Apple's smallest phone in years will fit easily into a pocket. Here's a guide to help choose between two of Apple's newest devices.
Apple debuted four new iPhones on Tuesday, and the iPhone 12 mini fits a particular niche—someone who wants a smaller device that can still provide all of the functionality of an iOS smartphone.
SEE: iPhone 12 event: What Apple announced at its 2020 Hi Speed event (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
Pros and cons of the iPhone SE
Apple released the second generation of the iPhone SE in April 2020, and it's a wallet-friendly phone starting at $399 for a 64GB version and priced at $549 for a 256GB model. It comes in only three colors, black, white and (Product) Red.
Despite the low price, the phone includes Apple's A13 Bionic processor, the same chip that powers the iPhone 11 series, which is priced starting at $599.
If you're a camera fanatic, this isn't necessarily the phone to buy. There's only a single rear 12MP and front 7MP camera. However, they do benefit from the A13 Bionic chip. The phone supports Portrait mode and six Portrait lighting effects, and the Smart HDR feature helps to re-light subjects.
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It doesn't include Face ID. Users have to opt for Touch ID to log into the phone. However, with everyone wearing a mask these days, that's not much of a problem.
The SE supports wireless charging, which is unusual in phones in this price range.
The bezels are large on this phone, so if that's an issue, then skip this device. The phone has a 4.7-inch Retina HD display and the phone itself is 5.45" x 2.65" x .29" and weighs 5.22 oz.
The phone supports 4G LTE cellular, not 5G. Apple announced at the Apple Event on Tuesday that the iPhone 12 series is the first lineup of phones it'll produce with 5G connectivity.
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Pros and cons of the iPhone 12 mini
On Tuesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook debuted four new iPhones: iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max.
The iPhone 12 mini comes in five colors, white, black, blue, green or (Product) Red, and starts at $699 for a 64GB version, $749 for a 128GB model, or $849 for a 256GB phone. It's available for pre-order on Nov. 6.
The iPhone 12 mini is slightly smaller than the iPhone SE. The iPhone 12 mini has a 5.4" Super Retina XDR display and the phone itself is 5.18" x 2.53" x .29" and weighs just 4.76 oz.
It supports 5G connectivity, and has an A14 Bionic chip. It also uses Face ID, as opposed to Touch ID in the iPhone SE.
The iPhone 12 mini is made of slightly different materials than the iPhone SE as well, with a Ceramic Shield front that Apple advertises as having "4x drop performance" compared to glass. Apple didn't specify during the Apple Event if this was in comparison to previous iPhones, or other manufacturer's phones. The iPhone SE has a glass front and back.
The iPhone 12 mini is more water resistant than the iPhone SE. The iPhone 12 mini is water resistant to a depth of 6 meters for up to 30 minutes (an IP67 rating), while the iPhone SE is water resistant to a depth of 1 meter for up to 30 minutes (an IP68 rating).
The new iPhone 12 mini is compatible with MagSafe accessories, which is the new magnetic system of cases, car chargers, credit card holders and such that Apple announced during the Apple Event.
The cameras in the iPhone 12 mini are superior to the iPhone SE. The iPhone 12 mini features a dual 12MP camera system of ultra wide and wide, with both night mode and Deep Fusion.
You will be able to use FaceTime video on either phone. The iPhone 12 mini steps it up a notch with FaceTime HD if you're on 5G or Wi-Fi. Audio and video playback and Siri is available on both phones.
What both the iPhone 12 mini and the iPhone SE offer
In either phone, you'll have a premium iPhone iOS device that debuted this year with some of the newest technology available from Apple. You really can't go wrong with either smartphone. If a better quality camera or slightly smaller phone matters, then the iPhone 12 mini is the phone for you. If saving $300 (or more) matters, then look at the iPhone SE.
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