This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl.
The iPhone 12 mini and the iPhone 12 Pro Max will go on sale on November 13. This year, the two middle models, the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro, were released first, and the two "large" and "small" models are delayed by three weeks, making for an unusual sales schedule. Many of you may have been particularly interested in the iPhone 12 mini, as it was the first compact model. We were able to try out the iPhone 12 mini ahead of its launch.
It's a bit too obvious to write about, but my first impression when I held it in my hands was " How small!" I hope you can get a sense of what it's like where it's not "that's' small." That's how big of an impact it had when I held it. Combined with its lightness, the ease of handling is impressive.
I have relatively large hands, so I can grip the iPhone 12 or 12 Pro, but with iPhone 12 mini, I can touch the upper left corner of the diagonal with my thumb while holding it and pull out the notification center as it is. I can't do this on the other, larger iPhone 12 or 12 Pro.
If I change the way I hold it a bit, I can reach the notch and bring up the notification center with my thumb, but I don't have to do that on the iPhone 12 mini. It seems to be a size that allows me to touch the top of the screen while holding it steady and on one hand.
The iPhone 12 mini is also easy to store. For example, it fits neatly into a shirt pocket and the top part didn't stick out. iPhone 12 Pro Max, as well as iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro, have their heads popping out. The device is so light that it seems to be easy to carry around in a thin shirt pocket without feeling pulled by it.
With such a small size, I'm a little worried that the performance is really the same as the iPhone 12, but the device's chipset is the A14 Bionic, and the main wide-angle camera is bright at f/1.6. Smart HDR3 also works well, so you can take great photos in dark and light environments. The colors in photos also tend to be relatively rich, just like the iPhone 12 series.
It may not be necessary to emphasize it again, but the video recording feature also supports HDR with Dolby Vision, and the brightness of the display lifts up when you play back HDR videos, so you can enjoy beautiful images in a compact size. The small body of the iPhone 12 mini makes it easy to hold it in one hand and shoot, which is something you can only do with the iPhone 12 mini. Even if you hold it in one hand, your hands don't get tired easily, which reduces the chance of your hands shaking and blurring the video.
The A14 Bionic guarantees such camera performance, which is the same as the rest of the iPhone 12 series. This is true in terms of the benchmark scores, and the difference between it and the other models is well within the margin of error when measured. It's small enough to be considered a mid-range model, but it's a so-called high-end compact.
On the other hand, the text displayed on the screen is small due to its size. In the case of the author, whose eyesight is gradually deteriorating with age, the text seems too small on the standard-setting. It's especially hard to see when it's as small as the text below the app icon. Therefore, if you are not confident in your eyesight, I would recommend using the Zoomed setting. The thinness of the text is another factor that reduces visibility, so you may want to turn on "Bold Text" under "Display & Brightness".
However, the amount of information per screen is naturally reduced when the display is zoomed in, and the number of times you have to scroll is increased. Scrolling itself is a comfortable size, but the downside is that the list is reduced. Which one is better for you depends on your preference, but considering this point, we'd say this is a device we'd recommend to younger users with good eyesight. Of course, there are trade-offs due to size, and if you can't stand it, you can consider the iPhone 12 or 12 Pro options.
The small screen display size is also an advantage. It's easier to use one hand when typing because it makes it easier to operate smoothly with one hand. On my iPhone 12 Pro, the keyboard is aligned to the right, but on the iPhone 12 mini, I didn't have to.
The persistent popularity of small devices in Japan is thought to be related to text input. Unlike in the U.S. and Europe, where BlackBerrys were being replaced by touchscreen smartphones, Japanese feature phones were predominantly single-handed, 10-key devices. The iPhone has followed suit and has invented flick input that is optimized for the touch screen.
It could be argued that the path to the same iPhone was different from that taken in other countries. As a result, unlike in other countries, where a high-end device has a large screen, the emphasis in Japan has been on one-handed operation and ease of input, even for high-end devices. The size of the iPhone 12 mini seems to meet the needs of the Japanese market.
This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl. The Japanese edition of Engadget does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of this article.