Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Finding Small Delights

Monty Hayter, like me, was upgrading from an iPhone X this year and struggled a bit with which model to choose, for pretty much the same reasons. Yes, the 12 Pro Max has a much better camera system, but it is large. The Mini is a little more special because its size is so unique. The ones in the middle are compromises. What to choose?

Oddly enough, it was all the excitement about the M1-based Macs that gave me clarity: I was having a hard time because unlike every other time, what I wanted and was excited about was neither the most practical option nor the top of the line model.

So I’m going with my emotional choice and getting an iPhone 12 mini. It is not the most sensible choice. I will find the size awkward when the time comes to log in to a server and make some urgently needed change. There will be times where I regret not having the 2x lens, or Night Mode portraits.

Sometimes, you just have to go with your gut.

The best products will drive you mad a very small amount of the time, but you put up with it because they are so wonderful elsewise. My camera has a truly terrible lens cap that makes a very loud metallic clang every time it falls off, which is a lot. In a rejection of Fitts’ law, the rotating power switch has the single shooting mode — which is probably the one you want to use most of the time — in the middle between off and continuous. If you cycle through viewfinder display options, you can somehow bring the camera into video mode, a feature I have never willingly used. Its processor sometimes cannot keep up with displaying the correct image, so it will jump from, say, the hundredth shot on the card to the second. But I love it all the same. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

It is odd to talk about electronics this way, isn’t it? The iPhone is a mass-produced object, but it is built with the same attention to detail as something hand-crafted, if not higher. It feels durable, personal, and special. Hayter captures it well: these things may just be objects but, however silly it may seem, they can be truly delightful.