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The iPhone 12 Mini is the small cellphone we needed

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From left to proper: The iPhone 12 Mini, the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Professional Max.

Patrick Holland/CNET

In 2020, telephones are massive. Even the small ones are massive. The iPhone 12 Mini is great as a result of it is not massive. It is really small. When Apple introduced the Mini together with the iPhone 12, 12 Professional and 12 Professional Max it was a exceptional second for small cellphone lovers like myself. For a very long time, we have needed Apple to make a very small iPhone within the vein of the iPhone 5, 5S or authentic SE. Earlier this 12 months, Apple obtained our hopes up a bit, when it launched a brand new iPhone SE which put the brains of the iPhone 11 Professional into the smallish physique of the iPhone 8. It is a strong cellphone for the value, nevertheless it’s tucked inside a three-year-old design. 

Clearly whenever you make something smaller, there are going to be trade-offs and I braced myself questioning which options Apple sacrificed to make a small cellphone in 2020. However the iPhone 12 Mini has every part the iPhone 12 has — it is simply smaller. It has the identical flat-sided design, assist for 5G and OLED display screen with assist for HDR. The display screen is roofed with Apple’s ceramic defend. The physique has an IP68 score for mud and water resistance and helps MagSafe wi-fi charging and equipment. It has the identical A14 Bionic processor, runs the identical iOS 14 software program and even has the identical cameras. The iPhone 12 and 12 Mini are the identical cellphone. However one is small and one is not.


  • It is really small
  • 5G assist
  • Simple to make use of one-handed
  • Matches in most pockets
  • Similar cameras and every part because the iPhone 12

Do not Like

  • Baseline iPhone 12 Mini solely has 64GB of storage
  • Again glass is a fingerprint magnet
  • Battery life is nice for the dimensions, however simply OK in comparison with the iPhone 12

The iPhone 12 Mini has a 5.4-inch show and prices $729 (£699, AU$1,199) whereas the iPhone 12 has a 6.1-inch display screen and prices $829 (£799, AU$1,349). In the event you activate both cellphone on a provider whenever you purchase it, that value drops $30. Additionally, carriers are operating quite a few offers and reductions on these telephones, particularly for those who commerce in an previous cellphone.

Earlier, I did an in-depth assessment of the iPhone 12. Since this is identical cellphone, all of these criticisms apply. So for this iPhone 12 Mini assessment, I needed to see if the comfort its dimension offers comes on the sacrifice of options I’ve grown accustomed to on bigger telephones, comparable to an all-day battery life. Spoiler alert: It does not and simply earns CNET’s Editors’ Selection.

Now taking part in: Watch this: iPhone 12 Mini assessment: There’s quite a bit to love for a cellphone…


General, the small bodily dimension, the swipe-friendly navigation in iOS 14 and excessive screen-to-body ratio make this compact cellphone practically good… for me. Nevertheless it may not be for you. That small display screen is nice for one-handed use, however you may not discover it nice for studying, or viewing paperwork. There shall be many individuals who discover the keys on the onscreen keyboard too tiny. And that is why there’s the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Professional Max.

Nonetheless, Apple nailed the iPhone 12 Mini. It is a one-handed cellphone person’s dream. And it is good to see Apple go so massive on a cellphone so small.

The iPhone 12 Mini can match into the watch pocket on a pair of denims. Although the highest does stick out.

Patrick Holland/CNET

The iPhone 12 Mini is definitely small

With flat aluminum sides and a shiny glass again, the iPhone 12 Mini seems to be like a premium model of the iPhone 5, which is completely a very good factor. The truth is, it is not a lot larger than an iPhone 5 and it is smaller than the 2020 iPhone SE. The 12 Mini has a a lot larger screen-to-body ratio than the SE, which is nice for watching movies or simply having extra info displayed on display screen, like further dialog threads within the Messages app.

The glass again picks up fingerprint smudges and dirt ridiculously simply. If you are going to put this in a case, it is no biggie. However with out one, you are principally carrying round your individual private CSI: Miami crime scene.

As with the remainder of the iPhone 12 household, you may both love or hate these boxy sides. I feel they’re great, particularly on a cellphone this dimension. The edges give me a safe grip on the cellphone with out even making an attempt. The flat edges additionally imply you may stand the 12 Mini on its aspect to take a photograph or watch a video.

The iPhone 12 Mini is the small cellphone from Apple that many people have been ready for. Right here it’s subsequent to an iPhone 5.

Patrick Holland/CNET

In comparison with the iPhone 12 and 12 Professional, the show seems to be tiny, particularly subsequent to the 6.7-inch display screen on the iPhone 12 Professional Max. For some, that small display screen shall be a purpose to stay with the 12. However for others, like me, the small show is the principle purpose to get the 12 Mini. Utilizing my thumb in a windshield-wiper movement, I can attain each a part of the display screen. It is satisfying. On even a barely bigger cellphone like final 12 months’s iPhone 11 Professional (which has a 5.8-inch display screen and is not that a lot larger) I could not attain each a part of the display screen. And if I attempted reaching the highest, I both needed to pressure my thumb or loosen my grip and inevitably drop my cellphone.

Learn extra: iPhone 12 Mini drop check: Ceramic defend appears indestructible

There is a intelligent software program band help in iOS to help with one-handed use referred to as Reachability. You swipe down on the underside fringe of the display screen and what was on the prime of the show strikes to the center so you may attain it. That mode works nicely however may be tedious when you could have a number of interactions in a row with the highest of the display screen. 

The iPhone 12 Mini’s petite dimension means it has pure reachability. You should utilize iOS Reachability on the iPhone 12 Mini, nonetheless, which is meta.

Now taking part in: Watch this: We unbox the iPhone 12 Mini and dimension it up with the iPhone…


I discovered one-handed typing on the 12 Mini quicker and extra correct than once I typed on a bigger display screen one-handed. Throughout my week with the iPhone 12 Mini, I hardly made any errors typing. My associates who usually obtain a daily stream of typos and corrections in our message threads should have thought I might lastly discovered the best way to sort.

CNET’s Vanessa Hand-Orellana as soon as advised me a cellphone is not really small until it has “pocketability.” The pockets on my garments match most telephones comfortably, however I understand there are numerous folks whose garments haven’t got pockets and once they do, these pockets may be tiny. To check the iPhone 12 Mini, I discovered the smallest pocket in my family, which was the interior pocket on a pair of denims. (Enjoyable reality: It is referred to as a watch pocket.) The iPhone 12 Mini obtained blended outcomes. It fitted into the pocket, however the prime caught out. For the report, I do not know of any mainstream cellphone offered right this moment that may match right into a watch pocket. 

There’s massive digicam energy within the tiny iPhone 12 Mini

Fortunate for us, the 12 Mini’s pocketability does not come on the expense of digicam {hardware}. The truth is, the 12 Mini has the identical large, ultrawide and selfie cameras discovered on the iPhone 12. They seize wonderful images and video and persistently ship terrific photographs. The Mini may even report movies as much as 4K 60 frames per second and as much as 4K 30 fps in Dolby Imaginative and prescient. 

Having all of this digicam energy packaged into such a small machine had a curious consequence: I used it extra. The 12 Mini is rather more inconspicuous than taking a photograph or video with a bigger cellphone just like the iPhone 12 Professional Max.

The iPhone 12 Mini has the identical large, ultra-wide and selfie cameras because the iPhone 12.

Patrick Holland/CNET

It is easy to take images and report movies one-handed. The cellphone nestles between my pinky and index fingers, permitting my thumb to maneuver the iOS digicam app. I appreciated the short settings drawer subsequent to the shutter button. It allowed me to simply regulate publicity, facet ratio and even the size of time for a Evening Mode shot all one-handed.

Take a look at some images I took with the 12 Mini beneath.

This can be a Evening Mode photograph taken handheld with the iPhone 12 Mini.

Patrick Holland/CNET

Discover the way in which the 12 Mini handles all the main points within the wallpaper.

Patrick Holland/CNET

This was taken with the ultrawide-angle digicam on the iPhone 12 Mini. Software program corrects the distortion within the corners with out sacrificing the attitude.

Patrick Holland/CNET

I like how the 12 Mini handles the feel of the wall and retains the colour true to life.

Patrick Holland/CNET

This can be a Evening Mode selfie taken with the iPhone 12 Mini.

Patrick Holland/CNET

The iPhone 12 Mini does a wonderful job of retaining the highlights within the clouds in-check.

Patrick Holland/CNET

Right here is one other Evening Mode photograph captured by the iPhone 12 Mini.

Patrick Holland/CNET

The iPhone 12 Mini is the smallest 5G cellphone

Apple managed to construct the identical 5G antennas from the 12, 12 Professional and 12 Professional Max into the 12 Mini. At the moment, the iPhone 12 Mini is the smallest 5G cellphone you should buy. I examined it in Greenville, South Carolina, on each T-Cellular’s 5G community and Verizon’s Nationwide 5G. The consistency of 5G speeds weren’t constant.

Utilizing the app SpeedTest, the iPhone 12 Mini on T-Cellular recorded obtain speeds between 2.53 and 14.9 megabits per second, whereas on Verizon it obtained between 48.7 and 104Mbps for downloads. For reference, the common obtain velocity within the US on a house broadband connection is 135Mbps.

iPhone 12 Mini seems to be like a premium iPhone 5 and that is a very good factor

See all images

Keep up-to-date on the newest information, evaluations and recommendation on iPhones, iPads, Macs, providers and software program.

A small cellphone means a small battery life — form of

If there’s one consequence of getting a small cellphone, it is battery life. Apple does not share the dimensions of the batteries in its telephones. Nevertheless it’s apparent that the 12 Mini has a smaller battery than the 12 or 12 Professional. You would not count on a two-seat convertible automotive to carry as a lot fuel as an SUV, and the identical applies right here with battery life.

From left to proper: The iPhone SE (2020), the iPhone 12 Mini and the iPhone 12;

Patrick Holland/CNET

In the course of the week I used it, the iPhone 12 Mini obtained good battery life for its dimension. The 12 Mini made it by means of a day of normal use with no drawback. I ran a battery check taking part in a looped video whereas the cellphone was in airplane mode. Apple’s web site states the 12 Mini ought to final 15 hours. In my check it lasted 14 hours, 48 minutes.

The iPhone 12 Mini has the identical A14 processor as of the iPhone 12 household. In use the cellphone was peppy and quick. Animations appeared clean. The digicam opened quick. Enhancing images was straightforward. Gameplay was clean although generally the 12 Mini did get heat after a couple of minutes.

MagSafe for the Mini

Regardless that it is the smallest iPhone you should buy, the 12 Mini is constructed for Apple’s MagSafe wi-fi charging system. Magnets contained in the cellphone and charger nestle them into a really perfect place for essentially the most environment friendly cost. Having MagSafe on a cellphone this small was implausible. I might see shopping for a MagSafe charger and AirPods together with the Mini for an final minimalist cellphone setup.

I did check out Apple’s $129 MagSafe leather-based sleeve, which seems to be actually cool. There’s a little bit window for a fast peek on the time. It even has a wrist strap and a defend pocket to carry just a few bank cards or ID. The leather-based sleeve made the cellphone cumbersome, which I did not like. Although I can undoubtedly envision folks having the leather-based sleeve for his or her cellphone and placing just a few bank cards in it for going out… every time we get to do this once more.

iPhone 12 specs in comparison with iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 Professional and iPhone 12 Professional Max

Apple iPhone 12 Apple iPhone 12 Mini Apple iPhone 12 Professional Apple iPhone 12 Professional Max
Show dimension, decision 6.1-inch OLED; 2,532×1,170 pixels 5.4-inch OLED; 2,340×1,080 pixels 6.1-inch OLED; 2,532×1,170 pixels 6.7-inch OLED; 2,778×1,284 pixels
Pixel density 460ppi 476ppi 460ppi 458ppi
Dimensions (inches) 5.78×2.82×0.29 inches 5.18×2.53×0.29 inches 5.78×2.82×0.29 inches 6.33×3.07×0.29 inches
Dimensions (millimeters) 146.7×71.5×7.4mm 131.5×64.2×7.4mm 146.7×71.5×7.4mm 160.8×78.1×7.4mm
Weight (ounces, grams) 5.78 oz.; 164g 4.76 oz.; 135g 6.66 oz.; 189g 8.03 oz.; 228g
Cellular software program iOS 14 iOS 14 iOS 14 iOS 14
Digicam 12-megapixel (large), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide) 12-megapixel (large), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide) 12-megapixel (large), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), 12-megapixel (telephoto) 12-megapixel (large), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), 12-megapixel (telephoto)
Entrance-facing digicam 12-megapixel 12-megapixel 12-megapixel 12-megapixel
Video seize 4K 4K 4K 4K
Processor Apple A14 Bionic Apple A14 Bionic Apple A14 Bionic Apple A14 Bionic
Storage 64GB, 128GB, 256GB 64GB, 128GB, 256GB 128GB, 256GB, 512GB 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
RAM Undisclosed Undisclosed Undisclosed Undisclosed
Expandable storage No No No No
Battery Undisclosed; Apple lists 15 hours of video playback Undisclosed; Apple lists 15 hours of video playback Undisclosed; Apple lists 17 hours of video playback Undisclosed; Apple lists 17 hours of video playback
Fingerprint sensor No (Face ID) No (Face ID) No (Face ID) No (Face ID)
Connector Lightning Lightning Lightning Lightning
Headphone jack No No No No
Particular options 5G enabled; MagSafe; water-proof (IP68); wi-fi charging; dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM) 5G enabled; MagSafe; water-proof (IP68); wi-fi charging; dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM) Lidar scanner; 5G enabled; MagSafe; water-proof (IP68); wi-fi charging; dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM) Lidar scanner; 5G enabled; MagSafe; water-proof (IP68); wi-fi charging; dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM)
Value off-contract (USD) $829 (64GB), $879 (128GB), $979 (256GB) $729 (64GB), $779 (128GB), $879 (256GB) $999 (128GB), $1,099 (256GB), $1,299 (512GB) $1,099 (128GB), $1,199 (256GB), $1,399 (512GB)
Value (GBP) £799 (64GB), £849 (128GB), £949 (256GB) £699 (64GB), £749 (128GB), £849 (256GB) £999 (128GB), £1,099 (256GB), £1,299 (512GB) £1,099 (128GB), £1,199 (256GB), £1,399 (512GB)
Value (AUD) AU$1,349 (64GB), AU$1,429 (128GB), AU$1,599 (256GB) AU$1,199 (64GB), AU$1,279 (128GB), AU$1,449 (256GB) AU$1,699 (128GB), AU$1,869 (256GB), AU$2,219 (512GB) AU$1,849 (128GB), AU$2,019 (256GB), AU$2,369 (512GB)
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