The iPhone 8 was the last proper compact flagship from Apple. Three years later, the company finally has a proper successor to it in the form of the iPhone 12 mini. If you own an iPhone 8 and are wondering if the upgrade to the iPhone 12 mini is worth it or not, read our comparison below.
The iPhone 8 is still a plenty powerful phone but its design, camera, and battery life are way past their prime. In comparison, the iPhone 12 mini offers so much more in the same compact form factor that makes it a very tempting upgrade. Read below to know just why the iPhone 12 mini is a worthy upgrade over the iPhone 8.
iPhone 8 vs iPhone 12 mini Comparison: Should You Upgrade?
- iPhone 8 – 138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3 mm, 148g, IP67 certified
- iPhone 12 mini – 131.5 x 64.2 x 7.4 mm, 135g, IP68 certified
It is amazing to see just how much smartphone designs have changed in just three years. The iPhone 8’s design was strictly dated when it launched and in 2020, it looks downright ancient. What’s impressive is that the iPhone 12 mini is smaller and more compact than the iPhone 8 despite packing a more powerful chipset, better cameras, and a bigger display. You are giving up on the home button of the iPhone 8 on the iPhone 12 mini but in turn, you gain a lot which makes the sacrifice well worth it. The iPhone 12 mini also features a more durable glass including Ceramic Shield cover glass at the front. Additionally, the iPhone 12 mini is available in five different quirky colors while the iPhone 8 was only available in three.
- iPhone 8 – 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
The iPhone 12 mini comes with a 0.7-inch bigger display than the iPhone 8 despite featuring a smaller form factor. 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 8 – A11 Bionic, 10nm chip, 6-core CPU, 4-core GPU, Neural engine
- iPhone 12 mini – A14 Bionic, 5nm fab, 16-core Neural engine
The iPhone 8’s A11 Bionic chip was ahead of its time when it first debuted in 2017. The Neural Engine on the chip was a relatively big deal as it greatly helped speed up certain ML tasks.
Three years later, the A11 Bionic chip is showing its age. In comparison, the A14 Bionic inside the iPhone 12 mini is another league altogether. Based on the 5nm fabrication process, the 6-core CPU of the chip offers a 40 percent boost in performance while the 4-core GPU brings about a 30 percent performance jump. The Neural Engine has also gotten a major boost and now boasts of 16 cores making it twice as fast as before. Lastly, the second-generation ML boosts machine learning calculations by 10 times. What is amazing is that Apple is using the same A14 Bionic chip that is found inside other larger iPhone 12 models. This speaks volumes about the chip’s performance and power efficiency.
Apple claims the new CPU is 50% faster than other smartphone CPUs in the market. The GPU is also up to 50% faster than any other smartphone GPU. With such a massive performance bump across the board, the iPhone 12 lineup is once again going to set a new bar in terms of performance. The faster Neural Engine, ISP, and ML will also greatly benefit apps that are increasingly relying on them for complex and specific tasks.
- iPhone 8 – 64GB, 256GB
- iPhone 12 mini – 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Both phones ship with the same amount of base storage but Apple offers the iPhone 12 mini in three different storage options. The iPhone 12 mini also ships with 4GB RAM while the iPhone 8 only has 2GB RAM. That extra 2GB of RAM will allow the iPhone 12 mini to run heavy apps and games smoothly.
- iPhone 8 – Single 12MP camera setup with f/1.8 aperture, 1.22um pixel pitch, OIS, Auto HDR, Focus Pixels, Quad-LED True Tone Flash | Front: 7MP FaceTime HD camera, f/2.2 aperture, Retina Flash, Auto HDR
- 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
The primary camera resolution might not have changed between the iPhone 8 and iPhone 12 mini. However, the camera sensor and pixel size have. The iPhone 8’s primary 12MP shooter might sound good on paper but absolutely pales in comparison to the iPhone 12 mini. The latter has a newer and bigger camera sensor along with a wider aperture that allows it to capture more light that helps in low-light scenarios. Then, there’s the improved processing thanks to Smart HDR 3 and Deep Fusion.
The iPhone 12 mini also has Night mode support for all its cameras — a feature that’s missing from the iPhone 8 series. The iPhone 12 mini also has a secondary 12MP ultra-wide shooter that allows it to capture photos with a completely different perspective.
The iPhone 12 mini is much better than the iPhone 8 when it comes to video recording as well. Among other things, it can record 4K 60fps videos in Dolby Vision with HDR.
- iPhone 8 – Touch ID sensor integrated into the home button at the front
- iPhone 12 mini – Face ID
Instead of the Home button and Touch ID, the iPhone 12 mini has a notch on its display that houses the Face ID scanner. There are definitely a lot of Touch ID fans out there, though Face ID is more convenient to use when it works. When wearing a mask or when you cannot look at your phone for whatever reason, Face ID can be a bit frustrating to use.
- iPhone 8 – Single SIM, LTE-Advanced, Wi-Fi ac with MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0, VoLTE, NFC with reader mode
- iPhone 12 mini – 5G, Gigabit LTE, Dual-SIM, Wi-Fi 6 with MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC with Reader mode, Ultra-Wideband chip, GPS
- iPhone 8 – Up to 13 hours of video playback, up to 40 hours of video playback, Qi wireless charging, fast charge support, Qi wireless charging
- iPhone 12 mini – Up to 17 hours of video playback, 65 hours of video playback, Qi wireless charging, MagSafe Charging support, fast charge support
When comparing directly in terms of battery life, the iPhone 12 mini lasts noticeably longer than the iPhone 8. And that is despite coming with a bigger display, more powerful chipset, and more. While the iPhone 8 and iPhone 12 mini both support fast charging and Qi wireless charging, the iPhone 12 mini has MagSafe support as well. This means when charged with a compatible charger, the iPhone 12 mini can charge at speeds of up to 15W wirelessly. MagSafe support also allows compatible accessories and wireless chargers to simply snap on the back of the new iPhones.
- iPhone 8 – Started from $699
- iPhone 12 mini – Starts from $699
When Apple launched the iPhone 8, it was available for $699. Three years later, the iPhone 12 mini starts from $699 as well. For that same amount of money, you are getting a lot more iPhone and a device that you can easily use for another 3-4 years without any issues.
If you own an iPhone 8 and are looking for an upgrade, the iPhone 12 mini is a no-brainer if you want something with a similar form factor. The iPhone SE (2020) is just an updated iPhone 8 while the iPhone 12 mini is a true successor to it bringing a bigger display, better and more cameras, longer battery life, and more.