10 things to know about this compact flagship – Technology News, Firstpost
Ameya Dalvic29 Dec. 2021 13:52:00 IST
The Apple iPhone 13 Mini has been around for a few months now and many people who have longed for a compact smartphone have considered it. Considering that it is also the most affordable of the new batch of iPhones, the interest has been piqued even further. There is plenty of data available for the device, but we get a lot of questions about the same.
So today we’re going to deviate from our standard rating format and instead answer the ten most common questions we come across about the iPhone 13 Mini. The answers should tell you pretty much everything you need to know about the new Apple device, including whether you should buy it. So let’s get started.
How is the Apple iPhone 13 Mini different from the iPhone 12 Mini?
While the iPhone 13 Mini retains the form factor and size of the iPhone 12 Mini, there are a few notable differences. For starters, the 13 Mini is powered by the newer and more powerful A15 Bionic chip compared to the A14 in the iPhone 12 series. The camera department is also getting an upgrade, and no, I don’t mean change in the position of lenses on the back. The main camera uses a new sensor and also has sensor-shift optical image stabilization (OIS), which should translate into even better performance.
The battery capacity has been increased by almost 10 percent from 2227 mAh to 2438 mAh, resulting in an improved battery backup. And finally, the notch is now noticeably smaller compared to the 12 Mini without missing any of the sensors. So while the upgrades aren’t huge, at least it doesn’t miss any key feature of its predecessor.
Does it have all the features of the Apple iPhone 13?
Yes, it has pretty much all the features present in the iPhone 13. Sure, the latter has a bigger screen and a bigger battery, but otherwise everything is there on this compact device.
Is the iPhone 13 Mini a fragile device?
Absolutely not! Build quality is as good as it gets. It has an aluminum frame and a scratch-resistant ceramic glass housing. The build is robust and the phone feels quite sturdy in the hand, yet the weight is kept under control at just 141 grams. It also has an oleophobic coating to keep fingerprints at bay. It does a good job but you can see a few blemishes on and off. Last, but certainly not least, the iPhone 13 Mini has an IP68 rating against dust and liquids, which gives it that extra layer of security.
Is the display too small for everyday tasks and media consumption?
It’s ironic that these days we would call a 5.4-inch screen on a phone small, when we should call any screen larger than 6-inch large. But those are the times we live in when phones are getting bigger and bigger. Coming back, the 5.4-inch Full HD+ Super Retina XDR OLED display on the Apple iPhone 13 is HDR10 and Dolby Vision compatible. The pixel density of 476 PPI makes the screen sharp and the color accuracy is also excellent. Absolutely no complaints about the quality of the screen.
As for size adequacy, the answer is subjective. If you’re moving from a phone with a significantly larger screen to this phone, you’ll find the screen unusually small at first, but not something you can’t get used to if you want to. Since the Mini is aimed at the public looking for a compact flagship phone, they should be prepared for it.
From my personal experience, the screen size is fine for media consumption and most everyday tasks, but the keyboard felt a bit crammed at first as I’m used to a larger screen. So you may feel a little limited in chat and productivity apps that require a lot of typing. But overall, I enjoyed the one-handed operation that I could easily manage on this phone these days, unlike most Android phones.
How good is the iPhone 13 Mini’s camera performance?
Since the iPhone 13 series is powered by the new A15 Bionic chip, it’s a given that the performance is better than its predecessors. No wonder no one bothered to ask us about it. Most people were eager to know if the cameras on the 13 Mini cut corners. I’m happy to report that they don’t, especially when compared to the iPhone 13. After exchanging notes with my learned colleague who had used the iPhone 12 extensively, we concluded that this is indeed a marginal improvement in the image quality was for the most part camera.
You get two 12MP cameras on the back (just like the 13, 12, 12 Mini) with the primary supporting dual-pixel PDAF and sensor-shift OIS, while the secondary ultra-wide camera takes wide-angle shots with a 120-degree field of view. The front camera also has the same megapixel count and does well with selfies and FaceTime. However, we’ll focus on the rear cameras here.
The camera interface is as simple as before with just a handful of options for photos and videos that you can swipe to choose. You get a toggle for normal and ultra-wide modes, and you can pinch to zoom (digital). For photos, you get standard, portrait, and panorama modes, while you have standard, cinematic, slo-mo, and time-lapse for videos. The Apple iPhone 13 Mini can record videos in resolutions up to 4K at 60 fps, and you can instantly record HDR videos encoded in Dolby Vision. The video quality is excellent and nicely stabilized, something we have come to expect from the last generations of Apple phones.
The main camera takes some excellent shots in all kinds of light with natural colors, good dynamic range and great detail. When the light drops below a certain level, it automatically activates night mode and does a fantastic job; much better than the output you get by turning on the flash. It brightens up the images, but still retains their essence. Sometimes, in extremely low light, the camera can see what your eyes can’t. However, it takes about three seconds to capture the image. There seems to be an improvement here in portrait mode, especially when clicking on non-human subjects. The separation of foreground and background is usually perfect.
The ultra-wide camera, while better than many on the market, isn’t as good as the primary unit. Yes, it manages to take excellent photos in good light with comparable image quality, but the details aren’t quite as good. The edge distortion is almost non-existent here, which is great, but there is a noticeable amount of noise in photos, and it tends to become more noticeable as the light goes down. The ultra-wide camera also supports night mode, but I’d advise sticking to the main camera for night shots. The difference in quality is significant.
How is the battery life of the iPhone 13 Mini and does it support fast charging?
The battery backup is not one of the strong points of this device. Yes, the capacity is 10 percent higher compared to its predecessor, but still it has only 2438 mAh of reserves. If your use is on the mediocre side, you will get through a working day. Charging time isn’t great either. It takes about an hour and a half with a third-party certified 20W USB-PD fast charger. If you use a standard charger, it will take over two hours to fully charge.
And if you didn’t know, Apple doesn’t include a charger in the bundle; not even a standard. You just get a USB-C to Lightning port cable in the package. So keep in mind the extra cost of a charger, even though it’s a good third-party option that’s significantly cheaper than Apple’s. The iPhone 13 Mini also supports wireless charging.
Is iOS 15 drastically different from iOS 13 or 14?
Not at all. If you’ve used an Apple device with iOS 13 or 14 before, there’s hardly a learning curve here. You get used to it right away. iOS 15 has a few new tricks up its sleeve, and some of them are really cool, like the option to copy text from images; yes, you read that right. I’d love to talk about the new features, but that would be a separate article in itself, and it’d be best to leave it at that; Hopefully soon.
Is it easy to switch from Android to iOS platform?
If you mean switching your contacts and data from Android to iOS, that can be easily accomplished as you get most of the popular apps on iOS as well. However, if you’re too used to the Android UI, the iOS platform will take some getting used to. It’s a bit of unlearning and relearning. Again, no rocket science but a little patience would be a good virtue to have. Either way, if you spend a significant amount of money on this phone, you have no choice but to adapt. However, the deeper you dig, the more interesting it gets.
What is the price of iPhone 13 Mini in India and what are the alternatives?
The Apple iPhone 13 Mini starts at Rs 69,900 in India for the 128 GB storage variant, and goes as high as Rs 99,900 for the 512 GB variant. The middle variant with 256 GB storage will cost Rs 79,900. As for the alternatives, if you are looking for another Apple device in this budget but with a bigger screen then the iPhone 12 can be had these days for Rs 64,900 for the 128 GB variant.
Apple iPhone 13 is exactly Rs 10,000 more expensive for comparable storage variants. If you want to consider options on the Android side, here’s our list of the top phones under Rs 75,000 that you should take a good look at before calling.
Should I buy the iPhone 13 Mini?
Before I answer this, I want to ask you two more questions. First, are you comfortable with a smaller screen, as most of us were used to much larger screens in the past three to five years? Second, are you willing to spend 70K? If the answer to both questions is yes, then definitely buy the iPhone 13 Mini.
It is by far the most powerful phone in that compact form factor. Not only does it have the exact processor found in even the more expensive iPhone 13 series phones, but the camera performance is also flagship class. The screen is sharp and vibrant and the loud enough speakers add to the experience of watching videos on this device. Plus, you still have Apple’s five-year warranty on future OS updates, making your investment pretty safe.
That said, the iPhone 13 Mini isn’t a product for everyone. Yes, there’s something incredibly cool about using a flagship phone that’s so compact, but many would find the screen a little too small for comfort, especially in chat and productivity apps. Battery life is also average at best, as is charging time. So buy it only if you want a compact and powerful phone, and not because it’s the cheapest of the new iPhones.