Apple iPhone 12 mini review

GSMArena Team, 17 November 2020.

One small and bright Retina XDR OLED

The entire iPhone 12 generation uses OLED panels, even this iPhone 12 mini. It packs a 5.4" Super Retina XDR OLED with one very Android-ish resolution of 1,080 x 2,340 pixels or 476ppi - the highest pixel density on an iPhone so far.

Apple iPhone 12 mini review

The giant notch has the same size across all iPhones, and thus it becomes an enormous eyesore on the 5.4" screen of the iPhone 12 mini. Apple is very punctual when it comes to consistency, and sometimes it's not for the best.

The entire front of the iPhone 12 mini is flat and is protected by the new Ceramic Shield glass by Corning.

The Super Retina XDR OLED screen supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision content. Like the iPhones before the 12th generation, this one also comes with True Tone adjustments, Wide Color support, and it has the Haptic Touch feature provided by the Taptic Engine beneath the screen.

The screen works at a 60Hz refresh rate though nobody really expected the cheapest iPhone to come with a 120Hz display. Not that Apple introduced this feature on any of the iPhones this year. On the other hand, there is 120Hz touch input making the iPhone displays very responsive.

Apple promises 625 nits of typical brightness on the iPhone 12 mini and a peak brightness of up to 1,200 nits.

We did our usual display measurements, and we measured 627nits of maximum brightness on the iPhone 12 mini. The minimum brightness is impressively low at 1.8 nits.

There is no maximum auto boost on any of the iPhones, but this max brightness level is respectable enough for convenient use on an OLED panel.

Display test 100% brightness
Black,cd/m2 White,cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Apple iPhone 12 mini 0 627
Apple iPhone 12 0 639
Apple iPhone 12 Pro 0 802
Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max 0 822
Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max 0 820
Apple iPhone 11 Pro 0 805
Apple iPhone 11 0.428 644 1505:1
Apple iPhone SE 0.77 618 804:1
Apple iPhone SE (2020) 0.434 670 1544:1
Apple iPhone X 0 679
Apple iPhone XS 0 660
Apple iPhone XS Max 0 653
Apple iPhone XR 0.425 700 1647:1
Samsung Galaxy S20 0 397
Samsung Galaxy S20 (Max Auto) 0 814
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 0 404
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE (Max Auto) 0 823
OnePlus 8T 0 497
OnePlus 8T (Max Auto) 0 802

The iPhone 12 mini display offers excellent color accuracy - we measured an average deltaE of 1.8 and a maximum deviation of 2.7 against sRGB targets. The iPhone 12 mini fully supports DCI-P3, and it automatically switches to this gamma when DCI-P3 content is sent to the screen.

Battery life

The Apple iPhone 12 mini packs a 2,227mAh battery - that's about 20% smaller than iPhone 12's but about 25% larger than the one inside the iPhone SE (2020). The battery life of the iPhone 12 mini is probably the biggest concern for every potential buyer's, and rightfully so.

Our battery life test is now complete, and the iPhone 12 mini did surprisingly well. It posted very decent numbers in our screen-on tests - the mini can manage 12 hours while playing videos or browsing the internet. The talk time isn't impressive though - it's also about 12 hours.

Finally, when we add the okay-ish standby performance to the mix, we calculated a total endurance rating of 69 hours - that's 10 more hours compared to the iPhone SE (2020) and 15 hours less than the iPhone 12.

Apple iPhone 12 mini review

Our battery tests were automated thanks to SmartViser, using its viSer App. The endurance rating above denotes how long a single battery charge will last you if you use the Apple iPhone 12 mini for an hour each of telephony, web browsing, and video playback daily. We've established this usage pattern so that our battery results are comparable across devices in the most common day-to-day tasks. The battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you're interested in the nitty-gritty. You can check out our complete battery test table, where you can see how all of the smartphones we've tested will compare under your own typical use.

Charging speeds

The Apple iPhone 12 mini supports fast battery charging via USB Power Delivery. Apple ships the phone without a charger, but you can opt for Apple's 20W PD charger or another 20W+ USB-PD compatible adapter.

Apple iPhone 12 mini review

If you recharge your dead iPhone 12 mini with Apple's 20W charger, it will refill 60% of its battery in 30 mins and 85% in 60 mins.

30min charging test (from 0%)

  • OnePlus 8T
    94%
  • Apple iPhone 12 mini
    60%
  • Apple iPhone 12 Pro
    59%
  • Apple iPhone 12 (20W)
    58%
  • Apple iPhone 11 Pro
    58%
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE (25W)
    57%
  • Apple iPhone 11 (18W)
    55%
  • Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max
    50%
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE (15W)
    37%
  • Apple iPhone 12 mini MagSafe 12W
    30%
  • Apple iPhone 12/Pro MagSafe
    30%
  • Apple iPhone XS
    22%
  • Apple iPhone 11 (5W)
    18%
  • Apple iPhone XS Max
    18%

A full charge with Apple's 20W adapter takes 89 mins. And you have to admire Apple's consistency with the charging speeds - no matter the battery capacity - you'd get a similar charging level for 30 mins, and a full charge will always take 90mins.

Time to full charge (from 0%)

  • OnePlus 8T
    0:36h
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE (25W)
    1:10h
  • Apple iPhone 12 mini
    1:29h
  • Apple iPhone 12 (20W)
    1:30h
  • Apple iPhone 12 Pro
    1:30h
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE (15W)
    1:35h
  • Apple iPhone 11 Pro
    1:50h
  • Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max
    2:00h
  • Apple iPhone 12/Pro MagSafe
    3:00h
  • Apple iPhone XR
    3:00h
  • Apple iPhone 11 (5W)
    4:00h

The iPhone 12 mini supports fast wireless charging but only when using MagSafe chargers. Oddly, while the rest of the iPhone 12's support 15W wireless charging, this one is limited to 12W. We think that's necessary as the phone is smaller and thus heats up faster.

Still, if you opt for a regular Qi-compatible charger, you'll be limited to 5W-7W or so.

We charged the iPhone 12 mini with Apple's own MagSafe wireless charger. It took 5 minutes to wake up our dead iPhone 12 mini, and then it lifted the battery to 30% in 30 minutes. A full charge on that charger requires a total of 3 hours, just like the rest of the iPhone 12's.

The MagSafe charger gets quite hot when charging the new iPhones, and we are not sure if this affects the charging speed. Anyhow, we don't see the point of upgrading to this expensive MagSafe wireless charger just yet.

Speakers

The iPhone 12 mini, just like the rest of the iPhone 12 phones, offers a hybrid stereo speaker setup. There is one speaker at the bottom and another one inside the screen notch, which also doubles as an earpiece. The output is reasonably balanced even if the top speaker seems quieter and bass-less when the bottom is muted.

Apple iPhone 12 mini review

The speakers support spatial audio, and subjectively the sound indeed seems less directional and more, well, spatial when compared to other phones we've tested so far.

The iPhone 12 mini scored a Very Good mark in our loudness test just like its siblings. It has the worst sound quality, though - there is little to no bass, and while the high-notes are great, the mid-tones could have been better presented.

It's great Apple offers similar loudness across the series, but it seems the speakers' size does matter, and the maker has tuned them the best it could to match the loudness instead of the excellent quality of the bunch.

Use the Playback controls to listen to the phone sample recordings (best use headphones). We measure the average loudness of the speakers in LUFS. A lower absolute value means a louder sound. A look at the frequency response chart will tell you how far off the ideal "0db" flat line is the reproduction of the bass, treble, and mid frequencies. You can add more phones to compare how they differ. The scores and ratings are not comparable with our older loudspeaker test. Learn more about how we test here.

Reader comments

  • Anonymous

No fingerprint reader

  • Shabbu

One doubt Iphone 12 mini finger lock is there r not

  • Chris

Yes! This is true. Was surprised that it could do such an amazing job. Wish I could post the photo