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The iPhone 12 Mini is what all small phones should be: tiny and mighty

There’s a trend with smartphones: As models get cheaper, they generally lose features along the way. That’s not the case with the $699 iPhone 12 Mini.

The small but mighty wonder is as feature-filled as the iPhone 12. Like the iPhone 12, there’s two lenses on the back— a wide and ultrawide — with the ability to capture Night Mode and Portrait Mode shots. It’s powered by the A14 Bionic chip and lets you experience iOS 14 to the fullest. All that despite being smaller than the iPhone SE, falling somewhere between the size of the iPhone 5 and the iPhone 8.

We’ve spent the last week with the iPhone 12 Mini and, quite frankly, think it’s the answer for an affordable flagship device that’s actually full-featured.

Refreshingly small with a sharp screen

The iPhone 12 Mini features the same design of the iPhone 12 — just smaller. It can easily fit in the palm of your hand, measuring 5.18 inches tall and 2.53 inches wide. In fact, you can fit it in the front of your pants pocket without it being noticed.

The modernized flat, square-ish design with rounded edges is very tangible and easy to grip — much like the iPhone 4, 4S, 5 and 5S were.

You also get your pick from five colors: (PRODUCT) RED, green, blue, white and black. We’ve been testing out the latter; it feels very sleek, but doesn’t attract much attention. The glass back though does show fingerprints when the light hits it right and is incredibly reflective. The Mini’s build belies its price tag — the aluminum and glass all around does not feel cheap, unlike the Galaxy S20 FE that trades glass for plastic.

The left side of the iPhone 12 Mini is home to the SIM card slot, volume up, volume down and the silencer switch. On the right hand side is the power button; those upgrading from an iPhone 5, 5S or SE will have to get used to a new location for the power button in a very similar form factor. The bottom of the device features a Lightning port. But remember: While a Lightning to USB-C cord is included in the box, a wall charger is not to be found.

The back is especially minimalistic. Like on the iPhone 12, the main back is glass with a glossy finish that isn’t overtly slippery. The camera module has a matte finish with the ultra-wide and wide lens stacked. An LED flash is in the same square as well.

And we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the magnets on the back of the device to support MagSafe — Apple’s new feature for wireless charging with proper alignment and support for MagSafe cases.

For a device of this size, the Super Retina XDR (what Apple calls an OLED screen) is stretched to the max with minimal bezels all around. On the bottom, it’s the smallest bezel out of the entire iPhone 12 lineup.

The 12 Mini’s display clocks in at 2340 X 1080 resolution with 476 pixels-per-inch. Given the smaller screen size, that’s a higher pixels per inch than the iPhone 12. It’s packing support for HDR and P3 wide color, while also boasting True Tone Display that uses sensors to adjust the color temperature of the display to your environment.

What is missing, though, is a high refresh rate that we’ve seen with other leading smartphones (the Galaxy S20 and Note 20). In fact, no iPhone 12 model offers this. Apple is sticking with the very average refresh rate of 60Hz . Unless you’ve used a 120Hz smartphone, you’ll likely not to notice. But it certainly isn’t as buttery smooth as devices that have it.

The keyboard is a bit tiny and more compact if you’re coming from a larger iPhone. It reminded us of what we felt about the iPhone SE keyboard. And similarly, with a smaller screen, you can use one hand to swipe up for multitasking, reach to the top corners and easily swipe down to adjust brightness. It almost feels like you have some more control with just one hand.

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