The iPhone 12 mini is the only small thing you want in your pants

Our roving uncle-before-his-time needs a smaller phone. Is the iPhone 12 mini good enough?

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The mini in my pants measures 5.4’’, but I assure you, for my purposes, the size is perfect.

I am of course referring to the iPhone 12 mini.

After spending a week with the mini-est, newest and cheapest (from $1149) iPhone, all I can say is that size really matters.

By the end of this rambling spiel, I would like to show you why bigger isn’t always necessarily better.

Phablets out of fad

Remember phablets? A Samsung Galaxy Note was a phablet.

Nowadays, no one uses that word anymore. It’s just Ultra, Extra and in Apple’s case, you are Pro plus Max.

But I digress, I used to love phablets. I was in the queue for the Galaxy Note 2. I bought the 3, the 4, the 5, the 6, even the exploding 7. You get the idea.

But in the past year, maybe it’s because of my age, my muscles are not what they used to be. I’ve fallen out of love with carrying a brick in my pocket. Some phones are now so huge they can’t even fit in the cupholder of a car. And a cup holder can fit a big gulp cup from 7-11 just fine, so go figure.

So if you are like me, you want something small, something portable, something svelte, please, read on.

He has the whole world in his hands

Now the iPhone Mini harkens right back to the days of the iPhone 4 and 5. I think it’s a great design and I love the way it feels in the hands. It’s such a breath of fresh air from the humongous phones nowadays. If you disagree with me, you are wrong.

In fact, the glass and metal construct feels so good in the hand, that I think everyone should use it naked. (Ed: we bear no responsibility for any broken phones)

In the past, buying a smaller phone would mean compromises in terms of CPU grunt or other aspects, but not in this case.

The Mini gets most of the same guts (crucially, the same A14 processor) as its larger siblings. I am not going to go into details, but all you got to know is that the mini is every bit as blazing fast as its siblings.

The point is this, you now have all this power in a tiny package that actually fits into the palm of your hand with a zero-sized penalty. That is just fantastic.

Talking about power, what about the battery?

Battery life for that Uncle Life

Yes, the battery is physically smaller but the screen is also smaller. So I guess we can call it even-stevens?

Based on my own usage this past week, I have used the mini without particular care and have found to have about a quarter of battery life left before I plugged it in for a charge before bedtime. YMMV but honestly, it’s pretty good for me considering I’m in like a million uncle-WhatsApp groups and I love watching video content while on the throne.

“Come, uncle take a photo!”

It’s better than the Pixel4a that I came from. I use it every day to take snaps of my toddler and if you ask me, for a smartphone camera, it’s pretty amazing.

For video, the iPhone is head and shoulders better than other smartphone competitors. The focus speed and exposure control are quick and accurate and there are a plethora of options when it comes to the video output. There is even Dolby Vision for that tasty, high contrasty video!

Sure, camera nerds will nitpick, but then these are camera nerds. The Hubble telescope is probably not bokehlicious enough for that bunch. But if I were to start on my grumbles…

Uncle Grumbles

  • There seem to be some weird quirks in the latest iOS firmware. I have experienced on-screen buttons not being responsive. Am sure this will be fixed.
  • Taking my mask off to scan my ugly mug for Face Unlock. I know there is a hack, but it’s janky as heck. We need a more elegant solution.
  • No charger, no lighting to 3.55mm adapter. Read my colleague’s iPhone 12 Pro piece, he touches on this. Anyway, annoying lah.

Uncle Grunt of approval

  • The size is perfect. I have big hands and yet I still love this tiny marvel.
  • No compromise on performance despite its petite size.
  • iOS feels mature and fast.
  • Stellar photo and video performance.
  • Saying “I love the mini in my pants” never gets old.

Musings

Because I also moved from Android to iOS for this review, here are some extra thoughts for free. And also because I needed to make my word count.

  • It’s 2020 and we still can’t move WhatsApp messages from Android to iPhone seamlessly. Get your shit together WhatsApp, Google, Apple.
  • No PayWave with Google Pay means no cashback. Uncle is sian.
  • I transitioned from Android to iOS without much pain. With phones nowadays, I don’t think there are any killer apps to make you choose one system over the other. iOS is great, stock android is great.
  • Apple CarPlay is better in every way when compared to Android Auto, except for maps.
  • Surprisingly, Google Home on iOS works a treat. Nothing is broken and my smart home is still smart.
  • Android does notifications better as they can all be neatly found in the notification shade. With iOS, it’s categorised by cards, but you don’t know what’s behind that “first” card. Also, on the default lock screen, it doesn’t tell you if you have any notifications. You need to swipe down on the left side of the notch before they reveal themselves. It’s almost like they are playing hide and seek.