iPhone 13 Mini first impressions: Still cutely small but quite polished
The iPhone 13 Mini feels like a mild refresh in design but that new main camera and the A15 Bionic chip lure compact phone lovers. Check out our Apple iPhone 13 Mini first impressions.
The iPhone 12 Mini isn’t a very popular choice with the Apple iPhone crowd and amid rumours of the iPhone 13 Mini being the last of its kind, these two models could be sought after by collectors some day. In the present, however, the iPhone 13 Mini is the torch bearer for compact phones, keeping the flame alive for those who couldn’t get enough of the iPhone 5S or the 1st Gen SE. And this year, there are on-paper upgrades to make it more desirable. So, having got a hold of it, here are the Apple iPhone 13 Mini first impressions.
After common complaints of unsatisfactory battery life on last year’s iPhone 12 Mini, Apple has given the 2021 iteration a bigger battery. There is also the new design (do not bring up the Photoshop meme joke), a new main camera, and a smaller notch. The storage capacity also gets bumped up but the prices remain unchanged; still starts at ₹69,900.
So, is the new iPhone 13 Mini worth giving another chance? Is it “The iPhone” for those seeking an upgrade from the iPhone SE? We will find that in our full review soon but we are here with our first impressions after spending a few hours with the Mini.
Last year’s iPhone 12 series established a bold new design direction and Apple sticking with the same theme on the iPhone 13 series isn’t stale. The iPhone 13 Mini still looks and feels distinctive like an iPhone always has in the past. The flat sides, the flat glass, right-angled edges, and the rectangular camera hump; all these elements give the Mini its own identity.
That said, it’s not exactly the same. For starters, the new camera design is obviously noticeable from the get go, and the lens protrusion seems bigger than the iPhone 12 Mini. Even the rectangular camera island is larger than that of the iPhone 12 Mini. I feel the comically large lenses only add to the overall cuteness of the Mini form factor.
Then there’s the smaller notch that does justice to the smaller confines of the display. The overall weight has increased by 5 grams and that still makes it among the lightest smartphones money can buy. Heck, the iPhone 13 Mini is smaller and lighter than my trusty daily driver, the 2020 iPhone SE!
Apple has revamped the colours on the iPhone 13 Mini and the Pink is an attention grabber this year. The Midnight (read black) is comparatively stealthy and its glossy rear does attract smudges galore (get the lighter colours if you have oily hands).
One of the biggest upgrades over the iPhone 12 Mini is the A15 Bionic chip. Apple says its fast and it will benefit battery life better than ever. Of course, these are claims and on the Mini iPhone, one of these factors is key. Out of the box, the iPhone 13 Mini feels eager and the prettier iOS 15 overlay compliments the experience.
I am yet to put this iPhone through its paces and hence, you should wait for our full review to learn more about that. So far, this iPhone feels as fast as all new iPhones launched in the last two years. There was hardly a doubt in this parameter.
What concerns more is the battery life. Apple says the 13 Mini should last 1.5 hours longer than the 12 Mini, which sounds a lot but is that enough for a premium phone costing ₹70,000?. This is something we will get to know soon in our review.
What we do know, however, is that the charging still takes the same time with the 20W Apple charger. The MagSafe support is back but is still limited to 12W charging on the Mini. It seems convenient but I would rather have 20W wired charger handy.
And, how can we forget about the display? It still measures 5.4-inches but with the smaller notch, there’s more space liberated up top. Next to the iPhone 12 Mini’s display, the one on the 13 Mini looks more modern. This smaller notch is courtesy of the rearranged earpiece as the TrueDepth camera (the FaceID unit) is still as large. The OLED display looks lively and certainly brighter under the sun.
Lastly, there’s the new camera. On paper, the changes are marginal but there are quality improvements underneath. The image sensor on the main 12-megapixel wide camera is bigger with larger pixels and the new sensor shift stabilization system. This is the same camera that got praises on the iPhone 12 Pro Max last year. Some quick shots around seemed to show gain in indoor lighting. I am excited to see what can this new stability system do for night shots outdoors.
The 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera remains the same and so does the 12-megapixel front camera. Apple told us that it’s the software that’s doing the tricks to improve the overall photo quality. Plus, it also makes for the new Cinematic mode, which we are eager to give a whirl.
iPhone 13 Mini first impressions
The mini iPhone is catering to a specific set of iPhone buyers and it only appeals if you are into compact palm-comforting smartphones. As someone belonging to this category, the iPhone 13 Mini has lots of appeal with its limited yet qualitative upgrades. The cameras and general performance are bound to be better but the thing we have to watch out for is the battery life -- do the battery upgrades on the iPhone 13 Mini make it a full-day phone?
You will have to wait for our full review to learn that in a few days’ time. If you are not into the Mini iPhone and seek to live life king size, check out our first impressions on the iPhone 13 Pro Max. It’s review will be up in the coming weeks.