First impressions of the iPhone 12 mini have now been shared by select media outlets and YouTubers, providing a closer look at Apple's small form factor smartphone. Reviewers praised the ‌iPhone‌ 12 mini's size and full feature set, but were disappointed about the device's battery life.

the verge iphone 12 mini
Photo via The Verge

Size

The Verge's Dieter Bohn believes that surprisingly little is lost on the ‌iPhone 12 mini‌'s smaller display:

Despite the smaller screen size, you don't miss out on as much as you might expect. Compared to the regular iPhone 12 with a 6.1-inch screen, there are maybe one or two lines of text that are cut off. What you actually miss out on is that sense of immersion you can get from a bigger screen when you’re playing a game or watching a movie. Those were the only times this screen felt cramped.

TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino similarly noticed that the display size felt surprisingly similar to that of the ‌iPhone‌ 11:

If you look at this and an iPhone 11, because of the way that the screen is rendered, you’re going to see pretty much the same amount of content.

He also experienced an improved typing experience on the smaller device compared to a number of older models:

I am happy to report that the typing experience on the iPhone 12 mini is far superior to the 4.0-inch first generation SE. It even gets a leg up on the 4.7-inch iPhone SE introduced earlier this year because the screen is the same width but taller... This additional size, especially for the spacebar, improves the typing experience measurably. The key spacing is a bit less generous than the iPhone 12, but this is a workable situation for typing.

Bohn noted the ‌iPhone 12 mini‌'s smaller size leads to significantly better ergonomics:

Because it's a bit narrower, it's easier to reach the opposite side of the screen with your thumb. Because it's a bit shorter, a lot of people will be able to reach the top for the swipe-down gestures without contorting their hands into awkward claws or risking dropping the phone.

Performance

In benchmarks, Panzarino found that the ‌iPhone 12 mini‌'s A14 Bionic processor underperformed slightly compared to other ‌iPhone‌ 12 models, but it was close enough to not be noticeable:

While it appears that either heat management, scaling or power management in general has made Apple tweak the processor ever so slightly, the benchmarks are close enough to make it a wash. There is zero chance you ever see any real-world difference between the iPhone 12 mini and any other iPhone 12.

Battery Life

Engadget's Chris Velazco was highly critical of the ‌iPhone 12 mini‌'s battery life:

While the mini offers the same great performance as the larger model, its battery life leaves much to be desired... Sure enough, on my first day of using the 12 mini as my daily driver, I pulled it off the charger at 8AM and it was on its last legs by 4PM.

By contrast, Panzarino had a surprisingly positive experience of the ‌iPhone 12 mini‌'s battery life compared to the larger ‌iPhone‌ 12:

Apple says that the iPhone 12 mini’s battery life is better than the 4.7” iPhone SE and that bore out in my testing. I got through a day easily, with maybe a few percentage points difference between the iPhone 12 mini and the iPhone 12.

Bohn found battery life to be a key limitation of the device, but remarked that it was a variable experience that could be improved by a more diligent approach:

The battery life on the iPhone 12 mini is noticeably worse than on the iPhone 12, which itself was a step down from the battery-champ iPhone 11. For me, it's good enough, but it does mean I'm already using it differently than I use bigger phones.

Without making any effort at it, I have consistently drained the iPhone 12 mini’s battery by early evening... So it's not bad, but it's definitely not great. My feeling after a little less than a week is that getting through a day requires a little bit of battery management. Holding yourself back from putting an hour into an Apple Arcade game, knowing where your next opportunity to charge might be, and above all being more willing to turn on the low power mode.

Value for Money

Velazco expressed some concern over the price of the ‌iPhone 12 mini‌ when compared to the iPhones of previous years:


Another reason I can't fully get on board with this thing is that it sits in a strange place in Apple's iPhone lineup. At $699, this is the cheapest version of the iPhone 12 the company makes, but last year you could get a phone with a bigger screen and much better battery life for the same price.

Framed as a budgeting decision, this is the most accessible of Apple's newest iPhones, but that doesn't mean it's going to make sense for most people. And despite the 12 mini's improved performance and better screen, I'd still probably recommend that shoppers who don't want to drop $800-plus on a phone consider last year's iPhone 11 instead.

On the other hand, Panzarino believes that the ‌iPhone 12 mini‌ offers excellent value for money:

The iPhone mini is by far the best value per dollar in Apple's 2020 lineup. With this you get all of the power and advances of the iPhone 12, everything but the telephoto camera (and 60fps/4k video) of the iPhone 12 Pro and everything but the new sensor in the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Those additions will cost you anywhere from $300-$400 more over the life of your device if you choose to step up.

More Reviews

For early unboxings and first impressions, check out our summary, which compiles over a dozen of the latest videos reviews.

‌The ‌‌iPhone‌‌ 12 mini is now available to pre-order in the United States and numerous other countries, with deliveries to customers and in-store availability beginning Friday, November 13.

Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

Deinocheirus Avatar
47 months ago

[HEADING=2]Battery Life 'Leaves Much to Be Desired'[/HEADING]
2 hours longer battery life than iPhone X and iPhone SE 2. Please. Get some perspective.
Score: 68 Votes (Like | Disagree)
chewbaka Avatar
47 months ago
I don’t think phone gamers are the target audience for the mini. I just want to communicate and navigate without having to carry a phablet in my pocket. Going to replace my 6s which has served me well for these purposes with a 12 mini.
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DiamondarBoss Avatar
47 months ago
That’s it. That seals the deal.
I’m buying this Phone.
Or the 12 Pro.
Or the 12.
Or the 12 Pro Max.

THIS HASN’T HELPED ME CHOOSE WHAT PHONE TO BUY *cries*
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Cryates Avatar
47 months ago
I don't need the 6-8 hours SOT battery that some crave, which, I have my thoughts on that. I just need a solid 3-4 hours SOT through the day, and I charge a few times naturally anyways via CarPlay. This is the one for me. Excited for Friday.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ericg301 Avatar
47 months ago

It can't be the best small smartphone if it has a bad battery.
no one says it has a bad battery. just lesser than the regular and pro/max.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
darcyf Avatar
47 months ago
In 2-3 years when they've refined the mini to improve battery and add a pro-camera system (Mini Pro!) this will be the ultimate phone to replace my 11 Pro.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 18 Mock iPhone 16 Feature Gray

Revealed: iOS 18 Works With These iPhone Models

Monday June 10, 2024 3:57 am PDT by
iOS 18 will be compatible with the same iPhone models as iOS 17, according to a post on X today from a private account with a proven track record of sharing build numbers for upcoming iOS updates. iOS 18 will be compatible with the iPhone XR, and hence also the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max models with the same A12 Bionic chip, but older iPhone models will miss out. Here is the full...
ios 18 tile summary

Apple Announces iOS 18 With New Customization Features, Redesigned Photos App, and More

Monday June 10, 2024 10:17 am PDT by
Apple today previewed iOS 18, the next major update to the operating system for the iPhone, with new customization features, a redesigned Photos app, and more. iOS 18 features new customization tools for the Home Screen. App icons now feature Dark Mode and users can tint them with a color to create a unique look. Apps can also now be placed anywhere on the Home Screen freely. The Control...
WWDC24 Live Coverage Article

WWDC 2024 Apple Event Live Keynote Coverage: iOS 18, Apple's AI Push, and More

Monday June 10, 2024 9:20 am PDT by
Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) starts today with the traditional keynote kicking things off at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time. MacRumors is on hand for the event and we'll be sharing details and our thoughts throughout the day. We're expecting to see a number of software-related announcements with a focus on Apple's efforts to infuse AI throughout its operating systems and apps....
iOS 18 Siri Integrated Feature

Massive iPhone Upgrade Coming This Week But These Devices Will Miss Out

Sunday June 9, 2024 1:25 pm PDT by
Apple is planning a major AI overhaul in iOS 18, with a feature set it is referring to as "Apple Intelligence." However, these new features will not work on older iPhones, even if they do appear on the new operating system's device compatibility list. Apple's initial AI roadmap for iOS 18 is said to come in two parts: Basic AI features that will be processed on-device, and more advanced...
m3 macbook air purple

Amazon Introduces Record Low Prices on Every M3 MacBook Air

Sunday June 9, 2024 7:57 am PDT by
On Friday we tracked new all-time low prices on the 13-inch M3 MacBook Air, and today Amazon has expanded this sale with record low prices on the 15-inch models as well. Thanks to these additional deals, every single model of the M3 MacBook Air is now available at an all-time low price. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may...
Next Gen CarPlay WWDC24 1

Apple Provides Updated Look at Next-Generation CarPlay at WWDC 2024

Monday June 10, 2024 7:11 pm PDT by
Apple today shared a few WWDC 2024 coding sessions related to its upcoming next-generation CarPlay system ahead of its launch later this year. The sessions include lots of updated next-generation CarPlay images, with one revealing new Vehicle, Media, and Climate apps in action for the first time. MacRumors previously discovered evidence of these apps in the iOS 17.4 beta. Next-generation...