Introduced alongside the iPhone 13 and its other versions in September of 2021, the iPhone 13 mini is Apple’s second iteration of its iPhone mini devices. Though not drastically different from the iPhone 12 mini, the new phone brings with it several upgrades, such as increased storage capacity, improved performance, and a larger battery, all in a still-small package.
These are the Apple iPhone 13 mini pros and cons that you should know about.
Pro: Smaller Size
The most obvious benefit of the iPhone 13 mini, of course, is its smaller form factor. Sitting at a size of 5.18 x 2.53 inches, the 13 mini is appreciably smaller than the iPhone 13’s 5.78 x 2.82 size. In terms of weight, the phone comes in at 4.97 ounces, just over one ounce lower than the full-size iPhone 13.
Thanks to the smaller size, the iPhone 13 mini is more convenient all around. The smaller footprint means it’s less noticeable in your pocket and easier to use one-handedly.
Pro: Great Performance
Despite the lesser space for Apple to utilize, the company has managed to put the same A15 Bionic processor in the 13 mini that’s in the iPhone 13. With the combination of a 6-core CPU and 4-core GPU, the phone gets some of the best performance in its class.
Based on UL Solutions’ benchmarks, the 13 mini scored 8,935 in performance. This is higher than the iPhone 12 mini, which received 7,612, and even slightly higher than the iPhone 13 itself with a score of 8,744. For comparison with Samsung, the Galaxy S21 achieved a score of 5,659. Though it’s small, the iPhone 13 mini’s power should not be underestimated.
The story here is the same as the iPhone 13. The front and back of the device are both glass reinforced with Ceramic Shield technology, created by Corning, the producers of Gorilla Glass, while the sides are aluminum.
An IP68 rating has been given to the 13 mini, meaning it can be submerged in up to 6 feet of water for up to 30 minutes. And while many variables will affect this, the smaller size reduces the chances of breaking as the phone can better be stowed away when conditions are less-than-ideal.
Pro: Efficient Display Design
Apple uses the available real estate efficiently with the 13 mini, mounting a 5.4-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display to its small frame. With its HDR10 and Dolby Vision compatibility, the colors are incredible. Additionally, the screen brightness has been increased to 800 nits from the previous 625 nits output from the iPhone 12 and 12 mini. Especially since the screen is smaller than other iPhones, this brighter display will help with viewing the phone in the sun.
Pro: Solid Cameras
Though lacking the telephoto camera and wider aperture featured in the Pro and Pro Max models, the 13 mini packs the same highly competent camera system as the iPhone 13. Its array makes use of a 12-megapixel wide camera with an f/1.6 aperture and a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera with an f/2.4 aperture. The sensor for the main camera is slightly larger than the predecessor’s, so Night Mode, which the iPhone 12/12 mini already excelled at, is even better.
A new feature to the iPhone 13 lineup is Photographic Styles, which gives you more control over how images are processed. Several modes are available, such as one to make images appear cooler and another to strengthen the contrast. The profiles can be adjusted to your liking.
Pro: Sophisticated Video Specs
To complement the high-quality images, the 13 mini also serves as a quality tool for video. Just like with the iPhone 13, the 13 mini can record 4K at up to 60fps, as well as 1080p at 60 fps. The slow-motion function can record 1080p video an impressive 120fps and 240fps.
A new function Apple is touting with the iPhone 13 lineup is Cinematic Mode. Its starring feature is its ability to switch focus between subjects smoothly. Though the tool is a bit of a novelty as of now, we hope to see it develop into something much more practical, similar to how Portrait mode evolved.
Pro: Higher Base Storage
The previous iPhone mini offered just 64GB of storage at the low end, hardly enough for the high-resolution images and videos many users will capture. Thankfully, the iPhone 13 Mini now comes with at least 128GB of storage at a current price of $599. Higher amounts can be achieved in $100 increments with the 256GB model priced at $699 and the 512GB one at $899.
Pro: Lower Price
A final advantage of the 13 mini is its price. With its minimized size comes a reduced price. Customers are able to buy the iPhone 13 mini for $29.12 (US) a month for 24 months or $699 before trade-in.
Despite the lowered price, the iPhone 13 mini remains a highly capable phone. To a large extent, it is simply the iPhone 13 in a smaller package. Comparatively little has been compromised to achieve the size, giving this phone great value.
Con: Battery Life
Battery life with the iPhone 13 mini is not ideal, and this is an expected drawback considering its size. The battery has certainly been improved since the 12 mini, which had a capacity of 2227 mAh and would often need a recharge about halfway through the day.
The 13 mini now has a battery size of 2438 mAh, enough to make it through the majority of the day with moderate usage. When compared to the iPhone 13’s 3240 mAh battery, there is clearly room for further improvement.
Con: Slow Charging Time
On top of the shortened battery life, the iPhone 13 mini is also subject to a slower charger. At a speed of 18W, Apple says the phone will charge 50% in 30 minutes. This timing is the same as the iPhone 13, which has a 20W charger. With the smaller battery, however, it would have been nice to see more rapid charging to make up for the loss of battery life.
Con: Low Refresh Rate
Though the quality of the display should not be discounted, it’s worth noting the 60Hz refresh rate that the display is limited to. For the 120Hz experience that many other competitors provide, you’ll have to go with either one of the higher-end iPhone 13 models.
Pulse 2.0: 4.5 out of 5
The iPhone 13 mini receives a Pulse 2.0 score of 4.5 out of 5. In spite of the smaller size, Apple has managed the pack the phone with much of the same hardware enjoyed by the base model iPhone 13. Several aspects, including the upgraded processor, improved cameras, and brightened screen, make this a well-rounded phone. Along with its decreased price, the 13 mini has great value and is certain to satisfy so long as its smaller battery and slower charging are considered beforehand.
If you’re an iPhone 12 mini user, it’s likely worth holding onto your current model. The differences are there, but not so significant as to warrant an upgrade. If you’ve not upgraded in a few years and are looking for a smaller device, the iPhone 13 would be more than sufficient. Notably missing from the new iPhone 14 lineup is a mini version. So, for the time being, the iPhone 13 is the smallest, most current phone Apple offers.
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