Apple iPhone 12 Mini Review

Is the Apple iPhone 12 Mini a good budget smartphone?

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Apple iPhone 12 Mini Review

Is the Apple iPhone 12 Mini a good budget smartphone?

We are supported by our audience, this post may contain affiliate links. See our affiliate disclosure for more details.

Apple iPhone 12 Mini review
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We rate the Apple iPhone 12 Mini an 8/10

8/10

Quick Summary

The Apple iPhone 12 range saw many new and improved features over last year’s Apple iPhone 11, with the main focus seemingly being the OLED displays on all Apple iPhone 12 models. However, other than the display, the Apple iPhone 12 Mini doesn’t bring many changes over last year’s Apple iPhone 11. The design of the Apple iPhone 12 Mini looks almost identical, the cameras, whilst amazing, haven’t seen any notable improvements, and when compared to last year’s Apple iPhone 11, the battery size has actually gotten significantly smaller.

Pros

  • Great display
  • Amazing cameras, although little improvement
  • MagSafe charging innovation
  • 5G technology
  • Great value

Cons

  • Very poor battery size
  • Lack of improvement over last year's Apple iPhone 11

Rating

Apple iPhone 12 Mini review

Apple is one of the biggest names when it comes to the technology industry. Although Apple is most commonly associated with the Apple iPhone, Apple also sells other electronics, software, and online services. Each year, Apple release a new range of Apple iPhones, bringing the latest and greatest technology into three or four Apple iPhone models. This Apple iPhone 12 Mini review will go in-depth about the pros and cons of the cheapest of the four Apple iPhone 12 models.

For all Apple iPhone 12 reviews, please see below:

Apple iPhone 12 Mini specifications

Released: November 13, 2020
Price (at release):
£699 / $699
Colours:
White, Black, Blue, Green, Product (Red)
Storage: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Display: 5.4-inch Super Retina XDR OLED (460 PPI)
Processor: Apple A14 Bionic
Memory/RAM: 4GB
5G Technology: Yes
Cameras: 12MP wide, 12MP ultrawide, 12MP front camera
Battery: 2,227mAh
Operating System: iOS 14
Weight: 135 grams

Apple iPhone 12 Mini specs infographic
Apple iPhone 12 Mini specs infographic

Apple iPhone 12 Mini review: Design

The Apple iPhone 12 Mini is available in five different colours. These five colours are: white, black, blue, green, and Product (Red). The colour option of Product (Red) is simply the colour red, but each purchase of that iPhone 12 Mini colour will contribute towards The Global Fund to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Below you can see how each Apple iPhone 12 Mini colour looks.

Apple iPhone 12 colours
Apple iPhone 12 Mini colours - Credit: Apple

When you compare the design of the Apple iPhone 12 Mini to last year’s Apple iPhone 11, you’ll find very few differences. While the camera housing looks identical, and the sizeable notch and bezel remains, some are calling the Apple iPhone 12 Mini a blend between the Apple iPhone 4 and the Apple iPhone X. The main similarities from these iPhones are the notched, full-screen display first introduced in the Apple iPhone X, and the flat-edge design from the Apple iPhone 4.

This year’s Apple iPhone 12 Mini features a sleek flat-edge design, similar to the Apple iPhone 4 design, along with an aerospace-grade aluminium enclosure. This, along with the new Ceramic Shield front cover, which goes beyond just glass protection by growing nano-ceramic crystals within the glass matrix, ultimately increases drop performance by 4x.

Possibly the most controversial change with the Apple iPhone 12 Mini is its charging capabilities, with the introduction of MagSafe. MagSafe is a new feature on all Apple iPhone 12 models that allows magnetic accessories to be attached to the back of your Apple iPhone 12 Mini, including Apple’s MagSafe charger for precise wireless charging. We’ll explain this more in the battery section of this Apple iPhone 12 Mini review.

Apple iPhone 12 Mini review: Display

For the first time ever, Apple has included an OLED display in every iPhone model this year, not just the high-end models like in last year’s Apple iPhone 11 Pro and Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max. The iPhone 12 Mini features a 5.4-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display with a 2340 x 1080 pixel resolution at 476 PPI.

This year’s Apple iPhone 12 range has made some huge improvements to the displays this year in many ways. Firstly, the biggest improvement has been that now all models of the Apple iPhone 12 come with OLED displays, rather than the Liquid Retina LCD displays Apple has provided to the standard iPhone models over the past few years.

Apple iPhone 12 display
Apple iPhone 12 Mini display - Credit: Apple

Secondly, the Apple iPhone 12 Mini comes with a resolution of 2340 x 1080. This is a great improvement over the Apple iPhone 11 display which had a resolution of just 1792 x 828.

Thirdly, the Apple iPhone 12 Mini sees a great improvement to the screen-to-body ratio when compared to the Apple iPhone 11. The Apple iPhone 12 Mini has a screen-to-body ratio of 85.1%, very impressive when compared to the 79% screen-to-body ratio of the Apple iPhone 11.

Finally, to accompany this is a significant improvement to the Pixels Per Inch (PPI). Last year’s Apple iPhone 11 had just 326 PPI, this is compared to the Apple iPhone 12 Mini which has 476 PPI, seeing a huge increase of 150 PPI. Generally speaking, the higher the PPI, or pixel density, the more detail you can see on your display.

Although this year has seen many great and much-needed improvements come to the Apple iPhone 12 Mini display, Apple still has quite a lot of catching up to do with Samsung’s flagship displays. The Samsung Galaxy S series has been a leader in display technology for many years now, and the Samsung Galaxy S20 puts the Apple iPhone 12 Mini display to shame, which was released 8 months earlier than the Apple iPhone 12 Mini. For comparison, the Samsung Galaxy S20 display has a 6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED display with a resolution of 3200 x 1440, a 563 PPI, and support for 120Hz display refresh rate.

Apple iPhone 12 Mini review: Cameras

As always with Apple iPhones, the cameras on the Apple iPhone 12 Mini are great, but there hasn’t been much change when compared to the previous year’s Apple iPhone 11. The Apple iPhone 12 Mini includes dual 12MP wide and ultrawide cameras, as well as a 12MP front camera.

The dual 12MP rear cameras are housed in a slightly raised, rounded glass square. This design may take some getting used to and is much more noticeable if you tend to use your phone on a flat surface, especially when typing.

Apple iPhone 12 cameras
Apple iPhone 12 Mini cameras - Credit: Apple

The Apple iPhone 12 Mini’s ultrawide lens has a 0.5x zoom compared to the standard wide camera. This allows you to essentially zoom out without having to move. This is great for tight environments such as the indoors where you may not have any room behind you. 

This ultrawide camera opens up the possibility for so much more. When you’re using the standard wide camera, under the user interface you can actually see what you could capture if you were using the ultrawide camera. This small, yet great feature helps you know when you should be making use of the ultrawide camera.

As well as this, the Apple iPhone 12 Mini also a great option that allows your ultrawide camera to take a picture at the same time as the standard wide camera. This acts as a backup in case the standard wide photo doesn’t capture everything that you was hoping to capture, these backup images last 30 days if not used.

Apple iPhone 12 camera app
Apple iPhone 12 Mini camera app - Credit: Apple

The Apple iPhone 12 Mini’s TrueDepth 12MP front camera is also great but is exactly the same as the front camera from the previous year’s Apple iPhone 11. The front camera features its Smart HDR for more balanced images, whilst also allowing for additional features such as Animoji, Memoji, and slofies.

As well as this, the rear cameras on the Apple iPhone 12 Mini include night mode and Deep Fusion. Night mode greatly improves camera low-light performance and allows for incredible night shots. This is made possible as your Apple iPhone 12 Mini will ask you to hold the phone as steady as possible for a few seconds so that the shutter can take multiple pictures, all at different sharpness and exposure levels, for it to then merge the data together, which results in an incredible low-light photo.

Deep Fusion is Apple’s new image processing system, first introduced in the Apple iPhone 11, which works automatically in certain environments. Apple describes it as “an advanced image processing system that uses the A14 Bionic Neural Engine to capture images with dramatically better texture, details, and reduced noise in lower light.”  This feature is completely automatic and has no indication to show when it’s being used. However, there are a few scenarios where Deep Fusion won’t be used. Deep Fusion won’t be used when you’re using the ultrawide lens, shooting burst photos, or when you have the feature “Photos Capture Outside the Frame” turned on.

The Apple iPhone 12 Mini also has very impressive video recording capabilities. The rear cameras on the Apple iPhone 12 Mini are capable of capturing video at 4K at 24fps, 30fps, and 60fps (frames per second). As well as this, the Apple iPhone 12 Mini is also able to record at 1080p at 30fps, 60fps, 120fps, and 240fps. Not only this, but the front camera is also able of recording at 4K at 24fps, 30fps, and 60fps. As well as this, it can also record at 1080p at 30fps, 60fps, and 120fps.

What are the camera specs of the Apple iPhone 12 Mini?

  • The wide lens is 12MP, f/1.6, 26mm, 1.4µm, dual pixel PDAF, OIS.
  • The ultrawide lens is 12MP, 120-degree view, f/2.4, 13mm, 1/3.6″.
  • The front camera is 12MP, f/2.2, 23mm, 1/3.6″.

Apple iPhone 12 Mini review: Battery

Apple has never been the best when it comes to battery size, and unfortunately, this year’s Apple iPhone 12 Mini is no different. The Apple iPhone 12 Mini has a battery size of 2,227mAh, significantly smaller than the 3,110mAh battery found in last year’s Apple iPhone 11. Not only is this a step backwards, but even the Apple iPhone 11 battery wasn’t enough to compete with last year’s similar flagship smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S10, which came with a 3,400mAh battery.

For greater comparison, the Apple iPhone 12 Mini has a 2,227mAh battery, and Apple’s main competitor, Samsung, released the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE the month before the Apple iPhone 12 Mini and includes a much bigger 4,500mAh battery. The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE is considered the budget model of the latest Samsung Galaxy S20 range and is currently the same price as the Apple iPhone 12 Mini. As well as this, Samsung also offer the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 4G version for £100 less, however, this is only available in select regions.

According to Apple, the Apple iPhone 12 Mini can last up to 15 hours of video playback, up to 10 hours of streamed video playback, and up to 50 hours of audio playback.

Possibly the most controversial change with the Apple iPhone 12 Mini is its charging capabilities, with the introduction of MagSafe. MagSafe is a new feature on all Apple iPhone 12 models that allows magnetic accessories to be attached to the back of your Apple iPhone 12 Mini, including Apple’s MagSafe Charger (sold separately) for precise wireless charging. For more information, check out Apple’s MagSafe Charger support page.

Along with this, Apple will no longer include a power adapter in the box of the Apple iPhone 12 Mini or any future Apple iPhone models, nor will they provide Apple’s wired earphones, the Apple EarPods. However, the Apple iPhone 12 Mini will come with a Lightning to USB-C cable, which you can use to charge your Apple iPhone 12 Mini by connecting to a laptop, desktop PC, or your own power adapter, as long as they have a USB-C port.

These changes come as a result of Apple attempting to reduce its carbon emissions and overall environmental impact. By removing the power adapter and Apple EarPods, it allows Apple to reduce the size of the Apple iPhone 12 Mini box, as well as future Apple iPhone boxes. It’s not all bad, however, as you can still buy the power adapter and Apple EarPods, each sold separately.

Apple iPhone 12 Mini review: Performance

The system-on-chip found in the Apple iPhone 12 Mini is the new A14 Bionic. The Apple A14 Bionic chip features a very powerful CPU (Central Processing Unit) and GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) and allows for advanced features such as Deep Fusion, Apple’s newly-introduced image processing system. Apple’s A14 Bionic chip is the fastest Apple has ever made.

Released on September 16, 2020, iOS 14 will come preinstalled on the Apple iPhone 12 Mini, and all other Apple iPhone 12 models. The main focus for iOS 14 was to bring a fresh look to the things you do most often, making them easier than ever. Some of the main features of iOS 14 are widgets on the home screen, a redesigned app library, and compact calls. Feel free to check out everything new with Apple’s iOS 14.

The Apple iPhone 12 Mini comes with three internal storage options: 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB. Although competitors to Apple’s iPhone are starting to offer storage of up to 1TB, 64GB is usually enough for the average user. The Apple iPhone 12 Mini also comes with 4GB of RAM (Random Access Memory), which in most cases is more than enough for day-to-day activities such as streaming Netflix.

Apple iPhone 12 Mini review: Pricing

The Apple iPhone 12 Mini was released on November 13, 2020. At release, prices started from £699 in the UK, and $699 in the US. Below are some of the best deals from Amazon.

Quick Answers

How much does the Apple iPhone 12 Mini cost?

The Apple iPhone 12 Mini was released on November 13, 2020. At release, the Apple iPhone 12 Mini started from £699 in the UK, and $699 in the US.

What are the differences between the Apple iPhone 12 Mini and the Apple iPhone 12?

The Apple iPhone 12 Mini has a smaller display, a slightly smaller display resolution, and a smaller battery size.

Is the Apple iPhone 12 Mini worth buying?

If you bought any Apple iPhone 11 model, we don't believe there has been enough change for you to upgrade to the Apple iPhone 12 Mini. However, if you still want to upgrade, we recommend you check out the Apple iPhone 12 or the Apple iPhone 12 Pro.

Apple iPhone 12 Mini review: Conclusion

The Apple iPhone 12 models saw many new and improved features over the previous year’s Apple iPhone 11 models. It seems the main focus for the Apple iPhone 12 range was to improve the display, and for the first time, include an OLED display in every Apple iPhone 12 model.

Although Apple has made some great improvements to the Apple iPhone 12 Mini display, Apple still has quite a lot of catching up to do with Samsung’s flagship displays. The Samsung Galaxy S series has been a leader in display technology for many years now, and the Samsung Galaxy S20 puts the Apple iPhone 12 Mini display to shame.

Other than the display, there haven’t been many changes over last year’s Apple iPhone 11. The design of the Apple iPhone 12 Mini looks almost identical, the cameras, whilst amazing, haven’t seen any notable improvements, and when compared to last year’s Apple iPhone 11, the battery size has actually gotten significantly smaller, although it’s worth noting the Apple iPhone 11 didn’t have a Mini model.

If you currently have any model of the Apple iPhone 11, we don’t believe it’s worth upgrading to the Apple iPhone 12 Mini. If you didn’t buy the Apple iPhone 11 and you’re looking for a great flagship phone without spending too much money, we recommend the Apple iPhone 12 Mini.

For all Apple iPhone 12 reviews, please see below:

Rating

Visually Reviewed Rated 8

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