The iPhone 12 Mini is Apple’s first ‘Mini’ iPhone, but rather than compromising on all the premium features, which is often the case with smaller phones, quite the opposite is true — it’s basically an iPhone 12 in a smaller package.
With identical cameras and internals to the £100 more expensive iPhone 12, the only difference here is both the size of the device and screen.
With the A14 Bionic chip at its core, a new edgier aesthetic, stunning OLED screen, and photography upgrades, it can happily trade blows with the very best.
It offers the nostalgia of older iPhones which were sensibly sized and truly pocketable but packed with the latest tech, like 5G and MagSafe, and that’s why it’s truly unique.
There’s nothing not to like on the most wallet-friendly and smallest iPhone. Well, there is one thing. The drawback from the smaller form factor is that there’s a smaller battery too, and running out of steam before the day ends might slightly dampen what is, by far, the most alluring and accomplished iPhone for years.
The Mini version of Apple’s flagship range will usually set you back £699 at Amazon, but right now it’s £100 cheaper. So if you’ve read this review and you’re looking to invest in the SIM-free handset, now’s the perfect opportunity. This deal covers the 64GB handset in all colours, but you’ll also find price drops on the 128GB model (was £749, now £649) and 256GB model (was £849, now £749).
The iPhone 12 Pro Max certainly isn’t a budget handset – but right now you’ll find it available, SIM-free, at Amazon for £50 less than usual.
- Apple iPhone 12 Mini review: summary
- What is the Apple iPhone 12 Mini?
- How much is the Apple iPhone 12 Mini?
- Apple iPhone 12 Mini features and performance
- Apple iPhone 12 Mini camera
- Apple iPhone 12 Mini battery
- Apple iPhone 12 Mini design and set-up
- Our verdict
- Where to buy
- SuperRetina XDR display
- 5.4-inch OLED screen
- IP68 (waterproof up to 6 metres)
- Apple A14 Bionic Chip
- Dual 12MP camera, plus 12MP selfie camera
- Waterproof, IP68
- iOS 14
- MagSafe compatible
- Smaller size is excellent
- Stunning photography
- Choice of lovely colours
- Slower wireless charging
- Battery life is just OK
The iPhone 12 Mini is one of the smallest 5G phones you can buy. It’s the daintiest and cheapest in the iPhone 12 family, yet still offers an impressive suite of features, including the latest chipset, OLED display and MagSafe. At the most affordable entry point to owning a 5G iPhone, it’s pound-for-pound the most compelling. The middling battery life might not work for all users, but it’s a small price to pay for a miniature hero.
What does the Apple iPhone 12 Mini do?
- Takes stunning photos in all scenarios, employing Apple’s computational photography tech
- Blazes through games and daily tasks
- Shoots 4K video
- Offers the entire App store for you to plunder
- Takes advantage of 5G speeds when available
- Fits into small pockets and bags
- Offers Face ID to unlock
Is the Apple iPhone 12 Mini good value for money?
The iPhone 12 Mini is the entry point into the iPhone 12 family and the cheapest way to get all the flagship features in a smaller frame. There’s been no scrimping on materials, both exterior and interior, when it comes to the iPhone 12 Mini design, but the one trade-off is a slightly smaller battery, which won’t give as much as the £100 more expensive iPhone 12. Aside from this niggle, it represents fantastic value for money and is the ideal choice for those looking for a small but mighty iPhone.
The Apple iPhone 12 Mini houses the same A14 Bionic chip as all four iPhones in the series, which translates into superb performance. Whether you’re playing mobile games or editing video files, it’ll be able to keep up.
The 5.4-inch screen is smaller than the iPhone 12’s 6.1-inch display, and reaching all four corners of the device with one hand is a much-underrated asset in the world of enlarged smartphones. However, if you consume a lot of films and videos, the wider screens are going to be a more attractive sell.
It’s worth noting that the iPhone 12 Mini is actually the most pixel-dense screen from the entire iPhone 12 family, boasting the sharpest display, but it’s still marginal.
Both the iPhone 12 and 12 Mini offer a peak brightness of 1200 nits, which makes it easy to view the phone in bright sunlight and at all angles.
All iPhones in the iPhone 12 family are stuck at a 60Hz refresh rate, which is a shame considering rivals like the older Samsung S20, and the much cheaper Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro offer 120Hz. Despite this, it’s not really a deal-breaker, and the screen reigns supreme on things like contrast, accurate colour reproduction, reflectance, and screen resolution.
Each year, Apple finesse the camera on its smartphones, as championing creativity is a huge part of the iPhone allure. As with the Apple iPhone 11 and 12, there’s a dual-camera set up made up of two 12MP cameras; one f/1.6 wide-angle and the other, an f/2.4 ultra-wide sensor.
Low light photography has typically been an area that Apple has struggled with, but that’s no longer the case. The f/1.6 aperture on the main sensor does a fantastic job of absorbing more light, paired with the algorithmic magic via internal processing results in crisper and brighter nighttime shots.
The front-facing camera isn’t neglected either; with a 12MP camera, it’s capable of some incredibly clear low light portraits and wide-angle shots to fit in all the gang.
Images are stunning from the camera; with Smart HDR 3 on board, parts of the scene that are in shadow will be balanced to reveal details and clarity, but with remarkably natural-looking results.
Video capture is outstanding. Just like the iPhone 12, you can shoot video in HDR with Dolby Vision at 30fps, but you’ll have to opt for the Pro model to attain smooth 60fps.
There are a couple of instances when being mini is no good thing: for cakes and smartphone battery units.
While Apple never reveals the sizes of its battery units, we know that it’s smaller than the iPhone 12’s 2,815mAh battery.
Regardless of this, we were still able to get through a whole day without the thing conking out from exhaustion. When we were ‘in the red’, Apple’s low battery mode does a good job of conserving energy, and this was after relatively heavy usage of photo taking, listening to hours of music via Spotify, and general App hokey-cokey.
Following the trend with all iPhone 12 members, although you get a USB-C to lightning cable in the box, there’s no power adapter, so you’ll have to purchase one if you don’t already possess such a thing.
The battery isn’t tragically bad and will be fine for the average person, but there are so many similarly priced alternatives that have bags more energy, but can they all match the iPhone 12 Mini in a number of other ways? Probably not.
The iPhone 12 Mini is smaller and lighter than the iPhone 12, but there’s no trade-off when it comes to the design, rocking the stunning and strong aluminium and glass build, with a shiny glass back and frosted metallic edges, it looks every bit a premium iPhone. Plus, the fortified glass screen gives the Mini that extra bit of protection.
Both the iPhone 12 and 12 Mini offer the greatest array of lovely colours: choose from black, white, blue, (product) red, green, and most recently, the newest colour, purple.
Securing an IP68 rating means your iPhone 12 Mini won’t bat a proverbial eyelid when it comes to heavy showers or even being dropped in the bathtub. It can thrive six metres deep for up to 30 minutes.
Guesses are, people looking at an Apple iPhone 12 Mini are upgrading from an older iPhone, which means swapping over to a new model should be a speedy and seamless experience that begins by simply holding both phones side-by-side. Just back up your iCloud, and you’re on the way to be reunited with all the apps, photos and messages you can’t bear to lose.
MagSafe comes to iPhone 12 Mini too, so there’s also the opportunity to treat your phone to a few compatible accessories.
If size is a top priority when choosing your next iPhone, and you want the latest and greatest from Apple, then the iPhone 12 Mini will be your ideal match.
However, the middling battery life might be somewhat of a bane if you have a very busy life, darting from place to place, and don’t want to be caught short, nor carry a portable charger.
The features, camera, screen, design can compete with the best, all in a splendidly dainty package, plus it’s £100 cheaper than its bigger sibling, which makes it a pretty good deal.
Overall star rating: 4/5
- Available at Carphone Warehouse | from £32.99 per month and £29.99 upfront
- Available at Tesco Mobile | from £28.99 per month, paying nothing upfront on a 36-month contract
- Available at EE | from £41 per month and £100 upfront
- Available at Vodafone | from £47 per month and £29 upfront
- Available at O2 | from £30.95 per month and £30 upfront
- Available at Mobiles.co.uk | from £26 per month, and
£155£84 upfront (after voucher) – plus save £15 with code PD15
Not sure which is the best iPhone for you? Read our iPhone 12 review and iPhone 12 Pro review for comparison, or see how flagships score head to head in our iPhone 12 vs Samsung Galaxy S21 and OnePlus 9 vs Samsung Galaxy S21 guides.
Thinking of waiting? With the iPhone 13 pre-orders going live, it’s likely that iPhone 12 Mini will see great offers at Black Friday 2021. You may also want to compare the iPhone 13 vs iPhone 12 before making your choice.