Home Reviews iPhone 13 Mini is the best iPhone ever and that’s why

iPhone 13 Mini is the best iPhone ever and that’s why


It’s light, it doesn’t have a ridiculous camera bump for pictures I don’t take. I think the wider notch looks better on it, and it’s a perfect size.

I always thought the original five generations of iPhone screens to be just a little too narrow, and the 4.7-inch screen, that came after, was a little too big. The iPhone 12 Mini is right in between.

What worries me, though, is with the 14th generation iPhone, Apple is reversing course and committing to big. And that’s a big deal. No, it’s a bad deal.

I’m willing to concede that I’m a minority here. After the launch of the iPhone 12 and 13 Mini models, stories were emerging that production had to be cut due to unsatisfactory sales volume. Thereby justifying the inevitable end of this form factor. People like bigger phones.

For instance, when I was trying to find a good deal on a used iPhone for a friend almost a year ago. I managed to find her a brand new 12 Mini on Craigslist. Turns out the seller had bought it for his wife, but she didn’t like how small it is. His loss, our game.

And now we have to take an even bigger hit with the Plus because of the price. It costs $900. $100 more than the base iPhone 14. But crucially, it’s only $100 less than the iPhone 14 Pro.

All you gain compared to the 14 is a bigger screen and a bigger battery. With the Plus phones on the 6 and 6S generations, though, you also got optical image stabilization. With the 7 Plus and 8 Plus, you got a whole other camera. Plus more RAM.

But for another hundred dollars to jump to the 14 Pro, you get the suite of advanced cameras, dynamic island, brighter screen, new processor, stainless steel Pro design, and a partridge in a pear tree.

So what are the priorities with the Plus? Not good value, surely? I think I have an idea of what the priorities actually are. They’re just kind of weird.

The iPhone 14 has undergone a major redesign, though not that you would notice. It still has the 13’s narrower notch diagonal camera arrangement and A15 chip.

Sure, on the outside there are two new baby colors, but the differences are actually much more than skin-deep. The back glass, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, is actually replaceable. It’s the first point of entry into the phone.

In a teardown, iFixit found that Apple actually went through great effort reengineering the iPhone 14, improving the repairability back to a 7 out of 10, and reducing the cost to replace the backglass by triple digits.

So while you would have no idea looking at it, you might well appreciate it. The other improvements include a slightly wider aperture on the main camera and the implementation of the photonic engine. I’d say that this makes the camera ever so slightly better than the iPhone 13.

But after using the 13 and the 14 Pro, it’s clear that Apple is adding a lot of sharpening to their photos. It clearly makes the photos you take pop, but the 14s photos don’t pop significantly over a 13.

The wider aperture is really going to help when things are darker. If you do care about still photos, I should note that a Pixel 7 Pro is the same price. And though it struggled in this overcast evening photo, it takes the most realistic photos and it’s the same size as the Plus.

The biggest improvement is actually found at the front. The front-facing camera also gets a slightly wider aperture, which is going to be great when you’re at the bar at night with your friends. But crucially, it also gets auto-focus. This means your selfies will look much, much clearer. If you’re someone who takes a lot of those. Getting a 14 over a 13 will be worth it. And on the Plus, you get a bigger viewfinder. And the flash is probably brighter too.

But what about this pesky Plus? If you want a large screen on Android, there’s one available at every price point. If you want a large screen on an iPhone, it, up until now, would be the most expensive model. However, even with this, the price of entry has dropped by a mere $200.

With the Plus, I am able to get up to and sometimes more than two days on a full charge. And I don’t care. I really don’t like big phones and I have pretty big hands.

Sure, there were some times when I thought, maybe I can live with this, maybe I can get used to it. But then I put it in my man jeans and bent down to pick something off the ground. You can definitely feel it in your pocket. Using it is even more annoying. Like when I’m trying to bring down the control center or tap a back button. I’m stretching so far. This isn’t great for one-handed use, which is how I use my phone all the time.

I always thought that the reason someone would get a big phone is that they want to do more. Doing big tasks on a big screen is less onerous, and therefore you’re going to do more of them. And then when you’re done with those tasks, you have a nice big screen to unwind with.

So the thinking goes if you want to live a more focused life off your phone. You get a smaller phone. But after using this for over a week, I don’t feel like you used it significantly more than the Mini.

In fact, I feel like I used it less. I’m sure I didn’t, but perhaps that’s because I find the phone so cumbersome. Maybe the phone you’ll use less is the form factor you like the least. This, then, confirms my distaste for extra large phones, the midsize 6.1-inch iPhone I could live with.

So splurging another hundred on the Pro would make more sense to me.

Actually, no. Because if I were to buy an iPhone right now, I would get a 13 mini. At $600 it’s the best deal on an iPhone right now.

For that money, you get double the storage of the equally priced iPhone 12, the same camera as the larger 13, and the same CPU as the new 14. It even has a similar gaming performance, unless you’re playing Genshin Impact where the 13 Mini shines.

For small-screen stalwarts like me, it really is a great phone. And it really sucks that Apple has large-screen iPhone users over a barrel. It really does seem that iPhone introduced the Plus as a way to get people to upgrade to the Pro.

Reports have emerged that Apple has significantly cut back production on the 14 and 14 Plus models to replace them with more Pros. In fact, from what I’ve been reading it appears that the 14 Plus is even less desirable than the Minis were. So why are you canceling it? Maybe it’ll bring it back?

If you are a large phone user give this review a like. And if you are a small smartphone user, then comment.  I’m curious if the $900 price tag of the Plus is worth it. Or you would just get a Pro for even another $100 over that. Or maybe you just like the regular iPhone 14. That’s really weird. You got to tell me why.


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