Apple iPhone 12 mini im Test

tl;dr: The iPhone 12 mini is by far the best smartphone in the compact class – regardless of manufacturer and operating system. Without compromise, Apple offers the technology of the iPhone 12 in a much smaller case. In addition, the iPhone 12 mini is the cheapest of the new Apple smartphones. This leads to a clear buy recommendation.

Price and availability

The iPhone 12 mini is by far the smallest flagship smartphone among the current models – regardless of the manufacturer. Even the Pixel 5 from Google (test), which is praised for its compact dimensions, cannot keep up. The iPhone 12 mini is also Apple’s cheapest entry into the new iPhone 12 family, as it costs around 100 euros less than the normal iPhone 12 (test) based on the non-binding price of around 780 euros. In contrast to many other manufacturers, Apple did not have to save on the equipment in order to achieve the compact dimensions. The comparison with the iPhone 12 shows that apart from changes concerning the size, no other specifications can be found. Apple has been offering the smartphone in black (test device), white, blue, green and red since November 13th.

Technical data at a glance

The first iPhone SE is (almost) back

The number of those interested in a compact smartphone flagship should not be exactly small with constantly larger screens, because otherwise Apple would not have bothered to develop it. As iFixit shows in the teardown of the iPhone 12 mini, the manufacturer had to miniaturize some components specifically for the smallest iPhone 12 and could not simply put existing components in a smaller housing. The circuit board, “Taptic Engine” and loudspeakers are smaller.

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The popularity of Apple’s small smartphones is demonstrated again and again by first-generation iPhone SEs discovered in the wild (test), which correspond to the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S in terms of size. The second generation iPhone SE was more of a stopgap solution for Apple’s customers when all of the manufacturer’s other models were simply too big. Things are different with the iPhone 12 mini, as modern internals are finally combined with the current design instead of accommodating new technology in a familiar housing. For the second iPhone SE, Apple only packed the hardware of the iPhone 11 and iPhone XR into the iPhone 8 case, which in turn largely corresponds to the iPhone 6.

One-handed operation is possible again

The case of the iPhone 12 mini measures just 64.2 × 131.5 × 7.40 mm. This makes it the smallest 5G smartphone in the world. The second iPhone SE, which is not exactly large, measures 67.3 × 138.4 × 7.30 mm and the Pixel 5 also looks gigantic with 70.4 × 144.7 × 8.00 mm, although it is in the Android environment the most compact devices. The iPhone 12 mini is so small that you can hardly notice it even in tight pockets, as it is not only compact, but also weighs only 133 g.

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With the iPhone 12 mini, you can almost get to the app in the upper right corner

With the iPhone 12 mini you can almost get to the app in the upper right corner

With the iPhone SE you can find the app in the upper right corner

With the iPhone SE you can find the app in the upper right corner

Apple iPhone 12 mini

Apple iPhone 12 mini

And finally you can use it again with just one hand for most of the time, as the thumb now almost, but ultimately not quite, extends to the opposite corner of the screen. Only the first iPhone SE, which long-term users from the ComputerBase editorial team have come to appreciate, can still only boast these features of full one-hand operation. Despite the radical miniaturization, the 58.6 × 123.8 × 7.60 mm of the iPhone SE are even smaller. Nevertheless, the iPhone 12 mini is just as easy to use in most everyday situations. A rethink requires the power button, which is no longer in the top right, but on the right of the case as with all current iPhones.

OLED display with perfect coordination

A decisive point that speaks clearly in favor of the iPhone 12 mini is the OLED display, which is drawn to the edges, which only has to sacrifice space at the top of a recess for Face ID, the front camera, other sensors and the second speaker. Face ID works just as quickly and reliably as with all other iPhone 12s and even the smaller stereo speakers are in no way inferior to the larger models.

The OLED screen measures 5.4 inches, 0.7 inches more than the last iPhone SE and a full 1.4 inches more than the first iPhone SE. It’s hard to believe how many users can still be seen on buses and trains who only cling to a puny display because of the compact housing.

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5.4 instead of 4 inches in a slightly larger case

5.4 instead of 4 inches in a slightly larger case

Like the Pro Max, the iPhone 12 mini uses OLED

Like the Pro Max, the iPhone 12 mini uses OLED

iPhone SE, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max

iPhone SE, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max

The iPhone SE and iPhone 12 mini are not only worlds apart in terms of display size, but also in terms of display technology and display quality. Where at least an IPS panel with 640 × 1,136 pixels was used at the time, which retrospectively was well matched in terms of colors and viewing angles, the iPhone 12 trumps with a bright OLED with 1,080 × 2,340 pixels, the highest pixel density in the current range at 477 ppi and according to Apple a brightness of 625 cd / m² – the editorial team measured 643 cd / m². The display, certified for Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG, can go up to 1,200 cd / m² for HDR playback.

Playback in HDR also comes into play when your own video recordings are played back on the screen, since the capabilities of the dual camera correspond exactly to the structure of the iPhone 12, as the following page shows.

On the next page: camera, performance and battery life

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