Apple iPhone 12 mini review: A small wonder

Apple iPhone 12 mini review: A small wonder

There is no miniature premium Android phone in the market that can match the iPhone 12 mini in terms of performance and camera capabilities.

Apple's iPhone 12 mini is the smallest of the four iPhone 12 series models released just a week ago in India. Except for the size, it has the same internal including A14 Bionic chipset and feature-rich dual-camera hardware we see in the standard 6.1-inch iPhone 12. 

I have been using the Apple iPhone 12 mini for almost a week and here are my thoughts.

Design, build quality, and display
Like the standard model, the new iPhone 12 mini flaunts the flat edge design similar to the iPhone 4 (2010), but the former is refined and is visually appealing. The display and the glass cover on both the front and the back fit flush with the frame. It has a small protrusion of the camera module on the back, but the rest is flat on the back. 

The rail around the edge is made of aerospace-grade aluminum has a matte finish. Add to that, the flat design and compact (131.5x64.2 mm) form factor offers a really good grip for the hand to hold on to the iPhone 12 mini. Even a person like me with small hands can wrap around it and operate the mobile easily single-handedly and touch any part of the functional display with the thumb. 


Apple iPhone 12 (green) and iPhone 12 mini. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

This is very unique in this premium segment, which most often than not needs two hands to operate it. Our dark blue review unit looks outstanding in the sunlight. There are four other colours-- green, white, (PRODUCT) Red and black-- to choose as well.


Apple iPhone 12 mini. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

As far as durability is concerned, the iPhone 12 mini has Ceramic Shield on the front. Custom developed by Apple and Corning, it is said to be the toughest display guard for mobile in the industry. Also, is said to be four times stronger and can resist damage from a fall compared to the iPhone 11 series.

On the back, Apple has used the same protective glass cover on iPhone 12 mini's back as seen in the predecessor and we have come to understand that it is sturdier than any other shield we see in flagship Android phones. 


Left-to-Right- Apple iPhone 12 mini and the iPhone 12. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

Also, the iPhone 12 mini comes with the IP68 rating meaning the device can survive up to 6 metres underwater for close to 30 minutes, again a new benchmark in the flagship phone category.


Apple iPhone 12 mini. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

Except for the size (5.4-inch), it has the same OLED-based Super Retina XDR  True Tone display we in the expensive 12 Pro series. It has a rich screen resolution of 2340x1080p and a pixel density of 478 ppi (pixels per inch). It also supports HDR content and peak brightness up to 1,200 nits.


Netflix's Our Planet series played on Apple iPhone 12 mini. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

For those, who have been using the big screens (6.1-inch or larger), you will feel cramped and struggle to get used to the small keypad to type a message on the iPhone 12 mini. But, within a day or two, the muscle memory will kick-in and get comfortable.

Performance:
The new iPhone 12 mini runs iOS 14 and is powered by Apple's proprietary 5nm class A14 Bionic chipset. It is touted to be the most powerful processor on mobile in the industry. It has the fastest CPU and GPU by up to 50 percent compared to any of the top Android phones.

Also, Apple A14 Bionic comes paired with a 16-core Neural Engine, which according to the company offers an 80% increase in performance and is capable of completing 11 trillion operations per second, enabling improved performance on even the most intense ML models.

In terms of real-world performance, it is blazingly fast in terms of response to app launch, loading camera, using Augment Reality (AR) apps, graphics-rich gaming, and offered smooth web browsing experience throughout the testing period.

It never showed any slightest hint of lag-ness even recording high-resolution videos and they were stable all through the photography session. On the AnTuTu performance benchmarking app, it scored an impressive 6,28,525 points.


Apple iPhone 12 mini. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

As far as the battery life is concerned, it can last a whole day under normal usage which includes social media app browsing, communicating on messages and emails, a 20-minute session of photography, and gaming for a limited time.

But, binge-watching on OTT platforms or playing games for too long can drain the tiny battery in no time. For video streaming on Wi-Fi, it can last up to 10 hours. For just the video playback, it can last up to 15 hours.

Like the other iPhone 12 models, the mini version also supports Apple's MagSafe wireless charging. It takes longer than a wired charger to fully charge up the iPhone but will come in handy for those who like to spruce up their phone with MagSafe compatible easy-to-attach accessories such as card wallet and shell covers that match their identity.

Also, consumers should note that Apple will no longer offer power adapter and even the EarPods, and thereby reducing 70% of the contents in the retail package. However, it offers Type-C to Lightning cable and if you want a power plug, you have to shell out more. 

On the official Apple Store online, you can an original 20W adapter for Rs 1,900. It will be able to power up the iPhone 12 mini from zero to 50% under less than 30-percent. 


Apple iPhone 12 mini camera sample. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

Camera:
In this aspect, Apple has not compromised a bit. The iPhone 12 mini has the same camera as the standard iPhone 12. It boasts a feature-rich dual 12MP camera -- Ultra Wide(ƒ/2.4 aperture) and Wide(ƒ/1.6 aperture lens).


Apple iPhone 12 mini camera sample. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

It also supports 2x optical zoom out, digital zoom up to 5x, Night Mode, Deep Fusion, Optical image stabilization, Brighter True Tone flash with Slow Sync, Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth Control, Portrait Lighting with six effects (Natural, Studio, Contour, Stage, Stage Mono, High‑Key Mono) and Smart HDR 3 for photos.


Apple iPhone 12 mini camera sample. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

In terms of real-world performance, Apple iPhone 12 mini is just impressive. It takes top-notch pictures in all conditions. I have to note that the colour of the subject and surrounding scene in the pictures are as close to natural as we see through the eyes. There is no hint of artificial punchy colours, particularly in flower pictures and sky shots taken by most of the Android phones. 


Apple iPhone 12 mini camera sample. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

Even in the low-light mode, the images hold on to the darkness, the essence of the night. Another notable aspect is that the iPhone 12 mini takes impeccable sharp pictures with the Bokeh effect even without the Portrait mode on.


Apple iPhone 12 mini camera sample. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

Like the predecessor, the new iPhone 12 mini continues to set a benchmark for stable video recording.

 


Apple iPhone 12 mini camera sample with Wide Angle shot. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

It can take 4K video in 24/30/60 frames per second (fps) and also it supports HDR video recording with Dolby Vision up to 30 fps, extended dynamic range for video up to 60 fps. 


Apple iPhone 12 mini camera sample with Ultra-Wide-Angle mode. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

On the front, the iPhone 12 houses a 12MP TrueDepth camera with ƒ/2.2 aperture and supports most of the rear-camera's features including smart HDR, Deep Fusion, Night Mode, Portrait mode, SloMo, and more. It takes wonderful selfies and there is a marked improvement in terms of the quality of the images taken in the low-light condition.


Apple iPhone 12 mini camera sample with Night Mode on. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit


Apple iPhone 12 mini camera sample. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit


Apple iPhone 12 mini camera sample. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit


Apple iPhone 12 mini camera sample. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit


Apple iPhone 12 mini camera sample. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit


Apple iPhone 12 mini camera sample. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

Also, the FaceID responds faster to the registered face even under darkness and unlocks quicker to open the screen lock and make a purchase on Apple App Store.


Apple iPhone 12 mini camera sample. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

Final thoughts:
If you are one of those niche consumer who is into compact mobile, but expects to have powerful hardware for faster performance, smooth interface, and top-notch camera hardware, then, go for the iPhone 12 mini.


Apple iPhone 12 mini. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

There is no miniature premium Android phone in the market that can match the iPhone 12 mini in any of the aforementioned aspects. It supports 5G cellular connectivity and with long-term iOS software support, this Apple mobile is made to serve you longer than any rival brand in its class.

Must read | Apple iPhone 12 review: Rock solid premium mobile

But, the only qualm is that the battery capacity is reduced due to the compact size. So, if you are a heavy consumer of multimedia or an extreme gamer, I suggest the iPhone 12 Pro Max. It has the best of everything-- a large display, big battery, and better camera hardware.

Must read | Apple iPhone 12 Pro review: Back to the future


Apple iPhone 12 mini. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

Apple iPhone 12 mini comes in three storage variants-- 64GB 128GB and Rs 84,900 -- Rs 69,900, Rs 74,900 and Rs 84,900,  respectively.