Rory and I have been using the iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 12 Pro as our daily drivers for the past year, and in that time span we’ve learned quite a lot about these phones and who exactly they’re for. So, if you’ve been eyeing these devices and would like to know what it was like to own one long-term, this is for you. And since this not a typical review, we are breaking it down into 4 categories.
We will first start off with the performance and battery. The performance on the iPhone 12 Pro is great. The phone is not laggy and everything is smooth as butter, which is something that you’d expect on a phone this caliber. Battery life is also good. When I first started using this phone, it could last me for a day and a half with about 8 hours of screen-on time. My usage typically revolves around social media and web browsing with a little bit of camera usage too. So I wouldn’t say that I’m a super heavy user. And even after one whole year, it will still comfortably last me a whole day with about 6 hours of screen on time.
I think the only part that is not up to flagship expectations is the charging. The iPhone 12 Pro only supports 20W fast-charging which is quite slow in 2021. Even then, you have to buy the RM99 brick separately. But, since the 12 Pro’s battery life is so good, I never really found the need for fast-charging. I was OK just charging it slowly when I was in the office.
One of my biggest complaints is the fact that the phone doesn’t come with a fingerprint scanner. Since we are technically living with COVID, FaceID doesn’t make sense since we are all wearing face masks. The power button is huge and I think that Apple can definitely fit a fingerprint scanner there. After all, they did it with the iPad Mini.
But Rory has a very different experience when it comes to battery life on the iPhone 12 mini. From the get go, seeing the tiny battery was a bit of a concern already because he’s so used to using phones with 4000+ mAh. That said, in the beginning, I could get a full 15 hour day out of the iPhone 12 mini, with about 6 hours of screen on time. Those are good numbers by anyone’s standard, so I was very impressed. Over time though, this changed. Rory noticed the battery life drop gradually, and after a year he find himself needing to charge his phone twice a day, only managing about 3 hours of screen on time.
Camera-wise, the iPhone 12 Pro features a 12MP main camera, a 12MP ultra wide angle camera and also a 12MP telephoto camera. But don’t look down on 12MPs because the photos taken on the 12 Pro are as good as any flagship out today. And I think one underrated feature is how smooth switching between the cameras are. I also like the fact they give you a little preview of what each lens will look like even before you switch. Summor very easy to use. Just point and shoot no need think so hard adjust settings la dis la dat la. If you wan do that use camera.
But one of the main reasons why Rory love the iPhone 12 Mini is the size. Having a small form factor smartphone is super rare these days, especially one with no compromises like the 12 Mini. It will fit in pretty much every pocket you have, and it doesn’t stick out or poke you in the hip if you keep it in the front of your jeans. The size also makes it very easy to hold and use. He can reach all the corners of my smartphone without needing to engage the one-handed mode, which makes navigating it really easy.
Yet, Apple has managed to maintain an excellent build and finish with their device. I like the squared-off industrial design of the iPhone 12 series over the rounded iPhone 11s, but I guess that’s more of a personal preference thing. What isn’t personal preference, is how durable the phone has been in my year with it. I use this phone without a case or screen protector, and I abuse it a lot. Despite that, the phone still looks pretty good. Of course, there are hairline scratches here and there, and there are one or two deeper grooves, but nothing that Rory thinks would bother any user. The frame also has a couple of chips in it, but considering how often it has flown out of his hands and onto the floor, it’s pretty good. But he wish that the iPhone 12 mini comes with a stainless steel band.
Even though my iPhone 12 mini comes with a stainless band, I don’t really know how to appreciate it. It’s so smudgy so I have to constantly wipe my phone. But I agree that its quite durable. I use with case and screen protector and so far its like almost flawless. The only place with a lot of scratches is around the charging port because when I try to plug the phone in, I will accidentally scratch it.
But I really like the size of the iPhone 12 Pro because I can take advantage of the screen and speakers. The 12 Pro that I am using features a 6.1″ display and it’s just the prefect size for me. It’s not too small like the 12 Mini and it’s not too big like the 12 Pro Max. The colours on the device also looks very accurate and very vibrant, plus the OLED screen means you get really good contrast and also excellent viewing angles.
Despite of the fact that the iPhone 12 mini is small, the quality is on par with the iPhone 12 Pro. The only thing that he doesn’t really like is that it’s not quite bright enough so it can get a little hard to see under direct sunlight. The speakers are also really loud, the sound very balanced left to right, and give a surprisingly full sound despite being tiny phone speakers. It’s a little bit lacking in the bass, but overall good.
Overall the two phones are pretty much similar in terms of the speakers and also the screen quality, what’s really different is the price. The iPhone 12 Mini now retails for RM2,899 while the iPhone 12 Pro is going for RM4,399. And the worst part, you can’t even buy it on Apple’s official online store because now they’re forcing you to buy the iPhone 13 Pro instead.
But would Rory recommend you get the iPhone 12 mini? No, because after spending one whole year with the iPhone 12 mini, the phone that he would recommend people go and buy is the regular iPhone 12 or in this case the iPhone 13. The main reason is that he don’t have confidence in the battery life. And that is something the regular iPhone is really strong in. so, unless you really want a tiny smartphone, the mini is just not quite there yet that Rory can recommend it to everyone.
I wouldn’t recommend the iPhone 12 Pro either because I don’t think you’re missing out on a lot besides the telephoto camera. The regular iPhone is more affordable, has a matte frame that doesn’t get too smudgy, and is also the same size as the 12 Pro which is the perfect size for me. If you really want the Pro phone experience, then go all out and get the Pro Max. Otherwise, I would recommend the normal iPhone.