Does the iPhone 12 mini hold up in 2022?

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Does the iPhone 12 mini hold up in 2022?
And here we are in 2022. The iPhone 13 series has been out for a while, and the iPhone 14 series is occasionally making the news with leaks that suggest changes like the removal of the notch, but perhaps more significantly (for me, at least) – the end of the iPhone mini line.

I've been using the 2020 iPhone 12 mini for many months now, and sure – it has been a love-hate relationship sometimes, but it's still sad to know this might have been the second-to-last small iPhone Apple will ever release.

If you want to buy a small iPhone, you should know that the time to do so is definitely now, while they're still around. But I'd advise you to go with the newer iPhone 13 mini instead, and here's the main reason why…

The iPhone 12 mini's battery life was never good, the 13 mini improved on that

Indeed, the iPhone 12 mini has some of the weakest battery life I've ever had to deal with. First, let's look at our battery life test results, comparing the 12 mini against the 13 mini, which clearly show that the latter is the one worth buying right now.

Having to charge my phone daily is a new experience for me, as a long-time user of mostly big Android phones with beefy batteries inside.

From the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 to the Asus ROG Phone 5 Ultimate, I'm used to charging my phone once every three-to-four days, not once every four-to-five hours of continuous usage.

As disappointed as I am that Apple never improved the iPhone 12 mini's battery via software, which I had hoped for, at least this phone's successor does better.

However, even the iPhone 13 mini has some iPhone 12 mini compromises that are worth considering, and that's by design…

It's getting harder and harder to love a small display

And I tried. I specifically bought the iPhone 12 mini for its ultra portable design, but dealing with a tiny 5.4-inch display (even smaller if you account for the notch) in 2022 isn't a nice experience. For that alone, I can understand why the mini line isn't selling as well as Apple had hoped for, and why the Cupertino company is cancelling it.

Try to touch type on a screen that size without auto-correct, and you should certainly expect to end with countless typos, which you'll have to constantly go back to and correct. And trying to watch any YouTube videos or movies involves a whole lot of squinting and missing on details.

To be fair, again – the latter is by design, and nobody should be buying a tiny phone and expect to watch movies on it comfortably, but it's still worth mentioning.

Because even knowing its size, I thought I'd be able to at least enjoy some YouTube clips on it, but that's not the case… And not just because of the screen size, but…

Those speakers are not the clearest

The quality of phone speakers is this niche thing I don't see discussed nearly as much as I believe it should be. Some phones, like the aforementioned ROG Phone 5, have fantastic ones. With great stereo separation, punchy bass; loud and clear.

In our list of the phones with best speakers the iPhone 13 Pro Max may be third after the Pixel 6 Pro and ROG Phone 5, but the smallest iPhone 13 mini isn't quite as impressive, and the same applies to its predecessor.

Don't get me wrong, those are still good speakers, considering that the bar isn't very high, and the fact that even some flagships like Galaxy S21 Ultra produce a tinny and rather unimpressive sound.

The iPhone 12 mini gets more than competently loud, but a bit too tinny and at higher volume levels – screechy. Again, like with the display – we're dealing with a small phone, so we can't expect perfection, but those are still compromises worth bringing up.

It's still a great phone for social media, phone calls, and as an iPod

Despite my gripes above, the iPhone 12 mini is still a very powerful smartphone, and can take great photos and videos, if you appreciate having a tiny and convenient camera in your pocket.

In addition, browsing through social media apps is perfectly comfortable even on a screen this small, if not more so than on a big one, as you can easily navigate with one hand. If you have long fingers, you can even swipe the Control Center down with your thumb, instead of involving a second hand that's better put to use holding a drink or something.

And of course, for video calls and phone calls, once again the iPhone 12 mini holds up, especially when it comes to the latter, as no matter how long that phone call is, this is a small and light phone, so you're not going to get tired (of holding the phone, at least).

Last but definitely not least, using this as your dedicated music player (iPod) is a dream. Grab your favorite wireless headphones, cue up some songs and start working out without being bothered by a huge, heavy brick in your pocket. Whether you're doing a run or riding a bike, this small phone will never irritate you with its presence.

So there we have it – I strongly recommend buying the iPhone 13 mini if you want to get a small iPhone while those exist, because of its better battery life, but that aside, the older iPhone 12 mini does still hold up very well even today.

You just have to be ready to make some long-term compromises when you go with Apple's mini line, such as the tinier speakers and most notably – the fact that watching videos and texting aren't going to be great on such a tiny screen.

If you're fine with that and just need the benefits of a thin, light and small phone – even the older iPhone 12 mini should be great for you.

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