem with the effectiveness of its cameras, but the OnePlus 12 shows how far it's come. The iPhone 15 Pro Max remains a little more versatile overall though.

OnePlus 12 vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max: Performance

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 in the OnePlus 12 is as good a chip as you could ask for in a new Android phone. But when put against the A17 Pro powering the iPhone 15 Pro Max, it's in for a tough time.

The OnePlus 12 achieved strong results in the lab, especially on graphics benchmarks, and it never struggled during real-life testing. But the iPhone 15 Pro Max still wins overall on the Geekbench CPU benchmark scores, and on our Adobe Premiere Rush test, in which phones have to convert a 4K video clip into a 1080p one.

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Row 0 - Cell 0 OnePlus 12iPhone 15 Pro Max
Geekbench 6 score (single-core/multicore)2,188 / 6,5252,783 / 6,945
3DMark Wild Life Extreme Unlimited (score / fps)5,073 / 30.33,481 / 20.8
Adobe Premiere Rush time to transcode (mins:secs)0:550:24

In terms of memory, there's 8GB RAM in the iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. 12GB or 16GB in the OnePlus 12. This doesn't bear into performance quite as much as an Android vs. Android comparison due to the different way Apple's chips work.

What matters equally to both is storage capacity. Both phones offer 256GB default storage, as well as a 512GB option, with the iPhone also selling a 1TB edition. It's much cheaper to upgrade the OnePlus to 512GB though, costing only an extra $100 (for $899 total), while Apple charges $200 extra (total $1,399) for the same on-board storage space.

OnePlus 12 vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max: Battery and charging

In this comparison, we have OnePlus' 5,400 mAh battery versus Apple's 4,441 mAh one. Both phones achieve incredible battery life, but the OnePlus' capacity advantage means it lasts longer.

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Row 0 - Cell 0 OnePlus 12iPhone 15 Pro Max
Battery life (hours:mins)17:4114:02
Recharge after 15 minutes (%)60 (80W)20 (20W)
Recharge after 30 minutes (%)100 (80W)41 (20W)

OnePlus' 80W (or 100W outside the U.S.) wired charging and 50W wireless charging standards give the 12 some of the fastest refuelling of all smartphones you can buy today. With the 80W charger, the OnePlus 12 fills from empty to 60% in 15 minutes and 100% in half an hour.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max offers a 20W wired charging speed, or 15W with its wireless MagSafe chargers. The faster 20W standard powers the iPhone up to 20% in 15 minutes and 41% in 30 minutes, a long way behind what the OnePlus manages.

OnePlus 12 vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max: Software and special features

OnePlus offers the 12 with OxygenOS 14.0, based on Android 14, pre-installed, while the iPhone 15 Pro Max comes with iOS 17 as standard.

These are two very different operating systems, but there are a few unique features offered by each. For instance, iOS 17 offers the StandBy smart display mode, Live Voicemail, the Check In safety toolkit and greater flexibility in making stickers for your messaging apps among other enhancements.

Android 14 on the other hand is an update focused on small productivity changes like smarter file sharing and copy/pasting, and an overhauled lock screen customization system. Then there's a sprinkling of OnePlus-specific features on top of that like the widget shelf, the Zen mode app for helping you focus, with Google's Magic Compose and Emojify features due to arrive soon to add some AI fun to your messaging.

OnePlus promises that the 12 will get four years of full updates and five years of security updates, which is a reasonable slate of software updates but not as large as some other Android manufacturers. Apple doesn't have a formal update policy, but you can usually expect five or six years of iOS updates for a given iPhone.

OnePlus 12 vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max: Verdict

When we put scores to our face-off findings, we see that iPhone 15 Pro Max comes out on top, but at a severe literal cost. The value offered by the OnePlus in comparison is on another level, even if there are some rough edges, or good elements that the iPhone can do better.

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OnePlus 12 iPhone 15 Pro Max
Price (15 points) 1511
Design (10 points) 78
Display (15 points) 1113
Cameras (20 points) 1518
Performance (15 points) 1114
Battery and charging (10 points) 107
Software and special features (15 points) 1113
Total (out of 100) 8084

There's basically no contest when it comes to battery life or charging - that's very much the OnePlus 12's round. But the OnePlus' worse test results for its display and performance power, its lacking water resistance and its shorter update window mean the iPhone 15 Pro Max is probably the better phone for most people — assuming it's affordable for you.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.

  • gellfex
    Why is it that no Tom's phone reviewer has photo comparisons of low light situations? This is where so many cameras fail! I am very interested in the One Plus 12, and have read a number of reviews but none of them do low light. Even a Moto G that costs a fraction of these phones can take a great shot in full daylight!
  • Jtwizzle
    Test the screen brightness again with the ambient light sensor being hit by sunlight or a bright flashlight. With adaptive brightness on. Also with hdr content.

    The op12 definitely has some great features. IR blaster is something I miss from my old galaxy s4.