It comes in a smaller body but the iPhone 13 mini still packs a punch as an everyday companion

Remember those days when phone screens were less than five inches wide? In a world where big screens are the norm, Apple has brought back small phones last year with the iPhone 12 mini and its 2021 successor, iPhone 13 mini. Both share the same specs as their 6.1-inch counterparts, so essentially you choose the size that appeals to you. 

If you're looking for pocketability, then the mini is no contest. But is it worth the upgrade from the iPhone 12? With the minimal upgrades offered, we'd say not, but if you're coming from a much older model, there are lots of great features that could tempt you to make the switch.

See also: 3 Reasons You Should (or Shouldn't) Buy the iPhone 13 Pro Max

Its size is a big plus

Admittedly, after years of using a bigger-sized phone, the iPhone 13 mini took some getting used to. Nevertheless, it didn't take too long to fall in love with how easy and comfortable it is to grip it while on the go—no more hand cramps! While it can be argued that it's bigger than the 4.7-inch iPhone SE, the mini's 5.4-inch screen can be classified as a small phone and is powered by Apple's top processor.

Giving a sense of nostalgia, the mini is also kind of a throwback to 2011's iPhone 4S in terms of its flat-edged design, which was one of the best-selling iPhones ever produced and the first to incorporate Siri. It was also the final Apple product announced prior to Steve Jobs' death the following day. 

In the 2021 iteration, the mini has a tough ceramic shield which makes it more resistant to damage from drops, aerospace-grade aluminium flat edges with an attractive matte sheen, and comes with five new colours—Pink, Blue, Midnight, Starlight, and Red.

See also: Everything Unveiled at Apple’s ‘Unleashed’ Event: New Airpods, MacBook Pros and More

Top-notch camera

Given that the iPhone 13 mini gets its camera technology from the iPhone 12 Pro Max, this is where it shines. While it doesn't have the telephoto lens and Apple ProRAW, the 13 mini does come with wide and ultra wide lenses with sensor-shift optical image stablisation. While we personally prefer to use the automatic settings, the camera also comes with photographic styles which allows you to personalise the look of your images from a choice of four presets—rich contrast, vibrant, warm or cool. You can customise it even further by adjusting the tone and warmth settings. 

We're also amazed by how well the night mode captures scenery shots at night and how it makes images well-lit even in pretty dark conditions. We especially love taking selfies with the portrait mode and while it softens the look of the subject in a more forgiving light, the technology is still behind if compared to other android camera phones that have an in-built photo enhancer that enables one to take insta-worthy pics instantly, as well as the ability to use hand gestures for taking photos instead of using the timer.

It is capable of taking 4K videos as well but the cinematic mode is one of the biggest improvements across the iPhone 13 lineup. This feature is designed to bring a cinematic depth-of-field to your videos for a more professional feel. Overall, the footage looks good and it's amazing how quickly the camera processes a scene in real time with moving subjects. We like how we can change the focus point with a tap on the screen, however, it's not possible to zoom in or out. 

Good battery performance

With reviews of the iPhone 12 mini's battery life being a dismal drain fest, we were a bit trepidatious with the iPhone 13 mini's battery performance. Apple has addressed this issue with the use of the lightning-fast A15 bionic chip, which claims to improve battery life by 1.5 hours. 

After using it for about a month , we're happy to report that the iPhone 13 mini has exceeded our expectations. To our surprise and delight, on an average of using it 4-5.5 hours in total, the mini can last a full day, charging it once at night. We're pretty consistent in terms of usage throughout the day, checking messages on WhatsApp and email, scrolling through social feeds, taking photos, transferring files via airdrop. However, when using it extensively like shooting non-stop for social media, the battery dips a little faster especially when it is at 50-60 per cent. Suffice to say, you can safely go out for up to 4-5 hours without a need for a power bank if you're at 100 per cent with casual usage.

Having said that, it does make us mindful of phone usage, which is a good thing considering how addicted most of us are to our devices. 

All in all, the iPhone 13 mini is a good performer at the top of its class. It's a great phone to have if you're all about functionality, portability and pocketability as well as taking great pictures.


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