Apple iPhone 13 mini review: Pocket powerhouse

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(Pocket-lint) - The Apple iPhone 13 bid succeeds the iPhone 12 series - and contempt rumours suggesting we wouldn't spot the instrumentality of the faithful smaller-scale mini successful the 2021 line-up, thankfully those rumours were false. Because the mini is backmost and it's amended than ever. 

The iPhone 13 mini is the smallest successful the iPhone 13 series - which consists of 4 devices: the iPhone 13, 13 Pro, and 13 Pro Max - but don't fto its smaller surface size fool you into reasoning it's a lesser device. Sometimes large things travel successful tiny packages and the iPhone 13 mini is so a pouch powerhouse.

Compact design

  • Finishes: Midnight, Pink, Blue, Starlight, Product (RED) 
  • Dimensions: 131.5. x 64.2 x 7.65mm / Weight: 141g
  • IP68 water-resistant rating
  • Ceramic Shield front

The Apple iPhone 13 mini takes its plan cues consecutive from its predecessor, the iPhone 12 mini. Those paying adjacent attraction volition spot a mates of differences, though, including a reduced notch astatine the apical of the show and a larger camera lodging - and consequently larger camera lenses - which means immoderate aged cases won't fit.

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The level borderline plan continues from the iPhone 12 mini, albeit a fraction of a millimetre thicker, portion aluminium continues to beryllium the worldly of prime for the frame, with solid handling duties connected the rear. The matte decorativeness of the framework isn't arsenic premium looking arsenic the iPhone 13 Pro models, but the size and value of the mini marque it a delight to clasp - adjacent one-handed.

The larger camera lodging connected the rear is surely much salient connected this smaller iPhone compared to the others. It's due to the fact that the larger lenses - arranged diagonally for the 2021 plan - conscionable basal retired overmuch much connected the smaller device. That said, you'd beryllium hard-pressed to find a smartphone these days wherever the rear camera lodging isn't a dominating plan feature.

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Overall, the iPhone 13 mini's compact physique is refreshing, the perfect prime for those who don't privation a giant-screen phone. It's small, lightweight, and pocketable - but with each the powerfulness of the larger enactment successful the range.

Brighter display

  • 5.4-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display
  • 2340 x 1080 solution (476ppi)
  • 1200nits max brightness (HDR)
  • True Tone, Haptic Touch

The Apple iPhone 13 has a 5.4-inch display, which though isn't the smallest surface successful the company's portfolio - the iPhone SE has a 4.7-inch show - it is the smallest instrumentality physically. That's acknowledgment to the iPhone 13 mini opting for Face ID astatine the apical of the display, alternatively than a Touch ID fastener beneath it. 

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We concisely mentioned that the notch had been reduced for the iPhone 13 series, though this simplification is slight. Aside from messing with a fewer apps similar Instagram - which volition nary uncertainty beryllium fixed imminently - you astir apt wouldn't adjacent announcement the simplification unless you had the older telephone sat alongside the caller one. It's a bully motion but it's not a game-changer overall.

The iPhone 13 mini besides has a brighter show than the iPhone 12 mini (from 1000nits to 1200nits for HDR). However, thing other changes connected the show compared to the 2020 model. The solution stays the same, arsenic does the technology, with True Tone and Haptic Touch some connected board. Overall, the surface is vibrant, punchy, and delivers large viewing angles.

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Unlike the iPhone 13 Pro models and galore different flagship smartphones similar Samsung's Galaxy S21 range, the iPhone 13 mini retains a modular 60Hz refresh complaint alternatively than adding Apple's ProMotion technology, which delivers an adaptive refresh complaint (from 10Hz up to 120Hz). Will you notice? Perhaps if you had a Pro adjacent to a mini to compare, but successful reality, astir apt not.

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Dual cameras

  • Dual rear cameras:
    • Main (26mm): 12-megapixel, f/1.6 aperture, 1.7µm pixel size, sensor-shift stabilisation
    • Wide (13mm): 12MP, f/2.4, 120-degree FOV
  • TrueDepth beforehand camera:
    • 12-megapixel, f/2.2 aperture
  • No LiDAR sensor, nary optical zoom lens
  • Night Mode, Cinematic Video, Photographic Styles

One of the champion things astir the iPhone, arsenic good arsenic devices similar Samsung's Galaxy S21 and Google's Pixel 5, is the quality to present bully camera results without immoderate hassle. Point, shoot, get a decent result. 

Don't get america wrong, though, it's large to besides person the enactment to bash much manually to get a somewhat much arty changeable oregon video - which is wherever caller features similar Cinematic video and Photographic Styles travel into play.

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The Apple iPhone 13 mini features a dual rear camera, comprised of a 12-megapixel wide and 12-megapixel ultra-wide. The main sensor is said to fto successful 48 per cent much airy than the iPhone 12 mini and it besides features the iPhone 12 Pro Max's sensor-shift optical representation stabilisation. The ultra-wide camera, meanwhile, is said to connection 4 times much successful the shot. 

Compared to the larger Pro models, you miss retired connected macro mode, the 3rd telephoto lens for optical zoom, and ProRes (which is coming aboriginal this year). If you're funny successful however the 2021 Pro's camera strategy performs past head to our iPhone 13 Pro review.

In presumption of the iPhone 13 mini, results successful bully lighting conditions are excellent, with plentifulness of detail, portion low-light show is besides great. Occasionally we noticed a flimsy hold betwixt tapping the shutter fastener and Night Mode kicking successful to instrumentality the shot, but the extremity effect is bully nevertheless.

The Cinematic video mode we mentioned enables you to prime wherever you privation the absorption to beryllium and that object, idiosyncratic oregon favored volition beryllium tracked passim capture. You tin alteration the absorption during the video oregon you tin alteration it aft the fact, truthful it tin beryllium arsenic analyzable oregon elemental arsenic you like. It's a amusive diagnostic and 1 that is good worthy of a effort - but bully lighting is indispensable for it to enactment properly.

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On the video front, 4K HDR signaling with Dolby Vision is supported astatine 60fps, with Dolby Vision and HDR kicking successful automatically, arsenic was the lawsuit with the iPhone 12 mini.

The Photographic Styles diagnostic is different 1 that runs crossed the full of the iPhone 13 series, applying a subtle filter to the image. Although beryllium warned: you tin lone use the filter up of taking a representation and erstwhile taken you can't region it. Thankfully the results are subtle, truthful you're not going to extremity up with a ruinous bleach bypass effect oregon thing similar that. There are 4 presets - Vibrant, Rich Contrast, Warm, Cool - that tin beryllium accessed with a swipe up from the bottommost successful the camera app that you tin opt to usage earlier you property the shutter button. 

Performance and battery

  • Up to 17 hours artillery beingness (2438mAh)
  • 128GB/256GB/512GB retention sizes
  • A15 Bionic processor
  • 5G and Wi-Fi 6

The Apple iPhone 13 mini runs connected the A15 Bionic chipset with Neural Engine - and it delivers a precise speedy show successful our experience. We moved into the iPhone 13 mini from an iPhone 12 Pro and we were amazed that we noticed a show boost, particularly since the iPhone 12 Pro ne'er felt similar it needed one.

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Everything loads quickly, the instrumentality switches betwixt tasks without immoderate issues, portion games and apps tally smoothly. The iPhone 13 Pro is somewhat much almighty than the mini, contempt besides utilizing the A15, arsenic it has an further GPU halfway (five versus four) for its setup.

In presumption of artillery performance, the iPhone 13 mini isn't arsenic coagulated arsenic the larger iPhone 13 - which delivers a much-improved occupation successful this section - but it volition conscionable astir get you done the day. 

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The up-to-17-hours of artillery beingness assertion is simply a small optimistic successful our acquisition though - we've been getting betwixt 12 and 14 hours earlier it needed a top-up. Of course, artillery beingness precise overmuch depends connected what you bash with your telephone and what benignant of idiosyncratic you are. Start signaling 4K video oregon tally 5G each time and you'll spot it deplete quickly.

Familiar software 

  • iOS 15

The Apple iPhone 13 mini runs connected iOS 15, which is disposable for each iPhone devices (from the iPhone 6S and later). There are a fewer other features connected the 13 that you won't find connected older models, however, similar the Cinematic video mode and the Photographic Styles successful the camera app, but different the acquisition is simply a acquainted one.

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Rather than diving into each the caller features that travel with the latest bundle though, you tin read our abstracted iOS 15 feature that offers a deeper breakdown astir what's new, what's good, and what's little welcome. 

Verdict

We person truthful overmuch emotion for this small-screen iPhone. It delivers show good beyond its size - matching the iPhone 13 successful that respect - and has large cameras, each wrapped into a pocketable and lightweight plan that makes for a refreshing alteration compared to typically larger devices.

No, the iPhone 13 mini's artillery beingness isn't astir arsenic large arsenic the larger iPhones, and the rear camera lodging does basal retired a small much connected this compact form-factor - but don't fto those points enactment you disconnected entirely, due to the fact that they're things you'll larn to unrecorded wrong a substance of days.

If you're idiosyncratic who likes a 6.5-inch oregon larger show for watching movies, and privation amended artillery stamina, the iPhone 13 mini astir apt won't beryllium your bag. But for everyone else, you shouldn't underestimate the powerfulness of tiny - arsenic this handset is simply a pouch powerhouse with monolithic potential.

Also consider

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Apple iPhone 13

Offering the aforesaid interior hardware specifications but with a bigger artillery capableness and a larger display. It'll outgo you more, but that mightiness beryllium worthy it for your needs.

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Apple iPhone 12 mini 

It mightiness beryllium a twelvemonth older and the plan is astir identical, but it's inactive an fantabulous device. One to see if you tin find a deal.

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Apple iPhone SE (2020)

The smallest surface iPhone. It has older hardware and an older plan - opting for Touch ID implicit Face ID - but it's worthy considering if you're aft a compact device, aren't fussy astir having the latest features, and privation to prevention a spot of currency too.

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Writing by Britta O'Boyle. Editing by Mike Lowe. Originally published connected 21 September 2021.

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