Earlier this year, I noticed my iPhone X’s maximum battery capacity had dropped to 89%. I thought about replacing it with an iPhone 12 but couldn’t decide between the iPhone 12 Pro Max and the iPhone 12 mini. So, I borrowed one of each and have been testing them for several months.
The iPhone X’s screen is 5.8 inches, so it’s smaller than the 12 Pro Max (6.7 inches) and larger than the 12 mini (5.4 inches). I’ve owned plus-sized iPhones before, but I’ve grown accustomed to the mid-sized iPhone X in the four years I’ve been using it, so I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go bigger or smaller. That’s when I decided to pit the biggest against the smallest.
While the 12 mini has a slightly higher pixel density than the 12 Pro Max—476ppi vs. 458ppi—I noticed virtually no difference in image quality for still or moving images. I did see that most things on the 12 Pro Max’s screen were slightly larger than on the Mini’s screen. Considering how fat my fingers are, I prefer the bigger icons and keyboard keys. I also noticed that I could fit more legible text per page on the 12 Pro Max, making reading slightly more enjoyable and efficient.
The 12 mini is available in more (and brighter) colors, including Purple, Blue, Green, and Red, in addition to Black and White. While I’d love for my next iPhone to be purple (spoiler alert), the 12 Pro Max only comes in Silver, Graphite, Gold, or Pacific Blue.
Another difference is in storage capacity, with the 12 Pro Max offering 128, 256, and 512GB, while the 12 mini tops out at 256GB. I shoot a lot of videos, so having 512GB available could tip the scales in favor of the 12 Pro Max.
The other significant difference is in battery life, as shown in this table:
Aside from the differences I’ve detailed, the two models are more alike than different. For example, both models support 5G cellular services, Wi-Fi 6 (802.11az) with MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC with reader mode, Wi-Fi calling, Face ID, video and audio calling, video and audio playback, and Siri.
But the most significant difference between the iPhone 12 Max Pro and iPhone 12 mini is their cameras, which are so good, and so different that you’ll have to wait until next week for the scoop on them, along with the thrilling conclusion to my quest for a new iPhone.