The iPhone 12 marks the biggest change in Apple’s smartphone lineup since the iPhone X in 2017. Particularly this “mini” format which appears to be a skillful remix of good iPhone tracks with a compact design. Here is our take on the iPhone 12 mini. This test completes that of the iPhone 12 which is already available on Hugtechs.
In recent years, smartphones have led us to believe that “bigger is better”: bigger screens, bigger batteries and higher prices. Fortunately, in the case of the new iPhone 12 mini, this is no longer entirely true.
When the iPhone SE 2020 came out, I was one of those who was frankly interested in having a powerful and compact smartphone. But losing Face ID and … Look at its massive screen borders. It just wasn’t possible in 2020. It was impossible to get your hands on a high-end compact smartphone, even from Android. Since the Galaxy S10e … there was no solution. It was the quest for the holy grail, even Sony abandoned its Xperia Compact line.
And here is the iPhone 12 mini, in an iPhone lineup that has never been wider. Four iPhone 12 with three screen sizes. The iPhone 12 mini with its 5.4-inch Super Retina XDR display is the smallest. After our test of the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro, here is the test of the smallest of the four.
The iPhone 12 Mini Data Sheet:
|Model||Apple iPhone 12 mini|
|OS Version||iOS 14|
|Screen Size||5.4 Inch|
|Definition||2340 x 1080 pixels|
|Pixel density||476 PPP|
|Graphics Chip (GPU)||Apple GPU|
|Internal memory (flash)||128 GB, 64 GB, 256 GB|
|Camera (back)||Sensor 1: 12 Mp
Sensor 2: 12 Mp
|Camera (front)||12 Mp|
|Video recording||4K@60 IPS|
|Wi-Fi||Wi-Fi 6 (ax)|
|Supported bands||2100 MHz (B1), 800 MHz (B20), 1800 MHz (B3), 2600 MHz (B7), 700 MHz (B28)|
|Dimensions||64.2 x 131.5 x 7.4mm|
|Colors||Black, White, Red, Bleu, Green|
A Very Practical Compact Format :
You might think you’ve seen this device before, but trust me: until you’ve held the new iPhone 12 mini, you really haven’t seen it at all. While the phone’s basic design mimics the look of the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro, its size and weight make it a whole different device.
It retains the look, with its rounded corners, glass-covered front, and metal band around the edges of the device. You will also immediately feel how little it weighs. The iPhone 12 mini is extremely light in the hand, weighing just 134 grams (162 grams for the iPhone 12 and 187 grams for the iPhone 12 Pro). This results in a device that hardly feels heavy enough when you first pick it up – in fact, when I first handled it, it almost fell to the ground.
The advantages of a small phone are obvious. It’s easier to use with one hand. It’s more compact, which is ideal in the pocket of jeans. A smaller handset makes you feel like you’re in control of your phone, not the other way around. But it’s also less immersive for watching videos, playing games, and reading. A smaller smartphone also means a smaller battery. We will come back to this later.
But if you had to at least remember something, it’s that it’s really a more practical format. You access the entire screen with your thumb, with just one hand, including the leftmost icon of the interface. It makes you feel less awkward and it’s downright fun. Even square slices go better, and less sharp in the hand. Take the time to try it in-store, it seems important to me.
In my opinion, this is my favorite format. Note, however, that the experience is less immersive for viewing content, and if your eyesight is poor, also note that everything looks smaller on this screen. From my point of view, it pairs very well with a tablet or ultra-book to form an effective team on a daily basis, even on the go.
An Always OLED Screen:
The iPhone 12 mini uses a 5.4-inch (diagonal) OLED display in 2340 x 1080 pixel resolution at 476 PPI. This is what Apple calls Super Retina XDR. It’s a very similar screen to the iPhone 12, it’s also the first time that Apple has used OLED on anything other than its Pro line. At first glance, this screen seems the same as the one fitted to the Pro, but note that the brightness is less important (605 cd/m² against 840 cd/m²).
We invite you to dive into the iPhone 12 test where you will find all the values that our probe has collected. Overall, it’s a very good display that only suffers when compared to Android smartphone screens that go beyond 60Hz. Apple only offers a dynamic 120Hz ProMotion display on the iPad Pro for the moment…
iOS 14 For Software:
iOS 14.2 (software version when tested) is all you would expect. Clean, simple, quick, and easy to understand. Frankly, it’s a pleasure to set up and use. But it’s crucial to stress that the iOS version gap is extremely narrow. Apple makes minor tweaks, tweaks, and stylistic tweaks, without reinventing what the operating system does or how it does.
Overall, however, it’s still the same iOS you’ve come to know, even on a smaller screen. We like it or we don’t. Some functions are infuriating or poorly thought out, for others, I want to cry genius.
The settings in general are a mess that reminds me of my desktop – I swear, it’s wonderful when you first set up the phone, “Everything is in one place,” then when looking to change the setting. ‘an app… “But everything is in one place…? “.
The A14 Bionic Ultra Performance:
Even though the iPhone 12 mini has smaller speakers, a smaller screen, and a smaller Taptic Engine (according to iFixit) … it doesn’t have a smaller chip. Its SoC is an Apple A14 Bionic, like the iPhone 12 and the 12 Pro. It has just a little less RAM (4 GB instead of 6) than the Pro variants. In use, it’s an extremely fast and responsive smartphone.
|Model||Apple iPhone 12 mini||Apple iPhone 12 Pro|
|3DMark Slingshot Extreme||5289||5433|
|3DMark Slingshot Extreme Graphics||6543||6958|
|3DMark Slingshot Extreme Physics||3165||3074|
|3DMark Wild Life||6635||6744|
|3DMark Wild Life framerate moyen||39 FPS||40 FPS|
|GFXBench Aztec Vulkan/Metal high (onscreen/offscreen)||60 / 83 FPS||47 / 20 FPS|
|GFXBench Car Chase (onscreen/offscreen)||53 / 65 FPS||52 / 71 FPS|
|GFXBench Manhattan 3.0 (onscreen/offscreen)||60 / 154 FPS||N/C|
As always, the above benchmarks are not only a representation of hardware capabilities, but also software optimizations of a phone. Overall, the performance of the iPhone 12 mini is excellent, as usual with Apple. Having said that, however, I can’t really say that I notice too many differences from the iPhone 11 Pro in everyday use. The impact will be greater compared to older smartphones.
64 GB of internal storage on the cheapest version … that’s very little. Between apps, games, photos, and videos, it seems way too limited. There are $ 200 Android smartphones with 128 GB of storage. In short, prefer at least 128 GB, knowing that you can go up to 256 GB.
Photo And Video:
The iPhone 12 mini is equipped with the same configuration as the iPhone 12, namely: a 12-megapixel (f/1.6) wide-angle (26mm equivalent) main rear camera accompanied by an ultra-large camera-angle (13 mm equivalent) 12 megapixels (f/2.4). We lose the telephoto lens of the Pro. Up front, it’s a 12-megapixel (f/2.2) camera built into the Face ID module for facial recognition (which still works just as well, even in the dark).
Regarding the main camera, we see quite a different exposure between the 11 Pro and the 12 mini. I have the impression that the color reproduction of the 12 mini has improved slightly, much more warmth, but it depends on the situation. In the portrait mode photo, which you will find below, the colors are warmer on the iPhone 11 Pro … but this is an exception (which confirms the rule) when we compare the ten pictures that we took.
The improvements to HDR can be noticed again here, as the 12 mini does better at tree leaves as well as the white tent – accurately representing its details while the 11 Pro shows a whiter appearance. Again, there is very little difference in the details between the two devices. The 12 mini does a little better in low light. You can see it in this photo taken in very low light.
After that, there is no miracle either. The phone cannot bring out details in areas where the sensor simply cannot see anything, especially scenes with very bright objects requiring a wider dynamic range.
We quickly noticed the absence of the telephoto lens, the iPhone 12 mini will not have any clean results beyond x2 in digital zoom. We pushed the zoom to x5.
Portrait mode is present, but you only have one portrait mode compared to the iPhone 11 Pro and 12 Pro. Since we don’t have a telephoto lens, we lose the most interesting portrait mode in my opinion. This x2 portrait mode corresponds to a 50mm equivalent of an SLR camera, a perfect lens for taking portraits.
You will still have fun with the portrait mode on the iPhone 12 mini which seems to work much better than on the iPhone 11 Pro, in cutting shapes, but also with the more progressive simulation.
Note especially that in this new generation of iPhone, it is not the iPhone 12 mini that benefits from major improvements, apart from the new optics compared to the iPhone 11 Pro. The iPhone 12 Pro Max is actually different from the rest of the lineup. First, it has a slightly different telephoto module with a longer focal length, equivalent to 65mm. Above all, it has a new sensor for the main camera with a gimbal stabilization system (the whole sensor moves), while we have classic optical stabilization (OIS) on the iPhone 12 mini.
Who says smaller size says… smaller speakers. According to iFixit, it does. The speakers are more compact overall. There is no magic, to be as powerful as other iPhones’ speakers, so you have to spit out the watts. We compared the iPhone 12 mini and an iPhone 12 Pro, both offer stereo sound, and the sound level is basically the same. The difference is that when you turn the volume up … the iPhone 12 mini has a bit of trouble breathing and the sound becomes much less precise. Nevertheless, they are still very good speakers for occasional use of course.
Autonomy And Charge:
Battery life was a big concern when I bought the iPhone 12 mini. With 5G (which I could not test) and this small weight, I feared that the 12 mini would suffer the same fate as my Pixel 3 and my Pixel 4. That is to say, cuts in the middle. day and this need to have constant access to a charger or an external battery.
iFixit took the iPhone 12 mini apart and estimated the battery capacity to be 8.57 W. For comparison, the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro have a battery capacity of around 10.78 W.
After a few days, for a typical day’s mixed-use, the iPhone 12 mini does well. But there is nothing too much. On the battery screen in Settings, there is a lot of interesting data about battery life. We can observe the autonomy over the last 10 days with the percentage of battery use, but also the activity (screen on/screen off). Typically, the iPhone 11 Pro is 65% on average over a day, given that the comparison model is 1 year old, while the iPhone 12 mini is at 75%.
In short, we know the weak point of the iPhone 12 mini is its battery. If you have well-charged days away from a charger or backup battery, remember that this isn’t the best in this category. Head for the iPhone 12, 12 Pro, or even 12 Pro Max which offers the most battery life. On Android too, there are champions of autonomy. It is up to you to choose the criteria that seem essential to you when it comes to buying a smartphone.
Also, note that the iPhone 12 mini is “MagSafe” compatible. It is a circular magnetic component associated with wireless charging. Combined with a MagSafe accessory, it will now be able to lock onto the phone thanks to the magnets, allowing perfect alignment for operational wireless charging. There are going to be a whole bunch of compatible accessories (more or less useful).
Personally, the first Apple accessories do not pay homage to this function, so we will have to wait for the accessories manufacturers to release new products. This MagSafe is still of immediate interest: it offers wireless charging a bit faster, and we approach 15 Watts (7.5 Watts with a conventional Qi charger). Since I mostly charge my smartphone with wireless chargers … this is clearly welcome.
If you plug the iPhone 12 mini into a 20 Watt USB-C charger, it will take you 1 hour and 15 minutes to fully charge. I saw a 60% charge in 30 minutes. That’s good for an iPhone, but high-end Android smartphones are now capable of prowess in this area.
5G Compatible :
The iPhone 12 mini was among the first 5 G-compatible iPhones. To put it simply, this is the first sentence of the launch of 5G which will allow us to expect better speeds (with better latency) than 4G but far from the promises of 5G with millimeter bands. Remember that this iPhone 12 mini is aimed to support the development of 5G for several years in France, this is the main thing. Unfortunately, I have not yet had the opportunity to test 5G which will launch in a few days.
The 12 mini is dual SIM, with eSIM support and the presence of a nano-SIM slot. The eSIM, still not widely used on Android smartphones, is a dematerialized SIM. To give you a concrete example, the internet subscription to a mobile plan allowed me to activate my line just 3 hours from home, by scanning a QR code and entering a password only.
Regarding 4G reception (MIMO 4×4 and LAA), the iPhone 12 mini does not seem to have any problems despite its small size. It is compatible with all frequency bands used in Europe, even the 700 MHz that is found a lot on Free Mobile.
It supports Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), like the previous generation of iPhones. It is also Bluetooth 5.0 compatible. From this point of view, no problem, I have paired AirPods Pro, a Bose QC35 II headset, and an Xbox controller. It is also NFC and incorporates an Ultra Wideband (UWB) chip. Finally, note that this is one of the rare smartphones to be compatible with so many geolocation systems (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, and BeiDou).