Apple iPhone 13 mini review

GSMArena Team, 16 October 2021.

Design, build quality, handling

The iPhone 13 mini looks a lot like the iPhone 12 mini and is equal in size - Apple used the same design though a few of the internal technical advancements have left a mark on the exterior, too.

Apple iPhone 13 mini review

For starters, the iPhone 13 mini has a smaller screen notch - one of the most important changes Apple has delivered this year. It's not a groundbreaking reduction, but it is the first step towards its retirement.

Apple iPhone 13 mini review

The other notable change is on the back - the dual-camera now uses diagonal alignment as opposed to the vertical one on the iPhone 12 mini. This new arrangement is probably a result of the primary camera improvements - a larger sensor with new sensor-shift stabilization.

Finally, the larger battery and the new hardware are responsible for 6 extra grams and 0.4mm extra thickness over the iPhone 12 mini. That's insignificant, obviously, but old protection cases may not fit properly on the new iPhone 13 mini. That, of course, is all but surprising.

Apple iPhone 13 mini reviewThe Pros are in the middle

The Apple iPhone 13 mini is obviously an incredibly small and lightweight smartphone - it's 131mm tall, 64mm wide and weighs 141 grams. Yet, it is also one of the most durable devices on the market thanks to its Ceramic Shield front, aluminum frame, Corning-made rear panel, and sapphire crystal lens covers. Apple likes to come up with fancy names, but various drop tests have already proven this new design indeed lives up to the hype.

On top of this extra durable design, the iPhone 13 mini is also IP68-rated for dust and water resistance. Apple went above and beyond the official IP requirements and secured the iPhone 13 mini against water - it can go swim in 6m deep water for 30 minutes and survive this adventure.

Apple iPhone 13 mini review

The 5.4" Super Retina XDR screen occupies most of the front, and it packs an incredibly sharp OLED panel with high brightness, HDR10 and Dolby Vision support. The bezels are as thin as on the iPhone 12 mini, but the notch is now narrower - that's the first size reduction since the iPhone X. The cutout still contains the Face ID sensors, the 12MP selfie camera and one of the stereo speakers that also acts as an earpiece.

Apple iPhone 13 mini review

The screen is protected by a flat piece of Ceramic Shield glass made in collaboration with Corning. The back panel is also flat and covered by a Corning-made glass though not a Ceramic Shield (probably a version of Gorilla Glass Victus). Both glass sheets are covered with extra oleophobic layers, which make smudges not that sticky and easier to clean.

Apple iPhone 13 mini review

Speaking about the back, you can easily notice the new camera arrangement. The back glass is all glossy, while the camera square is matte. The Pro models have it the other way around.

The whole camera setup is jutting out of the back, and then the two camera rings are jutting out once more. This makes the mini wobble a lot, but that's unavoidable for now.

Apple iPhone 13 mini review

The lenses are protected by sapphire crystal glass, which is dense and durable, and that's why they can easily scratch other surfaces like regular glass. Yes, we are warning you, again, not to stack the iPhone 13 mini over other phones.

The iPhone 13 mini uses an aluminum frame with brushed paint, and it's nicely grippy. Fingerprints do stick, but they aren't as visible.

There is nothing on the top of the iPhone 13 mini.

Apple iPhone 13 mini review

The bottom has the mouthpiece grille, the Lightning port, and the other stereo speaker behind another dotted grille.

Apple iPhone 13 mini review

The volume keys, the silencer and the SIM tray are all on the left.

Apple iPhone 13 mini review

The Side key is alone on the right side of the iPhone 13 mini. It powers on the iPhone, locks it; you can use it to summon Siri or Apple Pay. It doesn't shut down the phone, though; if you want to see the power menu - you hold Volume Up and Side key.

Handling the iPhone 13 mini has to be one of the most, well, memorable experiences we've had since the iPhone 12 mini. It's such a compact phone, with an amazing display, and excellent grip. One-handed operations are a breeze, the iPhone sits well in hand, and we rarely use the other hand for help. Overall, this is the phone you get for the best experience on such a compact display.

Apple iPhone 13 mini review

The iPhone 13 mini is easily the king of compact phones - it is of striking lightweight design, premium durability, and extra grippy. If you ever go near a physical smartphone store, you can easily experience that. If you do not like small phones, the iPhone 13 mini is surely not for you. But if you do - you will love every minute of it.

Reader comments

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  • Bonzo

Just got it over a week ago. Highly impressed replacement for my iphone 6. Everything i want in a phone, compact, light, lots of juice etc, works well, snappy, downsides, low ram, very expensive, almost nothing in the box. Gee apple you csn do better...

  • Anonymous

Then the iPhone SE is for you