November 5, 2020

Small in Size, Big on Power: Comparing the iPhone 12 Mini and the iPhone SE (2020)

Bigger isn't always better. Apple proves again that it can deliver powerful performance in a pint-sized frame.

Small in Size, Big on Power: Comparing the iPhone 12 Mini and the iPhone SE (2020)

We were pleasantly surprised in our review of the iPhone SE (2020) earlier this year. Sure, it had a more limited range of colours but it packed plenty of power with an A13 Bionic Chip, the fastest chip at the time and included the fan favourite home button! (You can read more about my infatuation with the Home Button in the iPhone 12 feature wish list I put together here.)

Not to mention the iPhone SE came with a charger head as well as EarPods in the box. Source

Personally, I enjoy phones with a smaller form factor as they feel more comfortable in hand so you can imagine my excitement when Apple announced the iPhone 12 Mini was joining it's 2020 flagship line up! To give you a quick tldr, the iPhone 12 Mini boasts the exact same specs as the regular sized iPhone 12 packed into a more compact frame (it doesn't hurt that it's the most affordable iPhone in the 12 series either 😬). Read on to see a full comparison between Apple's latest pint sized phones.

If you're a fellow iPhone fanatic who has already set your eyes on getting the new iPhone 12 Mini, you can head over here to place an order. Or if you're looking for something more modestly priced with similar functions, the iPhone SE (2020) is available for order right now on our website and app.

Size: Small meets Smaller

The iPhone 12 Mini is set to take the crown as the world's smallest 5G phone to date. Source

The iPhone SE (2020) was already pretty slim clocking in at 5.5 x 2.7 x 0.3 inches in terms of dimensions. But the team at Apple really outdid themselves shaving off an additional 0.2 inches from both the length and breadth of the iPhone 12 Mini so it ships with 5.2 x 2.5 x 0.3 inches instead.

But that's not all folks! The Mini might be smaller overall but it boasts a bigger and better screen as well. Instead of the 4.7-inch Retina HD display on the iPhone SE, the iPhone 12 Mini rocks a 5.4-inch Super Retina XDR so you to get a full vibrant range of colours when watching Netflix or playing games.

One of the things they did to accomplish this wonderful feat of technology was to reduce the size of the notch to give more space for your display (but if you ask me, they should have just removed it completely). I guess you could also explain the slight shift in size to the presence of TouchID on the iPhone SE vs FaceID on the iPhone 12 Mini.

Under the Hood: Hi, Speed

The A14 Bionic Chip got your iPhone 12 Mini going like 👆 Source

I mentioned earlier that the iPhone SE (2020) used the same A13 Bionic chip that was featured in the iPhone 11 series; and that chip is plenty quick (think 8-core Neural Engine capable of 5 trillion operations per second kinda quick 👀).

But then the A14 Bionic came along and broke literally every record in that department. The A14 has double the cores of its predecessor, allowing it to deliver up to 11 Trillions of operations per second! AI performance was also recorded to show a 83% improvement over the A13.

All this talk of cores and AI is great but what does it really mean for you right? For one thing it impacts how quickly your phone runs. Think the time it takes to unlock your phone, launch apps, keep them running in the background etc. Chances are you want these things to be as fast as possible cause no one likes a laggy phone!

Who knew so much power could hide within such a tiny square in your phone. Source

The A14 also provides better power efficiency overall, allowing your phone to go on for about an extra 10 hours before needing to be plugged in again. For reference, the iPhone SE (2020) has a battery life of about 9 hours 18 minutes. We'll just have to wait and see how the iPhone 12 Mini holds up in the battery department although rumours say its capacity is 21% smaller than the iPhone 12.

Storage wise, both phones come in the exact same 64GB, 128GB, 256GB variants.

Oh and no discussion about the new iPhones is ever complete without the mentioning the fact that they're 5G compatible. Circles.Life is proud to announce the launch of our 5G service by the end of 2020 so it'd be a great investment to pick up the iPhone 12 Mini over the iPhone SE (2020) if you wanna try that out 😉

Camera: Say Cheese

I'm no math whiz but I'd say two cameras is better than one 😂 Source

The iPhone SE packs a single 12-megapixel wide-angle camera on the back whereas the iPhone 12 Mini adds on a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera on top of that. The camera's on the Mini also boast improvements to both aperture and zoom functions.

Aperture on the iPhone 12 mini has increased from the ƒ/1.6 on the SE to ƒ/1.8 to let more light in for crisper looking photos. If you're zooming in for the perfect shot, the mini will give you a cleaner looking photo with less grain since it offers 2x optical zoom as compared to the 5x digital zoom on the iPhone SE which causes you to lose out on details the more you zoom in.

Night Mode will help you capture your drunken dance moves in 4K beauty. Source

But the real star of the show here is the new Night Mode feature on the iPhone 12 Mini that now works on all its cameras. This feature is exclusive to the current line of iPhone 12s and make photography in low light settings look fantastic. From time lapse videos of the night sky to selfies at the club, the lights may be out but night mode will always make you or your subject look lit af.

Which phone should I get then?

Bet some of y'all be feeling like this now.

If we were to compare their prices alone, the iPhone SE instantly beats out the iPhone 12 Mini with its $649 price tag vs $1149. But the reality is that $500 actually makes a world of difference.

You might be paying a smidge more but you're gonna get a phone that has a faster chip, bigger screen, a better camera and 5G access right out of the box. It's the perfect entry level phone if you're looking to jump on the 5G bandwagon!

Of course there's nothing wrong with 4G either and the iPhone SE remains a solid choice for a budget phone for you to do your day to day browsing on social media, gaming and all that other good stuff. After all it still has a home button and you can hardly go wrong with a legacy feature like that 😂 .


You'll also have the options to choose green and blue if you get the iPhone 12 Mini. Source

Save up to $357 on the iPhone SE (2020) right now when you get it from Circles.Life!  We'll even throw in complimentary device insurance (worth $1500) and a $200 phone upgrade voucher every year 👍.

Interested in the iPhone 12 Mini? Your iPhone awaits you here 👀