US$699 (base model) / AU$1,199 at Apple
The iPhone mini went from the iPhone everyone wanted to the one
no one wants. After intense anticipation, the iPhone 12 mini
reportedly accounted for just 6 percent of iPhone sales in 2021, so
it's somewhat surprising that Apple decided to give the mini one
more year. But while rumors swirl that the iPhone 14 will nix the
tiny iPhone for good, it appears as though this is your last chance
to get a small iPhone that isn't the iPhone SE. But should you?
In essence, the iPhone 13 mini is identical to the iPhone 13,
save for its smaller size and therefore smaller battery and shorter
battery life. This summary review will focus primarily on those
In Australia, the iPhone 13 mini can be paired with a pre or postpaid plan including from major carriers, Optus, Telstra and Vodafone (See below).
Design and display
The 13 mini features a 5.4-inch OLED display, the same size and
resolution as the iPhone 12 mini. The notch is narrower than last
year, but not dramatically so, and Apple hasn't implemented any
obvious changes in iOS's interface to take advantage of the extra
space in the horns. It's enough to make the general experience
slightly more pleasant and the notch slightly less intrusive,
Apple has also ratcheted up the screen's maximum brightness in
typical use, from 625 to 800 nits. The maximum HDR brightness
remains 1,200 nits. If you like small phones, the iPhone 13 mini's
screen will keep you plenty happy—it's basically the iPhone 13 but
smaller. That smallness means it's extremely comfortable to hold
and carry. In a world of Plus, Ultra, and Max phones, that's
something of a rarity and it's refreshing to easily use a phone
with one hand.
All four 13-series iPhones have the same processor: the A15
Bionic. That isn't to say that they will produce identical
performance, however, since the 13 and 13 mini have 4GB of RAM,
whereas the 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max have 6GB.
Still, the iPhone 13 mini is capable of outstanding processing
performance and produced elite numbers throughout our benchmarking.
In Geekbench 5's CPU test it scored an exceptional 1725
(single-core) and 4622 (multi-core), compared to 1594 and 4094 for
the iPhone 12 mini. That's a year-on-year increase of 8.2 percent
and 12.9 percent respectively.
This theoretical improvement will be far less noticeable in
real-world use, for the simple reason that the 12 mini's A14 chip
is comfortably fast enough to run anything on the App Store. I
found the 13 mini slick and responsive throughout testing, but I
feel exactly the same about my iPhone 12 and 12 Pro. This is a
question of future-proofing: The A15 and A14 are both very fast
now, but the A15 will still be fast for roughly a year longer as
app developers gradually introduce more demanding elements to take
advantage of the more powerful hardware.
Another difference between the standard and Pro iPhones this
year is the number of GPU cores they're equipped with: the 13 and
13 mini have four, while the 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max have five, and
the latter are the ones to go for if you want the absolute best
possible graphics performance.
One of our reservations about the iPhone 12 mini was its
relatively poor battery performance. That's not a surprise, given
the necessarily smaller battery. I'd love to be able to say that
Apple has put such concerns to bed, but I don't think that would be
Apple says the new mini would last around an hour and a half
longer than its predecessor. But in real-world use, things didn't
seem massively different. Just like last year, the mini generally
proposes Low Power Mode at some point in the evening and usually
finishes the day somewhere between 10 percent and 20 percent.
Smaller phones mean
smaller batteries, and that's something you'll have to contend
with. Image: IDG
Looking on the positive side, it might be noted that the 13 mini
never failed to make it through a full day on a single charge, and
usually did so with reasonable ease. A full day of use is indeed
the minimum expected performance, but a year down the line you may
not be able to depend upon it. And if you're using MagSafe to
charge, it's still a little slower (12W vs 15W).
What about the battery benchmarks? The 13 mini lasted 6 hours 33
minutes in the Geekbench 4 battery test, compared to 8 hours 11
minutes for the iPhone 13, 9 hours 15 minutes for the 13 Pro, and a
whopping 11 hours 41 minutes for the 13 Pro Max. It's very much the
runt of the litter in this respect, but do note that Geekbench is a
demanding test designed to push phones to their limit, rather than
a representation of typical usage.
buy an iPhone 13 mini?
I doubt this iPhone is going to change anyone's mind. It is a
super-powerful phone with a great screen and cameras in a
convenient, highly portable chassis. If you're in the group of
people who both want the best specs and the smallest phone, you
probably already bought an iPhone 12 mini. But that group isn't
nearly as big as it seemed, and the improvements here are not
significant enough to justify an upgrade over last year's
For the rest of us, the mini doesn't make a ton of sense. The
battery life is too big of a tradeoff over the regular-sized iPhone
13, and the writing is certainly on wall that it won't be around
this time next year. Which is a shame, but understandable.