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Apple iPhone 12 Mini battery life test: how much worse?

If you like compact phones, you will love the iPhone 12 Mini. It is a rare species: a super compact phone, smaller than the smallest of phones in 2020, but with such small size, you just know that it is inevitable that it also comes with a smaller battery cell.

And indeed it does: the iPhone 12 Mini is equipped with a 2,227 mAh battery cell inside, nearly half the battery size of many Android counterparts. In fact, here is how the iPhone 12 Mini battery compares to the size of the other iPhones in the family:

  • iPhone 12 Mini battery capacity: 2227 mAh
  • iPhone 12 / 12 Pro battery capacity: 2815 mAh
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max battery capacity: 3687 mAh

So… with such a tiny battery, what about the actual, the real-world battery life? Well, don’t expect a battery beast but to fully understand the battery life of the Mini, we run a bunch of in-depth battery tests and we now have the results.

iPhone 12 Mini: YouTube Video Streaming Battery Test

If you like watching a lot videos on YouTube, this test will be extremely important for you.

And the Android competition? Well, in this test, it’s years ahead! A Pixel 5 would last a whopping 8 hours and 49 minutes on the very same YouTube video battery test, while the Galaxy S20 tops the charts at 10 hours and 20 minutes, that’s about double the battery life of the iPhone 12 Mini!

iPhone 12 Mini: Web Browsing Battery Test

Our web browsing test represents a very typical daily use: no demanding tasks, simply browsing and scrolling around the phone, and this test is one of the best indications about the battery life of a phone for just average use.

Good news is that the iPhone 12 Mini did an absolute excellent job on it, considering its tiny battery of course. With a score of nearly 11 hours, it is not quite as good as the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro, but it is significantly better than the cheaper iPhone SE and not far away from Android rivals with nearly double its battery size. Good job, Mini!

iPhone 12 Mini: 3D Gaming Battery Test

Whoa! We have seen the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro fail our 3D gaming battery benchmark miserably, and that was a bit of a surprise. The phone started to heat up unlike any other phone we have tested and the battery was just melting. We were really curious to see if the iPhone 12 Mini suffers from the same issues and what is it that causes it.

Now that we have run the same 3D gaming battery test on the Mini, we can confirm that it suffers from the absolute same issue, but since it has an even tinier battery, it lasts even less at just 2 hours and 22 minutes! It almost discharges as fast as it charges! That’s absurd!

Naturally, we had to investigate and our investigative team put on their gaming gear and started playing various games. Interestingly, we noticed the same issue in some games, for example, Minecraft was suffering from a similar issue as we’ve had in our test. Other games, however, seemed unaffected: Call of Duty Mobile, arguably the most popular mobile game of 2020, ran just fine. In fact, we played about an hour of CoD Mobile (graphic quality set to Very High and frame rate set to High) and the battery on our iPhone 12 Mini dropped from a starting point of 71% to 52% after an hour of gaming. Now that is much more reasonable, and would give the iPhone 12 Mini a total 3D gaming battery life of around 5 hours.

At the moment, it seems that certain games let the A14 run wild and free, so it’s constantly blasting at full power and then the problems occur. You will notice your device heating up significantly and draining battery like crazy, while some other games put caps on the GPU, or at least don’t always run it at full blast. We are curious to see whether updates to some of those games will change the situation and we will be tracking this issue closely.

Final Words

Overall, if we are to overlook the overheating issues with some games, the iPhone 12 Mini actually did quite well. It’s definitely not a top-level battery performer, not even close, but it holds its ground quite well in daily use and if you don’t push it too hard, you should be able to get through even those longer days without sweating it out over your phone dying before you come back from work.

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