Apple’s iPhone 12 Mini is a compact phone without compromise – unless you’re looking for extra-long battery life

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Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

iPhone 12 Mini Back
The iPhone 12 Mini in green

  • Apple’s $700 iPhone 12 Mini comes with all of the same features as its bigger sibling.
  • Like the iPhone 12, it also comes in a new purple color option.
  • Its impressive camera also makes it stand out from Apple’s other tiny phone, the iPhone SE.
  • But that smaller size also means it offers shorter battery life than the iPhone 12.

Your phone is probably your lifeline to just about everything – the news, your job, friends and family, and entertainment – so it makes sense that the screens on our mobile devices have only gotten larger.

But, that increase in size also means our phones have become more cumbersome than ever, in some cases making it difficult to fit them in a tight pocket or use them with one hand.

Apple is looking to change that with the introduction of its $700 iPhone 12 Mini, a smaller-sized version of the iPhone 12 that comes with a 5.4-inch screen compared to the iPhone 12’s 6.1-inch display.

Despite having a larger screen than previous iPhones like the 4.7-inch iPhone SE and iPhone 8, the iPhone 12 Mini is actually more compact in size since it sheds the chunky borders and home button found on those devices.

The iPhone 12 Mini is otherwise identical to the iPhone 12, from its new design to its A14 Bionic processor, support for 5G, and improved cameras. That’s important because the available options for those who prefer smaller and more pocketable smartphones has significantly dwindled in recent years.

The reason behind this shift is simple: larger-sized smartphones have become much more popular over the last several years. For example, the market share for devices with screens measuring between 5.5 inches and 6.2 inches in size grew from 21% in 2015 to 44% in 2018, according to NPD Group. During that same period, the amount of smartphone owners using a device with a screen size smaller than 4.7 inches shrunk from 37% to 15%.

The iPhone 12 Mini is the first iPhone in years that feels like it’s designed to be held all day. But, you’ll have to be alright with compromising on battery life compared to the larger iPhone 12. And, the iPhone 12 Mini is launching at a time when it’s shining attribute – it’s pocket and purse-friendly size – is less relevant as people are spending most of their days at home.

Apple iPhone 12 Mini specifications

Apple iPhone 12 Mini Specifications
Display 5.4 inches Super Retina XDR OLED with 2,340 x 1,080 resolution
Processor Apple A14 Bionic
Cameras 12-megapixel dual lens camera with wide-angle and ultra-wide angle lenses
Selfie Camera 12-megapixel
Estimated Battery Life Up to 15 hours
Storage 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB
Memory 4GB RAM
Biometric Authentication Face ID
Network Support 5G (sub-6GHz and mmWave)
Durability IP68 (depth of 6 meters for up to 30 minutes); Display with ceramic shield coating for 4X drop resistance

Design and display

iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 12 screen
The iPhone 12 Mini (left) and iPhone 12 (right)

After years of using big-screened phones, I’ve come to appreciate holding a phone that fits comfortably in one hand again.

With its 5.4-inch display, the iPhone 12 Mini falls squarely in between last year’s 5.8-inch iPhone 11 Pro and the 4.7-inch $400 iPhone SE in terms of size.

It’s the right middle ground for those who don’t want to compromise on modern features like a borderless screen, a dual camera, and Face ID, but also miss the portability of Apple’s older (and smaller) phones. It makes the $400 iPhone SE, which Apple launched earlier this year in April, feel antiquated by comparison – although that’s to be expected given the $300 price difference.

Typing and scrolling on the iPhone 12 Mini feels manageable with one hand yet spacious enough when operating it with two. It’s a bit larger than the iPhone SE in terms of screen size, and the difference is noticeable. For example, I was able to see several more lines of text on the iPhone 12 Mini compared to the iPhone SE when reading news articles.

The iPhone 12 Mini isn’t just the smallest version of the iPhone 12. It’s the tiniest iPhone that Apple sells, period. Not only is it smaller than the 4.7-inch iPhone SE, but it’s shorter, narrower, lighter, and thinner than the older iPhone 11 and iPhone XR too.

Under normal circumstances, the iPhone 12 Mini‘s compact design would be a godsend during my morning commute. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve struggled to use a larger-sized device like the iPhone 11 with one hand as I’m gripping the subway pole with the other.

iPhone 12 Mini and SE
The iPhone 12 Mini (left) and iPhone SE (right)

Size isn’t the only major physical change coming to the iPhone 12 Mini. Like its larger siblings, the iPhone 12 Mini has an all-new look that includes flat metal edges and new color options that give the iPhone 12 a fresh and distinguished look.

The downside? Apple’s iPhone 12 family – including the Mini – lack fingerprint sensors, meaning you’ll probably be typing in your passcode a lot whenever you leave the house these days.

Apple also brought the Super Retina XDR display, which was previously only found on its high-end smartphones, down to its less expensive new iPhones this year as well. That means the iPhone 12 Mini, like its bigger counterpart, offers better contrast and richer black tones compared to the iPhone 11. It also comes in a wide range of colors just like the iPhone 12, including a new purple finish. That new color option is available for preorder starting April 23 and goes on sale on April 30.

Unfortunately, however, theiPhone 12 Mini and the rest of Apple’s iPhones are missing an always-on display, meaning they can’t show information like the time, date, and battery level even when the screen is idle. It’s not a deal breaker, but it’s a helpful feature I’ve come to appreciate on Android devices.

Cameras

iPhone 12 Mini Camera
The iPhone 12 Mini’s dual camera

The iPhone 12 Mini comes with the same improved camera system as the iPhone 12, which means its better at capturing photos in the dark compared to the iPhone 11 since it has a wider aperture.

Night mode also works on all of the iPhone’s cameras on the iPhone 12: the wide camera, the ultra-wide-angle camera, and the selfie camera.You’ll also get other new features like the ability to record Dolby Vision video and take time lapse videos in Night Mode.

Compared to Android rivals like the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra and Google Pixel 5, I found that the iPhone 12 in some cases took photos that were more colorful and lively, but didn’t perform as well in other situations, such as when taking selfies in low-light scenarios. Check out our original review of the iPhone 12 to learn more about how the iPhone 12’s camera compares to those of the Google Pixel 5 and Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra.

If you’re upgrading from an older, smaller-sized iPhone like the iPhone 8 or iPhone 7, you’ll notice a substantial difference in camera quality with the iPhone 12 Mini.

Those aging 4.7-inch phones lack newer photography features Night Mode and portrait mode, and only have a single lens camera. Because they only have one lens, they offer less flexibility with fewer shooting modes compared to the iPhone 12.

General image quality has also improved since the iPhone 12 Mini supports the latest version of Apple’s high dynamic range tech and Deep Fusion, the latter of which processes photos at the pixel level to optimize for texture, detail, and noise.

Trying to decide between theiPhone 12 Mini and Apple’s other recently-launched smaller-sized phone, the iPhone SE? Consider that the iPhone 12 Mini’s higher price tag means it has a lot more to offer when it comes to camera technology.

Unlike the iPhone SE, the iPhone 12 Mini has a dual camera that includes an ultra-wide angle lens for capturing a broader perspective, Night Mode for taking photos in the dark, Deep Fusion, better HDR, and a main camera that’s capable of taking in more light compared to its predecessor.

That might just sound like a lot of photography buzzwords strewn together, but the differences are palpable in the real world. In almost every scenario I tested it in, the iPhone 12 Mini captured photos with considerably richer color than the iPhone SE.

Take a look at the photos below and you’ll notice the red and orange shades in the leaves are much more vibrant in photos taken with the iPhone 12 Mini.

Apple iPhone 12 Mini

iPhone 12 Mini Trees

Apple iPhone SE

iPhone SE Trees

Here you can see the difference between the iPhone 12 Mini’s ultra-wide-angle camera and the iPhone SE’s standard wide camera. You’ll also notice the sky is a deeper hue of blue in the iPhone 12 Mini’s photo, making the iPhone SE look a bit washed out by comparison.

Apple iPhone 12 Mini

iPhone 12 Mini River

Apple iPhone SE

iPhone SE River

5G

iPhone 12 Mini in hand
The iPhone 12 Mini has a 5.4-inch screen.

All of Apple’s new iPhones support 5G, which is great for future-proofing your device but won’t make a noticeable difference right now. That’s because the version of 5G that’s widely available across the country is only marginally faster than 4G LTE.

My iPhone 12 Mini achieved average download speeds of 118.8 megabits per second (Mbps) and average upload speeds of 14.72 Mbps on Verizon’s nationwide 5G network. The results are a bit faster than the speeds I’ve experienced on 4G LTE, but not by a whole lot (91.44 Mbps download and 17.45 Mbps upload on average).

That lines up with my experience when testing the standard iPhone 12’s 5G speeds.

Super-speedy 5G networks do exist, but they’re only available in very small areas, like certain street corners in select cities across the United States. That’s because the spectrum these networks operate on a short range and struggles with penetrating structures like buildings.

All told, don’t upgrade to the newest iPhones just for 5G. But, if you’re already thinking of upgrading for other reasons, buying a new phone with 5G is a good way to ensure your device will feel relevant for years to come when 5G networks improve.

MagSafe accessories and battery life

MagSafe iPhone 12
The iPhone 12 on Apple’s MagSafe charger

The iPhone 12 line is also compatible with Apple’s MagSafe accessories, which magnetically snap to the back of your iPhone. Among the first of these accessories to become available is the MagSafe wireless charger and cases from Apple.

The $39 MagSafe power pad makes resting your iPhone on its charger slightly more convenient since it clings to your phone instantly, eliminating the need to fiddle with plugging in your phone or placing it in the right spot on your wireless charger. You’ll see a graphic showing your iPhone’s battery level once its connected, just as the Apple Watch does when placed on its charger.

MagSafe compatibility alone isn’t a must-have feature that will determine whether you should upgrade, but it’s a nice bonus that brings additional ease of use to the charging experience. I’m looking forward to seeing what third-party accessories do with the technology moving forward.

The iPhone 12 Mini will probably last all day on a single charge, but don’t expect to get nearly as much usage as you’d experience with the standard iPhone 12.

My iPhone 12 Mini’s battery was at 23% after about 9.5 hours of use, which consisted of streaming video for about 45 minutes, streaming music for 40 minutes, and gaming for about 10 minutes. I also took photos sporadically for an hour while at a nearby park and spent the rest of the day reading email, checking social media, and web browsing on the device.

The iPhone 12, by comparison, had 34% of its battery left after about 15 hours of use. But, it’s important to remember that battery life will always vary depending on the settings and apps you use on your device, so your experience may not match mine.

The bottom line

iPhone 12 Mini Screen

The iPhone 12 Mini represents a much-needed return to the smaller-sized smartphone, which has largely disappeared over the last several years. It’s the best choice for iPhone owners that have been holding onto their older device because they’re reluctant to upgrade to today’s large-screened devices.

Apple also sells the cheaper $400 iPhone SE, which has a slightly smaller screen but is generally similar in size. That phone is $300 cheaper but requires you to make some compromises since it’s lacking many modern features that have become staples of today’s phones.

The iPhone 12 Mini is the right option for Apple fans that want to save a little cash – it’s $100 less expensive than the standard iPhone 12 – and prioritize portability over having a bigger screen. But, for those who find themselves watching movies and TV shows or reading books on their iPhones often, you’ll probably want the extra screen space and longer battery life that the standard iPhone 12 offers.

Pros: Compact design makes it easy to use with one hand; Excellent camera; Elegant revamped design compared to last year’s iPhones; Sharp and vibrant OLED display; 5G support will keep the iPhone 12 Mini relevant in the future

Cons: Smaller size means you compromise on battery life; No fingerprint sensor; No always-on display; Nationwide 5G networks aren’t much faster than today’s 4G LTE

Read the original article on Business Insider

Your phone could have 18 times more bacteria than a public restroom – this clever device sanitizes it for you

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ps3
Sanitize your phone while it charges with PhoneSoap.

  • I’m a germaphobe, and PhoneSoap gives me peace of mind by cleaning my device with minimal effort.
  • PhoneSoap is a small device that uses UV-C light to sanitize your phone.
  • Keeping your phone clean is a good way to reduce exposure to bacteria.
  • The company claims that our cell phones hold 18 times more bacteria than a public restroom.

How often do you wash your hands? What about your face? Or your clothes?

The answer probably is – or should be (though I’m not here to tell you how to live your life): a lot.

Now how often do you wash your phone?

The answer is probably close to never, but it shouldn’t be. For most of us, our phones are like appendages, traveling with us everywhere we go, accompanying us through all of our daily activities. Maybe you take a cloth to your phone now and then to wipe away the smudges and call it a day, but if you think that actually cleans it, you’re in for a rude awakening.

A cell phone reportedly has 18 times more bacteria than a public restroom. That might sound crazy, but think about it – everything your hands touch touches your phone too. So, that bacteria lurking on the grocery cart you pushed, the doorknob you opened, the subway pole you held – well, you know where it ends up.

If these cringe-worthy facts just made you never want to touch your phone again, I get it. Luckily, there’s a solution – and no, it doesn’t involve dousing your phone in hand sanitizer.

Meet PhoneSoap, the little gadget that safely sanitizes your phone, leaving your device free of bacteria and you with some peace of mind.

phonesoap1
It only takes ten minutes for the PhoneSoap to sanitize your phone.

How it works

PhoneSoap has a simple but effective design. It looks like a small, rectangular box – making it the perfect size to keep on your bedside table, at your office desk, or even your kitchen counter. On the outside of the box, you’ll find space for three cables – the power cord, a USB, and a USB-C. To get the PhoneSoap set up, plug the included power cord into the wall, then into the PhoneSoap, and you’re all set to get sanitizing. Place your phone inside the gadget and close it. Once closed, you’ll see the lightning bolt power signal turn blue – this means it’s charging. After ten minutes, the light will turn off, and your phone is ready to go. If you’d like to charge your phone simultaneously, you have the option to plug in your USB or USB-C cord.

PhoneSoap comes in four different models: the standard PhoneSoap 3, the PhoneSoap Pro, which sanitizes your phone twice as fast, a battery-powered model for mobile use called the PhoneSoap Go, and a version that supports wireless charging so that you don’t have to use a cable to power up your device.

Here’s a snapshot of how the different models compare:

PhoneSoap 3 PhoneSoap Pro PhoneSoap Go PhoneSoap Wireless
Price $79.95 $119.95 $99.95 $99.95
Sanitizing time 10 minutes 5 minutes 10 minutes 10 minutes
Charging methods USB, USB-C USB, USB-C USB, USB-C Wireless charging, USB
Number of UV-C lamps 2 4 2 2

So, you put your phone in a box and it cleans it, but how does it actually get the cleaning done? The power of PhoneSoap comes in the form of UV-C light. Inside the little box are two powerful UV-C lightbulbs. UV-C light is germicidal, meaning it breaks down the DNA of nasty bacteria so it can no longer function or reproduce. The bulbs on the top and bottom of the device, paired with the reflective interior inside the entire gadget, help achieve 360-degree disinfection – so even the tiny, hard-to-reach crevices of your phone are clean. The UV-C light is so powerful that it only needs ten minutes to get your phone clean – after that time, PhoneSoap automatically turns off, so don’t worry about your phone getting overheated.

phonesoappetri
Before using PhoneSoap v. after using PhoneSoap.

Does it really work?

You’ve probably heard that bacteria is good for you. It boosts our immunity, right? Well, the answer is not that simple. Our bodies do count on some strains of bacteria to function correctly, but many forms of bacteria are harmful and can cause illness and infections. Laboratory tests have shown that PhoneSoap kills 99.9% of common household germs, including bacteria that leads to E.Coli, Salmonella, Staph, Flu, and the common cold.

To some, this product might seem more placebo effect than practical, but the numbers tell a different story – 99.9% is almost all of the germy grime on your phone. Plus, sanitizing with UV-C light isn’t new – hospitals and laboratories have been using UV light to keep facilities sterile since the mid-20th century.

As for us, the consumers, I guess there’s no way we can really tell that our phone is cleaner. What we can rely on, though, is the data from all of the testing PhoneSoap has done to gauge the effectiveness of the product, and the lab pictures they’ve got to accompany it (see above).

It’s worth noting that PhoneSoap has not been tested against COVID-19 yet, so there’s no evidence to show that it kills the virus itself. However, keeping your phone clean is still a good way to reduce exposure to bacterias that could impact your health and potentially weaken your immune system.

My experience

My family has had a communal PhoneSoap for a few years now, and it has been a great investment in our health. At $80, it seems like a lot upfront for something you don’t necessarily need, but, you may need it more than you think.

My parents are the kind who always, without fail, have a bottle of hand sanitizer on them. In my house, we take a lot of other precautions to keep clean, so why should we just throw our phones (which touch all sorts of germs) on the kitchen counter, on our beds, or on the couch like it’s no big deal?

It’s easy to ignore the fact that our phones hold so much bacteria, but once you know the nasty facts, you may find it harder to do so. PhoneSoap gives me peace of mind that I can still keep my phone in my back pocket and use it as much as I want without having to worry that I’m transferring a host of bacteria from my screen to my face.

The process couldn’t be easier. You put your phone in the PhoneSoap, close the box (make sure you see the lightning symbol turn on), and let it sit for just ten minutes. When you take it out, there will be no noticeable difference, but your phone will be cleaner than before. I also use the PhoneSoap to sanitize my wallet, keys, AirPods, and any other small items I touch multiple times in a day. If you live with roommates or family members, this product is easy and safe to share with others.

The bottom line

For better or for worse, our phones are sticking with us. And, unless you’re planning on washing your hands and face before and after each time you pick up your device, all that bacteria is sticking with you too. PhoneSoap is a simple solution to keep harmful bacteria from spreading – not only from your phone to you but from you to others as well. If you live with anyone who may have a compromised immune system – young children, elderly or ill individuals – PhoneSoap could be a particularly valuable investment.

At $80, it’s generally just an excellent investment for anyone. PhoneSoap is large enough to fit all phones on the market, even with a case. Additionally, you can throw in anything else that will fit – earphones, watches, even wallets.

And it’s more than just peace of mind. PhoneSoap gives real results that’ll help keep you and the people around you healthier. Germaphobe or not, if you’re going to treat your phone like your third hand, you should clean it like one, too.

3 UV Smartphone Sanitizer & Universal Charger (button)

Read the original article on Business Insider