iPhone 13 Mini or 2020 SE?

Hardware and Accessories

Hi friends,

My first generation iPhone SE is showing its age, and now I'm in the market for a new iPhone. I would like to have the latest processor and performance capabilities, but since I'm completely blind, there's no use for a big screen.

I would like to learn more about the iPhone SE 2020 and the mini. Of course, the mini was just announced, and the screen is 5.4 inches. How about the SE 2020? Can those who use this modle share your experiences with me? Would it be better for me to get the SE or the latest mini that was just announced?

Thank you very much!




Submitted by Justin Philips on Tuesday, September 14, 2021

If the home button is important, then the SE 2020 would do. On the flip side, battery capacity is nothing much to write about. Other than that, it is a good phone that is compact and does what you ask of it. If you want a new start, then the Mini would be a good bet, and you will have to use face id. Good luck with your choice!

Submitted by David Lai on Wednesday, September 15, 2021

In reply to by Justin Philips

Good point. I've never thought of that. Actually, I don't mind switching to face ID, as long as my phone has no trouble "seeing" me. :) Any other differences besides that? I'm eager to have a new start if it means better processer and a small form factor.

Submitted by Travis Roth on Wednesday, September 15, 2021

I have had both the iPhone SE 2nd generation and the iPhone Mini 12. This is a bit difficult to picture at first thought, but in fact though the iPhone Mini has a 5.4 inch screen, because of the edge-to-edge screen versus the dated chassis from circa 2016 for the SE 2nd Gen the iPhone Mini is smaller. If I stack them on top of each other it is entirely apparent.
In addition, the iPhone SE 2nd Gen is now two generations back in processors. The A13 is fine and likely will serve you for awhile. But if you like minimizing how often you buy phones which it sounds like, you'll be happier with the Mini 13 longer.
This is anecdotal and I don't know that I could ever prove it, but for me the SE 2nd Gen's display responsiveness just seems a bit sluggish. Even before I upgraded to the Mini 12, I was frustrated at times by seemingly slow response or seeming to miss taps especially towards the edge. Coming from an SE first gen you may not notice. For me it was a bit annoying as I had been using an iPhone XR which had a newer screen design.
Oh by the way, the Mini has MagSafe, and it is really handy to just snap a wireless charger on the back. If you've experienced an Apple Watch charger, like that. Small detail for sure, but nice all the same. Of course you also get the latest camera tech with the Mini. While on this site we presumably don't care tons about the fancy camera effects, better camera is still good for Seeing AI, etc. iOS 15 has new text extraction features too and just a guess that Apple has optimized that more for the latest cameras than old ones.
In short, I recommend the new Mini if you have the budget.

Submitted by David Lai on Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Though it does mean I'll need to save a couple of months worth of my pay, I'm going to get the mini.

Thanks to the post above from Travis Roth, and the detailed breaking down of the pros and cons, as well as a nice description and comparison between the Mini and SE first gen, I'm sold.

Thank you for helping me with my decision!

I guess this also means some gestures and modes of operation will need to be changed, and also I will need a new Lightning to USB-A cable, as well as a screen protector and case. I'll find them all eventually. I'm not in a hurry to finally buy, but I'm going to minimize the times I buy a new iPhone, as well as getting a small screen and greatest processer.

Hopefully this will last me another 5 years or more, and thanks for everything! :)

Submitted by Roxann Pollard on Thursday, September 16, 2021

Although I haven't used the iPhone mini, whenever I'm making the upgrade choice, I always purchase the newest model available, along with the largest capacity of memory that my wallet will allow, all in an effort to future-proof myself as much as possible. Between the two options you were considering, I think you made a great choice. Enjoy the new toy.

Greatly appreciate all this!!! I'm also happy with my decision. I'll get the largest storage my funds can allow, of course.

One more question -- do you find accessories on Apple's website, or some other source? I'm looking for a good screen protector and case.


Submitted by Justin Philips on Thursday, September 16, 2021

Check Amazon and other vendors; read reviews and decide for yourself

Apple is without question the most expensive place to buy accessories. You can buy three packs of screen protectors on Amazon for $10 or less even very soon after new models are released. Cases can be a bit harder to decide because descriptions are not always detailed. But again unless you want one only Apple makes and they do have some nice ones like the leather ones, Amazon will get you far better deals. Just be sure to get a MagSafe compatible case so you can enjoy the MagSafe cables. For example, I picked up one last year for about $20 on Amazon. Good luck finding anything for $20 on Apple.com <smile>

Submitted by Roxann Pollard on Friday, September 17, 2021

Honestly, here in the US, I usually go to Walmart to purchase my case. This way I am able to see at least a portion of the case, depending on the package design. I purchase the Zag glass screen protector from my cell phone provider and have them install it. Then, should it not be properly aligned, they replace it for free right then and there. I prefer the Zag brand as it is military grade. I used to use the flexible, sticky-backed screen protectors but found that at about the one year mark, they seem to begin to lose the adhesive and start pealing away. Since going with the Zag glass screen protector, I haven't looked back and I'm very pleased with the performance of the glass, as opposed to the contact paper-like protectors out there. I never liked the cases that have the screen protector built into them because I found that the sheet of plastic stuff was always just a little raised up from the phone screen, thus making accuracy drop significantly.

Regarding cases, due to the fact that I use the running buddy pouch, purchased on Amazon, as I prefer the very slimline style cases, such as Speck or Raptic, choosing the Zag glass protector works out very nicely. I have the slim line case, but the screen is completely protected from drops. The running buddy pouch uses magnets to connect the back of the pouch to the front of the pouch, when installed on the wasteband of your pants. There is a large pocket that the phone goes into but there is a smaller pocket behind the phone pocket, which I use for dog pick up bags, hand wipes, ID, and keys. All I seem to cary anymore is this style of an EDC pouch. My handbag has only left the house once in the past year. LOL.

Anyway, that was my long-winded way of saying that I prefer to shop local, in order to get my hands on the case, package permitting, and having my provider install the glass protector, thus avoiding unnecessary expense of replacing it, should a mistake during installation occur.


Submitted by David Lai on Friday, September 17, 2021

Thanks for your replies!

I guess a wise thing to do in the future, after getting my phone, is to ask a friend to take me to one of those supermarkets to shop for protector and case. I think that's the most reliable way of doing things, and someone could be there to put the protector on for me. I will not have a provider deal baked into the phone as I have a number and SIM already, so I'll activate on my own.

I believe this is the best balance between being economical and reliable to get the accessories in a physical store. Good tach, thanks again!

Submitted by David Lai on Friday, September 17, 2021

Hi friends,

Today I was thinking, there may be some occasions I need to connect my phone up to listen from my portable speakers. But they take only the 3.5mm jack. So I wonder:

1. Are there any reliable adapters you can recommend that does such things?

2. Is there an adapter that can also allow one to connect the lightning cable? So it simulates one 3.5MM jack and one lightning cable, allowing me to charge over the computer, for example?

I have to say this lack of a headphone jack can be problmatic at times...

On Amazon, I found two adapters that have worked for me. One is just a lightning to 3.5 mm adapter that I use when traveling and another that has a lightning to lightning plus 3.5 mm to allow you to stay connected to power. The other option is the simple lightning to 3.5 mm adapter and a MagSafe charger or Qi charger.



Thank you for sharing these links! I'll buy a splitter so I can have both a 3.5MM and a lightning jack. This is the best way to treat the new Mini as a first-gen SE.

Added question -- have you ever had adapters going out on you? One day suddenly there's no sound or whatever? Do you have to buy extra adapters?

Thanks again!

Submitted by kg6sxy on Monday, September 20, 2021

I have not had any problems with either adapter so far. I leave the one I use for travel connected to the earbuds I travel with. I've only had to buy a replacement adapter when I lost my earbuds.

Submitted by David Lai on Monday, September 20, 2021

In reply to by kg6sxy

Thank you for your descriptions. Amazon has been showing me some bad reviews, though... I'll need to think again. I think your review is more down to earth. Thanks again!

Submitted by Roxann Pollard on Monday, September 20, 2021

I have just the thing. I use the iPhone XS, which sadly doesn't have the headphone jack anymore. Amazon saved the day. I love using the Belkin 3.5mm Audio + Charge Rockstar Adapter, because I can use my standard 3.55 mm headset and charge simultaneously, if need. This adapted is build very well and serves my purposes.


Submitted by Rafal on Monday, September 20, 2021

Hi, I have an iPhone 12 mini and it works much beter than se2020. The latter version should work even faster. If you don't mind faceid and have some money go either for 2 mini or 13 mini.

Submitted by David Lai on Monday, September 20, 2021

Thank you for these replies and suggestions.

I'm definitely going for the iPhone 13 Mini.

Also, as for a 3.5MM adapter / lightning splitter, this will also be an important tool. I'll think about getting it, now I have heard a couple of good reviews and points from you.

Thanks again for helping me with my decision!!!

Submitted by Matthew Whitaker on Wednesday, September 22, 2021

I would get the 13 mini. It has way better battery life... plus the gestures are easy to get use to.