For years people with small hands have been frustrated with the ever-increasing sizes of phones.

Phones on the Android platform are particularly notorious for it, with most flagship phones being well over 6-inches, it is only really the Pixel phones such as the Pixel 4a that have been suitable for smaller hands.

Apple has also been guilty of increasing the sizes over the years, the iPhone 8 series were all small phones, but then the iPhone X started at 5.8″ and increased to 6.5″ (though the massively reduced bezels kept the overall dimensions small.

Then, this year, Apple brought back the iPhone 8 but swapped out the ageing A11 Bionic chipset with the latest A13 and called it the iPhone SE 2nd Gen. It was well-received offering a new low price point for Apple fans and that small form factor that many users love.

Following the success of that, Apple is embracing small phones once again, and the latest iPhone 12 series introduces a new model, the Mini.

(At this point I would like to give the nod to the adorable Sony Ericsson Xperia mini and pro model with their 3.0 inch 480×320 screens.)

As popular as the 2nd generation iPhone SE was, it was a bit of a strange phone, on the one hand it was great to have a small iPhone priced at just £399. On the other hand, Apple was charging £399 for 3-year-old component refreshed by a new chipset.

For people that want a small phone but not a cheap phone (by Apple's standards) then the Apple iPhone 12 Mini is about the best phone on the market right now.

If you are looking for a new phone, you may be wondering how they differ?

Display Screen Size, Dimensions & Weight – Bigger display but smaller phone

The new iPhone 12 Mini has a larger display, however, it adopts the slim bezels of modern iPhones so the overall size and weight are smaller than the iPhone SE 2nd generation

Display Specs

The new OLED display is a massive improvement and offers a significantly improved resolution.

  • Apple iPhone 12 Mini
    • 5.4-inch OLED display
    • 2340×1080-pixel resolution at 476 ppi
    • 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio (typical)
  • Apple iPhone SE 2
    • 4.7-inch (diagonal) widescreen LCD display with IPS technology
    • Retina HD display
    • 1334×750-pixel resolution at 326 ppi
    • 1400:1 contrast ratio (typical)

Size and Weight

While the display is considerably larger the dimensions and overall weight have gone down

  • Apple iPhone 12 Mini
    • 131.5 mm (5.18 inches), 64.2 mm (2.53 inches), 7.4 mm (0.29 inches)
    • 133g
  • Apple iPhone SE
    • 138.4 mm (5.45 inches), 67.3 mm (2.65 inches), 7.4 mm (0.29 inches)
    • 148 grams

Build

The overall build has improved too, the new iPhone is now IP68 rated vs IP67, both ratings are good, but you get a bit more waterproofing with this.

Then the front of the phone has a ceramic shield with 4x drop protection. I am not sure how effective that will be, but every little helps.

Chipset

The only decent thing about the iPhone SE 2 was the excellent A13 Bionic chip which reinvigorated the dated components elsewhere.

The new iPhone gets the latest generation, the A14 Bionic chip, this chipset should easily keep your phone running well for several years.

Camera

The camera has also had a massive upgrade too, this is just as important as the screen different in my opinion.

The old phone had a single 12MP wide and lens, you now get the dual 12MP camera system (Ultra Wide and Wide) which then offers 2x optical zoom. The new camera has the advanced features such as night mode and deep fusion which should make it one of the best camera phones on the market.

Connectivity

Perhaps the least exciting upgrade but one of the most publicised is 5G. Yeah, it's good, maybe I don't appreciate it because I work from on Wi-Fi all day and there is no 5G near me. However, gigabit-class LTE, which both phones have, is pretty amazing if you get a good signal.

Anyway, 5G is the way of the future, so this will keep your phone up to date with connectivity for years to come.

Battery

Even those the screen is physically much larger, then also running significantly higher resolution, the new iPhone has improved the battery life by about 25% going from 8 hours of video playback to 10 hours or 40 hours of audio to 50.

Furthermore, the new iPhone is compatible with wireless charging and MagSafe accessories.

Price and Availability

As you might imagine, with the Apple iPhone 12 Mini being vastly superior to the SE, it is priced appropriately.

The new phone starts at £699 for 64GB, though if I were buying one I'd fork out an extra £50 for a more usable 128GB

The iPhone SE is £399 or £449 for the same sizes.

That's a 50% price hike moving from the SE to the 12 Mini, but I think it is well worth it, and with no other phone on the market this small, I'd say the iPhone 12 Mini is the best small phone right now (and I don't even use Apple products).

You can register your interest at Vodafone now for when the new iPhone models become available

Apple iPhone 12 Mini vs iPhone SE 2nd Generation

 iPhone 12 MiniiPhone SE 2nd Generation
Display5.4-inch OLED display
Super Retina XDR display
2340x1080-pixel resolution at 476 ppi
2,000,000:1 contrast ratio (typical)
625 nits max brightness (typical)
1,200 nits max brightness (HDR)
4.7-inch (diagonal) widescreen LCD display with IPS technology
Retina HD display
1334x750-pixel resolution at 326 ppi
1400:1 contrast ratio (typical)
625 nits max brightness (typical)
DimensionsHeight
131.5 mm (5.18 inches)
Width
64.2 mm (2.53 inches)
Depth
7.4 mm (0.29 inches)
Height
138.4 mm (5.45 inches)
Width
67.3 mm (2.65 inches)
Depth
7.4 mm (0.29 inches)
Weight133 grams (4.70 ounces)148 grams (5.22 ounces)
BuildCeramic Shield front
4x drop performance
Aerospace-grade aluminium
Glass front and back
Aerospace-grade aluminium
ProtectionRated IP68 (maximum depth of 6 metres up to 30 minutes) Rated IP67 (maximum depth of 1 metre up to 30 minutes)
ChipsetA14 Bionic chipA13 Bionic chip
Rear CameraDual 12MP camera system (Ultra Wide and Wide)
Ultra Wide: ƒ/2.4 aperture
Wide: ƒ/1.6 aperture
2x optical zoom, 5x digitial
Night mode and deep fusion
Single 12MP Wide
Wide: ƒ/1.8 aperture
Optical image stabilisation
Front Camera TrueDepth camera (for faceID)
12MP photos
7MP photos
Connectivity5G (sub-6 GHz)
Gigabit LTE
Ultra Wideband chip for spatial awareness
Gigabit-class LTE
Storage64GB, 128GB, 256GB64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Battery Up to 15 hours video playback
Compatible with wireless charging
Up to 13 hours video playback
Price

Last update on 2020-10-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API