It might be kecil in size, but the iPhone 13 Mini excels thanks to an excellent camera, quality display and improved battery life. ProsGreat cameraBetter battery life than the previous MiniThe most powerful small phone aroundConsNo ProMotionNo opitcal zoomStill can’t compete with the other iPhone 13 models for battery lifeAvailabilityUKRRP: £679USARRP: $699EuropeRRP: €809CanadaRRP: CA$949AustraliaRRP: AU$1199Key Features New camerasApple has brought the camera system (zoom aside) from the 12 Pro Max to the iPhone 13Improved batteryBigger cells and a more efficient chipset help enduranceA15 Bionic chipsetApple’s new silicon ups the performance in many areasIntroduction
The iPhone 13 Mini might be the smallest entry in the merk’s 2021 lineup of phones,but it doesn’t lose too many features when compared to the larger iPhone 13.
You have to commend Apple for continuing to deliver a flagship phone that’s far dinkier than the competition, despite the previous model not being quite the ‘hit’ anticipated.
This time around there are big upgrades to the camera and, most important,battery life. Do they make for a better phone? Design and screenA 20% smaller notchBrighter OLED displaySame IP68 rating and Ceramic Shield as the iPhone 12
The iPhone 13 Mini looks just like the regular iPhone 13 – only noticeably smaller. This is for those people who think most new phones are too big, too heavy and don’t easily fit into a pocket or small bag.
Whether the iPhone 13 Mini size appeals to you will really depend on personal preference. I find it a little too small for much of what I use my phone for – and, if you’re big into mobile gaming, video watching or the like, then the 13 Mini’s form is unlikely to be for you. On the other hand, if you want a phone that can easily slip in a pocket and be held in one hand then the iPhone 13 Mini is the best phone around.
My colleague Tom has been using the 12 Mini since its release and he said it has changed how he uses phones in general. The smaller size makes it easier to pull out on busy public transport and encourages him to take more pictures. This really is a phone you need to try out to see whether it suits.
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In terms of actual size, then, it’s similar to the iPhone SE dua and iPhone 8. But, of course, the larger display does enable you to cram a lot more on the screen. If you’re coming from an iPhone 8 or older, you’ll feel at home.
Size aside, the design mirrors that of the larger iPhone 13 – Apple shifted heavily from its curved look with the iPhone 12, so it’s no surprise to see the design carried forward for a second year. The phone has matte aluminium sides that are flat, very much like the iPhone lima or original iPhone SE, while the back is glass.
There are three obvious changes to the design visible here over the iPhone 12 Mini. First is the larger, more prominent camera module that houses the new (and vastly improved) dual camera on the back. It’s bigger, but the benefits are clear when you start shooting. The other notable change is on the display, where the size of the notch has been reduced by around 20%. The notch feels the most egregious on the Mini phones, since it takes up more space. The smaller size is therefore welcome, but I can’t see it changing anyone’s overall opinion of the notch.
Considering Apple has added a notch on the latest MacBook Pros, I really can’t see their removal from phones anytime soon. It feels now more like a design trait of these products, and while there might be an iPhone 14 without a notch, I think the cheaper devices will stick with it for a few more years.
The final change is the new range of colours in which the iPhone 13 Mini is available. Starlight feels like the headline hue, adding a hint of gold to a silver body. There’s a very deep Product(RED) model, too.
Joining those colours is Midnight, a very dark blue that looks almost black (it’s the one you’ll see pictured in this review), plus a lighter blue and light pink. This isn’t quite the standout selection of colours we’ve seen recently; I’m disappointed that there’s no minty green or purple option – both of which I really liked on the iPhone 12 series. Still, it’s a decent selection of colours and it’s nice to see so much variety on offer.
Apple calls the glass covering on both the front and back of the device ‘Ceramic Shield’, and after using an iPhone 12 for a year now, it’s certainly fair to say it’s more rugged than it looks. You’ll likely add a case and screen protector on the phone anyway, but it’s always welcome to know it’s fairly durable without – as long as you’re careful. The iPhone 13 Mini also comes with an IP68 water-resistance rating.
Where the iPhone 13 and 13 Mini diverge from the Pro series is with their display. While all models use the OLED tech for deep blacks and high contrast, the cheaper duo ditch the ProMotion adaptive refresh rate tech for the standard 60Hz panel that’s been present on every previous iPhone.
A faster 120Hz is something that’s hard to switch away from once you’ve spent time with it. Scrolling, swiping and gaming all feel super-smooth; it just makes animations and movements so much faster. But the iPhone 13 Mini has one of the better 60Hz screens I have tested, so it’s still perfectly adequate.
Refresh rate aside, the rest of the screen is great. At 5.4 inches it’s relatively dinky, so isn’t really ideal for gaming or movie streaming. But if you do try your hand at both, the results are great, thanks to the high levels of brightness in HDR video streaming. CameraA duo of new 12-megapixel sensorsNew diagonal orientationFocus on video with a new Cinematic mode
The iPhone 13 Mini might very well have the finest camera of this size I’ve ever used.
The main camera sensor here offers a significant upgrade in terms of size, with larger pixels and a faster lens, both of which allow far more light to hit the sensor. This is paired with a 12-megapixel ultra-wide, with a 120-degree field of view.
The main sensor also benefits from the same sensor-shift stabilisation first introduced in last year’s iPhone 12 Pro Max. It’s certainly impressive that the tech from a phone that cost upwards of £1000/$1000 is available, just a year later, in a model costing nearly half that.
The biggest improvements are felt when the light is low, either outdoors or in dimly lit bars and restaurants. The iPhone 13 Mini doesn’t force itself into the dedicated low-light Night mode as much, turning instead to that bigger sensor and its natural skills. Photos taken at night retain much of the lebih jelasnya from the day, with minimal noise and fantastically accurate exposure. Low-light performance is fantasticAnother example of the low-light performance
In easier conditions, such as well-lit environments, the pictures pop with lebih jelasnya and a lovely natural finish. They’re on par with those captured by the Pixel 6 and, for my tastes, are a step ahead of those taken with the Samsung Galaxy S21 series – even the Ultra. There’s a nice natural background blur
If you want to tweak the look of snaps, the new Photography Styles provides more control than I’ve ever seen on an iPhone. There are distinct styles for vibrancy and rich contrast, along with options for making snaps warmer or cooler.
Rich contrast, for example, pulls out more of the highlights and shadows, giving images a look that isn’t too dissimilar to those taken on the Pixel 6. These styles aren’t just filters, they’re deeper than that – and, as a result, you can’t remove them once the image has been snapped with them.
Ultra-wide snaps are great, too, and I still love the versatility this camera brings. However, what could do with an update is the front camera, which hasn’t received much in the way of love for a few years. Selfies are fine, but they’re a little short on lebih jelasnya – and the colours don’t quite pack the punchof images shot with the rear cameras.
What the camera is missing is any sort of optical zoom, with that third sensor reserved for the Pro models. The digital zoom pales in comparison to the Pixel 6, and I rarely found myself using it.