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Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Jason Snell

A quick hit about the big and small iPhone 12 models

Note: This story has not been updated since 2020.

iPhone SE (1st generation, left) and iPhone 12 mini (right).

Yesterday I took delivery of review units of the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max, and while the next couple of days are going to be all about Apple Silicon, I’m also trying to use these new phones when I can in order to gather impressions for a future review.

But my first impression is that the iPhone 12 mini is going to be the go-to phone for everyone who has been strategizing ways to use smaller iPhones whenever possible. You held on to your iPhone 5S, you bought the first-generation iPhone SE, you bought an iPhone 8 under protest but at least it was smaller than the iPhone X, and so on. For you, there is now a phone that is in the old iPhone 5 size class, even though it’s very slightly larger.

And if it’s still too big for you, well, I don’t know what to tell you. Apple will never make a smaller iPhone than this one.

I really like it. I like how comfortably it fits in my hand. I like how, due to display scaling, it’s showing me the same amount of content as an iPhone X on the screen—just a teeny bit smaller. (If you’re someone who struggles to read small text, this is not the phone for you.)

March of time: iPhone, iPhone 4 class, iPhone 5 class, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 6 class.

As for the iPhone 12 Pro Max, it’s a gorgeous slab of technology, huge and heavy, and if you’re someone who loves that sort of thing, it’s going to be the iPhone of your dreams. (I suspect my pal Myke Hurley is going to love it.) I haven’t been able to do any close camera comparisons, but I’d imagine that if you’re planning to shoot lots of photos or make a movie on an iPhone, this is also the model for you.

I got the gold iPhone 12 Pro Max. That gold is gorgeous, but that shiny stainless steel sure collects fingerprints. It’s not for me, but some of you are going to love it.

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