iPhone 13 mini Quick Comparison | Tiny But Mighty (and Perfect for Many)

Fans of small phones will love the iPhone 13 mini.
iPhone 13 mini Credit: WML Image / Shutterstock
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If you own an iPhone 11 or older, you’re probably feeling the urge to upgrade – possibly to Apple’s smallest new iPhone. There are plenty of people like myself who, for whatever reason (nostalgia, novelty, portability, typing with one hand), really do enjoy smaller phones. But that’s not the majority of people.

Apple launched the iPhone 12 mini back in 2020 due to seemingly high demand. But when it was time for Apple fans to cough up the dough, most buyers opted for the company’s larger smartphones.

Sadly, the iPhone 12 mini was basically a flop, and Apple noticed. As a result, the iPhone 13 mini will be the last of its kind.

The good news is that the iPhone 13 mini packs the A15, the fastest smartphone chip available. It also features a larger battery for about an hour or two of extra run time, and it’s pretty affordable too.

If you’re looking for a mini, you may have been cross-shopping the 12 mini and the 13 mini. If that’s the case, you’ll want the iPhone 13 mini for double the base storage, longer battery life, plus more.

The iPhone 13 mini improves on the iPhone 12 mini in a few different ways:

iPhone 13 mini vs. iPhone 12 mini

  1. Bigger battery for hours of extended use.
  2. Double the storage across the board.
  3. Advanced camera features like Cinematic mode in 1080p at 30 fps.
  4. Sensor-shift optical image stabilization.
  5. Smart HDR 4 for photos.
  6. Larger camera lenses for improved Night mode.
  7. Photographic styles to intelligently fine-tune your camera.
  8. Smaller notch.
  9. 800 nits max brightness (vs. 625 nits).
  10. Just $100 more than the iPhone 12 mini.

That’s a lot of upgrades for not a lot of extra money. With that logic, you might also be considering paying an extra $100 for the larger iPhone 13. But you may want to reconsider.

Should You Get the Larger iPhone 13?

The larger iPhone 13 defeats the purpose of shopping for the iPhone 13 mini because the size difference really is noticeable. You may want to hold them both in your hands before making a final decision. Beyond that, there are a few other disparities.

  1. Two hours extended battery life over the 13 mini.
  2. Lower screen resolution than the 13 mini. 
  3. 1.17 ounces heavier than the 13 mini. 

The larger iPhone 13 will provide you with more battery life, but that comes at the expense of additional weight, a slightly duller-looking display, and an increased cost of $100. It’s a great phone, but if you’ve really had your eye on the mini, you’ll want to stick with your gut and opt for the smaller version.

What About the iPhone 13 Pro?

It’s awfully tempting to get caught up in the hype of Apple’s Pro iPhones, but at this point, most iPhone users just won’t notice much of a difference when it comes to the Pro’s tech upgrades. Since the iPhone 13 Pro costs $270-$300 more than the iPhone 13 mini and is larger and much heavier, your heart might lead you right back to the mini.

There are a few benefits of ordering the iPhone 13 Pro, but you’ll find that some of these things won’t matter to you:

  1. Stainless steel edge. 
  2. 1TB offered.
  3. ProMotion 120Hz display. 
  4. Telephoto lens with macro.
  5. LiDAR scanner.
  6. 5-core GPU vs. 4-core on the non-Pro iPhone 13 models.
  7. Even better battery life than the iPhone 13 and 13 mini.
  8. 1,000 nits max brightness.
  9. Even heavier (1.05 ounces) than the larger iPhone 13.
  10. ProRes video recording.

Sure there are actually quite a few differences here between the iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 13 Pro, but that comes at a cost: money, size, necessity, and weight.

I am fortunate enough to own an iPad Pro with a LiDAR scanner, but do I use the LiDAR scanner? Not often. Does my iPhone need a LiDAR scanner too? No, absolutely not.

If you really need 1TB of storage, you’ll pay a pretty $500 premium on top of the $999 entry price of an iPhone 13 Pro. So if cost and portability are as important to you as typing with one hand, you’ll likely want to skip the larger iPhone 13 and similarly sized (but heavier) iPhone 13 Pro.

Final Thoughts on the iPhone 13 mini

Bigger isn’t always better. The iPhone 13 mini is small, but its camera lenses are much larger than the iPhone 12 mini’s, and so the 13 mini’s photos are incredibly sharp in low light. The sound quality and volume coming from the iPhone 13 mini’s speakers is nothing to scoff at either.

The iPhone 13 mini does pack in a larger battery than its predecessor. However, its battery life still isn’t anything to rave about. Either way, I have ended my days at about 50% battery remaining with pretty heavy usage – and that is perfectly acceptable, in my opinion.

If you were afraid to take the plunge on Apple’s smallest phone, the bite-sized iPhone 13 mini packs a big punch, and its affordable price tag gives you a bit of breathing room to dive into the excellent arrangement of MagSafe accessories.

Sure, it’s not the highest-end iPhone you can buy, but Apple makes excellent phones, and the iPhone 13 mini is certainly no different. With all of that being said, I’m very happy with the iPhone 13 mini and am excited to own Apple’s last ultra-portable phone (and I think you will be too).

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