By removing the charging adapter and the EarPods from the retail boxes of its iPhone 12 series, Apple seems to have killed the unboxing experience. This basically means you get just the charging cable in the box, apart from the phone itself. That said, I’m still going to go ahead and proceed with the customary ritual of the unboxing process. The iPhone 12 mini, as you might already know, is a special device. And there are quite a few reasons why I say this. For one, this is the first time Apple has launched four different iPhone models together. Second, the mini is supposedly the thinnest and lightest 5G smartphone yet. Next, the way this year’s iPhone lineup stacks up against the previous models from 2019, the 12 mini stands out as the odd one out. Not only is the smallest in the iPhone 12 lineup, the mini is also the most affordable with its starting price of Rs 69,900. Here’s a closer look.
First up, the unboxing. The slim box opens up to reveal the iPhone 12 mini lying face down. Get that out to see the cavity that has the Type-C to Lightning cable. And that’s it, the unboxing is over. I mean, you do get a small envelope that has the SIM ejector pin and documentation, but that’s about it. So much for the unboxing. The phone, however, is a reasonably big deal.
Extremely compact, the iPhone 12 mini’s piece de resistance is its 5.4-inch display that gives it its diminutive dimensions. This baby is just made for one-handed usage, and I can’t stress that enough. That, and the fact that apart from the smaller screen and smaller battery, the iPhone 12 mini doesn’t involve any compromises when compared to the more mainstream iPhone 12 (review). There’s the same aluminium frame, the same port placement, and the same premium fit and finish.
On the right, you’ll find the side key that activates Siri and in conjunction with the volume keys on the left, enables other functions like power off and screenshot capture. On the bottom is the Lightning port and speaker, and the left spine has the SIM slot, volume keys and mute switch. Worth mentioning that the SIM tray has now moved to the left, as compared to previous generation iPhones that have it on the right.
The 5.4-inch screen has the same wide notch we’re all accustomed to by now, containing the front camera and the Face ID wizardry. The screen itself is OLED and of the Super Retina XDR variety, the same as the rest of the iPhone 12 models. None of the iPhone 12 models this time have an LCD display, unlike last year. The screen is super sharp, offers a resolution of 2,340 x 1,080 pixels, and supports HDR and True Tone. Apple still hasn’t boarded the high screen refresh rate bandwagon, so you can forget about that for now if you’re interested in getting a new iPhone. Or look at one of the numerous options on the Android side of the fence. The iPhone 12 mini also doesn’t compromise on the IP rating. It’s rated IP68, again the same as the rest of the lineup.
At the back, you’ll see that iconic Apple logo, and the dual-camera setup and flash in a squircle module.
As far the shooting prowess is concerned, you get the same dual-camera setup as the iPhone 12, with a 12MP wide and a 12MP ultra-wide sensors, complete with optical image stabilisation. Notably, the full set of camera features and capabilities is available on the mini. Barring the telephoto sensor, which is only available on the Pro models, the iPhone 12 mini doesn’t compromise here either. The available features include night mode, Deep Fusion, Portrait Mode with depth control and Portrait lighting effects, and Smart HDR. The video capabilities are well rounded as well, with support for 4K recording at up to 60 fps, Audio zoom, and time-lapse. The new goodies include support for shooting HDR videos with Dolby Vision. The front cam is 12MP as well, offering some nifty features like Smart HDR, Portrait Mode with lighting effects, Night mode, and Deep Fusion.
Performance is handled by the A14 Bionic, the latest flagship chip from Apple. I might end up sounding like a broken record, but it’s important to emphasise that this is the same chip that powers the entire iPhone 12 lineup, which means the iPhone 12 mini is no slouch when it comes to number crunching. In fact, the chip enables advanced AI features and computation photography, and I’m pretty sure the 12 mini will be a scorcher in terms of pure performance too. Oh yeah – there’s 5G support as well. Pardon me for not being super excited about this, since there’s no 5G in India yet, but the good part is that if you buy any of the iPhone 12 models, your purchase would be future proof, and ready for 5G whenever commercial rollout happens.
The other features on offer include Apple’s signature Face ID (there’s no fingerprint scanner or physical home button), support for Qi wireless charging, and fast charge support. Apple doesn’t specify battery capacity, but it does say that you can charge the phone up to 50 percent levels in about 30 minutes, using a 20W or higher adapter. Lest I forget, the iPhone 12 mini also supports MagSafe, which is Apple’s new charging and accessory ecosystem. In a nutshell, MagSafe uses magnets inside the phone’s body to hook up with compatible accessories like Apple’s new MagSafe wireless charger. Apple has launched MagSafe-compatible cases for its iPhones too, plus other stuff like a leather wallet. More accessories that support MagSafe can be expected soon, both from Apple as well as other brands.
While you can expect a full review soon, I can tell you this much. I like the iPhone 12 mini. Maybe I have a thing for small phones, but the fact is, not only is it the most affordable, it doesn’t skimp on performance, camera, or features at all. More on it soon, I promise.