A 5.4in smartphone is a very manageable size for most, and a blessing for tiny handed folk. It’s not actually that small, it’s just small by today’s standards, and only in comparison to the gargantuan 12 Pro Max, which stands 160.8mm tall.
It’s a shrunken iPhone 12, with flat edges and a boxy brick-like design reminiscent of the halcyon iPhone 4/5 days. It’s even tinier than the iPhone SE released earlier in 2020, and at 135g still feels weighty enough without being a bulky nuisance.
The “Ceramic Shield” glass rebuffs scratches and keeps things shiny – jostling around in bags and pockets for the best part of two weeks and there’s not a scuff in sight.
It also comes in five glorious finishes to temper the more reserved Pro line-up: white, black, blue, green and the one we’re testing – the dashing (product) red where every purchase contributes to the global fund to combat Covid 19.
The smooth back keeps fingerprints at bay and contrasts nicely with the frosted matte edging. It’s also IP68 water resistant, so won’t malfunction in a rain shower, although we wouldn’t take it for laps around a swimming pool.
Unlike the iPhone SE’s inferior LED screen, the 12 Mini rocks a Super Retina XDR OLED HDR display with 2340×1080 pixel resolution. Contrast is brilliant, colours are vibrant with inky blacks and heaps of texture.
Viewing angles and brightness are both excellent. True Tone assures brightness is appropriately tweaked depending on the time of day – possibly our favourite iOS feature.
It’s compatible with MagSafe which automatically attaches to the phone allowing you to customise affairs with a load of natty accessories – not something we found to be particularly alluring, but many will.
The downside? The device uses a Lightning connection rather than the more universal USB-C, there’s no headphone port, or any kind of Samsung Dex for mobile powered desktop computing. Plus, that notch ain’t for everyone. Another gripe is the 60Hz display, where there are many Android smartphones at this price point with 120Hz refresh rates.