Apple iPhone 12 mini review: Appreciate the little things in life

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The iPhone 12 series comes in four models: the iPhone 12, the 12 Pro, the Pro Max, and this, the iPhone 12 mini. With all models making a nostalgic return to the iPhone 4’s squarer design and all offering a similar hardware loadout, the physical size is one of the main differentiating factors between the four variants. 

  • From mini to Max: Which iPhone 12 should you buy?

The iPhone 12 mini is the smallest and the first compact Apple device to feature an all-screen front (unlike the also small iPhone SE). With most smartphones having gone down the “bigger is better” route for a long time now, is it time to do a U-turn?

It might be mini by name, but the iPhone 12 mini is mighty by nature. It’s the device that will make you appreciate the little things in life.

Design

  • Finishes: Black, White, Blue, Green, (Product)Red
  • Dimensions: 131.5 x 64.2 x 7.4mm / Weight: 135g
  • IP68 water- and dust-resistant

The Apple iPhone 12 mini has an identical design to the larger iPhone 12 – just in a smaller and more compact format. It’s cute – very cute in fact – and exceptionally light too, making it a genuine delight to use day-to-day, especially one-handed. We didn’t realise how much we missed a smaller device until now.

The flat edges of the aluminium frame offer a refreshing change to the rounded edges we have seen from Apple since the iPhone 6 and they are more comfortable and secure in the hand too. They say fashion always comes back around, and in the iPhone 12 mini’s case, it’s the iPhone 5’s design that’s making a comeback – but with some great changes and far more exciting colour options.

Like the larger iPhone 12, the iPhone 12 mini has a glass back that sits flush with the frame (as does the front) and absolutely loves a fingerprint smudge, like most phones do these days. There’s a dual rear camera in the top left corner – again like the iPhone 12 and 2019’s iPhone 11 – and those prominent lenses sit within a square camera housing that has a matte finish compared to the glossy finish of the rest of the rear.

Apple iPhone 12 mini review: Small and mighty

Beneath the glossy surface – and invisible to the eye – are the MagSafe magnets. These are present on all the iPhone 12 models, and there are some great accessories that make use of them. We’ve tried out the Leather Wallet and MagSafe charger, both of which reassuringly snap securely onto the back of the iPhone 12 mini. You have to pull the charger off so it’s a different experience to simply lifting your device off a Qi wireless charging mats or dock, but we like it.

The 12 mini’s front is all display and this is where its lovely compact design really comes into its own – and why you’ll fall in love with it. The large notch at the top that incorporates Face ID is more obvious on the 12 mini compared to the iPhone 12 because of its size, but place the 12 mini next to the iPhone SE (2020) or an older model like the iPhone 7 and it will instantly win you over.

Display

  • 5.4-inch, Super Retina XDR, 1200nits, 60Hz
  • 2340 x 1080 pixel resolution (476ppi)
  • HDR, True Tone, Haptic Touch

Despite the Apple iPhone 12 mini being smaller in footprint than the likes of the iPhone SE (2020) and iPhone 7 and 8, it offers a larger display – and that’s the real beauty of this device. You don’t have to sacrifice display real-estate for a phone that fits (easily) into your pocket.

 

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