iPhone 12 Mini Review: Battery Life And Charging
With such a small frame, the iPhone 12 cant help but lose out to its brethren where battery life is concerned. Apple doesnt publish battery life figures youll have to wait for teardowns to reveal that information but we do know that the larger iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro pack 2,815-mAh units.
The 6.1-inch iPhone 12 lasted 8 hours and 25 minutes in our battery test, where devices repeatedly load web pages over mobile data while set to 150 nits of screen brightness. The iPhone 12 mini, on the other hand, averaged 7 hours and 28 minutes on the same network.
Any result in our test under 8 hours isnt ideal the Pixel 5, for example, lasted two hours longer, also on 5G, likely thanks to a significantly larger 4,000-mAh battery. At one point during my testing of the 12 mini, I streamed video and briefly gamed for three straight hours, and the phones battery life dropped to 50%. This probably wont be the best device for users who really need every minute of longevity they can get during the day.
The iPhone 12 mini doesnt ship with a charger, though using Apples new 20-watt brick, we saw 60% in 30 minutes. The new MagSafe charging system, which offers peak speed of 15 watts, actually tops out at 12 watts for the iPhone 12 mini in particular. Given the smaller size of the minis battery, 12 watts should be fast enough to equal the other, larger iPhone 12 models in terms of charging times, but it is a small stipulation to be aware of nevertheless.
What Are The Experts Saying About The iPhone 12 Series
In his iPhone 12 Mini review, our own David Imel called it one of the best small phones you can get. Of course, its not without its issues. The camera isnt as feature-packed as the one available with the Pro editions, and the phone is difficult to align on a wireless charging stand. Its biggest selling points are its size and price. As David says, getting great build quality and incredible performance in a phone this small, for this price, is great.
David was less impressed with the regular iPhone 12 in his review. Thats not because theres anything wrong with the phone itself. You will still get blazing fast performance, a beautiful display, and solid build quality. However, its awkwardly placed in the line-up and is hard to recommend over the iPhone 12 Pro, which offers more RAM, a better camera, and a more premium build.
The iPhone 12 Pro and the iPhone 12 Pro Max are the way to go if you want the best experience, as David found when he reviewed these phones. The iPhone 12 Pro is $150 more than the iPhone 12, but features like the extra 2GB of RAM, 4K 60fps Dolby Vision video, extra camera sensor, LIDAR sensor, and better build quality are worth the surcharge.
iPhone 12 Review: Video
Apple has gone all in on 4K HDR video recording with the iPhone 12 line. Like the iPhone 12 and Pro Max, the regular iPhone 12 can record Dolby Vision video, albeit only at 30 frames per second to the Pro models 60. Dolby Vision is a type of HDR encoding that goes beyond the standard HDR10 format to provide superior color depth, while ensuring a consistent visual presentation as closely aligned to the source material as possible, no matter where or how the content is viewed.
It may be hard to visualize, but trust us on this one the difference is immediately clear when observing the same content side-by-side in HDR and SDR. I recorded a short video in a park as the sun descended behind the trees, and the gap in contrast in each instance was eye-opening. For one, the sky was markedly brighter in the Dolby Vision capture, and I could actually make out individual leaves and trees reflecting the sun. These aspects were faded, washed out and obscured in the SDR take, and as someone who has been using an iPhone 11 Pro for video for the better part of a year, I had no idea what Id been missing.
Now, to be fair, the iPhone 12 is far from the only smartphone out there that can shoot HDR video. However, it is the only Dolby Vision-certified one, and I can definitely say that HDR video Ive shot on our Galaxy S20 Plus has never looked anywhere near as good unedited as what the iPhone 12 churns out by default.
iPhone 12 Review: Design
Apple rarely alters the physical design of the iPhone from generation to generation, and thus any change no matter how small is typically received with enthusiasm. You can chalk up the iPhone 12s new flat-edge aesthetic as one of those more modest revisions.
Sure, the flat edges look nice enough and offer a much appreciated change of pace from the last several consecutive years of rounded iPhones. Whats more, they improve the iPhone 12s durability in tandem with Apples new Ceramic Shield material, as the rounded frames of previous iPhones actually made them more fragile.
We will be conducting our own drop tests, but the Ceramic Shield display held up well in EverythingApplePro‘s torture test on YouTube. Both the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro did not crack at hip or shoulder height when dropped, and the display on the regular iPhone 12 didn’t even crack from 10 feet, though the back did.
All that said, I cant say my hands have really taken to the sharper design. Few smartphones employ flat sides these days, and the iPhone 12 reminds me why. The edges dig into your palm, and make the entire device a bit harder to grip. For example, the iPhone 12 measures 0.29 inches thick which is perceptibly identical to the 0.31-inch-thick Pixel 5. However, the Pixel 5 feels more slender in the hand, because it naturally fits the curvature of your palm.
What Other Reviewers Are Saying About The iPhone 12 Series
We also summarize what reviewers from other publications say about the iPhone 12 series to give you a complete overview of the phones.
- Anand Techs Andrei Frumusanu says that in terms of design, the new iPhone 12 series are definitely a breath of fresh air for Apples device lineup. In his review of the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro, he also mentions that the iPhone 12 offers a lot more value than its Pro sibling. Youre still getting an excellent screen, the same performance, almost identical battery life, and otherwise identical everyday camera experience for $200 less, he says.
- On the other hand, Tech Crunchs Matthew Panzarino says that the iPhone 12 Mini is the most attractive choice in the lineup and isnt just for those that want a small phone. He says that the iPhone 12 Mini has no appreciable compromises in feature set from the iPhone 12, and offers a lot more bang for your buck. You might want the Pro iterations for camera performance, but the Mini is definitely up to the task for everything else.
- Cnets Patrick Holland says that the camera upgrades arent the only reason to get the iPhone 12 Pro Max. This is the phone for anyone who wants a huge display, even though he says that iOS doesnt do enough to take advantage of the screen real estate. He says that excellent battery life is another reason to get the phone, calling the large battery the sleeper feature of the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
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Truedepth Camera And Face Id
For biometric authentication, the iPhone 12 and 12 mini use Face ID, the facial recognition system that was first introduced in 2017. Face ID components are housed in the TrueDepth camera system in the display notch.
Face ID is used across iOS tasks for unlocking the iPhone, allowing access to third-party passcode-protected apps, confirming app purchases, and authenticating Apple Pay payments.
Face ID works through a set of sensors and cameras. A Dot Projector projects more than 30,000 invisible infrared dots onto the surface of the skin to create a 3D facial scan that maps the curves and planes of each face, with the scan read by an infrared camera.
The facial depth map is relayed to the A14 chip where it is transformed into a mathematical model that the iPhone uses to authenticate identity. Face ID works in low light and in the dark, and with hats, beards, glasses, sunglasses, scarves, and other accessories that partially obscure the face.
Face ID data is stored in the Secure Enclave, and it is not accessible to Apple, third-party apps, or anyone who has your phone. Authentication happens on-device and no Face ID data is uploaded to Apple.
iPhone 12 Pro Review: Battery Life
- The iPhone 12 Pro battery life is 2.5 hours shorter over 5G than 4G
- Smart Data mode can help save power
The iPhone 12 Pro includes a 2,815 mAh battery, which is smaller than the 3,046 mAh battery in the iPhone 11 Pro. Overall, we saw pretty good battery life in day-to-day use, but 5G can take a serious toll.
On the Toms Guide battery test, which involves surfing the web at 150 nits of screen brightness over cellular, the iPhone 12 Pro lasted 9 hours and 6 minutes on T-Mobiles 5G network. The similarly priced Galaxy Note 20 lasted 9 hours and 38 minutes over AT& Ts 5G network.
When we switched over to 4G, the iPhone 12 Pro lasted a much longer 11 hours and 24 minutes. The handsets on our best phone battery life list all last more than 11 hours, but you shouldnt have to toggle between 5G and 4G to get there. By comparison, the iPhone 11 Pro lasted 10:24 over 4G, but that had a smaller 5.8-inch display and a smaller battery.
We have a more in-depth iPhone 12 Pro battery life comparison with the iPhone 12 and other Android phones if you want to check it out.
The iPhone 12 Pro can help you save battery life when youre not surfing the web. A Smart Data mode can toggle switch between 5G and 4G automatically under certain conditions, such as when youre streaming music with the screen turned off.
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iPhone 12 Review: Battery Life And Charging
Apple never reveals battery capacity figures for its devices, which makes it challenging to glean any insights regarding longevity from a spec sheet. A recent teardown suggests the iPhone 12 could be working with a 2,815-mAh unit, which translates to roughly 200 mAh less capacity than the iPhone 11 Pro had at its disposal.
Nevertheless, larger screen iPhones tend to perform decently in our custom battery test, where devices continuously surf the web over cellular at 150 nits of screen brightness.
For a bit of perspective, the iPhone 11 tallied 11 hours and 16 minutes in this test, and we deem anything over the 11 hour mark to be very good. The iPhone 12, however, averaged 8 hours and 25 minutes in the very same test, which would appear to be a significant decrease.
However, there is a deeper story here. Like the iPhone 11, Apple rates the iPhone 12 for an identical 17 hours of video playback, along with 65 hours of audio. However, the iPhone 11 didnt have 5G to contend with. And when we ran our test again with 5G switched off in favor of LTE, the iPhone 12 performed better a lot better.
The battery story gets a bit worse as we approach the elephant in the room Apples decision to forgo a charging brick and wired headphones with every iPhone going forward.
The charger situation is the same for U.K. buyers, with Apple wanting £39 for the MagSafe charger and £19 for the wired 20-watt charging block.
iPhone 12 Rumours: Design
The iPhone 12 range could look very different from its predecessor. Whilst all phones will feature glass backs, rumours are pointing to the devices having a more squared look like the old iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 designs.
Sources told Bloomberg that Apple is also borrowing from the iPad Pro design. In particular, the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max devices could feature flat stainless steel edges, sharply rounded corners and flat screens.
Colour-wise, Apple could be going with a flashy new navy colour for the phones for the high-end models, but keeping the colourful array of options for the cheaper iPhone 12 and 12 Max phones.
However, the cheaper iPhone 12 phones will match the high-end models in some respects. Its likely the new iPhone 12 and 12 Max could sport OLED screens like the iPhone 11 Pro phones, just like the 12 Pro and Pro Max devices. So you can look forward to a bright and dynamic screen, whichever phone you choose.
Other screen upgrades could include upping the screen refresh rate to 120Hz, to bring the iPhone 12 range in line with the likes of Samsung and OnePlus devices. This means the screen reloads 120 times a second so its faster and more responsive, whether youre playing games or scrolling through apps.
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Rumors show that Apple may be preparing a significant design change for the “iPhone 14” in 2022. However, in order to implement the suggested changes, Apple will need to overcome several design and technology challenges year-over-year.
Apple tends to reuse product design languages for several release cycles to save production cost and increase margins. The flat-sided redesign in the iPhone 12 carried over into the iPhone 13, with only a couple of modifications to the external case. A drastic redesign for the 2022 iPhone may be early for Apple’s usual update cycle, but it is possible.
While Apple sometimes referred to iPhone updates using the “s” naming convention, it hasn’t done so since the iPhone XS. Therefore we’ll be referring to the 2022 iPhone as the “iPhone 14” throughout this text.
We’re Keeping An Eye On It For You
Whether you’re about to get your first smartphone, are planning to switch from Android, or are just looking forward to an upgrade from your current model, you probably have your eye on the newest iPhone. Whatever your situation you, of course, want to make the smart choice and buy the latest and greatest version. So the question is: When does the new iPhone come out?
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iPhone 12 Mini Review: Performance
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are the most powerful smartphones weve ever tested at Toms Guide, and the iPhone 12 mini shares their processor the A14 Bionic. Typically, small phones are short-changed on the performance front, but the iPhone 12 mini is every bit as fast as those larger, pricier variants.
It really doesnt matter what youre doing on the iPhone 12 mini. Whether gaming, swiping through social media or using the camera, this device never drops a bead of sweat. Asphalt 9 Legends is my graphics-pushing game of choice when I test handsets, and this little iPhone still pushes console-quality visuals at a stable framerate a rare feat for this particular title. I was especially impressed with the smoothness of the motion blur, which really heightened the immersion of racing on this tiny display.
In the system-wide Geekbench 5 multi-core test, the iPhone 12 mini totaled 4,123 points even better than the iPhone 12s 3,859 points, and certainly worlds apart from the Galaxy S20 FE and Pixel 5 . The Galaxy S21, which came out months after the iPhone 12 mini and boasts a fast Snapdragon 888 system-on-chip, still falls short of the iPhone 12 mini’s result, with a 3,302 score.
iPhone 12 Pro Vs Samsung Galaxy S21
The iPhone 12 faces stiff competition from the Samsung Galaxy S21, which features a dynamic 6.2-inch AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate and longer battery life. Plus, the S21 offers a more powerful 30x digital zoom. However, the iPhone 12 Pro offers faster performance, a more premium glass design and better image quality.
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iPhones Release Date Could Even Be In October
Despite Apples largest manufacturer,Foxconn, assuring investors it should still make its fall timeline, The Wall Street Journal reported that the iPhone could face delays. This is often because of the coronavirus pandemic and its unprecedented effect on manufacturing and consumer demands.
The report estimated that Apple may wait until October to announce the phone. Which may be a few months after the iPhone s usual launch.
iPhone 12 Review: Storage Options
The iPhone 12 starts with 64GB of storage and doubles in size with each upgrade. It’s $50 more to go to 128GB and $100 more than that to go to 256GB. You’re capped out at 256GB.
I used to say that no one needs more than 64GB of storage what with all the ways we can store our stuff in various cloud-based services, but after asking around, I realize I’m the exception, not the rule. A lot of people either come right up to the line of 64GB or even go over it.
So yes, I think the iPhone 12 should have started at 128GB and go all the way up to 512GB, just like the iPhone 12 Pro. When you consider the fact that the iPhone 12 is practically identical to the iPhone 12 Pro in almost every way, it just makes sense that you should have the same storage options, as well.
I realize that Apple is trying to keep the price of the iPhone 12 as low as possible, but storage gets less expensive every year, and I think doubling the storage and keeping the $799 price tag wouldn’t have been that difficult to do. Here’s hoping for a nice storage boost next year.
In case you’re wondering, I sit solidly at 50GB of used up storage on my iPhone.
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