a photo of an original iPhone SE, showing the time 12:11After using my trusty old iPhone SE for 3½ years, yesterday I took the plunge and switched over to an iPhone 12 mini. The phone I replaced was my first-ever iPhone, and while I don’t think I was immediately like, “Wow, iPhones are so much better than Androids!” over time I came to be super impressed by how its performance never deteriorated (except the battery capacity, but a replacement fixed that) and the steady stream of security and feature updates, all direct from Apple and not held up for months, years or maybe forever by whoever keeps doing that for Android updates. So when it came time to look for an upgraded model, I’d become pretty sure a long time ago that it was going to be another iPhone.

When rumours started swirling about the then-upcoming “iPhone 12” line including a smaller model, I started getting excited. My previous phone, before the iPhone SE, had been a Samsung Galaxy S4, and while I used the thing diligently for three years it annoyed me pretty much the entire time that the screen was too wide to type on comfortably one-handed. And I have a disability that gives me very limited use of my right arm, so typing one-handed is really important to me! Three years I spent I spent with that Galaxy S4 hitting the “O” key half the time when I wanted the “P” key. At 70mm, it was just that 5mm or so too wide for me. The original iPhone SE is 58mm wide, which in comparison is bliss to type on. If the iPhone mini had never been released, my upgrade path would probably have had to have been the second-gen iPhone SE, but at 67.4mm I was worried it’d still be that bit too wide. Thankfully the 12 mini came along to save me from my conundrum – at 64mm wide, it certainly feels substantially bigger than my old phone but I’m having no dramas typing with it. Life is good.

a photo of an iPhone 12 mini boxAs for why I actually chose now to upgrade… I’ll admit it’s not like I really had to; I fully expect my SE to last another couple of years at least. But my younger sister still had her Galaxy S4 from back when that was the phone we both used, and while mine was sluggish by the time I replaced it three years ago, hers had become so glitchy it was barely usable. (Not reliably usable, that’s for sure.) So while I could have held out for a 12S or 13 mini, I thought it’d be nicer to make the switch now and hand my old phone down to her while she can still get a solid couple of years of use out of it (and maybe more, considering how long she’s kept the Galaxy S4 going).

I won’t deny, either, that the new iPhones have features that made it very tempting to switch. The biggest one for me is the improved camera, especially Night Mode. My old iPhone camera was fantastic in broad daylight, but not so good in dim lighting. Because of my aforementioned disability I can’t really use digital cameras either (well, I might be able to if they made left-handed ones, but alas…), so having a solid camera in my phone is really, really nice. A distant second to that is probably eSIM support, so I can, say, have a travel SIM installed without having to remove my Australian SIM. (Not that that’s likely to be useful any time soon, but probably within the lifetime of the phone it will.) But the camera, ooh yeah.

So anyway, last night my partner and I caught up with my younger sister at our favourite local bar, and I handed my old phone (properly wiped and all, of course) to her, packaged up with accessories like the cases I had for it and the charging cable it came with (which then meant I had to buy a new charging cable for myself, because Apple decided to only package a light­ning-to-USB-C cable with the new phone… bruh what). I didn’t want to give it to her as my Christmas present because it seems kind of rude to wrap up your old things you don’t want any more as Christmas presents 😂 and I also thought she might want to have it for Christmas, like already set up and ready to go taking photos and things. So she’ll get actual presents from me as well! But I hope she finds her new-to-her phone a lot more pleasant to use than her old one.

As for me, I’m enjoying my 12 mini! To wrap things up, a couple of photos of the three of us chillin’ in the bar’s courtyard yesterday (and a disclaimer for those worried about COVID safety – Melbourne currently has zero known local transmission of coronavirus, so any risk was minimal). They were taken around sunset, so I’m thrilled with how they came out – much better than my SE would’ve managed! Here’s to numerous years with this by my side 😏

a photo of a young man and woman in a beer garden around sunset, both smiling broadlya photo of a young woman in make-up and a woollen jumper warming her hands over a candle on the table