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Apple iPhone 12 Mini Review – Chota Packet Bada Dhamaka

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By Akhil Kapoor - 
30th Jan 2021
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iPhone 12 Mini
Review Summary

There are a few pros but on the other hand, there are a few cons that you will have to absorb if you choose to buy an iPhone 12 Mini. To be honest, if you want to try iPhones for iOS and their five years of support, you can go for iPhone 12 Mini. Plus the display and camera are stunning to vouch for. The compact and handy design of iPhone 12 Mini will make you fall for it at the first looks. But you will have to face a compromise with its smaller battery life and a mediocre operating system that doesn’t allow customizations whatsoever unless you jailbreak it.

PROS
  • Powerful Bionic A14 processor
  • Super Retina XDR OLED display
  • Super light and compact in hands
CONS
  • Smaller battery
  • No charging adapter in the box
Key Specs
Battery Capacity
Battery Capacity
2227 mAh
Operating System
Operating System
iOS v14
Screen Size
Screen Size
5.4 inches
Highlights:
  • No
  • Yes
  • 2227 mAh
  • iOS v14
Introduction

Apple released the iPhone 12 series with a bang and iPhone 12 mini took the limelight (at least in some sense) due to its portable size and affordable (in terms of iPhone) pricing. In the era of 6-inches and above devices, Apple introduced iPhone 12 mini with a 5.4-inch display.

Although it has almost the same specifications, it does so in a lot less space and that is what impressed people with older generations of iPhones like the iPhone 5 or 6 or even the latest iPhone SE 2.

Also Read: iPhone SE 2 – 5 Reasons To Buy Or Skip

With the sheer power, prowess in terms of design, and excellent camera setup, the iPhone 12 mini is a baller move from the Cupertino-based giant, and here’s what we felt after extensively trying it out for a couple of days.

iPhone-12-Mini-white

Prices in India, Variants, Availability

Although iPhone 12 mini pricing doesn’t show a massive gap compared to the standard iPhone 12, the former has a price tag of Rs 69,900/- for the entry-level 4GB+64GB model which is Rs 10,000/- less than the entry-level trim of iPhone 12. The mid-level 128GB trim has a price tag of Rs 74,900/- and finally, the 256GB trim is available at Rs 84,900/- which is, by comparison, Rs 10,000/- less than iPhone 12 256GB trim.

Apple iPhone 12 mini is available in Black, Green, Blue, White, and Product(RED) colour variants and it is available in India on Amazon India and Apple India Store where the latter is offering trade-ins at up to Rs 22,000/- off on the pricing. Of course, you won’t get a charger with iPhone 12 mini and you will have to buy it separately as it somehow saves the environment as per Apple.

Box Contents

iPhone 12 Mini comes in an all-new packaging by Apple which misses the fast charging adapter or say, any charging adapter at all. You won’t even find the lightning earpods in the retail box this time. Without these, the box looks slimmer and stylish. An iPhone 12 Mini Box includes:

  • iPhone 12 Mini device
  • USB-C to lightning cable
  • User Manual and Apple Sticker

iphone-12-box-contents

Specs at a glance

Before I talk in detail about the most favourite iPhone 12 Mini, let’s have a quick look at the key specifications. 

  • Display: 5.4-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display with Ceramic Shield
  • Chipset: A14 Bionic Chip, 5G
  • RAM & ROM: 64GB/128GB/256GB
  • Software: iOS 14
  • Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP, Smart HDR 3, 4K Dolby Vision HDR
  • Selfie camera: 12MP TruDepth
  • Battery: 2227 mAh
  • Weight: 135g
  • Dimensions: 131.5 x 64.2 x 7.4 mm

With key specs mentioned here, let me take you into the complete review of an iPhone 12 Mini which I tested for a week recently. 

Design and Build - You Will Fall In Love

iPhones are down-right sexy no matter which ones you pick and iPhone 12 mini is no different even though it is smaller. The flat edges have made a comeback and have relished the memories of the pre-iPhone 5s era. We would have loved a stainless steel body but the high-grade aluminium built isn’t that bad either. It is not as premium as the Pro variants but you would still love it.

The flat edges add to its USP while narrow bezels around the edges allow for a larger display while technically, iPhone SE has a larger structure. There’s a Ceramic Shield-branded glass on top which is technically tougher than the Corning Gorilla Glass protection that we are used to. Note that this doesn’t mean that the display is technically non-scratchable, you would still end up picking some scratches if subjected to a higher degree of aberration.

iPhone-12-Mini-design

The back is also glass with a glossy finish which although would raise some ears but mind it people don’t usually buy a Rs 70,000/- phone and do not use a phone case with it. At the end of the day, you get a glossy finish on the back panel that looks pristine and that is what you are paying for. Finally, there’s a dual-camera setup at the back panel with huge lenses resembling the iPhone 11 series but more about it in the ‘Camera’ section.

You get a ring/silent slider to the left along with volume rockers and a SIM tray. The right picks up a cut-out for the mmWave antenna that had to be placed strategically to allow 5G reception. The bottom packs in a lightning port and a bottom-firing speaker.

12-Mini-Port

Display - To Fall For

Technically speaking, the iPhone 12 Mini sports a 5.4-inch Super Retina XDR OLED panel with a 1080×2340 pixels resolution and an aspect ratio of 19.5:9. It supports HDR10, has a typical brightness of 625 nits, and a peak brightness of 1200.

iPhone-12-Mini-Display

Talking about the iPhone 12 mini display, I found it very sharp and thanks to the incredibly high 476 PPI density, it looks pretty impressive even when compared to last year’s iPhone 11. You can reach any corners of your iPhone 12 Mini without any hassle, simply swipe. iOS further aids one-handed usage thanks to its Reachability function. The True Tone feature automatically calibrates the brightness based on the ambient light. Furthermore, the display produces rich contrast and vibrant colours that you would get on any iPhone 12 model so that’s a relief.

12-mini-display

As mentioned above, the display comes with tighter and narrow edges and bezels which means you get a higher screen real estate at your disposal. There’s an iPhone X-famed notch housing a front camera and an earpiece which became a style statement and soon, all other OEMs begin to incorporate notches on their phones. Luckily, the iPhone 12 Mini gets just the right size of notch although I wished it could’ve been smaller.

Performance - Total Dhamaka

Under the hood, iPhone 12 Mini packs in an Apple A14 Bionic chipset manufactured on a 5nm node. It sports a Hexa-core architecture with two 3.1GHz Firestorm cores and four 1.8GHz Icestorm cores. It is accompanied by a quad-core Apple GPU on-board. The device sports a single 4GB RAM with NVMe internal storage variants of 64GB, 128GB, and  256GB available at the user’s disposal. There’s iOS 14 built-in and yes, iPhones are supported with at least four to five years of iOS support.

Albeit being smaller in size when compared to the standard iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini-packs in the same processor, and thus, it has the almost identical performance. We were able to play high-graphics games like Call of Duty: Mobile, Asphalt 9: Legends, and luckily, the phone didn’t have any issue processing at an exorbitant rate even when subjected to heavy usage.

Also Read: iPhone 12 Full Review 

The phone does have a different thermal throttling than iPhone 12 where it reported 46.6 per cent as its stability after a few minutes while iPhone 12 was able 71.2 per cent during the same duration. About the AnTuTu scores which is one of the most widely accepted benchmarking platforms, the mini was able to chug in 1,585 points and 3,908 points on single-core and multi-core tests respectively.

iPhone-12-Mini-perofrmance

Software - As Good As It Can Be

But iOS 14 takes the limelight, to be honest, It has been so well-optimized that you won’t even have to worry about the small screen size which is basically the thing if you are upgrading from an Android device with 6-inch and above display size. It is lightweight and with almost no bloatware which is something Android OEMs must note. Although customizing iOS 14 is a bit more difficult than Android 11, it is not a compromise but rather a boon.

iOS 14 recently strengthened its privacy policies and that has truly shaken developers including Facebook as they won’t be able to track user’s activity without their permissions and there’s almost no workaround to gain user’s access if the user doesn’t want to be tracked. With iOS 14, you get at least four to five years (three years at least) of major upgrades and yes, a bunch of security and feature updates without any doubt. The home screen has been greatly improved compared to iOS 13. Other features include a plethora of widgets, PiP, Guides, smarter Home app, among others.

Cameras - Truly Impressive

Talking about the camera setup, the iPhone 12 Mini packs in a dual-camera setup with a 12MP primary wide-angle sensor with dual pixel PDAF, OIS, f/1.6 aperture while the second sensor is a 12MP ultrawide sensor with f/2.4 aperture with a 120-degrees field of view. The front has a 12MP primary sensor with f/2.2 aperture, wide-angle 23mm focal length, with an SL 3D depth/biometrics sensor.

iPhone-12-mini

Talking about the cameras mounted on iPhone 12 mini, both the sensors are pretty good although not when compared to Pixel’s post-processing so Pixels win here. Anyways, iPhone 12 mini cameras are excellent even in low-light so you won’t feel any shortcomings in most cases. White balance on the photos is something you will feel a bit confused with and with a long exposure, you might miss out on the action by a tiny fraction but that isn’t a concern.

One of the most common issues with ultrawide sensors is the distortion in the captured shots and unfortunately, iPhone 12 mini isn’t any different. Avoid capturing faces around the edges of the display to avoid aggressive distortion. The cameras offer a high dynamic range but I wouldn’t recommend cropping the images too much. Overall, the captured shots are brightly lit and natural which is a USP of iPhone cameras.

The front camera, on the other hand, does a great job too capturing higher dynamic range but a smaller aperture makes the sensor pick up less light and thus, the post-processing takes a hit compensating for the same.

You can have features like Deep Fusion that allow capturing shots at multiple exposures and then, the system combines it to produce images that are high in details, construct, and more.

Battery - Lesser Than Standard

Apple iPhone 12 Mini is insanely powerful and there’s no doubt about it. It gets everything from its non-mini version but a smaller size and a smaller battery. Yes, iPhone 12 Mini sports a 2,227mAh battery which usually offers five to six hours of screen-on-time although that isn’t for heavy users. A battery so small is one of the major compromises you will have to make buying an iPhone 12 mini instead of a beefier iPhone 12 or Pro variants. When tested, the iPhone 12 mini was able to pull off a mix of hours of gaming, cameras, internet, and music. It was able to perform excellently at 14 hours and 11 minutes on the HD video loop test which is impressive but not so much for heavy users.

It is accompanied with a 20W wired charging, a 15W MagSafe charging, and 7.5W Qi wireless charging support on-board but I wished more could’ve been better. At the end of the day, you will have to plug it in to a charger (wired or wireless) and juice it up to make it ready for the next day. It would take around an hour for the battery to charge fully.

Audio, Connectivity, Biometrics

iPhone 12 Mini has a bottom-firing speaker and an earpiece speaker that collectively produces a stereo effect. In fact, it is quite loud without any distortion in the sound with thin bass and a fairly natural-sounding speaker system that makes it a worth it smartphone since you will be spending around Rs 70,000/- on this one without trade-ins.

iPhone 12 Mini supports 2G, 3G, and 5G with both Sub-*GHz and mmWave although that depends on which model you pick. It is also equipped with Bluetooth 5.0 with LE and A2DP, Wi-Fi * with dual-band, GPS with all major navigation systems. Further, you also get a Face ID and a bunch of other sensors.

Remember the large notch that we mentioned above? It sports a front camera and a mechanism for Face ID that iPhone 12 Mini users can use to authenticate their identities. iPhones have a more secure facial recognition system than Android smartphones and it is super quick. There’s no fingerprint scanner but you get the usually PIN lock with it as your last resort. Unlike other devices, the iPhone 12 Mini has something called On-device Face Recognition that allows users to interact with video doorbells and cameras to check out who’s at the door.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Powerful Bionic A14 processor
  • Super Retina XDR OLED display
  • Super light and compact in hands

Cons

  • Smaller battery
  • No charging adapter in the box
Verdict
There are a few pros but on the other hand, there are a few cons that you will have to absorb if you choose to buy an iPhone 12 Mini. To be honest, if you want to try iPhones for iOS and their five years of support, you can go for iPhone 12 Mini. Plus the display and camera are stunning to vouch for. The compact and handy design of iPhone 12 Mini will make you fall for it at the first looks. But you will have to face a compromise with its smaller battery life and a mediocre operating system that doesn’t allow customizations whatsoever unless you jailbreak it.


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