iPhone 13 Mini Review: The Best Compact iPhone Out There!
The iPhone 13 Mini still exists and is designed for a niche audience that loves compact smartphones. With an improved set of cameras, a bigger battery and a brighter display, the tiny little smartphone is even more powerful now. The iPhone 13 Mini is a no brainer for compact phone lovers, and Apple having a monopoly in this form factor as there are no other options available in the market right now that are as powerful and come in compact form factor.
- Excellent camera systems
- Bigger battery with improved battery life
- Faster processor than last year
- Increased base storage
- Slower charging rates capped at 20W
- Standard refresh rate display
- No mask-friendly method for authentication
- 2406 mAh
- iOS v15
- 5.4 inches
iPhone 13 Mini is proof that small phones aren’t dead yet. The phone is leading the charge with its small size packing a serious punch. With enhanced cameras and bigger battery life than its predecessor, the new iPhone 13 Mini fulfils the dream for fans of smaller compact handsets.
While Apple has reserved the best features for the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max like 120 Hz display, macro mode, and telephoto zoom, the iPhone 13 Mini gets plenty of welcome upgrades. For a smaller phone, you get a brighter display, a faster A15 Bionic processor, and new camera features like Cinematic Mode for your videos. Let’s take a look at my review of the iPhone 13 Mini.
The iPhone 13 Mini is available to buy right now from Apple’s website as well as Amazon, Flipkart and other online and offline sellers. The pricing starts at Rs 69,900 for the 128 GB variant and it goes up to Rs. 99,900 for the 512 GB variant. Sadly for the iPhone 12 Mini, we don’t have the 1TB variant available. You also get the same 5 colour options that include Pink, Blue, Midnight, Starlight, And Product Red.
Here is the detailed pricing of the iPhone 13 Mini with all storage variants:
- iPhone 13 mini 128GB – Rs. 69,900
- iPhone 13 mini 256GB – Rs. 79,900
- iPhone 13 mini 512GB – Rs. 99,900
Here’s what we have inside the box of iPhone 13 Mini:
- USB-C to the lightning port charging cable
- iPhone 13 Mini device
You don’t get a charging adapter or any lightning earphones along. In addition, this year Apple has even removed the plastic seal over the iPhone boxes to reduce the use of plastics.
Let’s talk about the on-paper specifications of the iPhone 13 Mini at first:
- Display: 5.4 inch Super Retina XDR OLED Display
- Camera: 12MP + 12MP | 12MP Front Camera
- Battery: Li-Ion 2438 mAh Battery with 20W fast-charging
- Chipset: A15 Bionic Processor
- RAM & ROM: 4 GB RAM | 128 GB, 256GB, 512GB
- Dimensions: 131.5 x 64.2 x 7.7 mm
- Weight: 141 grams
Similar to the rest of the phones in the series the new iPhone 13 Mini comes with the same square-edged design. It comes in five colour variants namely: Product Red, Midnight, Blue, Starlight, and Pink. While the pink is a soft pink colour, in good lighting conditions it certainly looks almost like white.
Apart from the colours, there are two highlighting design changes in the phone. New camera bump that houses the dual camera setup which is now placed diagonally.
The other difference is a smaller notch which according to Apple is 20% smaller compared to the iPhone 12 series. Other than that the phone has a Ceramic Shield that covers the display from scratches and cracks. It also includes an IP68 rating for water industrial systems which means they can survive being submerged 6 meters for up to 30 minutes underwater.
Technically the phone is heavier which I didn’t realize until I read the spec sheet. The extra 7 to 10 grams comes from the bigger battery which is certainly a welcome change. The phone sits comfortably in the hand and it is easy to use with one hand also. I found it very easy to type on the handset and reach all areas of the keyboard with my thumb.
The power button is located on the right side of the phone while the left side includes the mute slider volume buttons and the SIM tray. There is a lightning port between the phone speakers that are located on the bottom of the handset.
Overall the iPhone 13 Mini is a cute little device and it is a handy device that fits perfectly in every pocket. The device is so lightweight and I didn’t even feel the device in my pocket. I think this is a perfect fit device and it is so much fun to use this while on the go.
Also Read: Top 10 iPhone Fast Charging Adaptors in 2021
The iPhone 13 Mini sports a 5.4-inch OLED display which is relatively unchanged but the brightness has seen a big boost this year. Thanks to the OLED panel colours are punchy and vibrant with truly deep blacks. I played “Marvel’s Future Revolution” game and I was impressed with how well the phone was able to render the saturated colours.
In my testing, the iPhone 13 Mini was able to reach 788 nits of brightness which is significantly higher compared to the iPhone 12 Mini’s 505 nits brightness. Overall the phone gets plenty bright enough to see outdoors which is great especially for photography when you can actually see the photos you took even if you are standing in direct sunlight.
Overall the display on the iPhone 13 Mini is the same as the regular iPhone 13, and its a great display to view content and play games. I have no complaints with this display.
The iPhone 13 Mini comes with the new A15 Bionic system-on-chip that includes a quad-core CPU which makes the 13 Mini a very powerful little phone. The phone destroys the best that Android has to offer, even the best gaming phones in terms of performance. The fastest chip on an Android phone that uses the Snapdragon 888 already has a hard time keeping up with the A14 Bionic chip from last year. The A15 from Apple this year takes the lead further from the competition.
But the iPhone 13 Mini is very ahead of the Snapdragon 888 equipped Galaxy S21. It even takes out the iPhone 12 Mini by a slight margin which is what I expected from a next-generation chip. For example, I took the Adobe Premiere Rush benchmark where a phone converts a 4K file to 1080p as quickly as it can. The iPhone 13 Mini managed to do this in about 27 seconds where it took the Galaxy S21 more than twice as long to complete the same task.
In terms of benchmark, you can see a noticeable jump from the iPhone 12 Mini and a huge leap over the Galaxy S21. Even in the GeekBench 5 which measures CPU performance, the result shows a significant performance difference between iPhone 13 Mini and Samsung S21. While the Pro models may perform better across the board with their bigger GPUs and 50% more RAM the iPhone 13 Mini does provide some serious performance and the best bang for your buck.
iPhone 13 Mini makes its debut with iOS 15 which includes some pretty major updates. It includes new features like tweaked notifications, Focus mode, FaceTime improvements, and upgrades to many of the inbuilt apps such as Notes and Safari. Apple likes to keep the iOS experience universal across all devices. Some of the older devices can’t do the new stuff due to hardware limitations but the iPhone 13 Mini with iOS 15 will feel basically the same as it does on the iPhone 12 Mini.
One of my favourite changes in iOS 15 is that the address bar in Safari is now positioned at the bottom part of the screen instead of the top, this makes it easier to operate your phone one-handed. Other than new camera features like Photographic Styles and Cinematic Mode there’s not a lot to say about the software experience on the iPhone 13 Mini.
Also Read: Apple iPhone 13 Review
iPhone 13 Mini has the same dual-camera setup that you will find in the new iPhone 13. There is a 12MP main camera along with a 12MP ultra-wide camera. Both the camera sensors are Apple’s largest and most advanced sensors yet. According to the company, they captured 47% more light than the previous iPhone which results in better picture quality and images with less noise in a low light environment.
To make things even better the iPhone offers incredible video recording capabilities that include Dolby vision upto 4K at 60fps. The new feature called Cinematic Mode brings a unique and beautiful portrait mode effect that enables the phone to automatically change focus in the video. iPhone 13 Mini has sensor-shift optical image stabilization, a feature that’s typically found in pro-grade DSLR cameras. This feature was also previously reserved for the iPhone 12 Pro Max which helps ensure that all the images you shoot are steady.
Apart from the excellent camera performance, the biggest takeaway from my time shooting with the iPhone 13 Mini was how easy it is to handle the phone. Given its smaller form factor, it is easy to open the camera app with one hand and you can quickly snap photos before the moment has been passed. I was able to take crystal clear pictures with one hand while holding my coffee in the other which isn’t something I can say is true about most smartphones today. Even the front-facing TrueDepth camera delivers outstanding results for both selfies and for video calls.
The iPhone 13 Mini has improved battery life by up to one and a half hours over its predecessor. I tested the phone with the display set to 300 nits and tasked it to endlessly load web pages over a 4G connection. The results provided an accurate overview of Apple’s promise and the iPhone 13 Mini gives about 8 and half hours of battery life.
This time too Apple did not provide any charging adapter in the box which is not a surprise seeing how many of the Android manufacturers also do the same. Neither did the company provide any upgrade to the iPhone 13 Mini’s charging speed, keeping it still at 20 watts. I would have liked to see the iPhone 13 Mini get more competitive with its charging especially how many of the phone makers are pushing the limits of what’s possible. The MagSafe charging is still here and it tops out at 15 watts.
One thing that Apple certainly hasn’t changed is the choice of connectivity options for the iPhone 13 Mini. There is still 5G with mmWave high speed 5G available only in the US. This means you’ll be able to easily connect with next-gen networks as long as your carrier and plan support them. Also, the 5G connectivity is not available in India, and it is scheduled to roll out later next year.
There is also an edition of dual eSim support this time and as a user, you don’t even have to use any physical SIM cards as you can use the eSim support only. You also have Bluetooth 5.0 which is a bit of a letdown given that Bluetooth 5.1 exists. The inbuilt stereo speakers provide good audio quality during movie and gaming sessions. In terms of security, you get the standard Apple face ID that allows you to unlock the device using your facial structure. I would have liked to see Apple add physical biometric authentication since the majority of the population still wears face masks.
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