iPhone 12 mini vs. iPhone SE (2020) comparison – design, battery size and camera

Apple’s current iPhone lineup offers two new compact models, iPhone SE and iPhone 12 mini. The second-generation iPhone SE was launched earlier this year, it got a ton of positive feedback due to its small form-factor and pocket-friendly price, many users consider the smartphone’s design to be outdated. In October, iPhone 12 mini was announced which comes with major hardware and software upgrades in a lighter, smaller frame.

However, in terms of price, iPhone SE is significantly lighter on wallets than new iPhone 12 mini. In this post, we will be comparing both iPhones in terms of performance, battery life, camera, and more to help you decide which compact smartphone is right for you.

iPhone SE vs. iPhone 12

iPhone 12 mini vs iPhone SE

Design & Display

Let’s have a quick look at the specifications of both devices. iPhone 12 mini screen size has the signature iPhone notch and no home button, while iPhone SE comes with a home button and huge top and bottom bezels. Both are made out of the same aluminum that Apple labels as ‘aerospace-grade’.

Moreover, iPhone 12 mini also has a ceramic shield front which provides 4x better drop performance. Both the devices incorporate Aerospace-grade aluminum. iPhone mini has water resistance in a depth of 6 meters for up to 30 minutes, while the iPhone SE has a water resistance of 1 meter for up to 30 minutes.

iPhone 12 mini has a Super Retina XDR display which provides much higher contrast ratios, peak brightness, and better color reproduction than iPhone SE’s Retina Display which is no slouch either but it’s not as good.

iPhone SE


iPhone 12 mini has the same camera features as iPhone 12, carrying 2 cameras with f/2.4 aperture Ultra-Wide, f/1.6 aperture Wide. It also has the feature of Night mode and, Deep Fusion. However, iPhone SE is not a slouch in the camera department and has a great wide lens camera given its price.

iPhone 12 mini additionally supports Dolby Vision HDR video recording up to 30 fps, which is new to iPhone 12 line-up.

TrueDepth camera

FaceTime HD camera

12MP photos

7MP photos

f/2.2 aperture

f/2.2 aperture

Retina Flash

Retina Flash

Smart HDR 3 for photos

Auto HDR for photos

Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth Control

Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth Control

Portrait Lighting with six effects (Natural, Studio, Contour, Key Mono)

Portrait Lighting with six effects (Natural, Studio, Contour, Key Mono)

Extended dynamic range for video at 30 fps

Cinematic video stabilization(4K,  1080p, 720p)

Cinematic video stabilization(1080p and 720p)

4K video recording at 24 fps, 30 fps, 60 fps

HDR video recording with Dolby Vision up to 30 fps

1080p HD video recording at 30 fps or 60 fps

1080p HD video recording at 30 fps

Slo-mo video support for 1080p at 120 fps

Night Mode

Deep Fusion

QuickTake video

QuickTake video

Animoji and Memoji

And here are the back cameras on both these devices:

Dual 12MP camera system(Ultra-Wide and Wide)

Single 12MP Wide camera

Ultra Wide: f/2.4 aperture, Wide: f/1.6 aperture

Wide: f/1.8 aperture

Night Mode

Deep Fusion

Optical image stabilization

Optical image stabilization

2x optical zoom out, Digital zoom up to 5x

Digital zoom up to 5x

Brighter True Tone flash with Slow Sync

True Tone flash with Slow Sync

Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth Control

Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth Control

Portrait Lighting with six effects(Natural, Studio, Contour, Stage, Stage Mono, High-Key Mono)

Portrait lighting with six effects(Natural, Studio, Contour, Stage, Stage Mono, High-Key Mono)

Smart HDR 3 for photos

Next-generation Smart HDR for photos


iPhone SE battery provides 8 hours of video streaming and 13-hour local video playback, whereas the iPhone 12 mini battery provides 17 hours of local video and 11 hours of streaming video. The iPhone 12 mini’s battery size has more capacity than iPhone SE’s: 2227mAh vs 1,821mAh.

iPhone 12 mini


When the new line-up iPhone 12 was introduced, one of the highlights of the whole event was 5G coming to all 4 models. 5G allows super fast downloads and high-quality video streaming. 

However, the iPhone SE was introduced earlier this year and still has 4G cellular data. The difference merely lies in day-to-day operations conducted via apps.


In terms of performance, there will not be much of a difference to notice. The A13 Bionic used in iPhone SE 2020 is already a strong performing chip that provides a smooth performance. The new A14 Bionic chip in iPhone 12 mini provides up to 50% CPU and GPU performance improvements. The A14 chip is the first smartphone processor built on the 5-nanometer process technology.

Both smartphones can be purchased from apple.com.

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About the Author

Usman has been playing games for as long as he can remember. He is an editor at iThinkDifferent and writes about games, Apple news, hardware, productivity guides, and more. When not writing for iTD, Usman loves to play competitive Team Fortress 2, spends time honing his football skills, and watches superhero movies.

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