The iPad mini was crying out for a makeover. Despite the fact that in 2019 Apple surprised us with the arrival of a new version of the iPad mini (the fifth generation numbered), the company’s strategy had been characterized by keep the same design from launch for four full generations, with tiny changes.
This was a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it was one of the most powerful iPads of the moment, but it was still charging behind its back with a button design home and large upper and lower frames, which certainly They greatly affected the most interesting point of the device: its size.
Furthermore, the rest of the range had already embarked on a different path. The iPad Pro 2018 hit the market with a more angular, borderless design and with Face ID. Apple subsequently repeated this strategy with last year’s iPad Air, which dispensed with Face ID in favor of Touch ID but, despite this, the company had managed to manage it. apply a similar design to the Pro.
Both movements left the iPad mini on tricky ground: On the one hand, the classic design and part of the intrinsic characteristics of the entry iPad were maintained, but with a price that made it a slightly more complicated option to recommend than that of the aforementioned entry model (cheaper).
In addition, the fifth-generation iPad mini still included the same type of display. And its compatibility with pencil-shaped input devices was limited to the first model of the Pencil and the set of accessories. Lightning.
Perhaps in 2019 it was a bit early to expect a renewal of the iPad mini like the one we have today. Both the construction system and the design at that time were intended for the Pro range, whose price (and performance) was quite different from the rest of the range, although not its intrinsic utility.
However, when in 2020 Apple renewed the iPad Air and launched this new design that came to unify the range (although with differences), we knew that the iPad mini was going to follow the same path sooner or later. And is that, although the smallest model of iPad has less travel in the market than the rest, the niche of users who are lovers of the mini was crying out to take better advantage of the size of the screen. And that inevitably happened through delete button home and narrow the edges.
And this is what Apple has brought to the table. The new iPad mini, the sixth generation since its initial launch, brings with it a new design. Perhaps new is not the word if we compare it with the rest of the iPad range, but without a doubt it is for the smallest of the house. The strategy is similar to that of the iPad Air that we analyzed last year. The same, actually. And we won’t have to wait many years to see the play repeated with the cheapest iPad.
The best way to define the 6th generation iPad mini is to do it as a Miniature iPad Air in terms of design. Both of them mount the same screen Liquid Retina True Tone screen whose only difference is the size of it. While the iPad Air has a 10.9-inch panel, that of the iPad mini drops to 8.3 inches. By keeping the same device design in a smaller and more compact package we have some additional benefit: the weight of the iPad mini is only 297 grams, much less than the 450 grams of the Air. And that shows a lot in the hand.
Being someone who has tried both models, I can say that the differences in use and in carrying and bringing both iPads from one place to another are night and day. And all this without sacrificing their capabilities, since both offer exactly the same functionalities. What’s more, examining the specs of both, the iPad mini offers even more value today than the 2020 iPad Air.
One of the main differences is found in 5G connectivity, which in our tests offers the same results that we have in terminals such as the iPhone 12. In the center of Madrid, it reaches 280Mbps in a sustained way, well above what we need to watch streaming content in 4K or for daily work .
Same A15 Bionic chip as iPhone 13, guaranteed power
The iPad mini is a formidable piece of equipment for day-to-day work. Perhaps its screen size is not generous enough to work on video or photos with the same comfort as in other models with the larger screen – that is, the device is compatible with Apple’s Pencil 2, which was launched with the models Pro-. But it does allow it to be used as a true all-rounder thanks to the extra power of the A15 Bionic chip, which we remember is the same one that mounts the iPhone 13 and 13 Pro with some variations to adapt it to the device.
This allows the team to work with a little more ease than the iPad Air in all situations and including 4K video editing, that can be poured directly from a professional camera to the iPad thanks to the fact that Apple has included USB-C in the smallest of the house.
Therefore, although we say that its screen is not so comfortable for intensive graphic work, it is the perfect equipment for mobile work. Both for its very low weight and for its incredible power and the ease with which he works in all the situations in which we can put him to the test. Of course, we must bear in mind that the iPad mini completely discards the Smart Connector, so its compatibility with keyboards and accessories is limited to Bluetooth.
The new iPad mini does not make concessions neither in screen quality nor in autonomy
Its screen is also sharper than that of the iPad Air since the Liquid Retina of the iPad mini, thanks to the reduction of its effective inches, skyrocket their pixel density to 326 pixels per inch. It maintains, of course, the maximum brightness at the same values as its older brother (500 typical nits), P3 and the full color gamut.
Regarding the iPad Air we also won the Framing Centeror, the function that makes the iPad “Follow you” when you make a video call or zoom in when a new subject appears on the scene.
Autonomy, on the other hand, is one of the things that has surprised us the most: the battery of the iPad mini has perfectly withstood everything that we have thrown on it, and although the intensive use of 5G or video editing (export , rather) is quite demanding, any user will find their expectations fulfilled in this section in a daily workday. In addition, Apple has included a 20W charger with the iPad mini, so the charges are quite fast despite the fact that, officially, it does not have something similar to what we consider fast charge.
The rest of the options offered by the iPad mini are intrinsic to the entire range. iPadOS 15 is the culprit for unifying the user experience between all devices, and in our tests we have not found differences between working with one device to another. For this reason, the value of the iPad mini remains, without a doubt, its portability and its size.
Those who have an iPhone Pro Max may find the iPad mini absurd with respect to the screen extra What we win. Or that anyone looking to consume content falls short, but without a doubt this iPad mini fits perfectly in the niche of consumers who are looking for a compact mobile device to work with. And that no matter how small it is, it allows you to perform any type of task, even those until now limited to the iPad Pro.
The USB-C and the improvements in the camera are perhaps the most interesting section that the professional user will look for, but Apple Pencil 2 compatibility also opens the door to creative work; whose greatest limitation will be, of course, in the screen size.
6th generation iPad mini: is it worth it?
So is it worth it? Well, it depends. The iPad mini is a capable device and is well above average in all situations. But its compact size and 8.3-inch screen are the most important point to consider in the purchase decision. iPadOS 15, the A15 chip, the USB-C and the Pencil 2 offer everything and more than what any user can hope for, but each will have to examine if the size of the mini is enough for him or if it is adapted to what he really needs.
The equipment itself is a real delight in everyday life. It is extremely comfortable to use to read texts and work on the move in basic tasks – answering emails, organizing teams, reviewing documents, etc. -. Remember, yes, it does not have an official Apple case with a keyboard or Smart Connector, so its unique compatibility with Bluetooth keyboards or cable via USB-C weighs down a bit its options as a portable office.
However, it can also be a great ally for creatives or photo or video professionals, for whom the iPad Pro is great, the iPad Air little powerful or want something compact for mobility. The excellent quality of its screen also earns it points in this field.
Either way, Any user will find in the sixth generation iPad mini a perfect team in terms of both possibilities and autonomy. And, therefore, the only question that will leave most is whether the size of your screen will be sufficient to meet your needs. In everything else, and even in the characteristics of its screen, it is an outstanding team. Maybe the most recommended option in relation to price / performance, and more with the new design, with which finally an iPad mini is mini without that supposing more edges than screen.
It is, in short, the iPad mini that we were all waiting for. And especially, those users who were looking for an iPad mini without having to give up anything.