iPhone SE vs 12 Mini


My iPhone 8 is almost 3 years old, as is my wife’s 8+, so we’re looking at upgrading.

For the first time - ever - we’re in a position to buy our phones outright. I actually spent time on a ‘chat’ with… with… Telstra this afternoon, trying to see if they could beat Optus’ prices on a 12 Mini for me, and 12 Pro for wifey. I know! Don’t know what I was thinking! Telstra! They actually were about $200 cheaper on the iPhone 12 Pro, but $300 worse on the 12 Mini!

Then it occurred to me - We could afford to buy the phones outright, and after doing the sums - we would save $500 over 3 years by doing just that.

My question now is - am I going to be happy with the 12 Mini, or should I go for an SE instead?

As I understand it, the SE is essentially an 8 with better specs, whereas the 12 Mini is - different… it would mean that 4 letter word… CHANGE… Face id instead of fingerprint… no home button?? :astonished:

There’s about $221 difference in the price… Will I regret upgrading to - new shiny?

Sheesh… AND — Would you get the iPhone 12 Pro, or the iPhone 12 Pro Max?! There’s $150 difference, for 2 hrs more battery life, better camera, bigger phone… I think my wife’s going to have to hold one in her hands to compare… We looked online and could see that the 12 Pro is similar in size to the 8+, and she was happy with that, but - $150 over 3 years… if it’s not TOO big, that’s not unreasonable…



PS I know - it’s so unlike me saying $150 is not much money… Quit working for bitch-face last year after covid meant getting grilled every day over zoom over why I hadn’t done my job, whilst working on 30% less hours. Now work for an essential service.

Keep in mind Telstra now offer discounts on the first Thursday of each month., the Mini was $500 off RRP. So you may want to check the deals on October 7.

spec comparison of the 8, SE (2nd gen) and 12 mini

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I had bought an SE prior to the release of the 12s, and after the release realised I had made a mistake. Not in terms of performance, the SE is fine for most things, but I bought 64GB and found it wasnt enough, and when the mini arrived… SIZE. It doesnt seem to be a lot different. A few mm here and there, but it does make a big difference to me. After I got used to faceID, everything fell into place. Its still a pain when doing checkins but I’ve set ServiceNSW app to want a PIN instead, and for unlocking the phone, PIN for that too. Itss a bit of a nuisance but a small price to pay. No home button bothered me, too, but swiping up instead works, albeit erratically if you miss your aim as I often do… but its a solution at least, to the lack of home button. And to be sure of not running out of space, 128GB. I don’t need more. Love my mini.

[edit] Got a decent price for the SE from MObile Monster so don’t feel like I lost out in any way :slight_smile:

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@kerr & @kyte Thanks for the comparison and feedback – looks like the 12 mini is the way to go!

@kerr - Would a phone purchased from Telstra outright be locked to them? Fees to unlock? I guess if it was $500 off, it’d still be a good deal, but I’d be staying on Optus given their cheaper monthly plans - $45 for 20gb (and 5G where available) vs $55/month for 40gb but only 4G – extra $10 to get 5G. (I know 5G is still a ways off being widespread - Optus’ 5G map shows only a few “dots” of coverage here in Geelong; but in the life of the phone - 5G should become dominant)

I have a 12 Mini - very happy!


I don’t think any iPhones are locked anymore but I could be wrong.


I went from an 8 Plus to a 12 Pro. Was happy with my choice. The 12 Pro being easier to hold in the hand. Also, despite the physical size being smaller, it has a larger screen.

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Do you get used to curved corners?

(I know- I grew up up 4:3 curved cornered tv…)

I went from an original SE, which I loved, to a 12 mini. I don’t totally love the mini - battery life isn’t what I had hoped and the screen has an irritating, highly intermittent fault where it doesn’t respond to touch - but I found the transition from home button to Face ID to be largely painless. They did a really good job with that I think. Swiping up from the bottom of the screen instead of hitting the home button becomes very natural, very quickly. Face ID also just makes the phone seem more responsive and alive somehow. I like it a lot and I wasn’t keen on the change.

That said, Face ID is a significant step backwards in usability for Apple Pay. Even without a mask. The whole double-tap thing is a PITA. I would not be surprised if they bring back some kind of touch ID in future.

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Second almost everything you say here. Also came from an original SE.

Though my battery life is pretty good, a lot better than the SE!

Face ID works well except for a mask.

Apple Pay with Face ID is definetly a step backwards. I HATE it. What used to be a simple "hover over reader, resting finger on Touch ID sensor is now an annoying set of steps, and even more annoying when you’re reaching with the phone to pay (ie at a drive through, which has been more frequent in covid times!).

Very disappointed that the 13 doesn’t at least have the Touch ID power button like the Mini 6 and Air 4. Would have been such a simple fix. Under screen Touch ID would be ever better!

Went from iPhone 8 to 12 Mini about 6 months ago.

I miss Touch ID due mainly to the need to wear a mask.
Work around:

  • If I wear my watch, it unlocks the phone for normal use.
  • Then to pay by Apple Pay, use the watch and not the phone.

This has contributed to:

  • Slower muscle memory development for unlocking the phone
  • Hitting the big RHS sleep button as though it was the old home button

Long term battery capacity. After 6 months of light use, it has already dropped to 94%

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Not locked to Telstra, iPhones have been unlocked for many many years now. The page will encourage you to choose a Telstra plan but you can ignore that. But I think you will need a free account on the website. I’m a Telstra customer and bought a Samsung Galaxy a couple weeks ago for a work colleague, he just entered his credit card details.

Ouch. I had not been checking mine, 96% and I’ve only had it for 6 months light use also. Not good.

[Edit] As a point of comparison, my original SE is still at 93% - its still in light use - and my iPhone 7 is at 95%, with occasional use.

5.5 months of usage here with 191 cycles which means my phone has gone through a cycle on average 1.1 times a day with 98 or 99 percent health.

98% here on my 12 mini which is charged wirelessly, every night and sometimes during the day, for 6 months

Haven’t even noticed the curved display. Mainly because the UI takes it into account.

I thought I would notice it in watching video content, but most content is shot at a set resolution/ratio (e.g. 4:3, 16:9), it tends to have black borders that cut off the notch and the curved corners.

The Face ID is something worth considering. Given the current situation with masks. If you have an Apple Watch, that essentially fixes the issue. However if you don’t, you got to be prepared to go back to passcode unlocking when out and about.
I wish Apple would have put touch ID in the power button like the iPad’s. They could keep the notch and Face ID, just give us a second option.


I think the iPhone notch is living on borrowed time (as is the lightning connector).

I looked a little closer at my battery.
It has dropped to 94.3% over 81 cycles.
That suggests it will drop to 80% in less than 300 cycles.
That is not very impressive.
If it continues at this rate, a visit to a Genius at an Apple Store may be required.
Do you remember when we could visit Apple Stores?

What state are you in?