SmartphoneTech

Differences Between iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 13 Mini

This is a full review to compare and discusses the difference between the basic Apple iPhone 13 Mini (left) and the iPhone 12 Mini (right) smartphone. Unlike the other comparisons, these two phones are very similar in their specifications, which means there is not much to gain to upgrade from iPhone 12 mini to iPhone 13 mini.

Form Factor

Tech SpecsiPhone 13 Mini (5G)iPhone 12 Mini (5G)
Release Date14-Sep-2113-Oct-20
Form Factor
Size131.5 x 64.2 x 7.65 mm
5.18 x 2.53 x 0.3 in
131.5 x 64.2 x 7.4 mm
5.18 x 2.53 x 0.29 in
Weight140 g (4.94 oz)133 g (4.7 oz)
IP RatingIP68 (6m for 30mins)
IEC standard 60529
IP68 (6m for 30mins)
IEC standard 60529
MaterialFront: Ceramic shield.
Back: Textured matt glass 
Frame: Stainless steel
Front: Ceramic shield.
Back: Glass
Frame: Aluminum
ColorsProduct red, starlight, midnight, blue, pink Black, White, Product Red, Green, Blue, Purple 

Both phones are surprisingly close in terms of size, where the iPhone 13 Mini is slightly thicker by just 0.25mm and heavier by 7 grams. In the next section, we will also reveal that both phones have the same display size of 5.4″.

The only significant difference is that the iPhone 13 Mini has a stainless steel frame, which makes it far superior to aluminum in terms of durability and strength. However, stainless steel also contributed to the weight since the material is 3 times heavier than aluminum. the aluminum is also much more prone to dents and scratches than stainless steel.

It is noteworthy that both phones use the Ceramic shield which has been proven with very good crack and scratch resistance based on the drop and scratch tests by Cnet and Corning. The Cerami shield is comparable to Corning’s Gorilla Glass Victus, in which Corning has done laboratory tests to verify its durability.

Display

Tech SpecsiPhone 13 Mini (5G)iPhone 12 Mini (5G)
Display
Screen TypeSuper Retina XDR OLED displaySuper Retina XDR OLED display
Screen Size5.4″ (71.9 cm2)5.4″
Resolution2340×1080 pixels, 19.5:9 ratio,
476 ppi
2340×1080 pixels, 19.5:9 ratio,
476 ppi
Brightness Max800 nits max brightness (typical);
1,200 nits max brightness (HDR)
625 nits max brightness (typical);
1,200 nits max brightness (HDR)
Refresh Rate60 Hz60Hz
Screen-to-body85.1%85.1%
Contrast Ratio2,000,000:12,000,000:1
Colors10 bit, or > 1 billion colors10 bit, or > 1 billion colors
Color GamutWide Color (P3)Wide Color (P3)
Touch Sampling RateAt least 120 Hz120 Hz
FeaturesTrue Tone
HDR display
Haptic Touch
Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating
Support for display of multiple languages and characters simultaneously
True Tone
HDR display
Haptic Touch
Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating
Support for display of multiple languages and characters simultaneously

Both displays are also equally matched, except that iPhone 13 mini is about 30% brighter than the iPhone 12 mini. Apart from this difference, both screens are almost identical in specifications.

Hardware and Sensors

Tech SpecsiPhone 13 Mini (5G)iPhone 12 Mini (5G)
Hardware & OS
OSApple iOS 15Apple iOS 14 to 15
ChipsetA15 Bionic chip (5nm)
New 16‑core Neural Engine
A14 Bionic chip (5nm)
16‑core Neural Engine
ProcessorNew 6‑core CPU with two performance and four efficiency coresHexa-core
2×3.1 GHz Firestorm
4×1.8 GHz Icestorm
GPUApple GPU (4 cores) Apple GPU (4 cores)
RAM/Storage4GB/128GB, 4GB/256GB,
4GB/512GB
(NVMe)
4GB/64GB, 4GB/128GB, 4GB/256GB
(NVMe)
SIM CardDual SIM (Nano + eSIM)
Dual eSIM support
Dual SIM (Nano + eSIM)
Expansion CardNoNo
3.5mm Ear JackNoNo
SpeakerTwo, StereoTwo, Stereo
SecurityFace IDFace ID
Stylus SupportNoNo
SensorsFace ID
Accelerometer
Three-axis gyro
Digital compass
Ambient Light Sensor
Proximity Sensor
Barometer
Face ID
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Digital compass
Ambient Light Sensor
Proximity Sensor
Barometer

The most significant advantage of the iPhone 13 mini over the iPhone 12 mini is the A15 Bionic chip and 16-Core Neural Engine. According to Apple’s tech specs, the 4-core GPU is “new”, meaning that it is different from the previous 4-core GPU used in iPhone 11.

The iPhone 13 mini has the same RAM as the iPhone 12 mini but comes with a bigger storage option of 512 GB. It also supports the dual eSIM.

Once again, every other specification is very close.

Battery Life

Tech SpecsiPhone 13 Mini (5G)iPhone 12 Mini (5G)
Battery
Capacity2,500 mAH. Non-removable.
(9.57 Wh)
2227 mAh, non-removal.
TypeLithium-IonLithium-Ion
Wired ChargingFast charging 20W
50% in 30 min
Fast charging 20W
50% in 30 min
Wireless ChargingMagSafe charging up to 15W
Qi charging up to 7.5W
Magsafe charging up to 15W
Qi charging up to 7.5W
Reverse Wireless
Charging
NoNo
Charging TechnologyPD 2.0PD 2.0
Video playback< 17 h (13h streaming)< 15 h (10h streaming)
Audio playback< 55 h< 50 h

The new iPhone 13 mini has about 12-15% better battery life than iPhone 12 mini. There are no improvements in charging speed as both phones use the same power delivery 2.0.

The slight increase in battery life is due to both the larger battery and the new A15 Bionic processor.

Rear Camera

Tech SpecsiPhone 13 Mini (5G)iPhone 12 Mini (5G)
Rear Camera
Resolution12 MP, f/1.6 (wide)
12 MP, f/2.4, 120˚ (ultrawide)
12 MP, f/1.6 (wide)
12 MP, f/2.4, 120˚ (ultrawide)
Camera Features-2x optical zoom out
-Digital zoom up to 5x
-Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth Control
-Portrait Lighting with six effects
(Natural, Studio, Contour, Stage, Stage Mono, High-Key Mono)
– Sensor‑shift optical image stabilisation (Wide)
– Seven‑element lens (Wide); five‑element lens (Ultra Wide)
– True Tone flash with Slow Sync
– Panorama (up to 63MP)
– Sapphire crystal lens cover
– 100% Focus Pixels (Wide)
– Night mode
– Deep Fusion
– Smart HDR 4
– Photographic Styles
– Wide colour capture for photos and Live Photos
– Lens correction (Ultra Wide)
– Advanced red‑eye correction
– Auto image stabilisation
– Burst mode
– Photo geotagging
– Image formats captured: HEIF and JPEG
– 2x optical zoom out
– Digital zoom up to 5x
– Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth Control
– Portrait Lighting with six effects (Natural, Studio, Contour, Stage, Stage Mono, High‑Key Mono)
–  Optical image stabilisation (Wide)
– Five‑element lens (Ultra Wide); seven‑element lens (Wide)
– Brighter True Tone flash with Slow Sync
– Panorama (up to 63MP)
– Sapphire crystal lens cover
– 100% Focus Pixels (Wide)
– Night mode (Ultra Wide, Wide)
– Deep Fusion (Ultra Wide, Wide)
– Smart HDR 3
– Wide colour capture for photos and Live Photos
– Lens correction (Ultra Wide)
– Advanced red‑eye correction
– Auto image stabilisation
– Burst mode
– Photo geotagging
– Image formats captured: HEIF and JPEG
Video recording4K: 24/25/30/60fps
1080p: 25/30/60fps
720p: 30fps
4K: 24/25/30/60fps
1080p: 25/30/60fps
720p: 30fps
Features:– Cinematic mode for recording videos with shallow depth of field (1080p at 30 fps)
– HDR video recording with Dolby Vision up to 4K at 60 fps
Sensor-shift optical image stabilisation for video (Wide)
– 2x optical zoom out
– Digital zoom up to 3x
– Audio zoom
– True Tone flash
– QuickTake video
– Slow-motion video support for 1080p at 120 fps or 240 fps
– Time-lapse video with stabilisation
– Night mode Time-lapse
– Cinematic video stabilisation (4K, 1080p and 720p)
– Continuous autofocus video
– Take 8MP still photos while recording 4K video
– Playback zoom
– Video formats recorded: HEVC and H.264
– Stereo recording
– HDR video recording with Dolby Vision up to 30 fps
– Optical image stabilisation for video (Wide)
– 2x optical zoom out
– Digital zoom up to 3x
– Audio zoom
– Brighter True Tone flash
– QuickTake video
– Slow-motion video support for 1080p at 120 fps or 240 fps
– Time‑lapse video with stabilisation
– Night mode Time‑lapse
– Extended dynamic range for video up to 60 fps
– Cinematic video stabilisation (4K, 1080p and 720p)
– Continuous autofocus video
– Take 8-megapixel still photos while recording 4K video
– Playback zoom
– Video formats recorded: HEVC and H.264
– Stereo recording

Both rear camera lenses are the same and the differences are mainly the features highlighted in blue above.

One of the most significant features that are advertised is the new cinematic mode, especially the “shallow depth of field”, which is also featured in Xiaomi’s smartphone. This will be a good feature for those who like to take videos for social media posting. Everyone can become a professional videographer.

Other advantages for the iPhone 13 mini include

  • HDR video recording with Dolby Vision up to 4K at 60 fps, which was only 30 fps on the iPhone 12 mini. Dolby Vision is supported on almost all iOS devices since 2017, including most recently on the iPhone 11 Pro.
  • Sensor-shift optical image stabilization for video, which stabilizes the sensor instead of the lens and in turn helps to enhance image quality.

iPhone 12 Mini has this legacy feature that iPhone 13 Mini omitted, which is the “Extended dynamic range for video up to 60 fps”.

A feature promoted less by Apple is the extended dynamic range available for video shot with the iPhone XS, provided you’re shooting at 30 frames per second or lower. In 30fps 4K video mode, the iPhone XS doesn’t just take a frame every 30th of a second. (Source: Toms Guide)

Front Camera

Tech SpecsiPhone 13 Mini (5G)iPhone 12 Mini (5G)
Front Camera
Resolution12 MP, f/2.2, (wide), 1/3.6″12 MP, f/2.2, (wide), 1/3.6″
Video capture:4K: 24/25/30/60fps
1080p: 25/30/60fps
4K: 24/25/30/60fps
1080p: 25/30/60fps
Features:– Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth Control
– Portrait Lighting with six effects
(Natural, Studio, Contour, – Stage, Stage Mono, High-Key Mono)
– Animoji and Memoji
– Night mode
– Deep Fusion
Smart HDR 4
– Photographic Styles
– Cinematic mode for recording videos with shallow depth of field (1080p at 30 fps)
– HDR video recording with Dolby Vision up to 4K at 60 fps
– Slow-motion video support for 1080p at 120 fps
– Time-lapse video with stabilisation
– Night mode Time-lapse
– Cinematic video stabilisation (4K, 1080p and 720p)
– QuickTake video
– Wide colour capture for photos and Live Photos
– Lens correction
– Retina Flash
– Auto image stabilisation
– Burst mode
– Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth Control
– Portrait Lighting with six effects (Natural, Studio, Contour, Stage, Stage Mono, High‑Key Mono)
– Animoji and Memoji
– Night mode
– Deep Fusion
– Smart HDR 3
– HDR video recording with Dolby Vision up to 30 fps
– Slow-motion video support for 1080p at 240 fps
– Time-lapse video with stabilisation
– Night mode Time‑lapse
– Extended dynamic range for video up to 30 fps
– Cinematic video stabilisation (4K, 1080p and 720p)
– QuickTake video
– Wide colour capture for photos and Live Photos
– Lens correction
– Retina Flash
– Auto image stabilisation
– Burst mode

There is not much difference in the front camera except for the newer smart HDR 4 and HDR recording up to 4K at 60 fps instead of 30 fps in the previous version. According to Apple’s brief, smart HDR 4 provides better contrast, lighting, and color for the photo in all conditions including an improved night mode.

Same as the rear camera, the iPhone 12 Mini front camera has this legacy feature that iPhone 13 Mini omitted, which is the “Extended dynamic range for video up to 60 fps”.

Connectivity and Environment

Tech SpecsiPhone 13 Mini (5G)iPhone 12 Mini (5G)
Connectivity
Bluetooth Ver5.0, A2DP, LE5.0, A2DP, LE
Wi-Fi VerWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax
dual-band, hotspot.
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax
dual-band, hotspot.
ConnectorLightningLightning
GPSBuilt‑in GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS and BeiDouBuilt‑in GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS and BeiDou
NFCYes with reader modeYes with reader mode
Infra-Red PortNoNo
Network5G, 4G LTE, HSPA, GSM5G, 4G LTE, HSPA, GSM

Both phones are perfectly the same in terms of connectivity. There is nothing much to add here.

Conclusion

If you are still using the iPhone 12 Mini, it is not necessary to upgrade to the iPhone 13 Mini. There are no significant advantages to upgrade unless you have an iPhone 12 Mini that is damaged beyond warranty and repair.

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