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iPhone 12 mini Review – Small In Size, Big On Features

iPhone 12 mini review

It’s a bumper year for iPhones this year, with a whopping total of five entrants so far. Following the budget friendly iPhone SE 2020 in April were four iPhone 12 devices: which ranged from the largest iPhone 12 Pro Max, the in-betweener iPhone 12 and 12 Pro to the palm sized iPhone 12 mini.

(Left to Right) The iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. Image: Ian Ling

Whether upgrading or porting over, customers in the market for iPhones this year will enjoy the widest variety of options. But despite being the smallest iPhone in a long time, the iPhone 12 mini towers over the competition with power-packed features in a tiny form factor.

Where it stands: compared to 2020 iPhones

We’ve reviewed the iPhone 12 Pro, which apart from storage, more premium-feeling materials and an extra 2X telephoto camera, it’s essentially identical to the iPhone 12. You’ll get the same stunning design, new MagSafe magnetic accessory compatibility, along with Dolby Vision videography chops.

While other brands’ compact phone options compromise on performance, the iPhone 12 mini punches hard with the same A14 Bionic chipset as its larger brethren. For a clearer picture of its software capabilities, hit up our review of the iPhone 12 Pro.

The iPhone 12 mini in the hand. Image: Ian Ling

Size and form factor

Not an understatement, but this thing is small. It’s smaller than even some of the smaller Sony smartphones, and will surprise you when you pick it up for the first time. Even the diminutive iPhone SE 2020 has a smaller 4.7″ display despite the iPhone 12 mini being more compact in overall size.

Where the larger screens on smartphones on competitors have screen-to-body ratios well past the 90% milestone, the 12 mini is an anomaly, but in the best way.

As a self-professed aficionado of super-sized smartphones, I’ve always gone for “Max”, “Note”, “Pro” and “Ultra” devices. These increasingly bezel-less designs over the last few years have made larger screens more immersive and appealing indeed.

I’ve got tiny hands, and the iPhone 12 mini still feels small. Image: Ian Ling

So despite my initial apathy toward the iPhone 12 mini, everything changed once I got to feel it in my hands. True – at 5.4 inches, the display of the iPhone 12 mini is still in squint territory, but the increased resolution of the the OLED display means it’s mostly resolved by holding the phone up closer to my face.

The smaller screen also meant slightly more issues with touch accuracy, but the more stable grip afforded by the flat edges and more compact form factor largely resolved that too. The large-ish notch does mean there are fewer notification icons displayed than on the other iPhones, too.

Price, storage and colours

Befitting the tumultuous year, Blue is the colour for iPhones this 2020. While the “Pro” iPhones are offered in Pacific Blue, the blue of the regular iPhone 12 models leans slightly to lapis lazuli – a semi-precious stone famed for its use in ancient Egyptian amulets.

(From back to front) The iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. Image: Ian Ling

Those with a more minimalist streak might prefer the standard black or white options, while it’s still available in 2019’s pastel green and also in an all-new decidedly coral PRODUCT(RED) option.

The mini does cost up to S$500 less than its Pro equivalents, but you might consider shelling out for if you require more than the 256GB of storage it tops out at – I would.

Should you get the iPhone 12 mini?

Image: Ian Ling

Available in three different sizes, the size of this year’s iPhones are noticeably more extreme than that of previous years – both smaller and larger. Whether you’re a self-professed “small phone” or “large phone” person, any prospective iPhone buyer should head down to a store to check out the new sizes in person this 2020.

That said, the mini is perhaps the most surprising phone of 2020 – one I and many others didn’t expect to be such breath of fresh air. While I very much prefer my larger phones, the iPhone 12 mini was indeed a very tempting choice.

Those who use their iPhones as primary media consumption devices might get better utility from a larger phone – larger screens aside, it also means your thumbs obscure less of the screen when gaming in landscape. But if you’ve got an extra iPad or ereader in addition to a laptop or perhaps a desktop, the iPhone 12 mini might be just up your alley.


Ian Ling
http://uncommontragedy.com
Ian is the resident Tech Monkey and Head of Content at VR Zone. His training in Economics and Political Science is at the basis of his love for journalism and storytelling. A photographer by passion, and an audiophile by obsession, Ian is captivated by all forms of tech that makes enthusiasts tick.

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