The iPhone 12 Mini is about to change Android phones in the best way possible

iPhone 12 Mini
iPhone 12 Mini (Image credit: Apple)

It's that time of year again — new iPhone season. Apple took the wraps off of its latest handsets on October 13, right in the middle of Prime Day madness. We have a total of four new iPhones for 2020, including the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max. They're all touting a new design with iPhone 4-esque flat edges, upgraded cameras, the new A14 Bionic processor, and — of course — 5G.

As far as new iPhones go, it's more of the same. If you have an iPhone X or older, these are great upgrades. If you're rocking a XS or 11, you're probably good to sit this generation out. And if you have an Android phone and refuse to use iOS, nothing about these devices is going to change your mind. That said, one of the phones does have potential to completely shake up the Android space in a big (yet small) way.

Like its name suggests, the new iPhone 12 Mini is absolutely tiny. It has a 5.4-inch display with dimensions of 64.2 x 131.5 x 7.4mm. For comparison's sake, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra — one of the largest phones of the entire year — is 75.2 x 161.6 x 8.3mm. That's a big difference on paper, but it gets even crazier when you start to picture the phones side-by-side.

The best example we can give right now is with the picture below. That's the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra next to the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, which happens to be nearly the same size as the iPhone 12 Mini (the Z3 Compact is just 4mm shorter). As you can see, it's a massive difference.

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact Vs Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central)

Over the past few years, pretty much ever since the first Galaxy Note came out, Android manufacturers have been on an endless quest to make their phones bigger and bigger. The Galaxy Note's 5.3-inch display was gigantic by 2011 standards, and almost a decade later, the Note 20 Ultra has a hilariously large 6.9-inch screen. It's a trend that makes sense given how many people use their phones as their go-to computing device, as more screen real-estate means it's easier to check on emails, watch movies, and get lost in Twitter and Reddit for hours on end. However, as some of us have voiced out over the years, big phones aren't all that great.

Big phones are great — until they're not.

Sure, they're awesome to get immersed in a video or dominate on CoD: Mobile, but big phones also come with unavoidable annoyances. It's difficult to use them with one hand, reaching the top of the screen requires awkward finger gymnastics, and sometimes they're just too tall/wide to comfortably fit in a pocket. These all sound like small gripes to talk about on their own, but in day-to-day use when you're trying to get things done, it can be the difference between having a positive outlook on a phone or not.

That's why the iPhone 12 Mini has me beyond ecstatic. Whenever Apple does anything with its smartphones, we see the rest of the industry do its best to play copycat. When Apple had the "courage" to remove the headphone jack from the iPhone 7, the following year was filled with Android phone after Android phone doing the same thing. Apple hit the $1000 price threshold with the iPhone X, and sure enough, other companies soon had the guts to raise their prices just the same. Apple is the most dominant force in the U.S. smartphone market, so when it makes a noticeable shift with its release strategy, you better believe its competitors want to mimic its success.

iPhone 12 Mini

Source: Apple (Image credit: Source: Apple)

In a world filled with large smartphones, the iPhone 12 Mini stands out in a big (small?) way. It forgoes the status quo completely, and now that companies like Samsung, LG, OnePlus, and others see the market leader doing this, they're bound to follow suit with their own answers to it. Over the next couple of years, that means we're most definitely going to get mini variants of their upcoming flagships. And I couldn't be more excited.

I've been using the Galaxy S20 FE as my daily driver for the past few days, and while I love virtually everything about it, I've been tempted to switch back to the Pixel 4a. The Pixel has a worse processor, less impressive display, fewer cameras, and a significantly smaller battery, but I find myself constantly missing its 5.8-inch screen. It's one of the few genuinely small Android phones on the market right now, but thanks to the iPhone 12 Mini, that shouldn't be the case for much longer.

We still have about a month to go before iPhone 12 Mini pre-orders open, and from there, even longer before people actually get their hands on it and we find out if Apple's bet on small phones paid off. I have a sneaking suspicion it will, and assuming it does, the next few years of Android phones could be some of the most exciting in a long time.

Joe Maring

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

  • I was very happy going from the Pixel XL to the Pixel 3. This is about as big as I want my phone so I don't have to do hand gymnastics. Funny enough, the mini size is too small for me too (I had the Xperia Z1 compact) and I need to do hand gymnastics to curl to the small frame when typing with one hand. Overall though I'm happy if there are more phones available in the size range of my Pixel 3.
  • In before all the complaining about Apple praise on an Android site, and usual iOS bashing. 😂 I have to admit, I'm loving that Mini. I also love the idea of smaller phones that maintain the power of it's larger siblings rather than cutting corners to force people into humongous phones. Kudos to Google too for going smaller. Feel free to copy Android. Apple fans will just have to deal.
  • Except the battery life is reported as being 2 hours less.
  • In a time of obvious lies, this one's a cracker
  • Whatever Apple does Android manufacturers rush to copy /clone. So, forsure we ll be seeing an iPhone 12 mini size phone come out.
  • I'm using a galaxy S10e, So I hope they do.
  • Phones were this size a few years ago... ?! How could anyone be "beyond ecstatic". Good grief. As usual, people will act like apple is boldly going where no one has gone before.
  • Phones were this size but screens were way smaller. There is a big difference here that we are celebrating.
  • Look up sony compact. High quality phones, small, almost edge to edge screen. Nobody bought them
  • But... it's Sony. Joke aside, I had a Z1 compact. And you're right ,small Android phones could flop. Android users may not want them but I'm definitely celebrating having the option to not buy a 7" phone when I upgrade just to get top specs.
  • I have carpal and cubital tunnel in my arms and hands so really big phones are unpleasant to use. My LG G8 is right on the borderline at 6.1 inches. This mini might be bit too small though for watching Netflix. The 6 inch Pixel 5 sounds great. Ima try my hardest to get one before too long. Yea for phones going back in the right direction!
  • Do you really watch much video beyond YouTube on your phone? Honestly? I've never understood people watching movies on such a small screen. I can't count on one hand the times I've watched anything from Netflix on any phone I've owned,. Ever. That's what TV's are for :)
  • I dont have cable or home wifi so yeah my phone on an unlimited plan is my only TV. I dont even own a TV set.
    Nope on the YouTube. Almost never.
  • I do quite a bit, for the OLED. Films with a lot of dark scenes can be distracting to watch on my IPS laptop or IPS monitor because of the backlight. Despite being about as good as IPS monitors get, there's still that issue that black is really dark grey. Until I can comfortably afford an OLED monitor, which is the same thing as saying, "When all my other worldly needs are met...", I will be watching movies on my phone.
  • You need the magnifying glass accessory.
  • I use the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra as my main phone, and I use a Galaxy S6 for work. I can't use that small screen on the S6 as a daily driver. I am so used to using Note phones for the last few years that a smaller screen is too cramped.
  • I mean, it was Steve Jobs that said a 3.5" phone was the perfect size. maybe Apple is catching on?
  • In that case they are off by almost 2 inches.
  • I remember the huge rush to smaller and thinner devices Apple started years ago. I found myself watching movies on 1.5" screens, and realized: "Well, this is pretty stupid." I'm used to phablets now, and won't go back, after using features like split-screen/dual app on phones like the Note. Still, I'm sure guys with little...hands will love the upcoming baby phones.
  • I still have my iPhone 5S for nostalgia reasons, but it gather's dust because the screen is annoyingly small. I like the new mini because it's "cute", but that's about all. I have to wear pleated pants which often have loose pockets, and if a phone is too small, it flops around sideways.
  • has a small phone: I wish I had a bigger phone so I could see it better
    has a big phone: I wish I had a more compact phone, easier to carry and use
  • Maybe a big phone that folds in half. Ima go patent that.
  • That's why I always own BOTH. When I get tired of one I switch to the other until I get tired of it then I switch back. WOULD LOVE to switch on the fly though when in the mood (just swap sim and go) but would require moving my number to Google voice (which I tried a couple years ago and had a ton of issues with...can't remember what they were, just remember they were deal breakers) for sms "sync" between the two...wish there was an app that kept them sync'd between phones in the background.
  • The mini definitely is my favorite of the bunch, but battery life will be a concern.
  • The 12 Pro Max is my favorite of the bunch because it has all the bells and whistles and is the best iphone.
  • Let the Android imitation roller coaster begin!
  • For me, it's video. I hope this forces everyone, Google in particular, to beef up video recording on Android. Beyond even hardware, I hope Google pours effort into AI to make great video recording part of the OS itself.
  • Video quality not an Android issue, it's a smartphone brand issue. HTC records better video than Apple. Not just image quality, but video stabilization as well. I do photography and videography, and own the iPhone 11 and XS. My buddy runs a video production company and has the iPhone 11 Pro. None of our iPhones can keep up with the HTC U12 Plus, especially when filming in less than ideal light. We actually did lighting tests on the set.
  • Sorry but you're wrong, that's no Android phone that can touch iPhone I'm video and no a 3 year old flop of a phone in the HTC U12 can't be compared and the iPhone 12 Pro Max will finally silence your naysaying over your continued and unfounded bashing of the iPhone video recording. It's iPhones that are used for video recording by film directors, not your flop HTC phone, got it? Good
  • Same old notch, didn't even make it smaller. No ear pods, no charging 🧱, the i-sheep certainly put up with alot? No 120hz? All they talked about was 5g. Tim 🍎 acts like they invented it, what a shock? 🍎's new motto should be, pay more get less!
  • No Tim Cook does not act like he invented 5G he said if was a big moment for the iPhone, remember, iPhone it's new to, Apple had their reasons for no 120Hz and frankly I'm glad it's not in the iPhone 12 as it's not necessary as iOS is smooth already, more than Android is so Android need it more for the jankineas that's Android at 60Hz especially with a Samsung phone with all that Samsung bloat.
  • Its a ripoff. This years iPhones suck. Missing features and prices high.
  • Your comment sucks, iPhones are way ahead of Android where it matters and the only things that suck about this year's iPhones is no headphones and charger.
  • Iphones are NOT way ahead of Android, hell they JUST introduced widgets for gods sake and they still suck. Only thing I can think of that iphones overall do better than the AVERAGE (read: not all) Android phones is photos and video. Their hardware AND software stays largely the same year after year after year after year. I don't understand why isheep give 🍎 a pass on them every year aside from ONE THING --> They have a piece of fruit on the back that's become a status symbol. They do excel on taking things away though, headphone jack, FPR, headphones, CHARGERS...and then charge more for it.
  • Will you shut up? iPhone IS way ahead where it mattiand that is all there is too it and iPhone is not. Status symbol it's an alternative to the cess pool and toziybell stew of an OS that's far too dominant, not everyone cares about Android and what it can do with it's pointless and gimmickry features that nobody but geeks will use at the expense of security and privacy, it's about simplicity, the polished experience that's easy to use and being secure, which most Android phones sucks with, since you're going with the name calling I'll call you a Fandroid, which you all are, Android sucks with if fragmentation and security issues which Google is struggling with. I'm already on iOS 14.1 on my 11 Pro Max. With your ******* attitude o wonder Android users on the internet are the most hated and rightfully and every time I come on this poor excuse for a website, I'm reminded that I made the right choice switching back to iPhone where I'm so much happier. You Fandroids suck.
  • Agree that it's nice to go back to a small phone from time to time, which is why I always have at least two phones; one large (the Note10+ I'm on now) and one small one and usually a Pixel for the camera. I just got rid of my other two and getting a Pixel 5 to satisfy both the small phone need and Pixel need. Looking forward to it. Would love to figure out a way to keep my sms sync'd between the two though, always have to backup and restore everytime I switch (in a business where I need to save them all and have them available). BTW, wish Android central would kill off this commenting system and adopt disqus, it's ALWAYS a PITA for me to get logged in to comment here, even though I always check "keep me signed in" never actually does, always have to go to hamburger, down to sign in, sign in, then refresh the page and come back. With disqus sites I just go to comments and I'm already signed in and ready to comment even if I've never even been to that site before.