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iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max review – compact power or go big or go home

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  • VERDICT

Apple has catered for everyone with a stunning iPhone 12 range that sets a new standard in terms of design, build quality, performance, features and camera capability. The iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max – while opposite ends in terms of screen sizes – have one thing in quality – to the right users they will be the best iPhone you’ve ever owned.

The last of Apple’s iPhone 12 line-up – the iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max – will be released this week which means customers will be offered two entirely different options – “good things come in small packages” or “go big or go home”.

These are two entirely new screen sizes for the iPhone and sit at opposite ends of the scale.

The iPhone 12 Mini is small and compact and includes a 5.4-inch display.

It will easily fit into your pocket or purse yet it is, apart from the smaller screen, identical to the iPhone 12 right down to the A14 Bionic processor, the dual camera system, the quality of the display and its 5G connectivity.

If a larger display is more your cup of tea, then the iPhone 12 Pro Max will be sure to spark your interest with its stunning 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR display  – the largest screen ever included in an iPhone.

It is virtually identical to the iPhone 12 Pro but just with a larger screen.

On the camera side, the iPhone 12 Pro Max does offer some added extras including improved low light performance, new optical image stabilisation technology called Sensor Shift and slightly better optical zoom.

The customers for the iPhone 12 Mini and the iPhone 12 Pro Max couldn’t be more different and it’s refreshing to see Apple cater for them at the very same time.

iPHONE 12 MINI

The iPhone 12 Mini Is the world’s smallest and thinnest 5G smartphone and has been designed for the user who wants the power and the performance and a quality camera at their fingertips but without the burden of a larger display.

At 5.4-inches, the iPhone 12 Mini still offers plenty of room to enjoy content, use your apps and browse the web.

iPhone 12 Mini

Before the iPhone 12 Mini customers who wanted a smaller display had to either hold onto an older iPhone or opt for a product like the recently released iPhone SE.

The iPhone 12 Mini is actually smaller in size then the iPhone SE yet offers a larger and better quality display.

iPhone 12 Mini

The iPhone 12 Mini display has a resolution of 2340 x 1080 with 476ppi (pixels per inch). The larger 6.1-inch display on the iPhone 12 has 460ppi.

It has the same A14 bionic chip as its big brother the iPhone 12 as well as an identical dual camera system that we covered comprehensively in our iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro review.

Users can still enjoy the images from the wide and ultrawide camera that offers superior Night Mode, Deep Fusion which optimises images in mid to low light, Smart HDR 3 which examines each image and brings out even more detail in brighter and darker section of the image and Portrait Mode adds a professional quality to your subject’s image.

iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini

And on the video side, this iPhone 12 Mini delivers like a heavyweight with 4K HDR and Dolby Vision along with outstanding performance in low light.

With this sort of quality in the palm of their hands, it will turn users into cinematographers with the ability to produce cinema quality shots.

This is a tiny smartphone but with huge capabilities along with 5G connectivity so it can deliver on all fronts for the right user.

In every aspect, the iPhone 12 Mini delivers an identical experience and identical quality as the larger and more expensive iPhone 12 but at a size that many users will welcome with open arms.

iPhone 12 Pro Max and the iPhone 12 Mini

We’d prefer a larger display like the iPhone 12 Pro Max but we did enjoy using the iPhone 12 Mini.

It’s really easy to fit in in your pocket or carry in a small purse.

Our only gripe was typing on the smaller screen – there is less room for error as the keyboard is noticeably smaller because of its smaller screen.

The IPhone 12 range

But it definitely has the “cute factor” and often drew the same reaction as someone looking at a puppy.

If size doesn’t matter for you, the iPhone 12 Mini might just be the perfect fit for you.

iPHONE 12 PRO MAX

The iPhone 12 Pro Max is the biggest and boldest smartphone Apple has ever produced.

If a larger display is in your wheelhouse then the 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR display will make your jaw hit the floor.

It has a 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio and support for native Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG so your content has amazing clarity and quality.

It would have been nice to have the choice of 120Hz screen refresh rates – a feature of flagship Android smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra – which would have provided an even smoother look and feel to video and scrolling.

Yes it might have impacted battery life but choosing 120Hz when viewing your content would have been a great option.

The screen has a resolution of 2778 x 1284 with 458ppi (pixels per inch). By comparison, the iPhone 12 Pro has 460ppi.

The size of the display had us at hello – we loved the larger size and it just makes everything bigger and better including websites and apps and video.

With such a big display on the iPhone 12 Pro Max it would even be possible to introduce a split screen feature like you get with iPadOS so run two apps onscreen at the same time.

iPhone 12 Pro Max and the iPhone 12 Pro

iPhone 12 Pro Max has a stunning design with a surgical-grade stainless steel band encircling the device and adding an impressive gloss.

Our review unit was gold and it had the same lustre as gold bullion and was definitely an eye-catcher.

The entire iPhone 12 range also includes Ceramic Shield which makes the screen even tougher and four times less likely to break in the event of a heavy drop.

But the other reason to buy the iPhone 12 Pro Max is the camera system.

iPhone 12 Pro Max and the iPhone 12 Mini

There are features aboard the larger device that set it apart from the entire iPhone 12 line-up so if you’re into your photography and video, it’s worth going straight for the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

It lets in 87 per cent more light and also includes a new Sensor Shift feature which can totally smooth out your videos and images by making 5000 micro-adjustments per second.

It gets rid of subtle shakes like when you’re shooting video while in a vehicle or walking.

Portrait Mode with the iPhone 12 Pro Max

It’s easier to stabilise the sensor rather than the heavier lens system.

The iPhone 12 Pro Max has a new 65mm telephoto camera and also offers up to 5x optical zoom.

And, of course, like the other iPhone 12 models, it has Night Mode, Portrait Mode, Smart HDR 3 and Deep Fusion.

Video can be captured in superb 4K HDR quality at 60 frames per second and it can also shoot Dolby Vision HDR that can also be edited on the device itself.

iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone 12 Mini

The other advantage of having a larger device is also having a larger battery.

For our review the battery aboard the iPhone 12 Pro Max gave us two full days of use.

And when it’s ready to charge, users can also take advantage of the handy MagSafe wireless charging system which works on every iPhone 12.

The iPhone 12 Pro Max is our absolute favourite with that larger 6.7-inch display – so much more iPhone to love.

But for other customers, there would just as much passion having a pocket-friendly iPhone 12 Mini that can still pack quite a punch.

The iPhone 12 Mini is priced at $1,199 (64GB), $1,279 (128GB) and $1,449 (256GB). The iPhone 12 Pro Max is $1,849 (128GB), $2,019 (256GB) and $2,369 (512GB).

VERDICT

Apple has catered for everyone with a stunning iPhone 12 range that sets a new standard in terms of design, build quality, performance, features and camera capability. The iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max – while opposite ends in terms of screen sizes – have one thing in quality – to the right users they will be the best iPhone you’ve ever owned.