The new iPhone 13 mini fixes the few flaws that prevented the 12 mini from achieving commercial success. Notably, the battery is 10% larger and is expected to last longer when charged. However, the rest of the iPhone 13 mini bundle is an incremental upgrade, and with the 12 mini available at the lowest price ever, the very important question is whether the previous minor improvements were enough to justify paying a higher price for it today?
After putting the iPhone 13 mini against the iPhone 12 mini for weeks, I think I have the answer. So which little iPhone should you get?
iPhone 13 mini vs. iPhone 12 mini: Battery
Let’s address the elephant in the room first. How big a difference does a 10% increase in battery size make in actual use? It turns out, quite a lot.
The iPhone 13 mini has a 2,438mAh battery compared to the 12 mini’s 2,227mAh battery. In addition, the new A15 Bionic chip inside the 13 mini is more efficient in power management and improves the amount of power it is allowed to consume for power applications. Apple claims these changes provide up to an hour and a half of additional playtime on a single charge during normal use, or if you’re streaming videos, the 13 mini can last for as long as three hours.
In our testing, the iPhone 13 mini lived up to Apple’s promises. While my iPhone 12 mini battery icon was turning red regularly by evening, the 13 mini finished the day with 20-30% still in the tank. The Mini 13 also steadily crossed over four and a half hours of screen on time versus the Mini 12, which struggles up to four hours. The difference may seem negligible on paper, but the stamina rise is enough that I no longer have to carry a power bank for my tiny iPhone.
Another advantage that the iPhone 13 mini has over its predecessor is that it supports a maximum MagSafe wireless charging speed of 15W, while the 12 mini is limited to 12W power delivery. Wired charging hasn’t gotten any upgrades, and since the battery size itself hasn’t grown much, the iPhone 13 mini and 12 mini both take the same 90 minutes to fully charge at 20W fast charger.
iPhone 13 mini vs. iPhone 12 mini: Design and Build
Fortunately, the larger battery does not detract from the useful qualities of the Mini 13. Although it’s seven grams (0.2 oz) heavier (and 0.1 inch thick), you can’t feel the extra heaviness. Third party dismantling operations It suggests that Apple has compensated for the extra weight by cutting back on the vibration motor.
From the outside, you’d be hard pressed to tell the iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 12 mini apart if it wasn’t for the rearranged camera lenses and the 20% narrower notch. Except for the slight increase in screen space on the 13 mini, none of these tweaks affect the design in any meaningful way, and both phones look pretty much the same. They have the same boxy aluminum body, IP68 water resistance, and a 5.4-inch edge-to-edge display that features a protective ceramic shield.
The only quick way to tell them apart is based on colours. Instead of the six variants of the iPhone 12 mini, the 13 mini is available in five all-new colours. Even the black and white colors have been modified to look more navy and white. What hasn’t changed is that the darker options still attract a lot of fingerprint smudges.
iPhone 13 mini vs iPhone 12 mini: Offer
The iPhone 13 mini essentially inherits the same 5.4-inch OLED display from the 12 mini with one big difference: it’s 28% brighter. The 12 mini screen can produce a peak brightness of 625 nits, while the 13 mini screens can achieve 800 nits. In daily use, you will hardly notice it, but it is useful under direct sunlight. On the beach, for example, I could comfortably read text on the 13 mini, while it was barely visible on the 12 mini.
The remaining screen specifications are identical. It’s 1080p, supports HDR, and Apple’s True Tone technology, which automatically adjusts the screen’s color temperature depending on the ambient light.
iPhone 13 mini vs. iPhone 12 mini: Performance
The iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 12 mini both come with 4GB of storage, but Apple has raised the base storage capacity previously. The iPhone 13 mini startup variant has twice the space (128 GB) than the 12 mini (64 GB). It also comes in at 512GB, while the Mini 12 is limited to 256GB.
The 13 mini also benefits from Apple’s annual silicon updates and is powered by the latest A15 Bionic. Apple says the new 6-core CPU is “up to 50% faster than competitors,” and the quad-core GPU is “30% faster at handling visuals and lighting in graphics-intensive games.” Compared to 12 mini’s A14 Bionic, the A15 processor is It said About 10% more powerful, it does all of that while consuming less power. In benchmarks like Antutu, we found that the A15 scored 20% more points than the A14.
In real-world use, though, I haven’t encountered any practical differences between the performance of the 13 mini and the 12 mini. Even when I’m multitasking across resource-intensive applications, like gaming and 4K video editing, the 13 mini and 12 mini both cruise without skipping a beat. The only place I noticed the 13 mini’s upgrades under the hood was while exporting a 4K edited clip on iMovie, which took the 12 mini 15 seconds longer.
Other than that, I suspect the 13 mini developments will come in handy two years down the road because it will receive more updates than the 12 mini. This is especially important if you’ve been planning on owning a small iPhone for a while because rumor has it that this will be Apple’s last ever release.
iPhone 13 mini vs. iPhone 12 mini: Connectivity
The iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 12 mini have the same connectivity features, including 5G (sub-6 GHz), Bluetooth 5 and Wi-Fi 6, with one exception: the former can operate two electronic sim cards simultaneously. The iPhone 12 mini can manage one regular nano sim card and one e-SIM.
iPhone 13 mini vs. iPhone 12 mini: Cameras
Other than the battery, the iPhone 13 mini’s biggest gain is under the prominent square camera bump on the back.
Although they both share the same dual-camera system — a 12MP ultra-wide lens and 12MP ultra-wide — the 13 mini has a larger primary sensor that allows it to capture roughly 47 percent of the light. It also gets the photosensitive optical stabilization module found on the iPhone 13 Pro models, resulting in significantly more stable, blur-free footage and videos. This is not all. The ultra-wide camera has also been updated and produces more detailed results at night without adding extra noise.
In daytime scenarios, the iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 12 mini cameras take close-to-mirror photos. They are well lit and detailed, have rich, accurate colors and maintain a healthy balance of highlights and shadows.
I assumed the 13 mini-improvements would make a difference in low-light conditions, but frankly, the jump in quality is fairly slight. It’s hard to notice unless you take shots of both phones side by side on a large screen or if you’re shooting in challenging conditions.
Because the 13 mini has more light to work with, it comes first in dark areas with little or no light or if your subject is moving. The 13 mini’s better stability and larger sensor help Night Mode produce less blurry and more detailed photos and videos. This additional hardware support also allows for an additional 13 small spaces to precisely configure the white balance of your scenes. But then again, these differences don’t show up in normal nighttime scenarios like when you’re in a decently lit restaurant. In such cases, iPhone 12 mini and 13 mini are exceptional and capture vibrant and bright shots.
In addition, the iPhone 13 mini has a bunch of new software tricks up its sleeve. It can record videos in . format “Cinema” mode. You can think of it as a portrait mode for videos where you can switch focus on different subjects while shooting or even afterward. It also has Photography Styles, a new tool that lets you adjust how the default camera app handles colors and exposure. So, for example, if you prefer the hyper-look of photos from Samsung phones, you can opt for a vibrant photography style, and your iPhone will always pump color into the viewfinder. Moreover, the iPhone 13 mini can record 4K videos at 60 fps, while the 12 mini is limited to 4K @ 30 fps.
The 12 MP rear camera, unfortunately, has not changed. Although Apple claims that the HDR technology has been updated, I was unable to determine the progress.
iPhone 13 mini vs. iPhone 12 mini: Conclusion
The iPhone 13 mini is, after all, an objectively better phone than the iPhone 12 mini. While it’s an overall recurring successor, it features extensive updates, including a longer-lasting battery, extra storage, a faster processor, a brighter screen, better cameras, and more. But I must also say that in my time with these two phones, I can hardly tell them apart in terms of form and function.
However, at the end of the day, I find the iPhone 13 mini a better investment because it will run smoothly for longer and receive more software updates. The iPhone 12 mini isn’t slow, of course, but from a pure value standpoint, it’s a loser for what you don’t get for under $500. In a year or two, as its battery degrades and you install more advanced updates, the 12 mini’s limited endurance will continue to drop, and at some point, it will be much more difficult to live with than it is today.