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iPhone 12 vs iPhone 12 mini: Which Should You Buy

The iPhone 12 was released at the end of 2020. It arrived as the direct successor to the iPhone 11 unveiled about a year earlier. It, therefore, starts on solid foundations and improves the winning recipe of the previous model. Among the most remarkable differences, we find in particular changes on the side of the design, sensors, but also with regard to the overall performance of the device.

You should know that the iPhone 12 was not the only one to be presented by Apple during its traditional 2020 end-of-year keynote. Indeed, the brand also unveiled the following models: the iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max.

The iPhone 12 is one of the cheapest options in this quartet. We can then wonder if its components really make the weight compared to other smartphones that are also high-end and from the same manufacturer. This also applies to the 12 mini models, which are entitled to the same features as the iPhone 12, with just a reduced size. Let’s see what these iPhone 12 and 12 mini have in the belly.

Key Specification

iPhone 12iPhone 12 mini
ChipsetApple A14 BionicApple A14 Bionic (5 nm)
Display5.78 inches5.4 inches
Ram4 GB4 GB
Camera12 MP + 12 MP12 MP + 12 MP
Screen Lock PositionFace IDFace ID


iPhone 12iPhone 12 mini
Dimensions146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4 mm131.5 x 64.2 x 7.4 mm
Weight164 grams135 grams
Screen Size6.78 inches5.4 inches
TypeSuper Retina XDR DisplayXDR OLED
ColorsRed, Black, Blue, Green, WhiteBlack, White, Red, Green, Blue

You surely did not miss it: the appearance of the iPhone 12 is a little different from that of the iPhone 11. Indeed, while since the arrival of the iPhone 6 on the market Apple has adopted More curved lines for the shell of its mobiles, the iPhone 12 recalls the appearance of the old iPhone 4 or even the latest iPad Pro launched in the second quarter of 2020.

We are entitled to edges whose angles are this time perpendicular and not rounded, even if the corners are still. The iPhone 12 has a metal frame, while at the front and at the back there are faces equipped with a new Ceramic Shield glass protected by Corning with its Gorilla Glass. We still recommend that you buy a case separately: we are talking about materials that remain quite fragile in the event of a violent impact (even with AppleCare + insurance or at an independent repairer; the repair costs are high). On the back, the apple-shaped logo that characterizes Apple so well is still in the center, as has been the case for several months now.

The iPhone 12 is resistant to water and dust: certified thanks to the IP68 protection index, it can be submerged for about thirty minutes at a maximum depth of two meters, although this is obviously to be avoided. Note also that, although some were counting on a reduced size “notch” and that the majority of competitors now offer punches or even popup cameras, the iPhone 12 has an imposing notch, which measures more than half of the width of the device, at the top of its screen. Inside are indeed hidden multiple sensors, including the TrueDepth which is used to recognize the faces of Face ID.

The iPhone 12 mini’s touchscreen measures 5.4 inches, which makes it particularly compact (it’s even the smallest iPhone yet, as the SE has much wider bezels) with its ratio of 79% format/panel. For the iPhone 12, count 6.1 inches of screen diagonal.

For the definition, it will be Full HD only, which in the era of phablets is probably sufficient for the majority of users.

The iPhone 12’s Retina display can display sixteen million different colors, and it is covered with an oleophobic coating while being protected against scratches by Gorilla Glass Victus therefore. Its maximum brightness reaches 625 nits according to the manufacturer, with True Tone included. This solution adapts to your environment to update the colors and brightness of the iPhone 12 accordingly, to rest your eyes. It is also found on Macs. Only downside, but which should disappoint only a few demanding gamers: the refresh rate of 120 Hz which had caused a lot of ink to flow is not the part for this model, nor even for the other iPhone released in 2020 (12 Pro and 12 Pro Max precisely).


iPhone 12iPhone 12 mini
ProcessorHexa-core 2×3.1 GHzHexa-core 2×3.1 GHz
Internal storage64 / 1258 GB64 / 1258 GB
Storage expansionNoNo
MaterialsGorilla GlassGorilla Glass

Now let’s take a look at the performance of the iPhone 12, starting with the processor. Here, we are entitled to a proprietary SoC as usual: I named the Apple A14 Bionic, equipped with an artificial intelligence Neural Engine. While its predecessor was engraved with a precision of seven nanometers, this part, still produced by the Taiwanese supplier TSMC, now benefits from an engraving fineness of only 5 nm. It is on paper about 40% more powerful than the Apple A13 Bionic of the iPhone 11 and would consume 30% less energy according to the tests carried out so far. The associated quad-core GPU, meanwhile, would even be 50% more efficient than the graphics chip from the year before.

In terms of numbers, the frequency reaches 3,090 MHz, and is the CPU is made up of six cores. It is therefore the first chip under Apple’s ARM architecture that exceeds 3 GHz. Understandable when we know that future Macs from the Silicon program will probably also be entitled to it. Benchmark results published downstream gave the following scores: 1,658 in single-core versus 4,612 at full power. Very heavy with this iPhone 12, therefore, especially since its A14 Bionic is here coupled with 4 GB of RAM.

In short, the iPhone 12 is therefore a particularly swift mobile phone, which should delight even the most daring with Apple Arcade (4.99 euros per month). It does not lag, especially since we can here count on know-how which jointly optimizes the software (iOS 14, we will see it later) AND the processor at the same time: both are signed Apple which benefits to synchronize them with each other. Conversely, Qualcomm provides more “universal” chips to Android manufacturers.

The iPhone 12 arrives under the operating system made in Cupertino from Apple: here is iOS 14. Serious new features are to be found in the software, which you can find in detail in our dedicated list. But here is still an overview of the most interesting changes, for those in a hurry.

On the UI side, already, widgets that were previously confined to the left pane of the home screen can now be moved to any page of it, in the middle of the other apps. The latter, on the iPhone 12, are also arranged in App Library, or Library of apps, a new drawer reminiscent of the one that exists on Android. Much easier this way of arranging your icons.

iOS 14 also brings picture-in-picture or ( Picture in Picture ) to the iPhone 12, to continue watching a video while using another app. Very practical for tutorials in particular. We’ll stop there, but obviously, you can always count on the App Store to download millions of third-party services created by developers around the world.


iPhone 12iPhone 12 mini
Rear12 MP + 12 MP12 MP + 12 MP
Front12 MP 12 MP
Video recordingHDR 60 fps (4K UHD)4K@24/30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/120/240fps, HDR, Dolby Vision HDR (up to 30fps), stereo sound rec.

While many choose an iPhone for quality shots, going for the iPhone 12 is probably not a good idea to get there. Indeed, this smartphone is only entitled to two rear lenses, EXMORs from the Japanese service provider Sony. They offer a definition of 12 Mpx each, with wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle, but without optical zoom. They are also capable of filming in 4K, with slow motion of up to sixty frames per second, enough to film a ski vacation, but not enough to end up in a Shot on iPhone spot. The images are entitled to panorama mode and HDR quality.

At the front, the iPhone 12 offers a twelve-megapixel selfie camera with an f / 2.2 aperture with the famous “ Portrait mode ”. But in the notch, we, therefore, find especially the TrueDepth technology, which scans in three dimensions the features of your face so that only you can unlock the device thanks to the Face ID feature. And it must be said that the result is there: just look at the iPhone 12 and iOS 14 is yours!

As for the flash, it is provided by four powerful LEDs on the back. For the front end, it is in fact the Retina screen that will light up, hence the trade name Retina flash.


iPhone 12OnePlus 8T
Headphone jackNoNo

Battery Life

iPhone 12iPhone 12 mini
Capacity2815 mAh2227 mAh
TypeNon-Removable BatteryNon-Removable Battery
Fast ChargingUp to 50% charge in 30 MinUp to 50% in 30 min

This is the bad surprise of this iPhone 12: its non-removable lithium-ion battery would only offer 2,227 mAh. In comparison, the iPhone 11 displays 3,110 mAh. Apple does not however communicate on the real capacity of its batteries, the data also coming from other sources that took the time to dismantle the device. Nevertheless, the firm reassures with details easier to understand: the iPhone 12 would thus be able to hold seventeen hours in a row, which suggests use all day without the risk of being cut off.

These figures should however be considered with caution: indeed, officially, the real power is therefore not confirmed, and we know that over time this is one of the components that degrade the most. Hence the Battery Status index found in the Settings app, which provides information on its road holding in real-time. On the other hand, some with intensive use may underestimate the iPhone 12 and its autonomy, while on the contrary users with little connection will praise its endurance in the long term. You will therefore need to have it in hand to make up your own mind.

Another argument making it possible to qualify this difference between the battery of the iPhone 11 and that of the iPhone 12: the A14 processor, which as we saw above consumes less than before, while working perfectly with iOS, electricity efficient as well. Let’s finish by specifying that the iPhone 12 is entitled to wireless charging, but can also be connected thanks to a 20-watt charger (two more than in 2019). The only downside: neither of these two accessories comes with the box. It’s cringe, but we expected after the blow of the jack, especially since in the US, it is the headphones that have been left out altogether.


iPhone 12iPhone 12 mini
SIMDual SIM (1 sim slot + 1 esim)Dual SIM (1 sim slot + 1 esim)
Bluetooth5.0, A2DP, LE5.0, A2DP, LE
WifiWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6, dual-band, hotspot
USBType-C (reversible)Lightning, USB 2.0
SensorsFace ID, accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometerFace ID, accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer

Although without a charger, the iPhone 12 still has a wired charging port. So of course it’s not USB-C, but still Lightning, this can even be an advantage when we know that the iPhone 13 would probably no longer be entitled to it (induction only, it seems). On the other hand, no Jack plug therefore: you will have to choose AirPods or go through an adapter.

The iPhone 12 is compatible with Bluetooth 5.0 (Low Energy) and Wi-Fi, with the added bonus of its own AirDrop and AirPlay file transfer services for music. 5G is also part of the game, as, for the audio, it can count on stereo speakers. Do we agree: this is a back-up solution; it will of course be necessary to connect a real speaker to the iPhone 12 for a good listening session.

The iPhone 12 also has a GPS – useful for geotagging a lost iPhone 12 with the dedicated app – and an NFC chip. This will quickly become essential: it allows you to settle transactions with Apple Pay, by scanning your bank cards in the Wallet application. Moreover, you can also virtualize car keys, in addition to plane tickets and other Resident Advisor tickets. In the bus or metro in large cities, the feature is called Transport Express: no more paperwork.

To put an end to the sensors, note also that the iPhone 12 comes with a gyroscope, a compass, a barometer, and finally a proximity sensor that automatically turns off the screen when it is in your pocket or near your current ear. call.

Which is better!

The iPhone 12 is available in several colors: black, white, blue, red, green PRODUCT (RED). Good to know: part of the profits from this edition, whose red color is particularly vibrant, are donated to associations fighting against diseases such as AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria or, more recently, COVID-19. A nice gesture to do to minimize our cognitive dissonance.

It is clear that the iPhone 12 Max, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max are still more efficient devices on certain points such as the camera (hello LiDAR radar) or screen (larger).

The iPhone 12 mini remains the cheapest among all the other iPhone 12s combined. Its positioning is perhaps too close to that of the iPhone SE, which costs less than 500 euros with an Apple A13 processor, 3 GB of RAM but the same format, and iOS 14 too. Otherwise, we can not regret much with this iPhone 12: it is fast, much more elegant than the previous version, and its compact size is particularly welcome for all small hands or those who regret the time when manufacturers worked more. to the miniaturization of mobiles than to edge-to-edge screens of phablets.

In addition, we have all the know-how of Apple inside, with the same Face ID. We, therefore, cannot recommend the iPhone 12 enough to all those small budgets who cannot afford the purchase of the higher models, or who simply do not need them. A very positive result, but without much surprise: to tell the truth, this iPhone 12 is a simple improvement of the iPhone 11, without major innovation inside, and the rumors had allowed us to predict everything upstream.

Finally, we advise you to take a look at the video test of the iPhone 12 Pro, signed by our colleagues from Presse-citron. The 12 Pro indeed shares many characteristics with the iPhone 12, which can be interesting even if it is the 12 that catches your eye.


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