iPhone 13 Mini review: When small is beautiful
You could search the world over and not find a smartphone as comfortable to hold as the iPhone Mini. There just aren’t Android phones around that are as compact and when there are, inevitably, they come with compromises that are difficult to live with. The iPhone 13 Mini brings with it the same powerful processor, the A15 Bionic, that runs the rest of the phones in this series and the same software found on them. All four phones are 5G enabled too. The camera is a little scaled- down compared with the Pro phones and the battery is of a size appropriate for a smaller phone, but the rest of the experience is defined by sheer size, not by either hardware or software power. And yet, the iPhone 13 Mini, mighty as it is, is not for everyone. One might say it’s very much for some people and not for everyone.
All about small
Since the Mini is about its size, that’s what we can dive into first. This year the Mini is a little bit heavier, but that’s only noticeable when you have the older gen iPhone 12 Mini in the other hand. There aren’t many more physical differences except that existing users may notice the notch on the top of the screen is a little narrower than before. It’s not enough to make you ‘un-see’ the notch, but it’s the price for Face ID and components that keep the iPhone unique. The flatness of this phone somehow makes it nicer to hold, perhaps because it increases ‘grip-ability’. It’s also narrow, which also adds to the grip but at the same time means the keyboard will feel more squeezed than on other phones. Some can live with that, and some (like me) cannot. The best fit for the Mini is a user who doesn’t practically live in that phone all day everyday. If you’re using the phone to consume a whole lot of content, rather than looking up for scanning content, you probably need a bigger screen. If you’re generating a lot of content, writing, messaging etc, you probably need a bigger keyboard. But if you’re a light user and use the phone for the good old job of calling people more than anything else, you’ll love the Mini.
I like to get reactions from an existing user of an iPhone and did exactly that with the iPhone 13 Mini. Our user instantly found the device much faster, but was conscious that much of the speed could also be because of the new iOS 15, not just the upgrade in processor. He noticed the notch being narrower but also how the battery status and other things crowded the top row in any case, making it not very different. He found the battery life vastly improved and didn’t need to be preoccupied with charging. But most of all, there was a big immediately noticeable difference with the cameras.
The camera lens circles are arranged diagonally on the back, making for one of the more easily visible physical differences in the iPhone 13 Mini. Our review unit is an extremely clean white and the camera unit shows immediately – until you use a case, of course. The cameras have bigger lenses, which is how the diagonal arrangement came about. The result is clearer, more detailed pictures and much better low light performance, especially outdoors. The nice thing is that the image processing and software features also make it to the iPhone 13 Mini. That includes the cinematic mode, which blurs the background or foreground when shooting video and Photographic Styles, which presets several parameters to all your images — until you change this. I must add that the size of the 13 Mini makes it easier to whip out and take shots quickly, making it fun to use.
The iPhone 13 Mini now comes with a base storage of 128GB and starts at ₹69,900