The iPhone 12 mini is without a doubt one of the most interesting devices in the new series. Besides the fact that this model is the cheapest of all four models, it is also by far the smallest. Something that Apple did not want to burn its fingers for years. The result? People still walk around with the first generation iPhone SE to this day, because the smartphones kept getting bigger after that. Can Apple finally satisfy this group of people?
I used the iPhone 12 mini as my default phone for a week. In this review I share my findings with you. I’ll see if this is really a smaller iPhone 12 in terms of performance and tell you why this is my favorite iPhone of the year.
iPhone 12 mini: small as usual
You can see it in the name and the marketing of Apple: the iPhone 12 mini is small. With a size of 31.5mm x 64.2mm x 7.4mm, it is even slightly smaller than the iPhone 6. You know: the smartphone whose design was used up to and including the iPhone SE (2020) . With a weight of 133 grams, this device, of the entire iPhone 12 series, is simply the best in the hand. The iPhone 12 mini finally makes it possible to operate a smartphone with one hand again and fits in your pocket with all the convenience of the world. For many people this is the most interesting device. To be honest, this was not the case with me beforehand, but after a week I think I can join these people.
The iPhone 12 mini is therefore smaller than an iPhone 6, but has a larger screen. Where that device has to do with a 4.7-inch screen, this variant is equipped with a 5.4-inch OLED screen. The size is smaller so the pixel density (476ppi) is higher. The experience is fantastic in that respect, because the iPhone 12 mini seems to combine the best of both worlds. You deliver in terms of format, but not at all in terms of quality in that area.
In terms of brightness, it is more than good with a maximum of 1200nits and the P3 Wide Color Gambit ensures excellent color accuracy. Furthermore, the device has the same new design as the other smartphones in the series, which lends itself perfectly to this format. Despite the difference in size, you have the feeling that you have a completely renewed iPhone 4 in hand. And there is nothing wrong with that at all.
The only downside to the design of the iPhone 12 mini is, just like with the other smartphones, the notch. In 2020 this is really still too big and that is extra noticeable with a smartphone of this size. But otherwise, the iPhone 12 mini is as usual.
Small size, big in performance
Considering the fact that the iPhone 12 mini manages to cause a lot of nostalgia, an old problem is also popping up. According to Apple , this device is exactly the same as the iPhone 12 in terms of performance, but simply a bit smaller. But that’s not entirely true in one area. But before I go into that, it might be useful to take a quick look at what the iPhone 12 has to offer exactly.
New in the iPhone 12
The iPhone 12 has a new design . The round sides have made way for flat sides, making the device look much more premium. Where the iPhone 11 opted for an LCD screen, the gap with the Pro model has been closed this year. Apple has opted to equip the iPhone 12 with a Super Retina XDR OLED display. In that respect, the quality is just as high as with the 12 Pro, which is an excellent development. Furthermore, the iPhone is equipped with the new A14 Bionic chip from Apple, making it up to the toughest tasks. It does not matter whether you are playing a game, want to stream or even export a video: it is all possible with this chip. In combination with iOS 14, the user experience is therefore excellent and the iPhone 12 supports you in every situation.
The iPhone 12, like its predecessor, is equipped with a dual camera system. This year Apple has chosen to give the main camera a wider lens. As a result, the device has a larger aperture. This ensures that the camera system performs better in low light situations. Furthermore, the camera system has plenty to offer. Photos are clear, with a lot of detail and the color accuracy is high. Compared to the iPhone 11 or the iPhone XS , the difference is not that great, but anyone who has a model older than that will take a big step forward.
In terms of battery, the iPhone 12 is also very good. It’s not a big improvement over the iPhone 11, but the phone generally is. That is why it is quite impressive that, despite a better screen and a more powerful chip, you remain roughly at the same level. It is therefore possible to do a day and a half with a full battery, where you can get about 6 hours of screen time. In that respect, the iPhone 12 mini can still learn a lot from its bigger brother.
What does this model deliver?
As mentioned, the iPhone 12 mini delivers a lot of nostalgia in terms of design, but it also ensures that an old problem comes into play. In recent years, I cannot remember having to keep an eye on the percentage of my battery fanatically during the day. In 2020, smartphones are more likely to last a day and a half than they only last a day. I am also not a fanatic user who uses the smartphone for heavy tasks. In that respect, for example, I have to make an effort to drain the battery of the iPhone 12 in one day. But with the iPhone 12 mini, I occasionally have to make a little effort to get through a whole day.
It makes sense, but the iPhone 12 mini simply has a smaller battery. With this phone you have to make certain choices to have a full battery last the day. Is that a very big problem? No, because Apple is already doing a lot with the software to get the most out of it. The iPhone 12 mini simply has a significantly smaller battery. Something that most of the target group has probably been dealing with for years. Anyone who is a little frugal with the smartphone and simply puts the device on the charger in the evening, will undoubtedly notice little difference.
The only difference you can notice is the use of MagSafe. The accessory can be used on this phone, but with less power. In terms of loading, the top speed is 12W, while the other models are 15W. I wouldn’t recommend MagSafe at this stage anyway, but certainly not for the iPhone 12 mini. Buy a 20W adapter that fits your USB-C to Lighting Port cable and the phone will be full again. Because where a smaller battery ensures that your smartphone is empty faster, it is full faster. Provided you use the correct charger.
The position of the iPhone 12 mini
As I said, the iPhone 12 mini was not my favorite from the new series beforehand. That has now changed. Over the years I have forgotten what it is like to use a compact smartphone that lies comfortably in the hand, fits easily in my pocket and can simply be operated with one hand. Set this against the fact that the device has the same specifications as the regular iPhone 12 and you take the reduced battery life for granted.
In general, fans of compact smartphones are the target group for this iPhone 12 mini. The people who have been sticking to the first generation SE for years have probably been waiting for this device for a long time. Given the battery life, I think the iPhone 12 has a little more to offer. But if you put me in the Apple Store right now, I will tap an iPhone 12 mini on the head. A choice that perhaps more people will make unexpectedly in the coming year.