Hello, I’m Michael Sliwinski, founder of Nozbe - to-do app for business owners and their teams. I write essays, books, work on projects and I podcast for you using #iPadOnly in #NoOffice as I believe that work is not a place you go to, it’s a thing you do. More…

The joy of iPhone 13 Mini and how it still beats the latest Samsung Galaxy 23 Ultra


Last year instead of upgrading from iPhone 13 Pro to 14 Pro, I “upgraded” to iPhone 13 Mini. I just loved the small form factor and the one-handed use of an iPhone. Today, after half a year I’m still happy with my choice and as Apple probably won’t release any new Mini in the future, I might be tempted to keep this phone for a few more years to come. Crazy, right? However, using it every day what blows me away the most is how powerful this small phone really is, and in some aspects it even runs circles around the latest and the greatest Samsung smartphone - the Galaxy 23 Ultra! No kidding, read on:

The joy of iPhone 13 Mini and how it still beats the latest Samsung Galaxy 23 Ultra

A 1.5 year old iPhone Mini beats the latest Samsung 23 Ultra in performance benchmarks!

Comparing my cute iPhone Mini to the latest Samsung device serves only one purpose - to prove to myself and to you - that this small iPhone is still a fast smartphone and that it might serve me great for many more years to come. It also shows how much faster the A-series processors are ahead of its rivals.

What prompted me to write this post was MKBHD’s test of the Samsung Galaxy 23 Ultra where he wrote that this smartphone was “better than you think” and when I saw this phone test scores, I actually realized that a tiny and cute smartphone in my pocket - iPhone 13 Mini is truly both better and more powerful than you think. Here’s why:

Geekbench score - iPhone Mini is 15% faster than Galaxy Ultra

Single-Core Score for my iPhone 13 Mini is at 1728 which is 15% faster than the 1509 of the Samsung Galaxy 23 Ultra. That’s right, my Mini is still significanly more powerful than the latest and the greatest from Samsung (or Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy).

Multi-Core Score is almost the same, the iPhone 13 Mini is only 2% slower (4589) vs the Ultra (4714). There’s barely a difference.

Speedometer - iPhone Mini is TWICE as fast!

Speedometer 2.0, which is a test for HTML/JavaScript rendering speed, my iPhone 13 Mini is more than twice as fast! The A15 chip blows the Snapdragon out of the water with 321 points to 146. For the context, my M1-powered iPad 13 Pro is only slightly faster at 331. So yes, for browsing web sites on the go, my Mini will be faster than many more upcoming Samsung phones years more in the future.

What about other tests and aspects? Not so bad either!

There are many more tests we can run and of course in some of them the Samsung flagship phone has the edge over the Mini, especially when it comes to graphics performance.

Samsung Ultra also has a dynamic-refresh rate display, something the Mini doesn’t have - and it’s my main complaint about it vs the iPhone Pro. I do miss the fluid pro-motion display.

Camera system is also better in Pro iPhones and in the Samsung Ultra. Especially I’m blown away by MKBHD’s demo of the zoom on the Samsung. Yet, the photos my Mini takes are not bad at all!

Looking at all these specs and tests what struck me the most is that my last-gen iPhone Mini is not really that much slower than the current latest iPhones and can be even faster than Android flagships. This really reassures me that this phone is a keeper! And will probably serve me past the iPhone 15 or even 16? We’ll see.

The joy of using the smallest iPhone

My wife has an iPhone 13 Pro Max. Whenever I pick up her phone, I’m stunned how heavy and bulky it is. I’m just used to super light Mini. It’s because the Mini gives me maximum joy:

What I’d love to have on the Mini is the 120Hz pro-motion display and a better battery. Maybe in a year or two, I’ll replace the battery for a new one with bigger capacity just like I did it with my daughter’s iPhone SE?

The iPhone 13 Mini - the most powerful small smartphone ever?

Or the most joyful? Or both?

I don’t care. I love it and it does blow me away that it can be faster than the latest flagships from its competitors!

Monday, February 13, 2023 /mini13ultra/