The Best iPhone 12 Mini Cases
The Best iPhone 12 Mini Cases came down to clarity and grip with the Speck Presidio Perfect-Clear Grip iPhone for 12 Mini Case coming out on top, but all the cases listed are solid choices depending on your use case.
The digital rumor mill reports the iPhone12 Mini’s impending demise as Apple’s diminutive member of its flagship line. But I love my iPhone 12. It fits well in my hand, takes wonderful pictures, including superb night vision images, and runs apps as quickly as its bigger brethren. And it didn’t hurt that AT&T offered the iPhone 12 mini as a free upgrade following its release. I quickly traded in my pristine, yet still aging iPhone 8 Plus. I don’t miss the big phone’s overall size or pine for its larger screen real estate. My new blue iPhone 12 mini performs well, and thus deserves, nay, demands, protection for its stout heart.
Choosing an iPhone Case
The extensive Serious Insights report and infographic on how to buy a device case still offer the best advice on case trade-offs across a variety of case styles and device needs. But as new devices arrive, I still test new cases, often with a particular aesthetic bent. Because my iPhone 12 mini sports a beautiful blue coating I didn’t want to cover up its shiny exterior unless I did so with a case even more appealing than Apple’s design. So, I requested only clear cases, except for the one case that no phone in my collection can be without the Twelve South BookBook.
The Twelve South BookBook Vol.2 for iPhone 12 Mini
Seventeen feet of books fill one of my office walls, and those bookcases house hundreds of books. So, my first go-to case is always the Twelve South BookBook, the elegant leather case that makes iPhones and iPads look like books. I have enjoyed reviewing these cases since the beginning of the iPad line. The company’s artsy execution continues even as they increase their technical prowess.
Earlier versions of the BookBook bound the case to the leather cover. This made for some awkward picture-taking. It also made it difficult to slim down an iPhone’s size without removing its completely from its leather enclosure. The iPhone 12 versions now leverage Apple’s favorite gimmick, the magnet.
BookBookVol.2 for iPhone ($69.99 for the iPhone 12 Mini version) now sports a magnetic shell case that attaches to the leather folio. It’s beautiful and it works very well as a case. With the iPhone ensconced in a BookBook, and its leather cover secured by the magnetic exterior flap, there is unlikely a safer case to own should an iPhone take a fall. And it remains a beautiful and functional case, with room in the cover for identification and credit cards (or as a special home for the Apple Card).
But this new BookBook does have an Achille’s spine, rather an Achille’s backplate. That magnet that makes the case an innovative update to it predecessors also interferes with wireless charging. I own several wireless charges and none of them work with the BookBook, even when removed from the leather case. This is disappointing and removes the case as my day-to-day go-to for my mini.
Speck Presidio Perfect-Clear with Grips
For the moment, the $44.95 Speck Presidio Perfect-Clear with grips won the case battle based on simplicity and the extra security afforded by its fluted surface. The Presidio incorporates the latest materials features including Microban antimicrobial protection. It claims 13-foot drop protection (via its IMPACTIUM clear shock barrier) and resistance to yellowing throughout the lifetime of the phone. The case includes a lifetime warranty to back up the marketing claims. A raised front bezel keeps the front of the phone away from surfaces when placed face down.
Speck Presidio Perfect-Clear with Shieldview Glass
There isn’t much to say about the materials on this case that I didn’t already cover above. The $59.99 Presidio delivers a smooth finish as opposed to the grips and ship with Shieldview® glass. Unfortunately, the glass cover lasted less than a day on my phone. To be clear, the glass was fine from a protection standpoint. But despite the “Goof Proof” installation claims, an annoying speck of dust made it under the glass, right in the middle of my screen. With a new phone, I chose not to go through my device honeymoon with a very noticeable flaw in my viewing area. Those who get the glass on without errors will probably enjoy the added protection from the shatter-resistant Shieldview tempered-glass overlay. I bet on Apple’s new display surface to protect my phone until the next time I review a glass overlay or other technology.
Gear4 Crystal Palace SNAP
The $49.99 gear4 Crystal Palace SNAP offers 3rd-party support for Apple’s MagSafe. I don’t own a MagSafe charger, but it appears to fit the profile—but it also obscures the phone’s backplate. It is probably a better feature on a case that isn’t clear.
Beyond the aesthetic issues, the gear4 brings 13ft drop protection to the iPhone mini, complements gear4’s D3O® Crystalex material, which also resists picking up color from surfaces and objects, and won’t yellow over time. The case incorporates RepelFlex® for antimicrobial features. This feature is more about the case than you. It claims to reduce odor-causing bacteria and guard against microorganisms degrading the case. It does not include any statements about not transmitting Covid if sneezed upon.
NËXT Case with MagSafe for iPhone 12 mini
The Lifeproof division of Otterbox offers the NËXT brand, which retails at $89.99 making it the most expensive case on this list (though discounts can be had on the company’s site and on Amazon). It does offer advantages, however, each consumer will need to ask if those advantages are worth the difference in price. First, Lifeprood makes the case with 50% recycled plastic, appealing to the elimination of plastic waste. On the protection from, it features 2-meter drop protection, and sealed ports that block dirt, snow, and debris. You will need to open the charging port if you need a lightning connection, for instance with CarPlay. The case works with every MagSafe charger or accessory I have thrown at it. And for added good measure, the company donates $1 each purchase goes to one of their nonprofit partners.
Catalyst Total Protection
If you need, as the product name suggests, total protection, then Catalyst offers cases that completely encase the phone. The iPhone 12 mini version runs $89.99. Because the phone lives within the Total Protection island, it can be disinfected easily without worry about liquid seeping into open ports. Catalyst goes beyond common water resistance to waterproof with IP-68, which is 33 feet of water. The case will absorb a 6.6-foot drop gained by designing to MIL-STD 810G. The package includes a wrist lanyard. Mute remains available via their patented rotating mute switch. Though the case will charge via MagSafe, I would not recommend doing so at an angle as the attraction is weaker than cases with magnet rings to reinforce the magnet. This is not a case for people who like to change cases frequently, as it requires a bit of snapping together, though catalyst does make removing the Total Protection case pretty easy. The biggest issue is, the more you swap out cases, the more likely dust will enter the system. Going fishing or on a cruise, or even an amusement park? You may want to consider this case to protect your phone. Those who work near water really need to look at Catalyst as an option. And parents with small children might want to consider Total Protection for those toilet drops that would take advantage of the waterproof and ease of cleaning features. And to make you feel better about your investment, Catalyst donates to the CDC Foundation with each buy.
Best iPhone 12 Mini Cases: The Bottom Line
My iPhone 12 Mini currently lives in the NËXT Case with MagSafe. It is a tough case that enhances the iPhone Mini without obstructing the design. I have come to accept the magnet ring obscuring the iPhone design as I employ more MagSafe accessories. The two-piece design doesn’t just feel more protective, but the closed ports prove it. For complete coverage, the BookBook likely offers the best solution when closed, even when compared to a phone that sports the total package from Speck with base and Shieldview Glass. You can’t go wrong with any of these cases, but hopefully, the analysis helps narrow down the choice you might make for your own iPhone Mini use case.
Keep in mind that as the iPhone 12 leaves the market, many of these cases will be available for the newer iPhones, including the 13 family, but they may have slightly different specifications.
The case manufacturers provided the cases for review. Serious Insights does not receive payment from these manufacturers.
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