Apple iPhone 12 Mini review: Pint-sized power

If you’re looking to buy a new iPhone in 2020, you’ve frankly got a ton of options. From the super-affordable $399 iPhone SE to the $1,199 iPhone 12 Pro Max, Apple now offers an iPhone in every pricing tier. But beyond pricing, it also offers iPhones in a variety of sizes. While you previously had to pick up an iPhone SE to get something on the smaller side, Apple’s new iPhone 12 Mini is a fantastic mixture of premium and pint-sized.

But what are you missing out on by picking up Apple’s iPhone 12 Mini, and is it actually comfortable to use? Find out in Android Authority‘s iPhone 12 Mini review.

About this iPhone 12 Mini review: We spent seven days with the iPhone 12 Mini. It was running iOS 14.1. Android Authority purchased the unit directly from Apple for the purpose of this review.

What is the iPhone 12 Mini?

iPhone 12 Mini back held up with hand 1

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

The iPhone 12 Mini is the smallest of the four iPhone 12 models that Apple released in the second half of 2020. It is effectively a miniature version of the standard iPhone 12. It even sports the exact same internals, not counting battery capacity, making it one of the fastest small phones you can get in 2020. With Apple’s class-leading A14 Bionic SoC and stellar camera system, it might be hard to find competition in this form factor.

The display of the iPhone 12 Mini is just 5.4-inches, which is quite a bit smaller than even Google’s tiniest offering for the year, the Pixel 4a. While small screens are often compensated by big bezels, the iPhone 12 Mini doesn’t have this problem. It sports the same minimal bezels as the bigger, more expensive iPhone 12 models. This means the phone still feels fairly immersive, even in a body this small. While it certainly won’t be as immersive as most phones with bigger displays, the small form factor is great for those who like their phone to take up as little space as possible.

Is it comfortable to use?

iPhone 12 Mini screen in hand 1

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

For me, the iPhone 12 Mini is incredibly comfortable to use. It’s refreshing to use a phone where I can reach the top of the screen with my thumb. That said, two-handed typing can feel a bit cramped compared to a larger display. I almost always opted for swipe-typing. If you’re used to two-handed tapping, this is something you should take note of.

I love small phones, and the iPhone 12 Mini is one of the fastest small phones you can get.

If you’re someone who consumes a ton of media on your phone and needs a big screen to do that, you might want to look elsewhere. While I personally love how compact this thing is, larger flagship phones like the iPhone 12 Pro Max, Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, or Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 will almost definitely give you a better media experience.

What is the battery life like?

iPhone 12 Mini back in hand 1 1

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

Probably the biggest downside of getting a small iPhone is the physically smaller battery packed inside the device. The iPhone 12 Pro clocked me six hours of screen-on time and the even bigger 12 Pro Max gave me a staggering eight hours of screen time. The iPhone 12 Mini, on the other hand, slumps to just over five hours. This is certainly lagging behind most phones you’ll find nowadays. It’s perhaps the biggest trade-off when picking up a smaller phone. Considering the iPhone 12 Mini is packing the super-fast Apple A14 Bionic processor, this isn’t going to be the most power-efficient device you’ll find.

In daily use, I generally got through a whole day with the iPhone 12 Mini, but not much more. If I unplugged around 9 am, the phone would die a bit past midnight. This may be fine for many people. However, you’ll almost certainly need to top up mid-day if you’re planning on staying out for the night.

 

That said, the small battery in the iPhone 12 Mini also means it charges pretty darn fast. It uses the same 18W wired charging as the other iPhones. With the smaller 2,227mAh battery, the phone reached 50% in just 15 minutes. This slowed down over time as the phone got closer to full, but if you need a quick top-up mid-day, you should be able to get a decent jump with a cable.

The iPhone 12 Mini also has the same MagSafe-enabled wireless charging as other iPhone 12 models. Nevertheless, it will only wirelessly charge at 12W compared to the 15W MagSafe charging on the other iPhone 12 devices. If you use a standard wireless charger, the phone still only charges at 7.5W.

The iPhone 12 Mini doesn’t have the best battery life but it charges pretty darn fast for quick top-ups.

It should also be noted that the iPhone 12 Mini can be a bit awkward to charge wirelessly without a MagSafe charger. Due to its small size, it’s difficult to get it charging on most standing wireless chargers. The positioning of the camera bump also means you’ll have to find the exact correct place to set your phone if you want to top it up on a charging pad. I found myself charging this phone with a cable every night because of this, which is not something I can say about any other phone with wireless charging.

How are the cameras?

iPhone 12 Mini back in hand 2

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

The camera system on the iPhone 12 Mini is the exact same you’ll find in the standard iPhone 12. That means you’re getting two 12MP cameras on the rear of the device and a 12MP selfie camera hidden in the notch on the front. While you’re missing the 2x telephoto camera you’ll find on the iPhone 12 Pro and the 2.5x telephoto camera you get on the iPhone 12 Pro Max, the standard and wide cameras on the iPhone 12 Mini are still incredibly good.

See also: The best Android camera phones you can get

Image quality from both the main and wide lens is very good on the iPhone 12 Mini. It offers a nice balance of dynamic range and contrast. There is a lot of color retained in the image with very little color shift overall. Photos look very similar to how they looked in real life. Sharpness is fantastic even on 12MP sensors.

One thing you miss out on by opting for a non-pro iPhone this year is night portrait mode. Nevertheless, you can still use night mode, and you can even use it on the wide-angle camera. Night mode will kick in automatically if the phone detects a low-light scenario, but you can turn it off if you like. Still, it makes a pretty big difference, and you can still take some nice portraits of people, even if you’re not using portrait mode.

If you do want to use portrait mode, you can do so as long as the camera has enough light. Even without the LIDAR sensor, you’ll find on the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max, the stereo-based separation of portrait mode works fairly well.

I still think portrait mode needs to get better on all smartphones, however. The binary cutout of in focus or out of focus just seems fake. Still, the phone did a good job of brightening shadows in the clothes and face during this mode, delivering a pleasing image.

In lower-light scenarios, the iPhone 12 Mini still produced a very good image. However, details certainly start getting soft, especially on the wide camera, which has a smaller aperture. Low-light scenarios will also catch flare extremely easily, manifesting in the form of small floating balls around the scene. Apple’s smartphones have suffered from this for a while now. It would be nice to see the issue fixed in next year’s devices.

Video quality on the iPhone 12 Mini is just as good as it is on the iPhone 12, which is to say, stellar. Color is extremely true-to-life, and the 4K 60fps video looks fantastic. It’s also incredibly stable. I would feel comfortable using video from the iPhone 12 Mini for a quick pickup shot in a video. If you want to shoot Dolby Vision HDR video that’s here too, but in the form of 4K 30fps vs the 4k 60fps option you’ve got on the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Note that all the images and video above have been compressed to optimize page-load times. If you want to check any of these files out in their full resolution, you can do so at the Google Drive link here.

Overall, I think the cameras on the iPhone 12 Mini will be pretty great for most people. They have great color, wonderful video, and can do well in low-light scenarios. If you want to zoom in they’re unfortunately a bit lacking. If that’s something you want, you’ll need to go with a device that has an optical telephoto camera.

Things I like about the iPhone 12 Mini

  • Size: I really love how compact the iPhone 12 Mini is. While many other phones take up almost all of my available pocket space, I’ve actually thought I lost the iPhone 12 Mini because of how little space it takes up in my pocket. It also fits really perfectly in my palm, and it’s refreshing to be able to easily use the phone with one hand. Personally, this is my ideal phone size.
  • Performance: Even at $700, the iPhone 12 Mini slays in performance. It beats nearly every phone in its pricing tier in RAW performance. I didn’t experience a single slowdown during my time with the device.
  • Design: Apple’s iPhone 12 series has quite a unique design. The flat sides feel futuristic while at the same time retro. The compactness of the iPhone 12 Mini takes this to the next level, blending miniaturization with a premium design.
  • Ecosystem: If you’re invested in Apple’s other products, be it the Apple Watch, MacBook, AirPods, or HomePod, Apple’s ecosystem of devices truly play fantastically together. AirDrop lets you share files in a pinch, iMessage is the killer messaging app keeping plenty of people on iOS, and the Apple Watch is one of the best smartwatches you can buy. It all works so well together, which is not something that can be said of many Android manufacturers.
  • Face ID: Face ID is an incredibly fast and secure way to log into your phone and secure apps. It works perfectly almost every time, even after I’ve gotten a hair cut. While I wish the iPhone 12 Mini had a fingerprint reader as well, Face ID remains a fantastic option for bio-authentication.

Things I don’t like about the iPhone 12 Mini

  • Battery life and wireless charging awkwardness: Unfortunately, a natural trade-off of a smaller phone is worse battery life. The iPhone 12 Mini doesn’t get abysmal battery life by any means, but if you’re going to be out for the night, you’ll have to give your phone a bump to make sure you can make it home.
  • Interface: iOS just isn’t that customizable. While it’s been getting progressively better over the years, it still doesn’t come close to the customization of Android. You do, however, get the security of knowing your phone will be updated for many years to come, unlike a lot of Android devices.
  • Siri: I truly missed Google Assistant when testing the iPhone 12 Mini. Siri’s limited functionality isn’t nearly as powerful as what Google is offering. Google’s integration with smart homes is far superior to that of Siri too.
  • Lightning charging: Apple refuses to move over the USB-C. That means I need to carry one very specific cable with me every time I go out. I’m at least happy to have wireless charging in this device, but considering the iPad and MacBook don’t use Lightning, the port remains awkwardly particular.

Specs

  iPhone 12 mini iPhone 12 iPhone 12 Pro iPhone 12 Pro Max
Display 5.4-inch OLED display
2,340 x 1,080 resolution
6.1-inch OLED display
2,532 x 1,170 resolution
6.1-inch OLED display
2,532 x 1,170 resolution
6.7-inch OLED display
2,778 x 1,284 resolution
Processor A14 Bionic A14 Bionic A14 Bionic A14 Bionic
Storage 64, 128, and 256GB 64, 128, and 256GB 128, 256, and 512GB 128, 256, and 512GB
Camera Rear:
12MP Wide camera, ƒ/1.6 aperture

Front:
12MP camera, ƒ/2.2 aperture
12MP Ultra-wide camera, 120 degrees, ƒ/2.4 aperture

Rear:
12MP Wide camera, ƒ/1.6 aperture
12MP Ultra-wide camera, 120 degrees, ƒ/2.4 aperture

Front:
12MP camera, ƒ/2.2 aperture

Rear:
12MP Wide camera, ƒ/1.6 aperture
12MP Ultra-wide camera, 120 degrees, ƒ/2.4 aperture
12MP Telephoto camera, ƒ/2.0 aperture
4x optical zoom range
iDAR scanners

Front:
12MP camera,
ƒ/2.2 aperture

Rear:
12MP Wide camera, ƒ/1.6 aperture
12MP Ultra-wide camera, 120 degrees, ƒ/2.4 aperture
12MP Telephoto camera, ƒ/2.2 aperture
5x optical zoom range
iDAR scanners

Front:
12MP camera, ƒ/2.2 aperture

Battery N/A
MagSafe Wireless Charging up to 15W
Qi wireless charging up to 7.5W
N/A
MagSafe Wireless Charging up to 15W
Qi wireless charging up to 7.5W
N/A
MagSafe Wireless Charging up to 15W
Qi wireless charging up to 7.5W
N/A
MagSafe Wireless Charging up to 15W
Qi wireless charging up to 7.5W
Software iOS 14 iOS 14 iOS 14 iOS 14
Dimensions and Weight 131.5 mm x 64.2 mm x 7.4 mm; 135g 146.7 mm x 71.5 mm x 7.4 mm; 164g 146.7 mm x 71.5 mm x 7.4 mm; 189g 160.8 mm x 78.1 mm x 7.4 mm; 228g
Color Black, White, Product Red, Green, Blue Black, White, Product Red, Green, Blue Silver, Graphite, Gold, Pacific Blue Silver, Graphite, Gold, Pacific Blue

Value for money and competition

  • Apple iPhone 12 Mini: 64GB Storage — $699/£699/€809
  • Apple iPhone 12 Mini: 128GB Storage — $749/£749/€859
  • Apple iPhone 12 Mini: 256GB Storage — $849/£849/€979

At $699, the iPhone 12 Mini is one of the most powerful smartphones you can get for the price. That’s quite a flipped script from what we’ve seen previously. There are, of course, many Android phones around this price. They offer similar performance as well as things like high refresh rate displays, super-fast charging, and more, so let’s talk about them.

At its pricing tier, the most immediate comparison to be made is between the iPhone 12 Mini and Google Pixel 5. Both start at the same price, but Google’s option does some things better and some things worse than the iPhone. In my opinion, Google’s Pixel UI with Google Assistant is far superior to iOS and Siri. Additionally, the 90Hz display Google touts is more fluid to use. However, the iPhone 12 Mini has a much faster processor, a more premium design, and a deeper ecosystem of products.

The Samsung’s Galaxy S20 FE is another competitor with a similar $699 price tag. It comes with a 3x optical telephoto lens, alongside other things like 25W wired charging, a 120Hz display, and expandable storage. The S20 FE is a great option if you value these things in your device, and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 packed into this device isn’t far behind Apple’s A14 Bionic. That said, Samsung’s competitor is much bigger and uses a plastic build. If materials quality and size is important to you, you may find yourself looking towards the iPhone 12 Mini instead.

Related: Apple A14 Bionic benchmarked: Still more powerful than Android?

At $49 more, the OnePlus 8T offers 65W wired charging and a 120Hz display. While the 8T doesn’t have things like wireless charging and the camera experience isn’t nearly as impressive, it’s worth a look if you’re looking for a fast and capable Android handset.

Something should be said for Apple’s historically excellent software support, though. Apple devices regularly receive five or more years of full OS updates, something that can’t be said of nearly any Android manufacturer. If you buy an iPhone 12 Mini today, there’s a good chance it will receive OS updates through 2025 or longer. Plus, the A14 Bionic chip will make sure it runs smoothly the whole time. That’s massive.

iPhone 12 Mini review: The verdict

iPhone 12 Mini display in front of neon

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

Starting at $699, the iPhone 12 Mini is one of the best small phones you can get. It runs the same flagship processor as the more expensive iPhones in its family, it has a fantastic design, and Apple’s ecosystem is nearly unmatched. Nevertheless, it’s also missing a lot of bells and whistles. If you’re someone who wants a high refresh rate display, a telephoto camera, or super-fast charging, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

With all that said, I really, really like Apple’s iPhone 12 Mini. Small phones are just my forte. Getting great build quality and incredible performance in a phone this small, for this price, is great. If you’re someone who’s been looking to downsize your device and you’re okay with Apple’s ecosystem, you should absolutely give the iPhone 12 Mini a look.

Apple iPhone 12 series Four to choose from

There are a total of four new iPhones in Apple’s iPhone 12 lineup: the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max. Brighter displays, faster processors, and more durable build quality are what you can expect with all four of these new phones.

Source of the content idea from: [www.androidauthority.com

Content Protection by DMCA.com

Check Also

Quantcast

How many times per day do you unlock your phone?

Before the days of fingerprint scanners and facial recognition, unlocking a phone was a real …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *