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First impressions of the iPhone 12 mini have now been shared by select media outlets and YouTubers, providing a closer look at Apple's small form factor smartphone. Reviewers praised the ‌iPhone‌ 12 mini's size and full feature set, but were disappointed about the device's battery life.

the-verge-iphone-12-mini.jpg

Photo via The Verge
Size

The Verge's Dieter Bohn believes that surprisingly little is lost on the iPhone 12 mini's smaller display:

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.

TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino similarly noticed that the display size felt surprisingly similar to that of the iPhone 11:

If you look at this and an iPhone 11, because of the way that the screen is rendered, you’re going to see pretty much the same amount of content.

He also experienced an improved typing experience on the smaller device compared to a number of older models:

I am happy to report that the typing experience on the iPhone 12 mini is far superior to the 4.0-inch first generation SE. It even gets a leg up on the 4.7-inch iPhone SE introduced earlier this year because the screen is the same width but taller... This additional size, especially for the spacebar, improves the typing experience measurably. The key spacing is a bit less generous than the iPhone 12, but this is a workable situation for typing.

Bohn noted the iPhone 12 mini's smaller size leads to significantly better ergonomics:

Because it's a bit narrower, it's easier to reach the opposite side of the screen with your thumb. Because it's a bit shorter, a lot of people will be able to reach the top for the swipe-down gestures without contorting their hands into awkward claws or risking dropping the phone.

Performance

In benchmarks, Panzarino found that the iPhone 12 mini's A14 Bionic processor underperformed slightly compared to other iPhone 12 models, but it was close enough to not be noticeable:

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.

Battery Life

Engadget's Chris Velazco was highly critical of the iPhone 12 mini's battery life:

While the mini offers the same great performance as the larger model, its battery life leaves much to be desired... Sure enough, on my first day of using the 12 mini as my daily driver, I pulled it off the charger at 8AM and it was on its last legs by 4PM.

By contrast, Panzarino had a surprisingly positive experience of the iPhone 12 mini's battery life compared to the larger iPhone 12:

Apple says that the iPhone 12 mini’s battery life is better than the 4.7” iPhone SE and that bore out in my testing. I got through a day easily, with maybe a few percentage points difference between the iPhone 12 mini and the iPhone 12.

Bohn found battery life to be a key limitation of the device, but remarked that it was a variable experience that could be improved by a more diligent approach:

The battery life on the iPhone 12 mini is noticeably worse than on the iPhone 12, which itself was a step down from the battery-champ iPhone 11. For me, it's good enough, but it does mean I'm already using it differently than I use bigger phones.

Without making any effort at it, I have consistently drained the iPhone 12 mini’s battery by early evening... So it's not bad, but it's definitely not great. My feeling after a little less than a week is that getting through a day requires a little bit of battery management. Holding yourself back from putting an hour into an Apple Arcade game, knowing where your next opportunity to charge might be, and above all being more willing to turn on the low power mode.

Value for Money

Velazco expressed some concern over the price of the iPhone 12 mini when compared to the iPhones of previous years:

Another reason I can't fully get on board with this thing is that it sits in a strange place in Apple's iPhone lineup. At $699, this is the cheapest version of the iPhone 12 the company makes, but last year you could get a phone with a bigger screen and much better battery life for the same price.

Framed as a budgeting decision, this is the most accessible of Apple's newest iPhones, but that doesn't mean it's going to make sense for most people. And despite the 12 mini's improved performance and better screen, I'd still probably recommend that shoppers who don't want to drop $800-plus on a phone consider last year's iPhone 11 instead.

On the other hand, Panzarino believes that the iPhone 12 mini offers excellent value for money:

The iPhone mini is by far the best value per dollar in Apple's 2020 lineup. With this you get all of the power and advances of the iPhone 12, everything but the telephoto camera (and 60fps/4k video) of the iPhone 12 Pro and everything but the new sensor in the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Those additions will cost you anywhere from $300-$400 more over the life of your device if you choose to step up.

More Reviews


For early unboxings and first impressions, check out our summary, which compiles over a dozen of the latest videos reviews.

‌The ‌iPhone‌ 12 mini is now available to pre-order in the United States and numerous other countries, with deliveries to customers and in-store availability beginning Friday, November 13.

Article Link: iPhone 12 Mini Reviews: The Best Small Smartphone but Battery Life 'Leaves Much to Be Desired'
 

Cosmosent

macrumors 68020
Apr 20, 2016
2,038
2,349
La Jolla, CA
Battery Life is the ONLY thing I think it has going against it.

But, it can be a Show Shopper to many.

It's the ONLY thing that gives me pause.


Also, question to the Group:

It is my understanding that the ONLY image sensor that got updated this year is the Ultra Wide in the 12 Pro Max.

Is this correct ?
 
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fuchsdh

macrumors 68000
Jun 19, 2014
1,751
1,114
It sucks that there's very few reviewers actually doing 1:1 comparing of battery life. I don't know how you use your phone, so benchmarking the phones against similar tasks (Wi-Fi browsing, games, etc.) is the only useful way for me to see what's actually going on.

I do think it was a mistake not to make the mini slightly thicker than its cousins (something like 0.31 or 0.32 inches in depth instead of the same 0.29, since as we've seen with other recent Apple products a fairly negligible increase in depth can yield some disproportionate battery gains) but we'll see how the market reacts. I'm hopeful this phone size sticks around when I'm ready to upgrade.
 

calzon65

macrumors 6502a
Jul 16, 2008
942
3,559
Apple's done an amazing job incorporating so much technology into a small space, but in its quest for slimness, I think they need to emphasize more importance on battery life. These "phones" have grown way beyond just making/receiving calls. So a tiny bit thicker for more battery performance would be a good compromise, maybe simply as thick as the camera bump.
 

YoitsTmac

macrumors member
Aug 30, 2014
90
226
2 hours longer battery life than iPhone X and iPhone SE 2. Please. Get some perspective.
According to who? Apple only lists “video playback” which is overall vague.

I’ve been reading reviews all morning and battery life is my largest concern that seems to be so user dependent. This is the size I want, but the 6.1 has the battery I need. A MagSafe battery pack could save this for daily driving
 

phenste

macrumors regular
Sep 16, 2012
208
683
God what a beautiful phone. Apple’s been wanting so bad to make a X-style phone of this size since the beginning, for sure.

2 hours longer battery life than iPhone X and iPhone SE 2. Please. Get some perspective.

And this is why they had to wait! People got accustomed to huge phones with huge batteries, and the battery life that comes along with them. It’s like how the use case for mobile data changed so sharply with the advent of 3G and (especially) LTE—nobody would DREAM of streaming a YT video on 2G, let alone one above like…360p. Similarly, you can’t expect to get the same all-day battery life out of a phone like this when you’re gaming, making FT calls, streaming HD content…

Being someone who buys the Max, and loves the no-questions all-day battery, I get the frustration. But I also owned the original X—and, relative to that, this thing has some impressive battery life.
 

menist

macrumors 6502
Jun 10, 2010
465
323
California
Battery was suspected with the leaked specs. Nice to see this form factor, hope next years we get bigger batteries.
 

jprmercado

macrumors regular
Jun 12, 2012
162
469
I've been deciding between the 12 Pro and the Mini, and one of the things I "lose" if I get the Mini instead of the Pro would be better battery life and the telephoto lens.

But I don't think the battery life would be much of a problem to me. I almost always carry a powerbank anyway.

I'm coming from a XS whose 2,659 mAh battery is now at 83% capacity. Doing the math, 83% of 2,659 is 2,206.97, which is slightly lower than the Mini's out-of-the-box capacity of 2,227 mAh. [I don't know if comparing batteries works this way, but yeah. 😅] Given that, all other things being equal, I think I'll manage.
 

ajfahey

macrumors 6502
Jun 28, 2001
477
600
Moorpark, CA
All iPhones have insufficient battery capacity. There are there 2 basic solutions for it. The customer can buy a battery case to extend operation or Apple can increase battery capacity in their designs. Apple might also modify their OS to allow a user to selectively throttle processor performance in order to reduce the phone’s demand for power.
 

thejadedmonkey

macrumors G3
May 28, 2005
8,709
2,134
Pennsylvania
It sucks that there's very few reviewers actually doing 1:1 comparing of battery life. I don't know how you use your phone, so benchmarking the phones against similar tasks (Wi-Fi browsing, games, etc.) is the only useful way for me to see what's actually going on.
Tell me about it. I don't game much. I used an original SE and thought that the battery life was great. I'm currently stuck using an X, and while I hate the phone in general, the battery life is more than tolerable. 2 hours more than what I get now would be amazing.
 

Maconplasma

Cancelled
Sep 15, 2020
2,489
2,206
It sucks that there's very few reviewers actually doing 1:1 comparing of battery life.
It's really a lot harder to do such comparisons than you may think. That would require the reviewer to have fully charged phones and run the exact same apps until the battery drops. During this time they have to also make sure the screens are not an automatic brightness, and there are various other factors that affect battery life. It's not worth a reviewers time. Who's getting the benefit of doing that? You, not them.
 

Spock

macrumors 68020
Jan 6, 2002
2,497
3,410
Vulcan
I have been torn between this and the 12 Pro Max, kind of one extreme to the other.
 

chewbaka

macrumors regular
Jun 2, 2014
107
262
I don’t think phone gamers are the target audience for the mini. I just want to communicate and navigate without having to carry a phablet in my pocket. Going to replace my 6s which has served me well for these purposes with a 12 mini.
 

JM

macrumors 68000
Nov 23, 2014
1,791
2,335
Corrrrrrrrrect

"Another reason I can't fully get on board with this thing is that it sits in a strange place in Apple's ‌iPhone‌ lineup. At $699, this is the cheapest version of the ‌iPhone 12‌ the company makes, but last year you could get a phone with a bigger screen and much better battery life for the same price."
 

ascender

macrumors 601
Dec 8, 2005
4,126
2,028
All sounds very promising then and pretty much what I'd hoped-for. Its really difficult to compare battery life without knowing someone's typical daily usage, but I'd guess those of us buying the Mini aren't wanting a device to watch movies with, play the latest games or even use as their main device.

Also, pandemic working aside, charging is so much more convenient in today's world of wireless chargers, USB ports everywhere, CarPlay etc.
 
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