Anyone looking for a small Apple phone has two choices. In this iPhone 12 mini vs iPhone SE comparison, we put the two compact phones against each other and give a purchase advice.
iPhone 12 mini vs iPhone SE: the 7 main differences
Finally, there are good alternatives on the market for those who don’t like big smartphones. The iPhone 12 mini and iPhone SE , which were renewed at the beginning of this year, are nice and handy thanks to their compact housings, but that is where the similarities end. The two devices have little in common in terms of specifications. Find out all the differences in this iPhone 12 mini vs iPhone SE comparison.
Index: iPhone 12 mini vs iPhone SE
- Size and design
- Battery life
- 5G7. List price Purchase advice
1. Size and design
The iPhone 12 mini is truly mini. It is the smallest Apple phone of the moment. And that is striking because the screen of the 12 mini is considerably larger than that of the SE. However, the latter has copied the design of the iPhone 8, including substantial screen edges.
The iPhone 12 mini, on the other hand, has a modern look with virtually no bezels. In addition, the more compact version of the iPhone 12 with its 135 grams is lighter than the SE, which touches 148 grams on the scales.
In addition, thanks to its IP68 certificate, the smallest iPhone 12 variant is a lot more waterproof than its slightly less compact brother (with IP67 certificate). The former can be submerged up to 6 meters while the SE ‘drowns’ after 1 meter. Finally, with its five versions, the iPhone 12 mini is also more colorful than the iPhone SE, which you can order in ‘only’ four colors.
- Dimensions iPhone 12 mini : 131.5 (height) x 64.2 (width) x 7.4 mm (thickness)
- Dimensions iPhone SE 2020 : 138.4 (height) x 67.3 (width) x 7.3 mm (thickness)
Speaking of the screen, that of the iPhone 12 mini is better in all areas. With the iPhone 12 series, Apple is definitely saying goodbye to LCD. As a result, all iPhone 12s have an OLED panel, which is of a much higher quality than the LCD screen of the iPhone SE.
Oled excels in showing contrasts: black in films, for example, is really black. In addition, the color range of OLED is larger, which is useful when watching videos. Furthermore, the screen of the 12 mini can be a lot brighter (1200 nits) than that of the SE (625 nits): this is especially useful when you want to read something in bright sunlight.
Furthermore, the mini’s Super Retina XDR screen, as the official marketing name of the new display is, is much sharper. The iPhone 12 mini has 476 pixels per inch (PPI), while the SE is stuck at a PPI of 326. You can see this difference especially when watching movies in high quality.
Finally, all iPhone 12 phones have a Ceramic Shield on the screen. This unruly layer ensures that the new devices are up to 4 times better protected in the event of a fall. Now we do not recommend that you test this in practice, but in theory, the iPhone 12 mini should be able to withstand collisions with the curb better than the SE.
- iPhone 12 mini: 5.4 inch OLED screen: 2340 by 1080 pixels (476 PPI)
- iPhone SE: 4.7 inch LCD screen: 1334 bok 750 pixels (326 PPI)
We encounter another big difference on the back. The iPhone 12 mini has two cameras, the SE one: a wide-angle lens. The 12 mini adds an Ultra wide-angle lens. This dual-camera setup (both 12 megapixels) can optically zoom in up to 2 times. With this you get the image closer, without loss of quality.
The iPhone SE cannot zoom in optically, but it has 5 times digital zoom (just like the 12 mini). This optical zoom effect is thus simulated by means of a software trick. Also handy: the 12 mini can record HDR videos in Dolby Vision. Movies look very true to nature.
The selfie cameras are also different. The iPhone 12 mini takes self-portraits in 12 megapixels, the SE in 7 megapixels. The former also has all kinds of exclusive functions, including the possibility to record videos in 4K quality and thanks to the Night mode you can also take good photos in low light.
Finally, the iPhone 12 mini does have Face ID facial recognition, but the iPhone SE does not. You unlock the iPhone 8 look-alike via the Touch ID fingerprint scanner (or of course with a pattern or code).
- iPhone 12 mini cameras: Ultra wide and wide angle lens + selfie camera (all 12 megapixels)
- iPhone SE camera: Wide-angle lens (12 megapixel) and selfie camera (7 megapixel)
The iPhone 12 mini is more powerful than the iPhone SE. This is because all iPhone 12 phones are powered by the blazing fast A14 Bionic processor. This is not only the beating heart of the entire iPhone 12 series but also provides the brand new iPad Air 2020 with power.
In contrast, the iPhone SE 2020 runs on an A13 processor. The predecessor of the A14 chip can also be found in the iPhone 11 , iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max . Both processors are fast and can last for years, but the A14 is without a doubt better. It is not only faster, but also more energy efficient. This makes your iPhone battery last longer.
5. Battery life
According to Apple, the iPhone 12 mini can play videos continuously for up to 15 hours before the battery percentage reaches 0 percent. The iPhone SE 2020 lasts two hours less. Fast charging is possible with both devices with a maximum of 20 Watt. This means that the battery of your iPhone 12 mini or iPhone SE is about half full within 30 minutes.
Furthermore, the mini-iPhone can handle MagSafe, the wireless charging technology that will bring new life to Apple in 2020. That way you can click all kinds of suitable accessories on the back of the iPhone 12 phones, including wireless chargers and, for example, protective covers.
Apple and fuss go hand in hand. 2020 is all about smaller packaging. The company no longer supplies earplugs and charger as standard. This applies to all devices that the company sells. This choice is a bit remarkable, because when you bought the iPhone SE at the beginning of this year, you did get an adapter and EarPods.
Do you enjoy using the same device for several years? Then the iPhone 12 mini definitely has an advantage thanks to its 5G support. We currently do not have a nationwide 5G network in the Netherlands (and the speed gain is not too bad for the time being), but that will change in the coming years. The iPhone SE is a less sustainable purchase in that regard, as 5G support is lacking.
Also not unimportant: the price. For the iPhone 12 mini you pay at least 809 euros. You will then get the entry-level version with 64GB storage capacity. Do you need more space? Then you can expand to 128GB or 256GB for 859 and 979 euros respectively.
The iPhone SE (with 64GB storage) has a suggested retail price of 489 euros but is now available for a few tens less at some web stores. The variants with 128GB and 256GB storage capacity cost 539 and 659 euros respectively. Do you want the cheapest out? Then you have to purchase a refurbished iPhone SE. A revised copy will quickly save you a few tens.
Apart from their compact size, the iPhone SE and iPhone 12 mini have little in common. That makes sense because they are both aimed at different audiences. The iPhone SE is ideal for people who do want an iPhone but found the devices of recent years too expensive, or who find the iPhone 12 phones at the price. The device can last for years in terms of specifications, but the design is without a doubt outdated.
The iPhone 12 mini, on the other hand, is aimed at a more demanding audience: people who actually want an iPhone 12, but find this device too large. In terms of specifications, the mini-iPhone always draws the longest straw compared to the iPhone SE. That makes sense because it is hundreds of euros more expensive.
Buy iPhone SE
Do you want to buy the iPhone SE? The device is widely available at all known sales outlets. A separate iPhone SE has a suggested retail price of 489 euros. In combination with a SIM-only, you are the most advantageous if possible.