With cutting-edge technology comes the need to have a wider, clearer resolution and screen. Disappearing bezels and the absence of buttons have successfully paved the way for a more panoramic display. However, in the tug-of-war between having a phone that fits snugly in your hand and a phone that's large enough for your crystal-clear display, there's always a tough decision to make.
Apple launched its iPhone 12 series in October, and the lineup was decided pretty much after keeping everyone in mind. While the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max promise you a 6.7-inch display (the largest ever, so far), there's also an alternative of the iPhone 12 and 12 Mini, that lends you a wide spectrum of features within its stipulated price bracket.
First look & features
At a glance, it is sure to remind you of the iPhone SE. With its matte-finished edges and glass back, the phone resembles the iPhone 12, of course, only smaller! Starting at Rs 69,900, the phone is essentially a window to those who desire the experience of the iPhone 12 without spending a fortune.
The ceramic shield on the glass back as well as front is Apple's newest offering for this series, and while it may seem dainty to look at, it can take on scratches and dents like a pro. It also has a dual-camera setup on the back, that we were most keen to try out! On the whole, the Mini looks chic and promising in its first glimpse and does not hold back on the design. Yet, those who who have sizable hands, be prepared to make some typing mistakes!
Decoding the display
You have your rounded corners and a 5.42-inch screen with OLED display. When compared with the iPhone 12, which has a 6.1‑inch screen, it looks and provides a pixel resolution of 2340x1080, which is barely a variation. If that doesn't cut it for you, it is also the lightest iPhone Apple has designed so far. With the features it packs in (along with being 5G ready), it is quite an impressive feat to achieve in a phone as tiny and sleek as it is.
The OLED display gives you an edge by lending your pictures a saturated finish. And when compared to the phone that is closest to its design, the iPhone SE, you will get a little more display... courtesy: the lack of bezels! So yes, the iPhone 12 Mini can read more lines than the iPhone SE, and we're not complaining.
The camera factor
Perhaps the essence of every iPhone -- the camera! If you have the heart (and funds) to purchase an iPhone 12, you may want to ask yourself, "Will the camera quality be any different?" To that, we'll say: No, not really. If the camera is your ultimate deciding factor between the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Mini, we'd still recommend going for the Mini.
In your dual-cam setup, you will find 12-megapixel regular as well as ultrawide cameras on the back, and a 12-megapixel selfie camera on the front. Both these phones can produce similar results with their camera. If that's not all, you get the stunning night vision, as promised, and you can still record your videos in 4K, at up to 60fps.
Like its successors, you get your Natural, Studio, Contour, Stage, Stage Mono, High‑Key Mono options in the portrait mode. However, if supreme camera quality is what you seek, the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max come equipped with the LiDAR sensor -- allowing you a more refined focus compared to both the iPhone 12 and Mini.
The battle of battery
The infamous iPhone battery debate closes with the iPhone 12 series because of a major upgrade in that sector for all the devices. iPhone Mini takes a leap with fast charging and up to 15 hours of video playback and 50 hours of audio playback. You will find these numbers compromised, of course, if you are connected to both -- your WiFi and Bluetooth. We didn't find the battery draining as quickly on video, as it did on audio. There's a definite slowdown and drain once you've used up to six to eight apps on your phone.
As every device in this series, the iPhone 12 Mini is MagSafe compatible, and you can use the MagSafe wireless charging for up to 15W. As impressive as that is, we still preferred using the regular lightning to USB C cable, since we found the MagSafe to be not only slow but is also fast-draining.
The verdict: So, what's different?
Not much when you directly compare it with its successor, but that's what makes the iPhone 12 Mini a viable purchase. And while you will find some marginal differences (read: resolution, battery life), there's still a very strong reason to invest in this device if you're looking for the iOS experience of the year. When compared alongside its Android variants, the iPhone Mini falls in the category of One Plus 8 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus and Asus ROG Phone 3. While most of the key specs remain the same, if the screen size bothers you, the other devices in this range offer the same in a diminished price range. But if what you're looking for is an upgrade or an iPhone experience, the Mini is a great starter phone that you can unflinchingly go for.
iPhone 12 Mini key specs:
Display: 5.4 inches
Camera: 12 MP + 12 MP + 12 MP
Processor: Apple A13 Bionic
Sensor: Light sensor, Proximity sensor, Accelerometer, Barometer, Compass, Gyroscope
Battery: 2,227 mAh
Colours: Black, Blue, Green, Red, White
Bluetooth enabled: v 5.00
Price: INR 69,900 for the 64GB storage variant
INR 74,900 for the 128GB variant
INR 84,900 for the 256GB variant