The iPhone 11 (left), the iPhone 12 mini (middle), the iPhone SE (right)
The iPhone 12 mini was released with Apple’s other 2020 iPhone updates, giving buyers who prefer smaller handsets yet-another choice. How does it stack up against the iPhone 11 and the updated iPhone SE, though? The microscope is brought out.
A subset of Apple’s consumer base actively seeks the tiniest iPhone possible. The small form factor not only facilitates one-handed operation but also makes the mobile device convenient for portability.
With the release of the 2020 iPhone line, Apple once again appealed to this demographic, with the suffix “mini” added to the iPhone 12 to indicate its diminutive size.
The model’s name draws inevitable comparisons to Apple’s iPhone SE, a little smartphone that packs almost all of the features of its larger siblings into a sleek and portable design. The iPhone 11, the cheapest model from the 2019 lineup that is still available, and the only one without a size-indicating suffix, may be used as a direct comparison.
Since there are other good choices out there, it’s important to compare the new model to its contemporaries.
|iPhone 12 mini||iPhone 11||iPhone SE (Second Generation)|
|Dimensions (inches)||5.18 x 2.53 x 0.29||5.94 x 2.98 x 0.33||5.45 x 2.65 x 0.29|
|Processor||A14 Bionic||A13 Bionic||A13 Bionic|
|Storage||64GB, 128GB, 256GB||64GB, 128GB, 256GB||64GB, 128GB, 256GB|
|Display type||5.4-inch Super Retina XDR||6.1-inch Liquid Retina||4.7-inch Retina HD|
|Resolution||2,340 x 1,080 at 476ppi||1,792 x 828 at 326ppi||1,334 x 750 at 326ppi|
|Biometrics||Face ID||Face ID||TouchID|
|Connectivity||5G (Sub-6GHz and mmWave)
|Rear Cameras||12MP Ultra Wide
|12MP Ultra Wide
Bright True Tone Flash
|Single-lens 12MP Wide camera|
|Video||4K 60fps, 30fps HDR with Dolby Vision,
1080p 240fps Slo-mo
|Front Cameras||12MP TrueDepth||12MP TrueDepth Camera||7MP FaceTime HD Camera|
(Video playback time)
|Up to 15 hours||Up to 17 hours||Up to 13 hours|
|Colors||Black, White, Blue, Green, Purple, (Product)Red||Purple, Yellow, Green, Black, White and (PRODUCT)RED||Black, White, (PRODUCT)RED|
iPhone 12 mini vs iPhone 11 vs 2020 iPhone SE – Physical Dimensions
The size of the iPhone 12 mini in relation to the other phones in the group is the most apparent topic for conversation. The name alone lets you know that it’s Apple’s tiniest product at the moment.
The iPhone 12 small is quite a thin smartphone, measuring just 0.29 inches (7.4mm) in thickness and having dimensions of 5.18 inches (131.5mm) in width and 2.53 inches (64.2mm) in depth.
The iPhone 12 mini is much more compact than the iPhone 12, however it’s not quite as little as the iPhone SE.
The iPhone 11 is the 2019 successor, and it measures 5.94 inches (150.9mm) in length, 2.98 inches (75.7mm) in width, and 0.33 inches (8.3mm) in thickness. However, the current king of compact smartphones, the second-generation iPhone SE, gets dethroned by the new iPhone, which is slightly longer and broader than its predecessor at 5.45 by 2.65 inches (138.4mm by 67.3mm) and 0.29 inches (0.73mm) thick.
As if that weren’t enough, the new model is also the lightest of the three in question, thus the comparison holds. Compared to the iPhone SE’s 148 grams, the iPhone 11’s 194 grams (6.84 ounces) are clear winners (5.22 ounces). Weighing in just 135 grams, the iPhone 12 small is the lightest little iPhone to date (4.76 ounces.)
iPhone 12 mini vs iPhone 11 vs 2020 iPhone SE – Displays
The screen provides a particularly useful indicator of the size difference among the three types.
There are three different sizes of iPhone screens: 6.1 inches for the iPhone 11, 4.7 inches for the iPhone SE, and 5.4 inches for the iPhone 12 mini. The iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 mini feature an edge-to-edge design to remove dead space from the front, making them smaller overall than the iPhone SE even if the latter has the smaller screen.
The iPhone 12 small is a middle-ground device in terms of size, but it has some advantages over its competitors. Apple’s transition from an LCD IPS display used in the SE and 11 to an OLED screen is the most notable of these changes.
More contrast, brighter visuals, and more accurate color reproduction may all be expected from an OLED panel compared to an LCD one.
The iPhone 12 small, for instance, has a contrast ratio of 2,000,000:1 compared to 1,400:1 for the other two. The maximum brightness of the iPhone 12 mini’s OLED is 800 nits, which can be increased to 1,200 nits for HDR content, while the maximum brightness of the others is 625 nits.
With the shift from LCD to OLED, Apple has also given the iPhone 12 small a fantastic resolution of 2,340 by 1,080, which is a significant improvement over the iPhone 11’s 1,792 by 828 screen. This means the iPhone 12 small has 476 pixels per inch of resolution, which is much more than the iPhone 11’s 326ppi.
The iPhone SE’s screens have a 1,334×750 or 1,792×828 resolution, respectively, which results in a pixel density of 326ppi, the same as the iPhone 11.
According to Apple’s typical standards for mobile devices, True Tone and P3 Wide Color are supported by all models.
Ceramic Shield, an enhancement to the glass, makes the display of the iPhone 12 mini four times more resistant to damage from drops.
This move to OLED is perhaps the most significant update for customers, since it brings the whole non-Pro iPhone range up to the same technology as the Pro models. The iPhone 12 small has the best screen of the three due to its greater resolution, better pixel density, and the overall advantages of OLED.
iPhone 12 mini vs iPhone 11 vs iPhone SE – Cameras
Users familiar with the dual-camera setup of the iPhone 11 and earlier models will be very familiar with the cameras used in the iPhone 12 mini, as it is a similar dual 12-megapixel arrangement, consisting of ultra-wide and wide-angle cameras. They offer a 2x optical zoom out and a 5x digital zoom.
One slight sensor difference is in the aperture for the wide-angle lens. Though small, switching from f/1.8 to f/1.6 will enable more light to enter the camera sensor, which can significantly improve low-light photography.
The iPhone SE uses a single 12-megapixel wide-angle camera on the back, with a 5x digital zoom.
All have the usual collection of Apple’s camera functions, including a Portrait mode, True Tone flash, optical image stabilization, Portrait Lighting, and Smart HDR, for example, though the iPhone 12 mini now has a more advanced Smart HDR 3 for photos.
The iPhone 12 mini’s rear dual-camera setup.
The iPhone SE and the iPhone 11 can record 4K video at up to 60 frames per second, 1080p slo-mo video at 240 frames per second, and both include optical image stabilization. In 2020, the iPhone 12 mini will be able to capture 4K HDR video with Dolby Vision at up to 30 frames per second.
The Night mode Time-lapse feature in the iPhone 12 mini’s video capabilities combines the already-present Time-lapse with the low-light photography enhancements.
The iPhone 12 mini, in addition to the rumored computational photography improvements, also has improved optics by upgrading the wide-angle camera from its previous 6-piece lens assembly to a new 7-piece one. The quality of the raw picture acquired by the sensor will be enhanced in this way before the iPhone’s image processing kicks in.
The TrueDepth camera array on the face of the iPhone 11 can take 12-megapixel photos, shoot 4K video at 60 frames per second, slow motion video at 1080p at 120 frames per second, and utilise LiDAR for Animoji and Memoji. In terms of functionality, the iPhone 12 small is identical to the iPhone 11.
While lacking a front-facing camera array, the iPhone SE is capable of taking 7-megapixel still images, 10-80p video at 30 frames per second, and Portrait mode.
iPhone 12 mini vs iPhone 11 vs iPhone SE – Processing performance
When it was released in 2019, Apple’s A13 Bionic CPU was the fastest in the company’s A-series smartphone lineup. It is used in both the iPhone 11 and the iPhone SE. Apple has once again revolutionized the future.
The iPhone 12 mini’s A14 Bionic SoC is built using a 5-nanometer production method, has a 6-core architecture, and improves CPU performance by 40% compared to the A12, although the A13 improved performance by just 20%. The A14’s four-core GPU is said to be 30% faster than the A12’s, whereas the A13’s GPU is just 20% faster.
Simply said, the A14 packs greater punch than the A13. According to AppleInsider’s benchmarks, the A14 in the iPhone 12 is 20% faster at single-core tasks than the A13 was, and 15% faster at multi-core tasks. A score of 4,180 was achieved in the multi-core exam, while a score of 1,598 was achieved in the single-core test.
The A14 SoC, used in the entire iPhone 12 range.
The official benchmark chart for the tool has the iPhone SE at 1,321 and 2,740 for the respective tests, and the iPhone 11 at 1,322 and 3,013.
While these tests are just against the chip, normally it would be worth taking into account the amount of memory in use. While Apple doesn’t disclose how much RAM is in each model normally, the iPhone SE and iPhone 11 both have been found to be equipped with 4GB.
Rumors pointed to Apple using 4GB of memory in the iPhone 12 mini, which benchmarks have confirmed. There is no memory-based advantage here, leaving the more powerful processor the only performance-related benefit of the iPhone 12 mini over the other two models.
iPhone 12 mini vs iPhone 11 vs iPhone SE – Connectivity and 5G
The cellular and wireless capabilities of the iPhone SE and the iPhone 11 are identical; both support gigabit-class LTE networks with 2×2 MIMO and LAA, Wi-Fi 6 with 2×2 MIMO, and Bluetooth 5.0.
The iPhone 11 also has Ultra Wideband, which may be used to get “spatial awareness,” or the ability to pinpoint the position of other devices that also support Ultra Wideband.
The iPhone 12 improves upon its predecessor, the iPhone 11, by including support for 5G networks.
All of the iPhones released in 2020 include some kind of 5G cellular connectivity capabilities. When broken down into their component parts, the two connectivity technologies that make up 5G complement one other.
The mmWave band is supported by all iPhone 12 versions.
Coverage across large regions, a long range, and connection speeds on par with current LTE networks are all hallmarks of 5G’s low-band component. The second component, mmWave, promises far higher connection rates, perhaps reaching gigabit levels; but, due to the low strength of the signals, its deployment will be restricted to densely populated urban areas.
Apple disproved claims about the iPhone 12 mini’s restricted 5G capability by ensuring that all new models were compatible with all 5G features, including mmWave. This implies that, in areas where it is available, the iPhone 12 mini can take full advantage of 5G speeds.
The iPhone 12 mini will seamlessly transition between LTE and 5G, which will help save the battery life. Instead of always using 5G, it will default to LTE and only switch to 5G when necessary.
iPhone 12 mini vs iPhone 11 vs iPhone SE – Power, EarPods, and other bits
Apple promises up to 17 hours and 13 hours of video playing on the iPhone 11 and iPhone SE, respectively, or 65 hours and 40 hours of music playback, suggesting that the size of the device has an effect on battery life.
Again, the iPhone 12 mini holds the middle ground with its advertised 15 hours of movie playing and up to 50 hours of music playback.
With a 20W charger or above, the iPhone 11 and iPhone SE are fast-charging devices that can reach 50% capacity in under 30 minutes. In addition, the iPhone 12 mini features compatibility with MagSafe wireless chargers.
For older iPhone models, Apple included a set of EarPods that used the 30-pin dock connection instead of the Lightning port on the bottom of the iPhone 11 and iPhone SE 2. Customers are now asked to provide their own Bluetooth headphones or purchase some, such as AirPods, since Apple has discontinued supplying headphones and the charger in the package for all presently marketed models.
The iPhone 12 mini and the iPhone 11 both employ Face ID for authentication, making the iPhone SE the outlier in the lineup.
iPhone 12 mini vs iPhone 11 vs iPhone SE – Capacity and pricing
The 64GB iPhone SE retails for $399 from Apple, while the 128GB model costs $449 and the 256GB model costs $549.
The iPhone 11’s full retail costs of $599 for 64GB, $649 for 128GB, and $749 for 256GB are the same as those of the iPhone 10.
As the other two, the iPhone 12 small is only available in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB storage capacities. Apple’s pricing for the 64GB model is $699 (if you’re an AT&T or Verizon subscriber), while the 128GB model is $749 and the 256GB model costs $849, making it $100 more costly than the iPhone 11 in all three storage configurations.
iPhone 12 mini vs iPhone 11 vs iPhone SE – Which should you get?
Several people search for various things in a smartphone, but the iPhone SE, iPhone 11, and iPhone 12 mini all fall into the category of being relatively inexpensive and having a more compact design than their full-sized counterparts.
Before the release of the iPhone 12 mini, consumers could choose between the iPhone SE, Apple’s smallest and least expensive iPhone, and the iPhone 11, which had a larger display, several cameras, and premium features like Face ID.
Now that the iPhone 12 tiny exists, there’s a shift at the extreme end of the spectrum, with the iPhone 12 mini serving as the lightest and smallest option. Apart from its low price and the fact that it uses Touch ID instead of Face ID, the iPhone SE now just has nostalgia and convenience going for it.
The iPhone 12 mini has all the power of the iPhone 12, but in a more compact form factor.
What benefits do you get from upgrading to the iPhone 12 small instead of another model? The key features are the A14 chip’s much improved performance, the much better quality OLED screen, and a road to enjoying 5G.
Although opting for the lowest iPhone SE rather than the iPhone 12 mini may save you $300, you will be missing out on a number of upgrades.
Given how important cost is in gadget purchases, a $300 price gap between models is always going to be difficult to defend. Apple may have done enough with the iPhone 12 small to convert prospective iPhone SE purchasers to the more capable iPhone 12.
There isn’t much of a contest between the iPhone 11 and the iPhone 12 tiny. With all you get for that additional $100, only the most cheapskate of consumers would hesitate to make the investment.