In 2021, Apple unveiled the iPhone 13 as the successor to the popular iPhone 12, with improved rear cameras, longer battery life, the A15 Bionic chip, and more. Despite being from different annual generations, both iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 mini are still available from Apple at a price of $599, leading many customers to consider which device they should buy .
At $599, both devices sit above the $429 iPhone SE in Apple’s lineup, adding features like an OLED display and Face ID. The iPhone 13 mini is a more modern device than the iPhone 12, and has the same battery life as the larger device despite having a smaller internal battery, but it comes at the cost of a display.
As the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 mini share a large number of features, should you consider buying the older model to save money? Our guide helps answer the question of how to decide which of these two iPhones is best for you.
Compare iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 Mini
iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 mini share a large number of key features, such as OLED Super Retain XDR display, ID ID, 5G connectivity, MagSafe, and Ceramic Shield. Apple lists these same features for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 mini:
- OLED Super Retina XDR display with HDR, True Tone, P3 wide color, and Haptic Touch
- Face ID
- 6GHz 5G connectivity (and mmWave in the US)
- Six-core A-Series Bionic chip
- 4GB of memory
- Dual 12MP ƒ/2.4 Ultra Wide and ƒ/1.6 Wide cameras with 2x optical zoom
- Photography features including night mode, Deep Fusion, True Tone with Slow Sync, portrait mode, and more.
- Video features including 4K video recording up to 60fps, HDR video recording with Dolby Vision, audio zoom, slo-mo video up to 240fps at 1080p, Night Time Mode, and more.
- Ceramic shield ahead
- IP68 rated splash, water, and dust resistance
- Aerospace-grade aluminum
- MagSafe and Qi wireless charging
- Lightning connector
- Battery life up to 17 hours during video playback
- Available with 128GB and 256GB storage options
- Available at (PRODUCT) RED
Apple’s breakdown shows that iPhones share a large number of popular features. However, there are some significant differences between the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 13 mini, such as their processors and brightness, which will be important when weighing which device to choose.
- 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display
- 625 nits max brightness (typical)
- A14 Bionic chip
- Dual SIM (nano-SIM and eSIM)
- Image stabilization for video
- Smart HDR 3 for photos
- Dolby Vision HDR video recording up to 4K at 30 fps
- It weighs 164 grams
- Available in Purple, Blue, PRODUCT(RED), White, and Black
- Available with 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB storage options
iPhone 13 mini
- 5.4-inch Super Retina XDR display
- 800 nits max brightness (typical)
- 20 percent less value
- A15 Bionic chip
- Dual SIM (nano-SIM and eSIM) and support for two eSIM
- Optical motion sensor for video
- Smart HDR 4 for photos
- Photo Style
- Dolby Vision HDR video recording up to 4K at 60 fps
- Cinematic mode video recording with depth of field (1080p at 30fps)
- It weighs 141 grams
- Available in Starlight, Midnight, Blue, Pink, Green, and FREE(RED)
- Available with 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB storage options
Read on for a closer look at each of these aspects, and see what exactly both iPhones have to offer.
Design and Colors
Both the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 mini have the same industrial design with square edges and a flat aluminum band around the sides. The devices use aerospace grade aluminum on the sides and a single tempered glass on the back. The two rear cameras of the iPhone 13 mini are aligned diagonally, unlike the vertical mode of the iPhone 12.
The iPhone 13 mini has a 20 percent smaller bezel for the TrueDepth camera array, which provides more display area and makes the cutout less noticeable. Apart from the placement of a smaller rear camera, the devices are otherwise similar.
As a small phone, the iPhone 13 mini is shorter and narrower than the iPhone 12. The size of the iPhone 13 mini makes it more pocketable than the iPhone 13.
Another difference between the two devices is their weight. The iPhone 13 mini is 23 grams (0.81 ounces) lighter than its larger counterpart, at just 141 grams (4.97 ounces) overall. If you want the smallest and lightest possible, the iPhone 13 mini will be a better choice than the iPhone 12.
The iPhone 12 is available in Purple, Blue, Green, White, and Black, while the iPhone 13 mini is available in Starlight, Midnight, Blue, Pink, and Green. Both are also available in PRODUCT(RED). The two pages of Blue are similar, like White and Starlight, and Black and Midnight. Like similar devices, the choice for either the iPhone 12 or the iPhone 13 mini in terms of design and colors will come down to personal taste.
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 mini both have OLED Super Retina XDR displays with HDR, True Tone, P3 wide color, and Haptic Touch. The only difference with the iPhone 13 mini display is that it can get 175 nits brighter when using non-HDR, but this is not the main reason to get the new model.
The most obvious difference between the iPhone 13 mini and the iPhone 12 is the size of their displays. The iPhone 13 mini has a display size of 5.4 inches and the iPhone 12 has a display size of 6.1 inches. This means that the larger phone can display more content on the screen, with the UI elements of the apps completely spaced out and things like the keyboard larger.
However, the smaller phone is easier to use with one hand. For example, the Control Center is easier to reach at the top of the screen, and users can enjoy scrolling around iOS on a smaller display with a stronger grip.
The main reason I would prefer the iPhone 13 would be because of its better fit and ease of use with one hand. Also, those who want a large display for media use, being the same size as the iPhone 14, will clearly prefer the iPhone 12 inch 6.1.
A14 vs. A15
The A15 Bionic chip of the iPhone 13 brings significant performance improvements over the A14 Bionic in the iPhone 12. compared to the A14 chip of the iPhone 12. In graphics performance, the iPhone 13 performs about 15 percent better than the A14 Bionic in the iPhone 12.
These improved performance with the A15 are statistics rather than a major reason for the upgrade alone. The A14 is still a very capable chip, and in day-to-day use, the two devices can perform similarly, although the A15 chip can last longer and perform better over time.
Both devices support dual SIM, with one physical nano-SIM and one eSIM, but the iPhone 13 mini can also support two eSIMs at the same time. If you need to switch between two eSIMs, you need to have an iPhone 13 mini to get this functionality.
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 mini have dual 12MP rear cameras with ƒ/2.4 Ultra Wide and ƒ/1.6 Wide cameras. The main camera of the iPhone 13 mini has a larger sensor than the iPhone 12, capable of capturing 47 percent more light for less noise and brighter images, and Ultra Wide features a new sensor to capture more detail. The main camera also contains sensor image stabilization technology for better video and improved image quality.
Although both devices are capable of recording Dolby Vision HDR video, the iPhone 13 can record this at up to 60fps, as opposed to the iPhone 12’s 30fps.
The iPhone 13 mini features Cinematic mode, which allows users to record videos with depth of field at 1080p and 30fps. Cinematic mode can take the focus to shift from one subject to another while taking video. It maintains focus on the subject while blurring the background, and can change focus automatically when a new subject is about to enter the scene. Blur and focus can be adjusted after taking a video and through the Photos app.
The smaller iPhone 13 also supports Photo Styles, which are smart, filters that can do things like enhance or fade colors without affecting skin tone. Styles apply to a selected image, unlike filters that are applied to the entire image. Photo Styles include Vibrant (enhanced color), Rich Contrast (darker shades and deeper colors), Warm (adds more gold tones), or Cool (adds more blue tones). Warm tones can be adjusted to any style, so you can get exactly the look you want.
While the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 mini cameras have similar specifications, the iPhone 13 mini offers Dolby Vision HDR video at a higher frame rate, Cinematic mode, and Picture Style, and improved features such as a larger sensor and motion sensor. . calmness. The iPhone 12’s camera is still very strong, but with more camera and photo options and better photos, the smaller iPhone 13 is the better choice.
Another important area to consider when sizing up the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 mini is storage. While both devices start at $599, the iPhone 12 has a base storage configuration of 64GB, while the iPhone 13 mini offers 128GB of storage for the same price. The iPhone 12 with 128GB of storage costs $649 and at 256GB the price is $749, $50 more than the iPhone 13 mini with the same amount of storage. If storage is a priority for you, it might be better to get the iPhone 13 mini since the amount of storage comes with a lower price on board.
The iPhone 12 is also not available with a 512GB model, unlike the iPhone 13 mini. This means that if you need more than 256GB of storage, you need to get an iPhone 13 to get the option of a larger 512GB storage capacity.
The improvements of the iPhone 13 mini over the iPhone 12 are mostly diverse, offering improvements in terms of a brighter display, lower price, improved performance, and new camera software features. The most important improvements include camera equipment, but at face value there may not be enough to justify getting the new product over the iPhone 12 for those who mostly want a large display. The iPhone 12’s A14 Bionic chip and dual camera setup are still strong enough for everyday use, and the device shares most of the features of the iPhone 13 mini, such as 17-hour battery life, 5G connectivity , night mode, MagSafe, and IP68 water resistance.
However, when looking at the storage options of only 128GB and 256GB, since these options are available with both models, the smaller iPhone 13 costs less than the iPhone 12. If you need more than 64GB of storage and do not want a large display, it should buy me an iPhone 13 – especially considering that it comes with more features and it’s a new year. If 64GB of storage is enough for you, it will be a case of deciding if the iPhone 13 mini upgrades and additional storage are worth the sacrifice of a larger display.