Review: The iPhone 12 mini proves that bigger is not always better

Review: The iPhone 12 mini is a small phone, but not a cheap one. Due to the disappointing battery life, the iPhone 12 mini is not perfect.
4.5/5 - (22 votes)

With the iPhone 12 mini, Apple brings the phone screen back within reach. It is the smallest iPhone in years. We wonder why it took such a long time, because this phone has an ideal size.

Phone manufacturers have recently been making smartphones bigger based on the philosophy that bigger is better. Apple is no exception. It seems like an eternity ago that Steve Jobs remarked that no one would buy a big phone, “because your hand doesn’t fit around it”. But ten years later, the word ‘phablet’ (a combination of phone and tablet) has virtually died out, because telephones are just big.

We are no longer shocked by a 6.7-inch phone, but for such devices you need two hands to operate. For a while, fans of small iPhones relied on the iPhone 5S and the iPhone SE, which had the same shape and size with 5-inch screens. But in 2018, Apple stopped the production of that iPhone SE, to release a larger version in 2020.

For a moment it seemed as if Apple had renounced small phones, but the iPhone 12 mini proves the opposite. It is the smallest phone the company currently offers. The device is smaller than the current iPhone SE, which has a smaller screen but larger edges. We put the iPhone 12 mini next to an iPhone 5 for a while: it remains slightly narrower and smaller.

And yet the iPhone 12 mini is a wonderfully handy phone. The device is a godsend for people who do not have deep pockets or large hands. Although the device looks nice and small, it doesn’t feel like you’re giving up space in use. Even typing never gets fussy. This is due to the 5.4-inch OLED screen that is only interrupted by a notch in the top. The lens and sensor for face recognition are placed in it.

Specifications iPhone 12 mini

  • Screen: 5.4 inches (1,080 by 2,340 pixels)
  • Processor: A14 Bionic
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Storage: 64 GB, 128 GB or 256 GB
  • Rear cameras: Standard (12 megapixels) and wide angle (12 megapixels)
  • Front camera: 12 megapixel
  • Battery: 2,227 mAh
  • Weight: 135 gram
  • 5G support: Yes

The battery is a bit too mini

Only rarely does the screen feel too small. Watching videos is logically nicer on a larger screen and with photography you have a better view of what you actually capture. But even these two things get used to themselves and do not pose any problems in practice.

There is a significant disadvantage to the small size and that is the battery, which is also small. With a capacity of 2,227 mAh you often just get dinner. In that respect, the battery of the iPhone 12 mini is really a step back from the regular iPhone 12, which also lasts less than the iPhone 11.

Apple has reduced its batteries across the board this year. That is noticeable and a shame, especially since even much cheaper Android phones sometimes have huge batteries with a capacity of 5,000 mAh, which you can easily get the next day. With an iPhone 12 mini you will therefore have to top up or stay off your phone a little more often. The battery is not a disaster, but don’t expect the top either.

An iPhone 12, but smaller

Furthermore, the iPhone 12 mini is in almost all respects a smaller version of the regular iPhone 12. This device also has the same two camera lenses on the back. Both the standard lens and the wide-angle lens usually take very good photos. Even in less well-lit areas.

The zoom lens and depth sensor of the Pro models are missing, but that will be a minor loss for people who only take a photo every now and then. For example, portrait photos can also be taken without that sensor thanks to software, although they may look less neatly cropped.

In other areas the mini is not inferior to the iPhone 12. The device supports 5G, has the same new A14 Bionic chip and works with MagSafe. This allows you to charge wirelessly thanks to a magnet on the back. You can also use the magnet to hang a card holder on the phone.

Photos taken with iPhone 12 mini


The iPhone 12 mini is a small phone, but not a cheap one. It costs 809 euros and for that you have a device with 64 GB of storage space, which will be on the tight side for most people. For the version with 128 GB you pay 859 euros.

Due to the disappointing battery life, the iPhone 12 mini is not perfect. But otherwise, the device makes few concessions compared to the regular iPhone 12. The phone mainly makes us long for more smaller phones in the top segment of the market. Bigger is not always better.


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