The iPad Mini has been overlooked for years, with Apple prioritizing an improvement in specs here and there rather than a full upgrade. But for 2021, unlike the barely noticeable changes to the entry-level iPad, Apple has redesigned the iPad Mini in an effort to bring it more in line with the rest of its tablet offerings.
We’ve spent six days testing the new iPad Mini and are here to answer the question: who exactly is this miniature tablet – which barely surpasses the iPhone 13 Pro Max in terms of size – for?
Portability with power
The iPad Mini is the perfect device for someone who wants an ultraportable tablet that doesn’t sacrifice performance for size.
Who is he talking to : The ipad mini is the perfect device for someone who wants an ultra-portable tablet that doesn’t sacrifice performance for size.
What would you like to know: While the iPad Mini has a smaller 8.3-inch screen, it’s just as powerful as the iPad, iPad Air, and even iPad Pro in some ways. The screen size does impose some constraints on multitasking, however, and the device lacks a smart connector for easy attachment of accessories.
How it compares: In one-on-one use, the ipad mini Outperforms other smaller tablets like the Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 in battery life and faster experience across the board – apps open faster and content looks better. Compared to other iPads, the iPad Mini is faster than the ninth generation and on par with the ipad air for most tasks. You may, however, feel a bit more constrained on the 8.3 inch screen compared to a 10.2 or 11 inch display, especially when trying to use two apps at once.
The iPad Mini is almost ridiculously portable. The 8.3 inch tablet can easily be held with one hand. It’s pretty impressive and won’t cause strain on your hand (or hands) when in use. And let’s talk about the elephant in the room: it costs a lot more than a Fire HD 8 Where Fire 7, but it also trades in a nice plastic build for a much more premium build.
Like the iPhone 13 or the ipad air, the border is a flat, smooth aluminum with markings for the antenna strips if you have a cellular unit. The top of the device, when held vertically (or the left when held horizontally), features speakers, volume up and down, and a power button with Touch ID . And while there are a minimum of bezels that could have accommodated the TrueDepth sensor for Face ID, Apple decided to go for Touch ID in the same way they did on the iPad Air. The fingerprint sensor was basically inserted into the power button and finished off with a piece of frosted glass. Adding a fingerprint or two was really quick, and it was great to use. We do not miss the home button on the ipad mini at all – it’s a more functional design that way. It’s also in a pretty good spot, regardless of how you hold the tablet.
The bottom of the tablet houses another key change: the USB-C port. Apple’s proprietary Lightning port has disappeared from this device and opens the door to interactions for the iPad Mini. You can plug in an external drive or more universally acceptable dongle to transfer data. The real win, however, is that it might allow you to clean up the number of chargers you need to bring with you. There is also a USB-C to USB-C cable in the box with a 20 watt wall outlet. And with the iPad Mini featuring USB-C, the ninth generation iPad remains the only tablet to feature a Lightning port.
The back of the tablet is pretty clean with a 12-megapixel camera sticking out and eliminating the possibility of the Mini lying flat on its own.
The ipad mini is available in four colors: purple, pink, Starlight (silver) and Space Gray.
The real star is the 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display. In our testing, colors were accurate with a bit more vividness and deeper points of contrast compared to the previous iPad Mini. In fact, the display performance is roughly in line with that of the iPad Air. The images look lifelike and when capturing a video, the content flows naturally onto the screen.
Another area of improvement in the display is the use of Apple Pencil – compared to the previous iPad Mini, there is less latency and handwritten text seems to flow onto the digital screen more realistically. .
This is the second generation Apple Pencil, however, and it can be magnetically attached to the right side of the device. This not only keeps the two devices together, but the ipad mini will also wirelessly charge the Apple Pencil.
The bezels here don’t bother us at all and, on the contrary, we found them to offer a bit more space to hold the iPad Mini itself. With such a small device, measuring only 7.69 inches high and 5.3 inches wide, you need enough space to hold it and use it effectively.
And the top (when held vertically) contains the all-important 12-megapixel front-facing camera, which also powers Face ID and the TrueDepth sensor. It also brings its Center Stage feature, which makes the iPad Mini a perfect tool for video calls and content capture. During a FaceTime or video call, your face will be kept in the frame and enlarged a bit. If you get up to move around or have a drink, it will move and move around to keep you in frame.
The iPad Mini belies the general idea that a smaller device correlates with fewer features or less power.
The iPad Mini is powered by the A15 Bionic processor made by Apple, the same that powers the iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max. It can handle business apps like Slack, Outlook, Word (in fact, the entire Office suite), Photoshop, business systems, and even spreadsheets. In side-by-side tests against ipad air and even the 11-inch iPad Pro, it’s almost on par with all of those core tasks. It is capable in a way that many other smaller tablets are not. A Fire HD 7 or Fire HD 8 probably couldn’t handle full movie production or batch image edits in the same way.
We will report that Apple does not publish Magic keyboard or Smart Keyboard for the iPad Mini – and that’s a little frustrating, because we think it’s untapped potential. The iPad Mini packs a lot of power and could be a great ultra-portable way to do away with papers, emails, or general work tasks. You can use Bluetooth to pair a keyboard and even a trackpad, but a case would have made this device more assembled. Apple also didn’t include a smart connector in the design here.
You may also feel free to multitask, but be aware that going for the split screen gives you a bit of space for each task. In our eyes, we see better the ipad mini like the original iPad in that it lets you focus on a task at hand.
The 8.3-inch screen and the overall size of the ipad mini also makes it ideal for consumption. Catching up with “Ted Lasso,” the return of “The Morning Show” or even a return to “Lizzie McGuire” (we have a wide range of tastes) has been a joy on the device of this size. It is quite easy to take along for a car ride, to get on the train or to watch in bed or lying on the couch. Yes, we’ll admit that was some of our hardcore testing and even a light tablet hurts when it falls on your face while you fall asleep.
Its screen size and overall build are also similar to that of a Nintendo Switch, and playing on the iPad Mini is a fun time. We tried out a first demo of Catalyst Black (a Fortnite-style title that will arrive in the coming weeks), which performed like a champ on the device. The same goes for Real Flight Simulator, which can sometimes throw the graphics into a dizzying state. We had clear virtual sight lines during the flight, and Mini Metro was a pretty relaxing way to end the day by creating an underground railroad setup. The processor inside is sufficient for almost any game title you can play locally on an iPad.
The point being: the size is ideal for viewing or interacting with content, as well as reading a book digitally. It really is a catch-all device that aims to be a jack-of-all-trades iPad in an ultra-portable size.
Discard the size of the equation and the ipad mini is just as powerful as almost any other iPad. In fact, he passed the ipad air and ninth generation iPad in our qualitative tests. And similar to our experience on the iPhone 13, the A15 is an efficient chip. Apple promised up to 10 hours of playtime, and we exceeded it in our battery test. In this test, we set the brightness to 50% and played a looping video until the device turned off. We also disabled all connectivity and monitored it with dual cameras for redundancy. The iPad Mini lasted 10 hours and 45 minutes.
Like the iPad Pro last spring, Apple is adding 5G support in the cellular models of the ipad mini. There is a small problem, however, as only one of the basic standards for 5G in the United States is supported here.
The iPad Mini supports the 5G Sub-6, which is available more widely nationwide on AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon. It’s not the lightning-fast 5G standard, however – it’s mmWave, and it’s exclusive to the iPad Pro in Apple’s range of tablets.
To an extent Apple is realistic because you might not be in the 5G mmWave market, but Sub-6 is more likely to be nationwide. When using Cellular on the iPad Mini and connected to 5G, you can expect speeds similar to 4G LTE at 100-300 Mbps. The real benefit of using a 5G Sub-6 network would be that there is more room on the network.
Cellular is not standard on any iPad, however, and you will be charged an additional $ 150 if you wish.
There is a lot to love in the ipad mini – it has a vibrant display and a hugely upscale processor, and it really lets you do anything an iPad can do … with a few size constraints. Multitasking can be a bit tricky, and there’s no dedicated keyboard case.
You just really need to be below the waist and looking for an ultra-portable solution. And if you’re a former iPad Mini owner, this is probably the model you’ve been waiting for.
If you’re new to iPad, however, it may be best to consider the options. For an additional $ 100, you can tag the iPad Air, which has many of the same features and sports a smart connector for easy attachment of accessories. For less, the $ 329 iPad is a more basic device but capable of doing many of the same tasks without serious loss of performance.
Apple’s iPad Mini is on order now – starting at $ 499 – and will start arriving on September 24.