Home SMARTPHONE Apple’s largest and smallest iPhones offer something for everyone

Apple’s largest and smallest iPhones offer something for everyone


It’s been a big year for iPhone, with the iPhone SE releasing in April, the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro in October and now, this week, the iPhone 12 Mini and 12 Pro Max.

I’d already fallen in love with the cameras on the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro; and aside from the extra telephoto camera and LiDAR Scanner on the 12 Pro, there really wasn’t much difference between the two. Now after spending a few days with the extreme ends of the iPhone 12 family, it’s nice to see there’s really something for everyone in the range.

The full iPhone 12 lineup, including the 12 Pro Max, 12 Pro, 12 and 12 Mini.

The full iPhone 12 lineup, including the 12 Pro Max, 12 Pro, 12 and 12 Mini.

Beginning with the Baby Bear, it’s funny how tiny it feels. It’s still almost a centimetre larger in both height and width than the iPhone 5 (which seemed massive in its day), but it looks minuscule in comparison to most current smartphones. After years of phones getting progressively larger, there’s something comforting about a phone that will finally fit into the pocket of a pair of women’s jeans, and it feels nice in the hand.

Although the 5.4-inch screen is significantly larger because of its lack of bezel, the body is even smaller than the 2020 iPhone SE. It has the same camera, screen quality and processor as the truly excellent iPhone 12, with slightly less battery life, but more than enough for a full day’s use.

For folks with smaller hands or pockets who still want a full-featured flagship iPhone (or who just want to save $150), the iPhone Mini is an obvious choice.

On the other end of the scale, the top-of-the-line iPhone 12 Pro Max is an incredible phone. After spending a few weeks adjusting to the size of the 6.1-inch 12 Pro, the 6.7-inch screen seems absolutely massive.

A distant but clear photo of a duck family, taken using the iPhone 12 Pro Max's telephoto lens.

A distant but clear photo of a duck family, taken using the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s telephoto lens.Credit:Alice Clarke

The screen size being just 1.2-inches shy of an iPad Mini, combined with the processor performance, ensures that it’s the absolute best phone to play Apple Arcade games on. The Xbox Console Streaming experience is also better. It’s worth never being able to fully fit it in a pants’ pocket just because of the versatility.

As well as the larger screen, Apple has also taken advantage of the expanded body by giving it a bigger battery and even better cameras. The new 2.5x telephoto lens (as opposed to the 12 Pro’s 2.0x) was such good quality that I could get a lovely close up photo of a mother duck and her ducklings, complete with detail of the water droplets on her back and the fluffiness of the babies, without getting close enough to spook the family.


The optical image stabilisation meant that it was easier to get non-blurry photos, and things just looked sharper, even when I moved a little. This is especially helpful for night-mode longer exposures.

All four phones in the iPhone 12 range feature 5G, which gets blisteringly fast speeds on Telstra. Alas, Optus 5G doesn’t seem to exist in the Melbourne CBD; I was only able to find it outside on a balcony 22 floors up. But hopefully as more people buy 5G devices, telcos across the board will improve coverage for the faster technology.

All up, the iPhone range now feels complete. The 12 is still the solid recommendation for most people, being perfectly in the Goldilocks zone of features, price and screen size. But the Pro Max’s camera wizardry and giant screen make it perfect for people who are always on their phone, or need to take great pictures at a moment’s notice. And the Mini is just a good phone in a small package.

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