iPhone Life Magazine
REVIEW: THE IPHONE 12 MINI IS KIND OF A BIG DEAL
At $699, the iPhone 12 mini is not Apple's cheapest iPhone. That title still belongs to the $399 iPhone SE 2020, but the mini is indeed the cheapest iPhone with 5G. It is also the cheapest iPhone with Face ID, the latest CPU, and Apple's dual-camera system. But what is really impressive is that it is also the smallest iPhone with all of the above features!
Even though Apple launches a new flagship iPhone every year, like many iPhone owners, I typically skip a generation. However, I chose to upgrade early because of several new features in the iPhone 12 family that made it worth it.
If you're looking for value for your money, the iPhone 12 mini does just about everything the iPhone 12 does, but in a smaller form and at a cheaper price. It offers Wide and Ultra Wide camera lenses with optical zoom, the new MagSafe system for fast and reliable wireless charging, Ceramic Shield front glass (promising even more durability than previous generations), the new A14 Bionic chip, the fastest CPU in any smartphone, and 5G connectivity.
ALL IN ON 5G
MagSafe technology and a better camera were attractive reasons to upgrade, but the most compelling reason, for me, was 5G. While my iPhone 12 mini hasn't yet connected to 5G here in Rochester, New York, where I live, I think of 5G as an investment. Carriers are in the process of rolling out support for 5G to cover more and more territory. Right now, betting on 5G is a bit of a leap of faith depending on where you live, but I'm OK with that.
As the name suggests, the iPhone 12 mini is the smallest in the iPhone 12 family. Naturally, it also has the smallest physical battery. But if you are upgrading from the iPhone 6, 7, 8, or even the 2020 iPhone SE, then you will actually be taking a step up in battery size. The SE 2020, which I upgraded from, has a 1,821 mAh battery, whereas the iPhone 12 mini has a 2,227 mAh battery that supports 15 hours of video playback! The iPhone 12 does use more power for 5G and drives a higher-resolution screen, so it's not an apples to apples (no pun intended) comparison, but for most of us, the iPhone 12 mini will last all day with room to spare.
THE SMALLEST PHONE WITH FACE ID
Switching from the iPhone SE 2020 means switching to Face ID instead of Touch ID. That change might take some getting used to for some, especially when wearing a face mask. But it helps that the latest version of iOS supports recognition with and without a mask. It does require a bit of trickery—just go into your iPhone settings and set up an alternate appearance with half your face covered by the mask.
SMALL PHONE, BIG SCREEN
The smaller size of the iPhone 12 mini means it just fits. That applies to my front jeans pocket or my jacket pocket, or— more importantly—my palm. I like that I have the most powerful iPhone Apple has ever made (with some exceptions . . . the Pro offers a better camera) in the smallest form available.
While the iPhone 12 mini is physically slightly smaller than my previous 4.7-inch iPhone SE, the mini's edge-to-edge display means I actually get more usable screen real estate, except for the notch at the top for the cameras.
With the iPhone 12, Apple has eliminated the included A/C to USB wall charger and earbuds, saving them some money and packaging. There's no indication, however, that those savings are passed on to you. Indeed, you may have to go out and buy a new adapter since Apple switched to USB-C cabling. At least they included a USB-C to Lightning cable in the box.