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iPhone 13 Mini after 2 months: Still worth it or go for iPhone 13?

Starting at <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>69,900, the iPhone 13 Mini is still the most affordable iPhone 13 variant you can buy. But should you?
Starting at 69,900, the iPhone 13 Mini is still the most affordable iPhone 13 variant you can buy. But should you?

The iPhone 13 Mini has been going strong after 2 months of moderate usage but it’s compact dimensions affect its overall appeal and push you towards the iPhone 13.

Every morning, my eyes open to the blissful morning wake up alarm and there sits the iPhone 13 Mini by the bedside, greeting with all the details and notifications. And, for the next one hour of catching up with social media and morning news, this iPhone takes upon the duty diligently. The humble Galaxy Z Fold 3 takes it up from thereafter, while the iPhone 13 Mini sits by the desk all-day, showing notifications and occasional FaceTime calls, and ends up doing the bedtime routine again before I go to sleep.

That describes best what the iPhone 13 Mini is all about – its compact size, which is both a boon and bane. The iPhone 13 Mini is not the best iPhone Apple sells and it shows in many ways. Over the last 2 months, it hasn’t been able to convince me over the regular iPhone 13, and even the previous-gen iPhone 12; this comes from someone who loves to daily drive his iPhone SE. 

Starting at 69,900, the iPhone 13 Mini is still the most affordable iPhone 13 variant you can buy. But should you? After 2 months, this is what I have to share.

iPhone 13 Mini: Where it excels

iPhone 13 Mini
iPhone 13 Mini

- With an iPhone 13 Mini, the biggest feature ironically is its compact size. You buy an iPhone Mini for its handy dimensions. In a world where phones are increasingly getting heavier and larger, the Mini is a blessing for the hands. Despite the sharp boxy edges, it does not hurt the palms, like the iPhone 13 Pro Max. Everyday for the last 2 months, I have been able to use it single-handedly, reaching all corners of the display with my thumb. The small size is also a boon while heading out; it does not stick out oddly in the pockets, or pull it all down.

- Despite the small size, the iPhone 13 Mini has a great display to make for nice viewing experiences. 60Hz of refresh rate after the Pro Max’s 120Hz looks jarring but to the normal eyes, it doesn’t matter. Everything looks bright, colourful, contrasty and nice on the Mini’s display.

- The A15 Bionic chip gives the Mini all the power of the big iPhones in terms of raw performance. Basic tasks such as browsing social media or scrolling through emails is no big deal for the Mini. iOS 15 does not have enough space to play with and hence, the homescreen may look cramped at times with all its icons. That said, it works as advertised all the time, just like an iPhone is expected to be. It can game too, although the small display makes games like PUBG New State look tiny and difficult to spot the enemy.

iPhone 13 Mini
iPhone 13 Mini

- The iPhone 13 Mini’s cameras match the Pro Max’s quality in most situation, except for the low light/night photography. Many of my morning photos of the urban landscape of Delhi NCR and weekend meet-ups with friends come out great from the iPhone 13 Mini’s cameras. In fact, I have been questioning my choice of carrying the Pro Max for photography most of the time.

- Battery life! Yes, the mini iPhone’s plus point is its battery. As my secondary device, the iPhone 13 Mini happily reserves its battery for up to 2 days on standby. On those busy weekends of meeting friends and family, a full morning charge lets the iPhone 13 Mini make it through a day with moderate to heavy use (photography, streaming music, taking calls, watching photos, etc). Even on a few busy office days where it served as my main, the phone ended the day with 35-40 percent remaining. It is easily an all-day phone.

iPhone 13 Mini: It is not all good though

iPhone 13 Mini
iPhone 13 Mini (Amritanshu Mukherjee / HT Tech)

- Yeah, the iPhone 13 Mini has its issues and some of them are glaring. The 60Hz display is the biggest one; similarly priced Samsung Galaxy S21 offers the higher 120Hz refresh rate with a small camera hole. The iPhone 13 Mini’s 60Hz display feels jittery in comparison and that big notch is so 2017. On a small display, the notch sticks out like a sore thumb.

- The notch stays there for one reason – holding the FaceID sensors, a system which itself is not easy to live with. I am used to responsive fingerprint sensors unlocking my phones while sleeping on my desk. With the iPhone 13 Mini, I have to pick it up every time to unlock. And while heading out, having a mask on your face means you have to rely on the passcode input all the time. How can Apple not embed a TouchID sensor on the power key or somewhere else? They did it with the iPad Air and iPad Mini, why not the iPhone?

iPhone 13 Mini 
iPhone 13 Mini  ((HT Tech/Amritanshu Mukherjee))

- The biggest one, however, is the tiny display itself. I like the idea of a compact phone and Apple’s execution is the best one yet, with the display stretching to the edges. That said, at 5.4-inches, it is still small by today’s standards. iOS 15 is designed keeping in mind the bigger iPhones and so is the rest of the web. Hence, if you are trying to read articles or watch cat videos on Instagram, it all looks cramped on this iPhone. This is the sole reason I still rely on the Galaxy Z Fold 3 for my everyday Insta sessions, or for anything productive.

Summing it up

iPhone 13 Mini
iPhone 13 Mini (Amritanshu Mukherjee / HT Tech)

All in all, the iPhone 13 Mini is good by compact phone standards and everyone in my circle loves it for that; it has the same charm as a child's toy. But those very people got the iPhone 13/iPhone 12, not the Mini. Most of them love their big phones and compromising on the display estate for more comfort seems unwise. If Apple decides to axe the Mini variant next year, I don’t think anybody will miss it. It’s a very good iPhone but it came in too late, that too for a nice category– it’s not for the present.

Should you buy it? Go ahead but keep in mind the positives and negatives of its size. I still recommend the iPhone 13 Mini only to those who don’t love spending a lot of time on their phones, or have a secondary tablet/ TV for consuming videos.

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