iPhone 7 vs iPhone 12 mini: Should You Upgrade?

iPhone 12 mini vs iPhone 7 Comparison

Apple finally has a compact yet powerful iPhone — the iPhone 12 mini. If you had been holding on to your iPhone 7 because the new iPhones from Apple were too big, the iPhone 12 mini is Apple’s solution to the problem. If you are wondering if the iPhone 12 mini is worth buying over your trusty old iPhone 7 or not, read our comparison below.

The iPhone 7 was a great phone when it first launched but four years later, the device is showing its age. If you have been holding out from your iPhone 7 because of its compact form factor, Apple finally has a worthy solution in the form of the iPhone 12 mini. Read the comparison below to know why the upgrade from the iPhone 7 to the iPhone 12 mini is worth your money.

iPhone 7 vs iPhone 12 Comparison: Worth the Upgrade?

Design

  • iPhone 7 – 138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm, 138g, IP67 certified
  • iPhone 12 mini – 131.5 x 64.2 x 7.4 mm, 135g, IP68 certified

If you have been holding on to your iPhone 7 because of its compact form factor, you are going to love the iPhone 12 mini. Despite packing a better processor, bigger display, improved cameras, and Face ID, the iPhone 12 mini is lighter and more compact than the iPhone 7. It is amazing how Apple has been able to pack in so much tech in such a small package.

The iPhone 12 mini has a much more modern design with slimmer bezels and it is also available in some bold colors. The iPhone 7, in comparison, feels dated in this regard.

Display

  • iPhone 7 – 4.7-inch True Tone Retina HD IPS LCD panel, 1334 x 750 pixel (326 ppi), True Tone,  3D Touch
  • iPhone 12 mini – 5.4-inch Super Retina XDR display, 2340 x 1180 (476 ppi), Haptic Touch, HDR Display, True Tone, HDR10, Dolby Vision

Despite a smaller overall footprint, the iPhone 12 mini comes with a display that’s 0.7-inch bigger than the iPhone 7. It is also a higher-resolution OLED panel that offers a better contrast ratio and supports HDR, Dolby Vision, and True Tone. There’s no 3D Touch on the iPhone 12 mini’s Super Retina XDR panel but with Apple doing away with the feature completely, I doubt anyone is going to miss it anymore.

iPhone 12
iPhone 12

Processor

  • iPhone 7 – A10 Bionic, 10nm chip, 6-core CPU, 4-core GPU
  • iPhone 12 mini – A14 Bionic, 5nm fab, 16-core Neural engine

The iPhone 12 mini is just leaps and bounds ahead of the iPhone 7 in terms of raw performance. Its A14 Bionic chip is 50% faster in both CPU and GPU department than other mobile chipsets in the market. The Neural Engine on the A14 Bionic is a major step up from the A13 Bionic found inside the iPhone 11 series while the A10 Bionic inside the iPhone 7 lacks a Neural Engine altogether. This means the iPhone 12 mini is going to be noticeably faster than the iPhone 7 in ML and AI-related tasks.

Apple A14 Bionic SoC

Storage

  • iPhone 7 – 32GB, 128GB, 2GB RAM
  • iPhone 12 mini – 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 4GB RAM

The base variant of the iPhone 7 ships with 32GB storage while the iPhone 12 mini has 64GB of storage. The latter is available with up to 256GB storage while the iPhone 7 tops out at 128GB. More importantly, the iPhone 12 mini has twice the amount of RAM as the iPhone 7 which will allow it to run heavy apps and games smoothly.

Camera

  • iPhone 7 – Single 12MP camera setup with f/1.8 aperture, OIS, Auto HDR, Focus Pixels, Quad-LED True Tone Flash | Front:  7MP FaceTime HD camera, f/2.2 aperture, Retina Flash
  • iPhone 12 mini – Dual 12MP camera setup with f/1.6 and f/2.4 aperture, 1.4um large pixels, OIS, Smart HDR 3, Focus Pixels, Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth control, Brighter True Tone Flash, Night Mode, Deep Fusion, Dolby Vision with HDR recording, Night mode Time-lapse | Front: 12MP FaceTime HD camera, f/2,2 aperture, Retina Flash, Night Mode, Deep Fusion

When comparing the camera setup of the iPhone 7 to the iPhone 12 mini, it is amazing to see just how many features are missing from the former. This shows how mobile photography has evolved in recent years.

Both phones have the same 12MP rear camera resolution, but the iPhone 12 has a bigger and better sensor along with larger pixels and a wider aperture that allows it to take photos with better dynamic range and capture more light. Improved processing thanks to Smart HDR 3 and Deep Fusion also helps in this regard.

The iPhone 12 also has Night mode support for all its cameras — a feature that’s missing from the iPhone 7. The iPhone 12 mini also has a secondary 12MP ultra-wide angle shooter that allows it to capture photos with a completely different perspective. In the video department as well, the iPhone 12 mini is leagues ahead of the iPhone 7 series. The iPhone 12 mini also has a better front camera. Not only is the resolution higher but the front camera on the iPhone 12 mini also has Deep Fusion, Night Mode, and Portrait mode support.

iPhone 12 mini camera

Biometric Authentication

  • iPhone 7 – Touch ID sensor integrated into the home button at the front
  • iPhone 12 – Face ID

The iPhone 7 packs Apple’s good old Home button that has a Touch ID scanner integrated into it. However, home buttons are a passè on smartphones as OEMs have moved towards a bezel-less experience. Face ID is definitely more convenient than Touch ID but only when it works. In some scenarios — like when one is wearing a mask, Touch ID is far more convenient to use than Face ID.

Connectivity

  • iPhone 7 – Single SIM, LTE-Advanced, Wi-Fi ac with MIMO, Bluetooth 4.2, VoLTE, NFC with reader mode, GPS, Express Cards
  • iPhone 12 – 5G, Gigabit LTE, Dual-SIM, Wi-Fi 6 with MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC with Reader mode, Ultra-Wideband chip, GPS, Express Cards with power reserve

There’s no competition here. The only common factor here between the two phones is that they can all connect to a Wi-Fi network and mobile network. Otherwise, the iPhone 12 features faster WiFi, newer Bluetooth tech, and it can pull higher download speeds on mobile data as well. And this is without taking the 5G support into consideration which could allow users to pull gigabit+ speeds on their devices easily.

iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, side by side...
iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus

Battery

  • iPhone 7 – Up to 13 hours of video playback, up to 40 hours of audio playback
  • iPhone 12 mini – Up to 15 hours of video playback, 50 hours of audio playback, Qi wireless charging, MagSafe Charging support, fast charge support

Irrespective of whether you care about a better camera, display, or design, you will care about the battery life of your iPhone. Chances are your iPhone 7’s battery capacity has fallen well below 80% if you have been using it over the years without any battery replacement. Even if one levels the playing field, the iPhone 12 mini’s battery is rated to last an additional two hours for video playback and 5 hours of audio playback.

Even apart from battery life, the iPhone 12 mini has other advantages as well. It offers fast wired charging, Qi wireless charging, and there’s also MagSafe support. This allows compatible accessories to automatically snap on the back of the device. With MagSafe charger, the iPhone 12 mini can also charge at up to 15W speeds wirelessly.

Price

  • iPhone 7 – Started from $649
  • iPhone 12 mini – Starts from $699

If you got the iPhone 7 on launch day, you likely paid $649 for it. Four years later, that might seem like a lot of money but if you have been using the device for so long, you have definitely managed to extract the most from it. The iPhone 12 mini starts from $699 — $50 more than the iPhone 7. However, for that extra $50, you get a bigger display, better cameras, longer battery life, 5G connectivity, and so much more.


The iPhone 12 mini is a no-brainer upgrade over the iPhone 7. If you have the money, you should definitely look into retiring your old iPhone 7 and upgrade to the iPhone 12 mini.