It’s been quite a while since we had a compact flagship iPhone in our pockets. In fact, the last time we remember this happening was back when it was the only iPhone available.
The iPhone mini has been rumored since 2013, but instead, we got the iPhone 5C with C standing for either Colorful or Cheap (who knows!), even if we would have called it Controversial.
After that, the iPhones grew larger (iPhone 6), and taller (iPhone 6 Plus), and bigger (iPhone XS Max). The original iPhone SE was a breath of fresh air in 2016, and ever since, many of us have been longing for an all-screen iPhone SE. We didn’t get that with the second-gen SE last March, but we finally saw it happening in October.
Without a doubt, the iPhone 12 mini is best described as a compact version of the iPhone 12. This means it comes with a smaller display (5.4″ vs. 6.1″) and tinier battery (2,227mAh vs. 2,815mAh) while retaining everything else that makes the iPhone 12 cool.
The iPhone 12 mini has a 5.4″ OLED screen of extended 1080p resolution and the latest Apple A14 Bionic chip, which makes it the world’s smallest 5G-capable phone to date. Also lifted from the iPhone 12 is the dual camera with Night Mode and Dolby Vision video capturing and the stereo speakers.
The mini uses the same IP68-rated glass body with Ceramic Shield as the rest of the bunch. It also packs MagSafe support on the back, though the wireless charging is limited to 12W vs. 15W on the rest of the iPhone 12s.
Apple iPhone 12 mini specs:
- Body: Aluminum frame with matte finish, Ceramic Shield front with oleophobic coating, Glass back with glossy finish, IP68 certified for water and dust resistance. Black, White, Green, Blue, Red color options. 131.5 x 64.2 x 7.4 mm, 135 g.
- Display: 5.4″ Retina XDR OLED screen of 1,080 x 2,340 px resolution, 476ppi, 600 nits, 120Hz touch sensing. HDR10, Dolby Vision support, wide color gamut. True Tone.
- Chipset: Apple A14 Bionic chip (5nm) – Hexa-core (2×3.1 GHz Firestorm + 4×1.8 GHz Icestorm with 3.1GHz Turboboost) Apple CPU, four-core Apple GPU, 16-core Apple NPU 4-gen
- Memory: 4GB of RAM; 64/128/256GB of internal storage
- Rear camera: Dual 12MP camera: 26mm main wide-angle, F/1.6, OIS, Dual Pixel AF; 13mm ultrawide-angle, F/2.4, 120-degree field of view; dual-LED flash with slow sync. Night Mode, Smart HDR 3, Deep Fusion.
- Video recording: 2160p@60/30fps, 1080p@30/60/120/240fps video recording with wider dynamic range and spatial sound, OIS + EIS, Dolby Vision (30fps only)
- Front camera: Dual camera – 23mm 12MP F/2.2 front-facing camera with HDR mode + 3D TOF camera; Night Mode, Smart HDR 3, Deep Fusion. 2160p@60/30fps, 1080p@30/60/120fps video recording with wider dynamic range and spatial sound, EIS.
- Connectivity: Dual SIM, 5G, 4G; Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac/6; Bluetooth 5.0; Lightning port; GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, QZSS; NFC; Apple U1 chip ultrawideband
- Battery: 2,227 mAh battery, 20W fast charging, 12W Qi wireless charging (MagSafe)
- Misc: Face ID through dedicated TrueDepth camera, stereo speakers, Taptic Engine
By being a smaller version of the iPhone 12, the iPhone 12 mini keeps both the good and the not-so-good stuff. This means you are not getting any accessories but a USB cable in the box, there is no HRR screen, no 3.5mm jack, and whatever else you might have hoped for.
Unboxing the Apple iPhone 12 mini
All of the new iPhone 12s, including the mini, come packed within a thin paper box that contains the iPhone and a USB-C-to-Lightning cable.
In a controversial move, Apple no longer bundles a charger and headphones with its phones.
If you don’t have compatible ones available, Apple’s 20W charger will set you back €25, while the MagSafe wireless charger costs some additional €50. And then, you may want to think about EarPods (€20) or AirPods (€180).
There is a silver lining, though – once you buy yours, you can keep them for yourself when you pass forward your old iPhone.
If you are after a compact flagship, your choices are quite limited. And Apple‘s bid for this niche is long overdue.
The first alternative that comes to mind is the iPhone SE (2020). It has one of the fastest Apple chips – the A13, but everything else is borrowed from the 2017’s iPhone 8. Still, Apple has already slashed its price, and the second-gen SE goes for as little as €480 or less. If the small size is a must, but you don’t need a flagship iPhone or a bezel-less design, the SE is a very reasonable choice.
Apple iPhone 12 series
The Apple iPhone 12 is a full-blown flagship within a lightweight body, and for Max-like users, it could already feel as mini enough. It has everything the mini offers but comes with a bigger 6.1″ screen and a larger battery. It costs €100 over the iPhone 12 mini, and it could be the size you are looking for after all.
Apple iPhone SE (2020) • Apple iPhone 12
This tiny iPhone was a long time coming, and we are glad it’s finally here. It’s also an incredible feat that the smaller model has all the great features of the bigger model.
We fear the iPhone 12 mini might be arriving a little bit too late. Mainstream smartphones have grown a lot in the last five years. The iPhone 12 already feels like a mini as it is. And the iPhone 12 mini is even smaller. The sale reports also suggest people are more interested in the iPhone 12 than the mini, further proving this point.
Still, we doubt Apple considered the iPhone 12 mini as a best-seller of the Pro Max caliber. It just adds a long-requested option for a small flagship that was unavailable for years, and it will surely add more sales to the already overwhelming iPhone 12 purchases.
The iPhone 12 mini is suitable for everyday use, and none of its shortcomings matter if you are after this particular extra small size. It can take high-quality photos and videos; it is great for videos or reading, and it will last you through a busy day on a single charge. Gaming is good, too, unless it’s a very demanding app where the poor heat dissipation may lead to a bottleneck for a couple of minutes.
Aside from being compact, the iPhone 12 mini’s other virtue is the fact that it’s the cheapest of the iPhone 12’s. Many people who just want the latest Apple hardware for its performance or future-proofing might go for this one for its ‘reasonable’ price.
If the price is the major draw, we can definitely understand that. If you are after the compact size, that’s fine, too, but our only advice is to make sure you still want it by trying it out in person before committing to a purchase.
Don’t miss our iPhone 12 upgrader’s guide to see how good of an upgrade would the new iPhones make to your older iPhone.
- The cheapest in the iPhone 12 series
- The most compact flagship smartphone you’d find today
- Attractive design with great grip and premium durability
- Excellent OLED screen
- Good battery life for such a small cell
- Loud stereo speakers
- The fastest smartphone chip on the planet, 5G, too
- Good photo quality across the board, day and night
- Apple iOS 14 is fast and easy to use, 5 years of guaranteed major updates
- MagSafe is a promising accessory concept
- No charger or headphones in the box
- iOS needs better file management
- We miss TouchID as FaceID does not work with a mask on
- Prone to performance throttling
- The notch looks bigger than ever on this small phone