iPhone 12 mini Review Roundup: Small, Powerful but Doesn’t Last Long

BY Mahit Huilgol

Published 9 Nov 2020

Last month, Apple unveiled the new iPhone 12 series. The iPhone 12 mini is an exciting device packing in a relatively large display without an increase in footprint. Now the first set of iPhone 12 mini reviews are out as the device went on sale. Let us take a closer look at what major publications have to say about the iPhone 12 mini.

The Verge

After many years Apple is once again making small phones. Earlier this year, Apple launched the iPhone SE, and now the iPhone 12 mini.

For the first time in many years, Apple is making an intentionally small phone. The key, though, is that unlike other small phones, Apple isn’t putting worse parts in it. The iPhone 12 mini has all the same features as the larger iPhone 12. It has the same cameras, same processor, same everything save for two things: screen size and battery life.

According to the reviewers, you won’t “miss out” on much on iPhone 12 mini owing to the smaller display. Unlike its Android counterparts, the iPhone 12 mini miss out on a higher refresh rate, which might be of concern to the gamers.

Despite the smaller screen size, you don’t miss out on as much as you might expect. Compared to the regular iPhone 12 with a 6.1-inch screen, there are maybe one or two lines of text that are cut off. What you actually miss out on is that sense of immersion you can get from a bigger screen when you’re playing a game or watching a movie. Those were the only times this screen felt cramped.

If there is a knock on the screen, it’s that it doesn’t offer a high refresh rate like many Android phones — including the Pixel 5, which isn’t too far off from the iPhone 12 mini’s size.

Both the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini share the camera unit.

The iPhone 12 mini has the exact same camera setup as the regular iPhone 12. There’s the 12-megapixel main wide-angle camera with a f/1.6 aperture for letting in more light paired with a somewhat worse 12-megapixel ultrawide camera. Unlike the Pro models, there’s no telephoto lens nor a LIDAR sensor.

I am happy to report that the results are just like the specs: the same. The iPhone 12 mini reverts to Night mode less often than even the iPhone 11 Pro and the Pixel 5.

The reviewers point out how the selfie camera could have been better.

Next year, though, I hope Apple pays a little more attention to the secondary camera sensors. The selfie camera is fine, but it’s increasingly disappointing compared to the advances on the main camera.”

➤ Read


Despite the smaller display typing experience on iPhone 12 mini is the same as that on iPhone 12.

Though my larger hands do feel a bit more comfortable on the iPhone 12, I am happy to report that the typing experience on the iPhone 12 mini is far superior to the 4.0” first generation SE. It even gets a leg up on the 4.7” iPhone SE introduced earlier this year because the screen is the same width but taller — letting it pull of the Tardis trick of being smaller with a bigger screen.

Thanks to the A14 Bionic there is no performance trade-off.

And don’t think you miss out on anything performance related when you go to the mini. While it appears that either heat management, scaling or power management in general has made Apple tweak the processor ever so slightly, the benchmarks are close enough to make it a wash. There is zero chance you ever see any real-world difference between the iPhone 12 mini and any other iPhone 12.

Pro users may face an issue with Safari tabs in the background

iPhone 12 mini has 4GB of RAM, same as the iPhone 12. The iPhone Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max have 6GB. The biggest real world effect of RAM that I have found on iPhone is less dumping of Safari tabs in the background so if you’re a pro browser take that into account.

Some might miss the telephoto lens on the main camera unit.

The iPhone 12 mini is basically identical in the photography department to the iPhone 12. You lose nothing, it’s a great camera. Nothing much to see there though so I’m not spending any time on it. You will have a world class phone camera, just no telephoto.”

➤ Read


iPhone 12 mini scores brownie points in the performance department.

The iPhone 12 mini is, by far, the most powerful small phone I’ve tested in years.  I should note, though, that like the standard iPhone 12, the mini packs 4GB of RAM; for comparison, the 12 Pro comes with 6GB. I haven’t noticed a significant difference in day-to-day performance, but that extra memory should give the Pros an edge when you’re jumping between multiple apps.

Engadget is not happy with iPhone 12 mini battery backup. During the review, the iPhone 12 mini battery drained quickly when used as a daily driver.

There were even a few moments when I considered going all-in on the iPhone 12 mini as my daily driver — until I started seeing how quickly the battery drains. As I said earlier, there are ways to manage that issue, but that can be a big — and unwelcome — ask for some people.”

The iPhone 12 mini-review concludes as following,

“At a time where we’re spending more time at home surrounded by big screens, and people are more sensitive to price, a small but powerful iPhone could be just the ticket. After living with one for a week, though, I’m torn. Though I love the iPhone 12 mini, I would never buy one for myself and wouldn’t recommend it to most people.”

➤ Read

Check out some iPhone 12 mini review and unboxing videos below as well.