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Apple iPhone 13 mini review: Pocket powerhouse

(Pocket-lint) – The Apple iPhone 13 series succeeds the iPhone 12 series – and despite rumours suggesting we wouldn’t see the return of the faithful smaller-scale mini in the 2021 line-up, thankfully those rumours were false. Because the mini is back and it’s better than ever. Whether it’s the last in its lineage is another question, of course.

The iPhone 13 mini is the smallest in the iPhone 13 series – which consists of four devices: the iPhone 13, 13 Pro, and 13 Pro Max – but don’t let its smaller screen size fool you into thinking it’s a lesser device. Sometimes great things come in small packages and the iPhone 13 mini is indeed a pocket powerhouse.

We have so much love for this small-screen iPhone. It delivers performance well beyond its size – matching the iPhone 13 in that regard – and has great cameras, all wrapped into a pocketable and lightweight design that makes for a refreshing change compared to typically larger devices.

No, the iPhone 13 mini’s battery life isn’t nearly as great as the larger iPhones, and the rear camera housing does stand out a little more on this compact form-factor – but don’t let those points put you off entirely, because they’re things you’ll learn to live within a matter of days.

If you’re someone who likes a 6.5-inch or larger display for watching movies, and want better battery stamina, the iPhone 13 mini probably won’t be your bag. But for everyone else, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of small – as this handset is a pocket powerhouse with massive potential.

The fact that it’s heavily rumoured to be the last smaller iPhone that Apple produces, for the time being, is a real shame and makes it an even more solid investment for anyone looking to downsize their smartphone.

The Apple iPhone 13 mini takes its design cues straight from its predecessor, the iPhone 12 mini. Those paying close attention will spot a couple of differences, though, including a reduced notch at the top of the display and a larger camera housing – and consequently larger camera lenses – which means any old cases won’t fit.

The flat edge design continues from the iPhone 12 mini, albeit a fraction of a millimetre thicker, while aluminium continues to be the material of choice for the frame, with glass handling duties on the rear. The matte finish of the frame isn’t as premium looking as the iPhone 13 Pro models, but the size and weight of the mini make it a delight to hold – even one-handed.

The larger camera housing on the rear is certainly more prominent on this smaller iPhone compared to the others. It’s because the larger lenses – arranged diagonally for the 2022 design – just stand out much more on the smaller device. That said, you’d be hard-pressed to find a smartphone these days where the rear camera housing isn’t a dominating design feature.

The Apple iPhone 13 has a 5.4-inch display, which although isn’t the smallest screen in the company’s portfolio – the iPhone SE has a 4.7-inch display – it is the smallest device physically. That’s thanks to the iPhone 13 mini opting for Face ID at the top of the display, rather than a Touch ID button below it.

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Ajmal Solangi is a Tech writer specializing in the intersection of tech and reviews. He likes tech news, mobile unboxing, reviews, gadgets, and more.

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