If you are looking to buy the most compact and cutting edge iPhone today, the latest iPhone 12 Mini seems to be a great choice. But what if I tell you that the iPhone 11 Pro from last year is also very compact and offers a lot of compelling features of its own. Confused, right? Let me help clear things up. Let’s compare the iPhone 12 Mini with the iPhone 11 Pro.
iPhone 12 Mini vs iPhone 11 Pro: Design & In-hand Feel
Even though both these phones are small by today’s standards, there is still a substantial size difference between them. The iPhone 11 Pro, with it’s 5.8” display is smaller than the iPhone 12, 12 Pro and pretty much every iPhone that is on sale today. The iPhone 12 Mini, with it’s 5.4” display, is even smaller.
But size aside, even the build of both these phones is fundamentally different, starting right from the material. The shiny stainless steel frame and frosted glass back of the iPhone 11 Pro are inarguably more premium than the matte aluminium frame and glossy glass back of the iPhone 12 Mini. But the 12 Mini stands its own with the newer flat design language which looks hotter than the rounded edges on the 11 Pro.
In hand, the iPhone 11 Pro feels a lot more substantial compared to the iPhone 12 Mini, which is probably the lightest phone I have held this year. While I am not a fan of how uncomfortable the flat edges can feel on the larger iPhone 12 and 12 Pro Max, I think they are great on the iPhone 12 Mini. They make the 12 Mini look and feel cutting edge, like something that is a league above the competition.
Another thing that I must emphasise upon is the display glass. While both the displays are flat, the glass atop the display on the iPhone 11 Pro is 2.5D which means it is slightly curved off towards the edges. It is what we are used to and feels very natural. The glass on the 12 Mini, however, is 100% flat which looks really clean. It’s almost like the display is painted onto the glass. You have to see it to believe it. It’s also protected by a layer of Ceramic Shield, which is more shatter resistant than the glass on the iPhone 11 Pro.
But see, design is very much a personal choice so I am not going to go ahead and tell you which one looks better. But I am going to tell you my honest opinion, which is that even though the iPhone 12 Mini looks and feels newer in hand, the iPhone 11 Pro is the more premium looking out of the two simply because of the more refined materials used to construct it.
Also read: iPhone 12 vs iPhone 12 Mini
iPhone 12 Mini vs iPhone 11 Pro: Display Comparison
Switching over to the display, things are pretty even here. Display quality is very identical on both these phones with a very life-like colour science. The vibrance and saturation are all very on-point to provide a display which looks beautiful but not overblown. The iPhone 11 Pro’s display can get brighter but both are easily usable in direct sunlight in my experience. The bezels on the 12 Mini are much smaller than the ones on the 11 Pro.
Of course, it goes without saying that the iPhone 12 Mini’s display is significantly smaller than the iPhone 11 Pro. If you watch a lot of media on your phone or play games with a lot of touch controls, the experience on the iPhone 11 Pro will be significantly better, all thanks to the larger screen. Where the iPhone 12 Mini shines though, is one handed use. In my opinion, this is the only phone that exists in the market today which can be comfortably used with one hand. So, as they say, pick your poison.
Also read: Best MagSafe Accessories for iPhone 12 Mini
iPhone 12 Mini vs iPhone 11 Pro: Software and Performance Comparison
Talking about the software and performance is easy, because honestly, there isn’t much to talk about. Even though they are a generation apart, I could not notice any difference in performance in all usage scenarios. Even the software experience is exactly the same with both running iOS 14. So regardless of what your usage is like, both these phones will provide top of the line, industry leading performance and great, polished software to go with it.
However, all phones lag eventually and even though that eventually is 3-4 years down the line, the iPhone 11 Pro will lag sooner simply because its A13 processor has already completed an year of its life cycle while the 12 Mini’s A14 has just begun. It is also the reason why it will stop receiving software updates an year before the 12 Mini. Factor this in only if you plan to use your phone for multiple years.
iPhone 12 Mini vs iPhone 11 Pro: Camera Comparison
Let’s talk about the cameras now. In terms of optics, the iPhone 11 Pro has a triple camera setup on the rear which includes an f1.8 primary camera, an f2.4 ultra-wide, and an f2 telephoto camera. On the other hand, the iPhone 12 Mini sports a dual camera setup on the rear featuring a f1.6 primary camera and a f2.4 ultra wide camera. Do note that all cameras shoot 12 MP stills. Let’s find out how they perform in real life.
- Thanks to Apple’s image processing system and Deep Fusion, the primary camera performance on both iPhones is really good. I found that the pictures shot on the iPhone 12 Mini are slightly better in terms of exposure, noise processing and in some cases, even HDR processing.
- The iPhone 12 Mini sports a brighter ultra-wide camera and delivers moderately sharper pictures when compared to the pictures shot on the iPhone 11 Pro’s ultra wide angle camera.
- When it comes to zooming in, the pictures shot on the 11 Pro are sharper with more details because of the dedicated telephoto lens. On the other hand, the iPhone 12 Mini delivers digitally 2x zoomed-in stills which are okay but not great.
- Front camera performance is above average on both devices with accurate skin tones. However, selfies shot on the iPhone 12 Mini are slightly better in terms of noise processing and exposure.
- Portraits shot on the iPhone 12 Mini have more accurate subject separation. Thanks to the dedicated telephoto camera on the iPhone 11 Pro, it can shoot 2x optically zoomed-in portraits which tend to look more natural with good bokeh.
- Low light performance is where the iPhone 12 Mini really shines. Night mode on the iPhone 12 Mini works on all cameras while it is limited to the primary camera only on the iPhone 11 Pro. The pictures shot on the iPhone 12 Mini are also brighter than the ones shot on the iPhone 11 Pro.
- Both devices are similar in terms of video resolutions and frame rates for all cameras.
- Overall, video quality is excellent on both devices. In fact, a regular user won’t be able to spot the differences between videos shot on these devices.
- Do note that the iPhone 12 Mini has support for Dolby Vision. It can shoot, edit and playback Dolby Vision HDR video content. This is a really, really useful feature if you’re a content creator or own an HDR display.
- Also, the low light videos shot on the iPhone 12 Mini are brighter and well exposed in some shooting environments like streets.
To conclude, both iPhones have excellent cameras which capture high quality media with the same, seamless camera app user experience. Even though it lacks a telephoto lens and has subtle improvements, I’d still pick the iPhone 12 Mini for its better low light performance, image processing, video shooting and the newer hardware. They are more useful to me than a dedicated telephoto camera. However, if you are an iPhone 11 Pro user, I simply cannot recommend upgrading to the iPhone 12 Mini just for the cameras because the differences are not that significant.
iPhone 12 Mini vs iPhone 11 Pro: Battery Life
As we move on to battery life, the iPhone 11 Pro starts to smile because it knows it has beaten the iPhone 12 Mini here. While the 12 Mini provides decent endurance for its size, it cannot manage to last longer than a day. Even lasting a day becomes challenging if you are constantly on your phone. The iPhone 11 Pro provides much, much better battery life. Lasting a day and a half is easy and you can even manage two days if you use some power saving features.
But that’s not all, since Apple discontinued the iPhone 11 Pro this generation onwards, any stock that you find will be old which means it will still contain wired earpods and a fast charging power brick in the box. WIth the iPhone 12 Mini, you will get the cable only. Factor the cost of the power adapter when you make your buying decision.
Also read: Best Fast Chargers for iPhone 12 Mini
iPhone 12 Mini vs iPhone 11 Pro: Call Quality
A word about the phone call quality. It’s almost exactly the same on both phones with good clarity in both earpiece and loudspeaker mode. Both of them have that annoying lag when switching between VoLTE and VoWiFi but apart from that, the calling experience is largely very good.
iPhone 12 Mini vs iPhone 11 Pro: Which one should you buy?
Now for the conclusion. If you are an iPhone 11 Pro user thinking of upgrading, I would like to personally come and congratulate you for coming up with a thought so ridiculous. No, seriously, don’t do it. Don’t upgrade to any iPhone 12 model from a functional 11 Pro. It does not make any sense.
However, if you are choosing between the two, I would strongly urge you to go hands on with both of them. Because even though they’re both excellent smartphones, it’s the size alone which shapes the differences.
Check iPhone 12 Mini price:
Amazon (US): https://amzn.to/375K8o8
Amazon (India): https://amzn.to/3nVBWhj
Amazon (UK): https://amzn.to/2J1BLSg
Check iPhone 11 Pro Price:
Amazon (US): https://amzn.to/2JefYXK
Amazon (India): https://amzn.to/3fMUtcR
Amazon (UK): https://amzn.to/366Yju7