Apple iPad Mini (6th Gen.) review: Unmatched portability and power Review

Victoria D. Doty

I’ve only ever owned one particular iPad Mini. I purchased the to start with one particular, produced in 2012, and I quickly changed my main iPad with it as a composing machine. The experiment wasn’t long-lived. Confident, I relished being equipped to put it in the back pocket of my jeans or properly have it all around in my internal coat pocket. But, immediately after a few of months, I missed the more substantial display screen of the iPad for work. 

On the other hand, for the final 7 days, I’ve been using the 6th Generation iPad Mini, which is at the moment accessible for buy for $499, with orders arriving as quickly as this Friday, Sept. 24. 

I would be lying if I claimed I wasn’t unquestionably fascinated by it. It is really scaled-down than the iPad Mini’s ahead of it but has a more substantial display screen — and it exists in a environment the place smartphone displays, these kinds of as the Iphone thirteen Pro Max and its display screen, are commonplace. 

Right before the Mini arrived, I believed I had figured out the place and when it would suit into my day-to-day routine. My prediction finished up being somewhat suitable — it truly is an outstanding machine to sit down on the counter and tap or swipe all around. But there are a several areas the place the iPad Mini has surprised me. To me, it truly is crystal clear there is certainly a pretty specific kind of client who wants an iPad Mini. I also am setting up to believe these traces are turning into blurrier. 


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A fresh new but common (re)structure

The iPad Mini has absent Pro, just like the iPad Air ahead of it. That is, Apple has eradicated the iconic house button which is been existing on all five generations of the iPad Mini ahead of it. The rounded edges have been changed with flat edges on all 4 sides, and there is certainly now a place to connect and demand the 2nd-generation Apple Pencil magnetically. The Lightning port has been swapped out for a USB-C port. 

Eliminating the house button allowed Apple to expand the iPad Mini display screen dimensions, going from seven.nine-inches to eight.three inches, with no raising the dimensions of the pill itself. In truth, the new Mini is scaled-down than its predecessors, measuring seven.sixty nine x 5.three x .25-inches, in contrast to eight. x 5.three x .24-inches, inspite of the more substantial display screen. 

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The new Mini is the 2nd machine in Apple’s lineup that functions a Contact ID fingerprint reader embedded in what Apple’s contacting the top button. It works just as speedy and sleek as it did on the iPad Air. Just like the house button with Contact ID beneath it, the top button on the Mini doesn’t involve you to press it in order for it to scan your fingerprint and unlock the iPad. That claimed, I’ve found myself urgent the button to wake the iPad although concurrently unlocking it using Contact ID. 

Also found on the top of the iPad Mini are the volume up and down buttons. The experience facet of the housing is the place the 2nd-gen Apple Pencil attaches to the Mini, serving as an accessible place to location the stylus when not in use although concurrently charging it. 


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On the base of the Mini is a USB-C port. The change to USB-C on the Mini usually means only the entry-amount iPad works by using a Lightning link. And, of training course, all Iphone products. 

When keeping the Mini vertically, alongside the top of the display screen is a new 12-megapixel ultra-broad FaceTime camera. When using the camera for movie phone calls, be it on FaceTime, Zoom or WebEx, the camera will adhere to you all around and make absolutely sure you happen to be in see at all periods. If there are several people with you, it will ensure anyone can be witnessed, zooming in and out as people enter and go away the place. 

We to start with observed Center Phase on the 2021 iPad Pro lineup, and it truly is setting up to trickle down the lineup, creating its way to the iPad Mini and 9th generation iPad. Leaving the iPad Air as the only pill with no the pleasurable and pretty handy element. On the back of the Mini is a 12-megapixel camera that can history 4K movie. 

A thing is refreshing about the structure of the iPad Mini, even however we have by now witnessed the exact same flat-edged solution on several Apple devices. Apple has standardized the look by using it on the Iphone 12, Iphone thirteen, iPad Pro, iPad Air, and iPad Mini. 

The new Mini will come in purple, pink, starlight or room grey. You have the option of both 64GB or 256GB of storage. 


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Fitting the iPad Mini into your workflow

Inside the iPad Mini is Apple’s A15 Bionic processor with a six-core CPU, 5-core GPU and a 16-core Neural Motor for Equipment Understanding. Which is a lot of jargon, but it distils down to a overall performance enhance, no matter if you happen to be just checking electronic mail, taking part in games or using the new multitasking equipment in iPadOS fifteen. 

The eight.three-inch Liquid Retina display screen has a resolution of 2266 x 1488. It is really vibrant, hues are vivid, and the textual content appears crisp. As for connectivity, you will get an 802.11ax Wi-Fi six link with a suitable Wi-Fi network at house, Bluetooth 5. and the cellular design will come with 5G. To be crystal clear, the Mini’s 5G cellular link will only work with a carrier’s Sub-six network. Which is at the moment the most common kind of 5G network right here in the US, which most of the time is quicker than 4G LTE. The lack of mmWave assist in the Mini will certainly disappoint and frustrate some people, specially these enterprise people who have mmWave protection in an office or warehouse. 

Though it truly is significant to chat about the components that make up a machine, but the authentic tale lies with really using the machine. Right before I detail the place and how I utilised the iPad Mini in my day-to-day workflow, allow me give you some qualifications. I routinely change among a MacBook Pro and iPad Pro, depending on what I am operating on. Recording podcasts, movies and some enhancing duties are when you uncover me on my MacBook Pro. The iPad Pro is commonly what I am sitting in entrance of outside the house of these areas — typically connected to an exterior watch. 

I you should not typically use my iPad Pro as a consumption machine, be it to observe random YouTube movies or to read through a guide. It is really a work machine, by means of and by means of. 


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When testing the iPad Mini, I tried using to use it in a wide range of approaches. I typed out a several long-winded email messages for work, triaged Slack messages in work-associated teams, and exchanged iMessages with my family members. All through all of these routines, the Mini felt speedy, fluid and responsive. I struggled to determine out the great situation and method to kind on the Mini’s display screen when keeping the pill horizontally. Even now, I could kind with no challenge when turning it into a vertical orientation when the Mini is narrower to hold. 

I have been using the GoodNotes app on my iPad Pro to make a day-to-day job record or jot down notes in the course of meetings and briefings. But the dimensions of the iPad Pro lying on my desk is one thing which is generally frustrated me with the encounter. It normally takes up way too considerably room on my desk, and I are not able to uncover a cozy set up to use my iPad Pro as a observe-using machine. With the iPad Mini, on the other hand, its compact dimensions is more manageable. I you should not have to shift my keyboard and mouse or trackpad out of the way to make room. In just a several several hours, the iPad Mini swiftly grew to become my desired machine for using notes. 

All through my time testing, I naturally gravitated to the iPad Mini for duties that I commonly utilised my Iphone 12 Pro for. Issues like reading through a guide in the Kindle application, or performing study in Safari about a new solution, observing YouTube movies, or even streaming an NFL sport on this earlier Sunday. With the addition of Center Phase for movie phone calls, it truly is also been what I’ve utilised for personalized phone calls and meetings the place notes weren’t necessary. 

In the earlier, I desired to use a Kindle for reading through just due to the fact it lacked any form of interruptions that appear with using a machine, like an iPad, which is also connected to far way too numerous communication equipment. So with the iPad Mini, which ships with iPadOS fifteen, I established up a new Aim manner that quickly turns on each time I open up the Kindle application. It blocks all alerts and messages from displaying up although I am reading through and then turns off once I go away the application. I believe the focus will end up being one particular of the most important additions to iOS fifteen and iPadOS fifteen. 

With a more substantial display screen than my Iphone 12 Pro, but a scaled-down overall footprint than my iPad Pro, the Mini lends itself to being a machine you decide up and shift all around with. I typically went from the couch to the patio to the hammock with the Mini in hand. Which is one thing I would never do with my 12.nine-inch iPad Pro and would wait to do it with the 9th Gen iPad. 

Battery lifetime has lived up to the promise that is each and every iPad’s battery lifetime — approximately ten several hours of use. In my testing, I was equipped to get by means of a few of days’ well worth of use ahead of I necessary to demand it. 


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Who is the iPad Mini for?

From the moment Apple announced the new iPad Mini, I’ve repeatedly questioned myself, “Who is the iPad Mini for? Who purchases it? And do they use it for?” Do mothers and fathers invest in it for their kids? Do people invest in the Mini in its place of a Kindle? Or is it a notebook replacement machine for some? 

My inside dialogue gets even more perplexing when I get started to assess the iPad lineup as a total. Wanting at the iPad lineup with no any costs, arranging the tablets in order of dimensions, the iPad Mini helps make sense. But when you prepare by cost, the lineup starts to get perplexing. 

The iPad Mini starts at $499, although the more substantial 9th Generation iPad starts at $329. Granted, the Mini has newer components, each inside of and out. That involves the most current processor, 5G assist, an up-to-date structure, enhanced display screen and 2nd-generation Apple Pencil assist. On paper, it truly is clearly the improved pill, and that on your own can be utilised to justify the cost big difference. Where I acquired stuck in my line of wondering, and I would think about other consumers will as effectively, is only on the lookout at the iPad Mini’s relative dimensions in contrast to other iPad products. It is really scaled-down, so it should value considerably less. Apple works by using that exact solution with the Iphone 12 Mini and Iphone thirteen Mini. It is really the smallest in the lineup and also the least pricey. 

In the end, I believe the kind of person who purchases the iPad Mini is a mixture of several use situations. It helps make for a great Kindle substitute. The Mini is a great Nintendo Change replacement, boosted by Apple Arcade. And for someone who prioritizes portability over a massive display screen, it truly is a effective, if not contemporary edition, of a netbook. 


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Bottom line

The iPad Mini is one particular heck of an update over the former generation. The new structure is refreshing, although the upgraded internals and more substantial display screen mix for solid overall performance and battery lifetime. The star of the clearly show right here, however, is how easy it is to acquire the Mini with you. 

If owning the means to put a effective pill in your purse, jacket pocket or have-on with no using up way too considerably room is a precedence for you, then I are not able to believe of a solitary pill improved suited to fill that position than the iPad Mini.

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