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The unreleased iPhone 12 mini stars in a hands-on video

Published Oct 29th, 2020 7:31AM EDT
iPhone 12 mini Hands-on
Image: Apple Inc.

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  • The iPhone 12 mini has a November 13th release date, so the first reviews of the most compact handset in the iPhone 12 lineup will not drop for a few weeks.
  • A YouTuber somehow got his hands on the handset, streaming a lengthy iPhone 12 mini hands-on preview.
  • The video was quickly removed from YouTube, but other copies are still available online.

The novel coronavirus pandemic forced Apple to do things differently this year for the iPhone launch. The lockdowns and travel restrictions in the first months of the pandemic impacted Apple’s iPhone 12 development schedule. The company confirmed back in late July that the new iPhones will be delayed. The Apple event dropped a couple of weeks ago, where Apple did reveal the four handsets we were expecting: iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max. But only the 6.1-inch iPhone 12 and 12 Pro launched this month. The two handsets started shipping to buyers on Friday and are now available in retail stores in various markets. The iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max are the smallest and largest iPhone 12 versions. They will offer essentially the same hardware as the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro. But the iPhone 12 mini offers a more compact version of the iPhone 12, while the 12 Pro Max has an even larger screen than the 12 Pro and an improved camera system.

Both the iPhone 12 mini and the iPhone 12 Pro Max will be available for preorder on November 6th and launch in stores a week later. But you don’t have to wait to see a hands-on of the smaller model, as someone posted an extensive preview on YouTube ahead of time.

YouTuber George Buhnici hosted a live stream on his channel the other day, showing the unreleased iPhone 12 mini in great detail. It’s unclear whether the YouTuber broke an embargo or got access to a device that shouldn’t appear in reviews online for another few weeks. But Buhnici removed the 40-minute clip from YouTube. 9to5Mac rehosted the video briefly, but not for long. The video is still available on YouTube, where others reuploaded it, and you should find it with relative ease.

iPhone 12 mini
Screenshot from YouTube clip shows the iPhone 12 mini (left) next to the iPhone 12 (right). Image source: YouTube via 9to5Mac

While the clip is gone, plenty of images are left that show the iPhone 12 mini design in great detail. The design isn’t a mystery, of course, as you can easily check out the mini on Apple’s iPhone site. But Buhnici offered us the first hands-on experience of a real device, including a comparison with the iPhone 12.

iPhone 12 mini
Screenshot from YouTube clip shows the iPhone 12 Pro(left) next to the iPhone 12 mini (right). Image source: YouTube via 9to5Mac

The images show exactly how small the iPhone 12 mini really is. The phone features the same all-screen design as the other handsets in the series, complete with its own notch. The notch appears to be slightly bigger in size, but that’s only because the compact handset has a smaller footprint than the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. The phone is actually smaller than the iPhone SE, and it’s even lighter than the 2020 SE model.

iPhone 12 mini
Size comparison between the iPhone SE 2nd-generation, iPhone 12 mini, and iPhone 12/12 Pro. Image source: Apple Inc.

The iPhone 12 mini features a 5.4-inch OLED screen compared to 6.1-inch for the two iPhone 12 models that you can buy right now. It’s not as tall and wide as the 6.1-inch model, that’s why the notch looks so big. And that’s why the dual-lens camera system seems to occupy more space on the back. The iPhone 12 mini will also have a smaller battery than the other iPhones, but that’s only because of its size.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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