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iPhone 12 Mini review

Apple’s smallest phone is full of features, and ideal for anyone looking for a smaller display.

iPhone 12 Mini review
(Image: © Apple)

Our Verdict

The iPhone 12 Mini features all of the best parts of Apple’s flagship device, but its smaller form-factor and lower price make it an attractive proposition for all.

For

  • Feature-packed
  • Gorgeous display
  • A14 performance

Against

  • Low base storage
  • Smaller battery

Apple has upped its output in the twelfth generation of iPhones, with four to choose from. The iPhone 12 Mini may be the smallest of the bunch, but it’s certainly not lacking in the features of its larger (and more expensive) siblings.

In fact, in an age where phones are seemingly only getting larger, there’s undoubtedly a sizeable portion of prospective customers for which a 5.4-inch display is ideal, particularly with its OLED tech.

Then there’s performance, with the iPhone 12 Mini packing the same A14 Bionic chip powering the rest of the lineup, offering incredible performance, too.

Add in 5G connectivity, an impressive camera, and a clean iPhone 4-inspired design, and you’ve got a compelling package for $699. If you're looking for something a little cheaper that still packs a punch, the iPhone 12 Mini is one of the best smartphones for you.

iPhone 12 Mini review: Design

The iPhone 12 Mini comes in five different colors (including newly added Purple), and 64, 128 and 256GB versions.

In any case, the iPhone 12 Mini is a looker. Its iPhone 4 style flat edges and all-display front panel make for a design that matches its bigger brothers, while also being small enough to put in your pocket.

Magnets in the back of the phone allow for not only more secure wireless charging, but a wealth of accessories that can be added, too. Apple calls this MagSafe, and allows for snap-on cases that can piggyback the likes of card-holders and more.

While many had hoped Apple would start moving towards USB-C, there’s still just a single port here for Lightning - and no, there’s still no audio jack.

iPhone 12 Mini review: Performance

IPhone 12 Mini is powered by the A14 Bionic chip, which remains incredibly powerful even months after release. It’s the same processor in the other iPhone 12 devices, albeit with less RAM (4GB vs the 6GB in the Pro range), but unless you’re planning on video editing or more strenuous tasks, you’ll never really need it.

Even then, it’s tough to do any real stress testing of the phone. The iPhone 12 Mini, running iOS 14.6 (the latest version) is as smooth as it comes, whether you’re simply using it in every day use or running several apps at once.

As we noted earlier, despite its diminutive size, the iPhone 12 Mini features 5G connectivity for blazingly fast speeds - albeit only in areas that support it. Expect much faster downloads and streaming, and improved latency when playing games on the device.

iPhone 12 Mini

(Image credit: Apple)

iPhone 12 Mini review: Display and Audio

The Super Retina XDR display that adorns the front of the display is 5.4-inches. For comparison, thats still 0.7-inches larger than the iPhone SE, but still makes the iPhone 12 Mini the smallest 5G phone on the market.

That display is impressively bright, too, with OLED technology and HDR 10 compatibility - so it’s ideal for watching video content or checking out photos.

There’s still no high-refresh-rate scrolling, but it’s still a great display that feels ideal for smaller hands, and you’re unlikely to notice it when scrolling through your images.

iPhone 12 Mini review: Cameras

Speaking of, the iPhone 12 Mini has a dual 12MP camera with Wide and Ultra Wide lenses. Images look crisp and clear, as well as a 12MP front camera, too.

You’ll need to opt for the iPhone 12 Pro or 12 Pro Max for a telephoto lens, but the 12 Mini more than holds its own against comparably priced Android devices.

iPhone 12 Mini

(Image credit: Apple)

It includes Night Mode, too, and it’s much better than it was on the iPhone 11 range, working across all three cameras to increase detail in low-light situations. It’s not foolproof, but it’s still a sizeable leap from where it was even two generations ago.

As you’d expect from an Apple phone, video recording remains a high point. For one, even this smaller phone can record in 4K at varying frame rates, and the optical image stabilization remains some of the best in the business.

Finally, the A14 Bionic chip even allows for recording with Dolby Vision HDR.

iPhone 12 Mini review: Battery Life

With a smaller phone, there’s less space for an internal battery, and that’s about the only place where the iPhone 12 Mini feels compromised compared to its larger brothers.

The 12 Mini will last a full day, but it’ll be gasping for a charge by the end of it. It’s not that battery life is poor per se, more that iPhone battery life has come along leaps and bounds in recent years - making the smaller internal battery feel like a step back.

Expect battery life to drop faster if you’re lucky enough to enjoy 5G connectivity, or spend any length of time away from WiFi.

Alas, Apple also no longer includes a charging brick in the packaging, so you’ll need a USB-C compatible plug to be able to charge your phone. With a compatible fast-charger, though, you’ll get 20W of charging at once.

Unfortunately, MagSafe charging is inexplicably slower on the iPhone 12 Mini than on other iPhone 12s. That’s a shame, but not a deal breaker if you’re not keen on using MagSafe anyway - Qi charging works just fine.

iPhone 12 Mini review: Price

Despite being Apple’s smallest phone, it’s not the cheapest - that honor goes to the iPhone SE.

The iPhone 12 Mini starts at $699, with the price rising to $879 at the top end for 256GB of storage. That makes it more expensive than the iPhone 12 128GB, so if you’re desperate for more storage for media and the like, it’s worth considering whether you’re better served with a larger display, too.

It’s also worth remembering that 5G is still fairly expensive and not widely available in some areas - so your mileage may vary.

Should You Buy an iPhone 12 Mini?

The iPhone 12 Mini is a great-looking all-rounder of an iPhone that’s an ideal purchase for those looking for a smaller device but still want an all-screen design.

Its smaller battery may be a deal breaker, but for anyone looking to travel relatively light, the iPhone 12 Mini is the king of small phones and its forward-facing features will ensure it lasts for years.

Lloyd Coombes

Lloyd is a long-time contributor to Top Ten Reviews, and an expert in all things Apple. You'll find him regularly testing the latest iPhone or iPad, and you can also find him writing about video games all over the internet.