Is smaller better? My time with the iPhone 13 Mini.
I received my iPhone 13 Mini on launch day directly from Apple. While I’ve been an iPhone user since the 3GS, this is the first time I’ve ever had the newest phone on launch day and I must admit, the excitement in that is quite real. Now that I’ve had the phone for just over a month, I feel as I though can properly judge it and compare this device to the ones I’ve had in the past (my progression went iPhone 3GS, 4S, SE and then up until most recently XR).
I’ll start off with the negatives, so that we can end on a high note. The phone itself? None. Genuinely none, I couldn’t be happier with the physical device. However, iOS 15 – which comes preinstalled on 13 Mini – has a few things that I’m not the biggest fan of. While the majority is smooth, fluid and responsive to exactly what you want, coming from iOS 13 on the XR, I find the interface for the camera a little clunky. There are too many settings that aren’t quickly accessible. If I wanted to take a photo in a square 1:1 format, before I could swipe along from Photo to Square. Super quick, could do it without looking most times. Now, that feature is tucked away behind a menu that requires three taps, all in different areas of the screen. Yes – I’m being very nitpicky here, as it’s great to have more features in the camera, but when I sat down to think about what was bugging me with the 13 Mini – this was the only thing that came to mind after a solid two weeks of use.
Now, the reason I kept my SE for so long was the aesthetic design. The rounded square form factor, that it shared with iPhone 5S, was perfect to me. The overall size of the device was perfect to me. Modern phones are getting laughably big, so much so that it genuinely looks as though some people are practically holding a tablet to the side of the face. The only thing I wanted was the full, edge to edge screen that came with iPhone X – so when a slightly cheaper alternative to that came out in the XR, I um’d and ah’d over the size difference and eventually went for that. And I was fine with the larger size, for a couple of years. Until I held an SE 2020 in my hand. Oh my word, I forgot how comfortable a one-handed phone could be. It was a game changer. The 12 Mini was already out, with rumours of a 13 Mini just a month or so away, and I’m so glad I waited.
Having used the 13 Mini for over two weeks, I can safely say this is the best iPhone I’ve ever used. The small size of the Mini still packs a punch, and for those with slightly smaller hands like myself, it really took me back to the days of the SE – where it was comfortable and fun to use the phone. The battery is fantastic improvement over my XR (and I’m guessing, based on opinions online, that it’s an improvement from the 12 Mini too) and I’ve actually found myself using my phone more now than I did previously. Everything feels nicer to do, with the 13 Mini weighing over 50 grams less than the XR, and everything looks nicer too, thanks to the Super Retina XDR display
I care about my phone again. I want to look after it. I want to show it off to people. If you’re at all thinking about downsizing the handset of your phone to a smaller, ‘miniature’ model – I cannot recommend it enough.
You will feel as though you’ve just jumped into the future and cheated the system.