Yes, it is.
If you’ve got the money set aside and you’ve been considering buying Apple’s tiny smartphone for some time, you can stop reading this now and buy one. Go for it; close this page and satisfy your urge. No hard feelings.
I appreciate some of you might need a bit more to go on than that, though.
I’ve spent the last twelve months waxing lyrical about the iPhone 13 mini. I’ve called it “the best iPhone I’ve owned” and suggested that it’s the most exciting version in Apple’s lineup.
Good news – I still hold those opinions, and it’s still in the lineup, contrary to what you might have heard. Sure, there’s no iPhone 14 mini, but Apple will still sell you a brand-new iPhone 13 mini if you want one.
But is the iPhone 13 mini still worth it in 2022? Let’s work it out.
Apple retails the iPhone 13 mini for £649. That nets you the 128GB version, with the 256GB and 512GB editions weighing in at £759 and £979, respectively.
Alternatively, you could buy a second-hand or refurbished model. The prices for these vary wildly, but you can expect to pay anywhere from £470 to £580 depending on the condition.
These prices place the iPhone 13 mini squarely outside of flagship territory, and I remain firm that the £649 base model is a bit of a bargain (particularly when you consider that it’s only £150 more than the ancient-looking iPhone SE). That’s the version I rocked for a year and I didn’t once run out of storage.
So, once again, if you have that money burning a hole in your pocket, just go for it.
When it comes to performance, this is easy.
The iPhone 13 mini is an iPhone. It’s powered by an A15 Bionic chip which is designed solely for the device in which it resides and is, as a result, incredibly speedy.
My iPhone 13 mini is as fast as the day I bought it, and if you buy one today, you won’t feel like you’re getting last year’s tech. Apple silicon overtook the competition when it came to perfectly marrying hardware and software many years ago; each iteration is ahead of its time.
You have nothing to worry about in terms of performance, trust me. This thing is a little beast of a device (remember, it has the exact same chip as the iPhone 13 Pro models).
It’s a similar story when it comes to the camera. It would be nice to have a telephoto lens, but that’s a minor gripe – it’s one of the best camera systems I’ve used on a smartphone. I still can’t believe I managed to take the following photo with it during a bleary-eyed freezing-cold morning run in Montreal.
The only thing to keep in mind is the battery life. It is far, far better than the iPhone 12 mini, but the iPhone 13 mini remains a one-day phone. And you will encounter days when you struggle to get through a full day with it if you spend a significant amount of time in the camera app or within other battery-hungry applications.
Towards the end of my tenure with the iPhone 13 mini, it did become a little frustrating, but it’s a trade-off that’s worth it. Just remember that battery pack.
The form factor
I’m surprised by how quickly I’ve gotten used to the iPhone 14 Pro Max form factor. It remains a huge device – and one I often find uncomfortable to leave in my pocket – but that has fast become an acceptable trade-off, given the lovely expansive screen I get to play with.
Despite this, I do miss the supreme portability of my iPhone 13 mini. That thing was never a burden. The smaller screen was always a trade-off, but, just like the trouser-destroying iPhone 14 Pro Max, it’s amazing how quickly your brain adjusts and makes concessions.
If you’re fed up with carrying around large phones or have simply yearned for a form factor of days gone by, the iPhone 13 mini will be an absolute joy. Indeed, that’s the overriding opinion expressed by those who continue to enter the comments section of my original review – they just desperately wanted a smaller phone, and Apple delivered.
I’m doubtful we’ll ever see an iPhone of this size again, unfortunately. That makes it an instant classic, but also a much-coveted thing for anyone who wants to maximise the remaining life of the A15 Bionic chip.
This brings me to the next question you undoubtedly have about the iPhone 13 mini.
If you buy an iPhone 13 mini now, how long will it last?
There’s an easy way to work this out. If we look at the list of compatible devices for the current version of the iPhone operating system, iOS 16, it goes right back to the iPhone 8 Plus. That’s a five-year-old device.
There are, of course, certain features that are only compatible with later iPhone models, but Apple is clearly willing to support very old iPhones with the latest releases of its software.
This is, once again, a testament to how powerful and ahead-of-the-curve Apple silicon is. Just like the iPad, the iPhone’s hardware is always so far ahead of the operating system it’s tasked with powering.
Providing you look after your iPhone 13 mini (good news – it’s a tough little beast, as I proved on multiple occasions), it will last you many, many years and remain supported by Apple.
What happened to my iPhone 13 mini?
Since switching to the iPhone 14 Pro Max, a few people have asked what I’ve done with my iPhone 13 mini.
I’m happy to report that I still own it. I never intended to trade it in or place it on the second-hand market – I just couldn’t do either of those things; it means too much to me.
That device isn’t only the best iPhone I’ve used as my daily driver, it has also had a massively positive impact on my brand and business. The original review remains the highest-performing video on my YouTube channel with over 620,000 views to date. It struck a nerve in the best possible way and continues to draw people to Mark Ellis Reviews to this day.
If I wasn’t a tech reviewer, I’d still be using that iPhone – I wouldn’t have bought the incredibly expensive and ultimately boring iPhone 14 Pro Max. That’s all you need to know about the iPhone 13 mini, really.
So, if I were you, I’d go and buy that iPhone 13 mini you’ve had your eye on – right away.