The iPhone 12 mini is an impossibly cute high-end iPhone

Hopefully, Apple's smallest iPhone in years ushers in a new era of pint-sized smartphones

iPhone 12 mini header

Apple’s iPhone 12 mini feels ridiculously tiny.

It’s basically the same smartphone as the iPhone 12 Pro and, to a lesser extent, the iPhone 12 Pro Max, only the device measures in at 5.4-inches instead of 6.1-inches and 6.7-inches.

iPhone 12 mini with Pocket Casts open

To put how small this is into perspective, the iPhone 12 mini is slightly tinier than the 4.7-inch iPhone SE (2020), but features a far more expansive display thanks to its nearly bezel-less design and lack of a physical Touch ID button.

If you liked the look of the iPhone 5, 5S or even the SE, this is the closest Apple has come to the aesthetic of those smartphones in several years thanks to the iPhone 12 mini’s flat sides.

iPhone 12 mini

Compared to nearly every 2020 flagship smartphone — and even most smartphones released in the last few years, for that matter — the iPhone 12 mini really is super small. The 12 mini is also really light coming in at just 135g, resulting in a few instances where I forgot it was in my pocket.

I’ve been using the iPhone 12 mini for the last few days, and I’m surprised at how much I’ve enjoyed my time with the pint-sized smartphone. iOS 14 scales surprisingly well to the tiny 5.4-inch display, though I sometimes found it a little more difficult to navigate than the iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro’s 6.-1-inch screen.

iPhone 12 mini

For example, typing and navigating websites can sometimes be frustrating because I often accidentally press the wrong area of the display by accident. After roughly a day with the mini, I started to get used to the smaller size, though I still prefer bigger devices. For example, I enjoyed my time with the iPhone 12 Pro Max far more, but of course, this comes down to my fondness for bigger smartphones. That said, the iPhone 12 mini is incredibly easy to use with one hand and it’s hard not to appreciate that in the modern era of massive handsets.

iPhone 12 Pro Max vs iPhone 12 mini

The iPhone 12 Pro Max is on the left and the iPhone 12 mini is on the right.

To be clear, I’d say I have average-sized hands, so that could be part of the issue. However, my partner, who has smaller hands, didn’t run into these same problems when I asked her to test out the iPhone 12 mini for a few minutes.

Despite the iPhone 12 mini featuring a smaller battery, I didn’t notice that this resulted in noticeably less battery life than the iPhone 12 or 12 Pro. Generally speaking, as long as I charged the device overnight, I still had roughly 20 to 30 percent of battery by the time I went to bed at roughly 11pm.

Back of the Black iPhone 12 mini

The iPhone 12 mini Apple sent me to review is the ‘Black’ version. I’d say that unless you’re set on the Black iPhone 12 mini, any of the other colours, including ‘Green’ or ‘Blue,’ are better options since they show less grime and dust.

What’s important to note is that while the iPhone 12 mini is small, it’s still a high-end iPhone — there are no compromises here. It features the same dual-camera 12-megapixel wide and ultra-wide camera array, powerful A14 processor and Face ID functionality as its larger counterpart.

It’s unclear if the iPhone 12 mini’s launch marks a broader shift in the smartphone industry back towards smaller devices, but part of me hopes it will at least result in more manufacturers — especially Samsung– offering smaller smartphones.

iPhone 12 mini texting

The last few years have felt like every smartphone maker is moving towards releasing the largest device possible, with the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max and 6.9-inch Galaxy Note 20 Ultra pushing this direction to what feels must be nearly its limit.

In an industry full of massive devices, it’s refreshing to see Apple finally offer a smaller iPhone with nearly no significant compromises. It might not be the device for me, but it will most certainly find an audience, especially considering its somewhat reasonable $979 starting price tag.

iPhone 12 entire lineup

From left to right: the iPhone 12 Pro Max, the iPhone 12 Pro, the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 mini.

The iPhone mini starts at $979 CAD for the 64GB iteration. The 128GB version costs $1,049 and the 256GB costs $1,189. The iPhone 12 mini will be available on November 13th.

For more on the iPhone 12 mini, check out my full review of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini.