iPad mini 2021 evaluation: Delightfully small with few caveats

iPad mini 2021 evaluation: Delightfully small with few caveats

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Apple’s redesigned iPad mini packs a strong A15 Bionic right into a pleasantly small and tremendous light-weight package deal, with a couple of trade-offs.

Sometimes an Apple product brings a spark of enjoyment with its first use. The primary Retina show on iPhone 4, Face ID on iPhone X, AirPods, and now iPad mini 6 evokes the identical feeling.

Whereas the flat-edge and rounded nook physique fashion originated with the 2018 iPad Professional, there’s one thing about this design coming to a smaller gadget that feels futuristic and fascinating. Fashionable iPads are universally skinny and lightweight, save the 12.9-inch iPad Professional, however iPad mini takes the shape issue to the moveable excessive.

iPad mini is probably not a productive powerhouse, and its restricted display screen actual property could make multitasking cumbersome, however it shines in distinctive methods in comparison with different iPads. Particularly the Starlight coloration.

iPad mini in Starlight on table with magazine

New iPad mini {hardware} design

iPad mini now shares the identical design language because the iPad Air and iPad Professional. Although this flat-edge iteration of the iPad has existed since 2018, it is enjoyable to see it with an 8.3-inch show.

Regardless of its measurement, the iPad mini feels sturdy, and it might most likely stand up to a drop. Although customers are much less more likely to drop this gadget, contemplating it may be grasped in a single hand. This iPad mini can be the lightest iPad within the lineup, weighing in at simply 0.65 kilos (293 grams).

Back of Apple's smallest iPad

We reviewed the Starlight coloration, which seems glorious throughout various gentle sources and environments. iPad mini is available in 4 coloration choices, Area Gray, Pink, Purple, and Starlight, two fewer choices than the iPad Air.

There is no such thing as a Face ID on the iPad mini, as an alternative it shares the Contact ID / sleep button mixture like on the iPad Air. Coming from an iPad Professional with Face ID, there have been occasions I stared on the display screen ready for it to unlock, solely to recollect Contact ID was ready for my fingerprint.

Contemplating the small measurement and its must dedicate a complete aspect to wi-fi charging for Apple Pencil, the amount buttons are additionally positioned on the highest of the gadget together with Contact ID. These buttons are distinctive in that they alter perform relying on the orientation of the gadget.

Touch ID sensor on the Apple iPad mini
Contact ID on iPad mini

In portrait orientation with the FaceTime digicam on the prime, the appropriate button raises quantity whereas the left lowers it. Flip the iPad mini upside-down, and the buttons flip perform to match the orientation of the display screen.

Whereas an 8.3-inch show could not sound that a lot smaller than the iPad Air’s 10.9-inch show, the scale and weight variations are vital. Having a tool as gentle because the iPad mini interprets to longer hand-held use, which is a considerable benefit for studying, FaceTime calls, and numerous sorts of fieldwork.

Apple iPad mini 6 in Purple

iPad mini 6

Outfitted with the A15 Bionic chip and an edge-to-edge 8.3-inch Liquid Retina show, the 2021 iPad mini (sixth Gen) additionally helps the
second-generation Apple Pencil.

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Use coupon code APINSIDER with this pricing hyperlink in the identical looking session.

Purchase at Amazon
Purchase at B&H

2021 iPad mini – efficiency

iPad mini is powered by the brand new A15 Bionic with Neural Engine, the identical chip within the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Professional. By Geekbench testing, the iPad mini scores 1589 / 4619 in single-core and multi-core respectively. That is barely decrease than the iPhone 13 Professional which scores 1719 / 4469.

iPad mini next to iPhone with Geekbench scores

As anticipated, the iPad mini scores in-between the iPad Air, which nonetheless runs the A14 Bionic, and the M1 iPad Professional. There is not a noticeable distinction in efficiency between the iPad mini and iPad Air throughout real-life use.

In our testing, photograph exports from Lightroom, audio exports from Ferrite, and video renders are noticeably slower on iPad mini vs. M1 iPad Professional. Relying in your mission, it might imply the distinction between a number of seconds or a number of minutes ready on an app to complete exporting.

As with a number of facets of the iPad mini, these variations will probably be most noticeable in comparison side-by-side. If the iPad mini was your solely pill gadget, its efficiency can be greater than sufficient in all however the heaviest computational duties.

Multitasking on the iPad

Multitasking on iPad mini additionally performs admirably. Aspect-by-side apps, Slide Over home windows, and accessing the App Switcher is fluid and speedy. The larger problem when multitasking is the restricted display screen actual property on this pocket-size gadget.

Cameras have additionally been improved on iPad mini, which sports activities a 12-megapixel wide-angle digicam on the rear, and one other 12-megapixel Extremely Extensive front-facing digicam. Customers can now allow Middle Stage on iPad mini that can routinely pan and zoom to concentrate on topics within the body.

Apple additionally introduced heart Stage to the entry-level Ninth-generation iPad, making the iPad Air the one iPad within the lineup missing the Extremely Extensive, front-facing digicam with this function.

iPad mini with purple wallpaper on stand

Battery life is sweet. With average use, the brand new iPad mini will final by means of a day with out difficulty. Given {that a} smaller gadget necessitates a smaller battery, the iPad mini will not see the identical longevity because the iPad Air however is greater than sufficient for many use circumstances.

iPad mini additionally consists of two audio system that present stereo sound when positioned in panorama orientation. It could’t match the very good sound of the 12.9-inch iPad Professional 4-speaker array, however for informal use it sounds terrific.

The Lightning port on earlier iPad mini fashions has been changed with a USB-C port suitable with hubs and docks. Like they will with the iPad Professional and iPad Air, customers can join exterior drives, HDMI shows, and different peripherals utilizing the port.

Home screen on iPad mini with widgets

Liquid Retina Show on the iPad mini

The iPad mini’s 8.3-inch Liquid Retina show sports activities a decision of 2266 by 1488. Whereas these measurements are lower than iPad Air and iPad Professional, the smaller display screen measurement provides iPad mini the very best pixel-per-inch ratio at 326 ppi.

This offers the iPad mini an especially sharp display screen and shows app icons and textual content at a smaller native measurement. For the primary time since proudly owning iPads from the start, I needed to enhance the textual content measurement one notch.

Fortunately, iPadOS 15 permits customers to regulate textual content measurement on a per-app foundation, and there’s a toggle for enabling bigger app icons on the house display screen.

iPad mini on wood table with plants

Now that the iPhone 13 lineup consists of OLED screens, and the bigger 12.9-inch iPad Professional has the unbelievable Liquid Retina XDR show, the iPad mini show can appear lackluster when viewing these gadgets side-by-side. The black ranges on iPad mini cannot compete with OLED shows on the iPhone, or mini-LED on iPad Professional.

Regardless of not being the very best show amongst Apple’s cell gadgets, the iPad mini seems nice in most eventualities, even outdoors in vivid daylight. General, customers will probably be greater than content material with the razor-sharp iPad mini show.

Jelly scrolling?

As soon as the iPad mini began hitting customers, reviews surfaced in regards to the display screen displaying a “wobble.” Whereas mileage could range relying on the variances between any two folks’s eyes, if you happen to look carefully whereas scrolling up and down a listing of albums in Apple Music, or when viewing textual content, the wobble is most seen.

Browsing Apple Music on iPad mini

We have been in a position to seize the wobble on the iPad mini in our video evaluation, however noticed an analogous impact on the 12.9-inch iPad Professional’s ProMotion show. The wobble is much less pronounced on the iPad Professional, and most customers could by no means see it, however it definitely exists.

Apple says that this occurs on all liquid crystal shows, and that is true to some extent, given how LCD works. Nevertheless, it’s extra prevalent on the iPad mini than it’s on different fashions.

Sensitivity to this, and for that matter, having the ability to differentiate between 60Hz and 120Hz within the iPhone 13 Professional fashions, varies very a lot individual to individual. Until customers purposefully stare on the iPad mini’s display screen whereas trying to scroll rapidly to search out the wobble, it’ll most likely go unnoticed in day-to-day use.

We recommend attempting one out in particular person earlier than buy to see if this bothers you.

Consuming media on the iPad mini

A tool just like the iPad mini is ideal for studying. Whether or not it is studying Apple Information, web site articles, or eBooks, customers ought to be capable to maintain the iPad mini for prolonged intervals comfortably.

Steve Jobs book on iPad mini

When studying indoors and in shaded areas, the iPad mini’s show is top-notch. Issues get a bit of extra difficult for those who choose out of doors studying classes. iPad mini is vivid sufficient for many days, even within the Florida sunshine the place we examined it, however having a glass entrance nonetheless invitations a lot of glare.

For heavy book readers, the choice between a brand new Kindle Paperwhite and the iPad mini is troublesome. If customers plan to make use of their studying gadgets outdoors more often than not, like on the seaside or poolside, Kindle’s e-Ink show cannot be crushed. Plus, a brand new Kindle is tons of of {dollars} cheaper.

iPad mini vs Kindle Paperwhite
iPad mini vs. Kindle Paperwhite

Alternatively, Kindle is a single-purpose gadget. If you happen to plan to do something else together with your pill gadget, the iPad mini wins. For all however the die-hard out of doors book customers, the iPad mini can be an important studying gadget.

Wi-fi Connectivity

iPad mini might be bought with 5G mobile information assist for a further $150. Not like the iPhone 12 and newer fashions, or the M1 iPad Professional, iPad mini doesn’t assist mmWave 5G speeds.

Each iPad mini does assist Wi-Fi 6 with simultaneous dual-band and speeds as much as 1.2 Gbps, identical to iPad Air and iPad Professional.


Given the scale of the iPad mini, there isn’t any Magic Keyboard case out there from Apple. As an alternative, customers can pair any Bluetooth keyboard, trackpad, or mouse with the gadget.

If any accent is a must-get with the iPad mini, it is the second-generation Apple Pencil (out there at Amazon). Utilizing Scribble, Apple’s handwriting-to-text function, customers can jot down notes, fill out types, and even search in Safari with ease.

Apple Pencil additionally transforms iPad mini right into a sketchbook, graphic design device, or podcast modifying machine. Whereas the smaller display screen could make a few of these duties barely tedious, iPad mini can deal with all of them.

Dark Cherry Smart Folio case on bookshelf
Darkish Cherry Good Folio Case

There’s additionally a first-party Good Folio case that is available in 5 colours, English Lavender, Darkish Cherry, Electrical Orange, White, and Black. Costing $59, the Good Folio case not solely protects iPad mini however can fold to make a stand excellent for table-top viewing.

Who can purchase the iPad mini?

The brand new iPad mini begins at $499 with 64GB of storage. Most customers ought to improve to 256GB of storage which brings the value to $649. Add mobile connectivity and the whole price of iPad mini involves $799.

Evaluating this to a $139 Kindle Paperwhite is a troublesome capsule to swallow for the book readers on the market. If studying books is your main use for a brand new pill, think about the brand new Kindle gadgets that embody USB-C for charging and an adjustable heat gentle show.

Starlight color in the sun

If you happen to do not already personal an iPad of any type, the query of shopping for an iPad mini is extra difficult. Given the small display screen actual property, its usefulness as a productiveness gadget is restricted.

Customers trying to purchase their very first iPad could need to think about the iPad Air. Whereas it could lack some options like Middle Stage, 5G mobile information, and has the year-old A14 Bionic processor, the bigger display screen and compatibility with Magic Keyboard make it a greater combo for work and play.

The iPad mini is a superb choice for individuals who already personal a bigger iPad, particularly if it is a number of years previous, and need a smaller, moveable gadget. It is going to be arduous to beat iPad mini’s function set when used to complement different gadgets or specialised use circumstances like heavy vacationers or these working within the subject.

Plus, it is simply enjoyable to make use of and a delight to carry.

2021 iPad mini execs

  • Very gentle and moveable
  • Succesful A15 Bionic chip
  • Sharp, Liquid Retina show
  • USB-C Port
  • Lovely design

2021 iPad mini cons

  • Tedious multitasking
  • “Jelly scroll” could or could not make a distinction to you
  • Excessive price ticket versus the entry degree iPad
  • No Face ID
  • Not ideally suited for out of doors studying

Rating: 4 out of 5

The place to purchase

YourNextApp readers can save on each new mannequin within the iPad mini 2021 Value Information, with immediate financial savings and unique reductions at your fingertips.

On the time of this iPad mini evaluation, Expercom is marking down each capability and end with this particular pricing hyperlink. Amazon additionally periodically affords money reductions on the tablets.

iPad mini 2021 evaluation: Delightfully small with few caveats

iPad mini 6


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