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iPhone 12 mini

I knew I was going to buy an iPhone 12 mini as soon as it was announced. I ordered a blue model the moment they went on sale and received it this past Friday. I’ve been using a jet black iPhone 7. It had the original screen but had been through a couple batteries. I loved it but it was time for an upgrade.

The mini isn’t small

My favorite iPhone design was the 4/4s. I am glad the sandwich design has come back. My favorite size was the 5/5s. Those phones felt so good. The 12 mini is the smallest phone Apple has released since the 2016 SE (based on the 5s) but it is closer in size to the 7/8/SE20 and the flat sides make it feel larger than it is. This phone isn’t small but I like the way it feels in hand.

Apple has also increased the pixel density on the 12 mini. Coupled with a different scaling factor it shows as much content as a 10s in it’s standard scale. Everything is a bit smaller but definitely legible.

Colors are great

I’ve bought a lot of iPhones over the years, but I’ve only bought space gray/black for myself. I wasn’t sure that I would like colors but this blue looks great. I love it. The glass back shows fingerprints but everything shows fingerprints, except for the sides. The brushed aluminum doesn’t show any and it feels wonderful. I wouldn’t mind if Apple decided to use a brushed and anodized aluminum back on an upcoming phone. I know this messes with antenna but it would look and feel nice.

Cameras are so much better

I jumped off the yearly upgrade cycle after the iPhone 7. Frequent upgraders may or may not notice a big difference in this year’s cameras. For me this is a huge upgrade. My 7 took great photos, but they don’t compare to the 12. The light gathering capability is so much higher. The shutter speed and image stabilization are better. Whatever the A14 does is better. Every photo is better. I’m going to really enjoy this phone over the holidays.

The A14 is a burner

It’s just a fast chip. Every single app is more responsive. There isn’t anything else to say.

OLED and dark mode are match made in heaven

Again, many people have already experienced the shift to OLED screens but this is my first introduction. I’ve seen them, but I never lived with one. After 3 full days I’m sure it’s better in practically every way that matters to most users. I’m a fan of dark mode as well. Dark mode with the almost pure black of OLED is wonderful. Contrast is much better and helps my poor eyesight. I don’t strain nearly as much. If you are a fan of the NASA picture of the day, scroll through your saved pictures. You’ll be amazed. Astrophotography is striking on an OLED display.

Battery life

My usage is higher than normal right now but I’m not concerned about the smaller battery. I have seen quite a few complaints but I think many people use their phone much different than I do. Yesterday was fairly typical for Sunday usage. I took my phone off the charger at 7am. I checked the time and didn’t pick it up again until nearly 9. I sent a couple of text messages, played the daily rounds of Good Sudoku, then read the news. I was on Twitter during football games in the afternoon and talked to my girlfriend via FaceTime. My usage is 4h 19min screen on. 3h 16m screen off. FaceTime, Twitter, NetNewsWire, and my VPN are the main battery drain during the day. I’m still at 30% capacity.

Conclusion

If you like small phones this is about as small as you are going to get anymore. It’s definitely the smallest iPhone and I expect it will remain the smallest. As a year over year upgrade it seems that the 12 is a good incremental upgrade but no features make it a necessary upgrade. If you are are using a 3 or 4 year old device the 12 is an excellent upgrade. If you’ve been waiting for a smaller phone then you should buy this phone.