Apple’s iPad mini gets its first full overhaul with an all-new modern design, a bigger screen, a brilliant video calling camera, and plenty of power for 2021.
But being Apple’s smallest doesn’t make it the cheapest. The iPad mini starts at £ 479 ($ 499 / $ A749), up from the standard iPad at £ 319 and down from the iPad Air at £ 579.
This is the first time since the mini was launched in 2012 that it has undergone a major physical change, inheriting the flat sides, slimmer bezels, and the “full-screen” design that was first introduced with the iPad Pro in 2018. and that have been decreasing in order. since then.
The new mini is essentially the success of the 2020 iPad Air with a retractable beam. It has the same look with no home buttons, Touch ID fingerprint reader on the power button, USB-C for power, and a great set of stereo speakers, only with a screen that’s just 8.9 inches diagonally compared to 10.9 inches in the Air.
The screen is super sharp and bright, with excellent viewing angles and low reflectivity, making it easy to use in direct light. It’s delicious in size, about the same as a Moleskine notebook, and it weighs only 293g, which means you can easily hold it in one hand to read, take notes, or watch videos.
Screen: 8.9-inch 2266 x 1488 Liquid Retina display (326 dpi)
Processor: Apple A15 Bionic
Storage: 64 or 256 GB
OS: iPad 15
Camera: 12MP rear cameras and selfies
Connectivity: wifi 6 (optional 5G, eSim), Bluetooth 5, USB-C, Touch ID
Dimensions: 195.4 x 134.8 x 6.3 mm
Weight: 293g (4G version: 297g)
Superior performance, 10 hour battery life
The iPad mini is one of the first devices to ship with Apple’s A15 Bionic processor, alongside the iPhone 13. Benchmarking shows processor performance similar to last year’s A14 in the iPad Air, but with faster graphics. . As such, the iPad mini is one of the most powerful tablets you can buy and it performs excellently in all respects.
The battery lasts just over 10 hours when watching video streaming over Wi-Fi or a combination of browsing, email, and light app usage. However, playing graphics-intensive games or streaming over 5G will reduce battery life. That is still more than enough for a commute or most flights.
Apple does not provide an estimated battery life for the iPad mini, but it can be replaced for £ 99. Similar device batteries maintain at least 80% of their original capacity for at least 500 full charge cycles. The tablet is generally repairable, with the the cost of the out-of-warranty service is £ 326.44, which includes the screen.
The tablet has a 100% recycled aluminum body, 100% recycled tin in its main board solder, 96% recycled rare earth elements, and at least 35% recycled plastic used in multiple components. Apple breaks the tablet environmental impact in your report.
Apple also offers free and trade-in recycling schemes, even for non-Apple products.
The iPad mini ships with iPadOS 15, which launched Monday. The new multitasking tools are significantly easier to use, and despite the small screen size, they make running two apps side by side useful for things like keeping an eye on fantasy football while watching the game.
The sticky notes feature is particularly useful at this size too, allowing you to jot down ideas or clip out links, just like you would a paper notebook.
But it’s the rich library of apps that sets iPadOS above the competition, with everything from advanced learning and note-taking apps to desktop photo editors all available even on the mini.
Apple provides very long-term software support for its tablets, and some models receive more than seven years of updates since launch, which means you can use them safely for longer.
Center stage camera
IPad mini has Apple’s game-changing 12-megapixel auto-pan and zoom video call camera from this year’s iPad Pro. It works just as well, keeping you in frame whether on your own, in a group, or on the go – a feature typically found in high-end video conferencing solutions and some smart displays.
The screen exhibits a bit of a so-called “jelly scroll” effect when used in portrait orientation, a problem common to larger touchscreen devices where one side of the screen reacts faster than the other when you drag your finger to scroll. by the page. .
The iPad mini doesn’t have a smart connector for connecting a keyboard or other accessories, but it can still be used with Bluetooth or USB-C keyboards.
The base model only has 64GB of storage, which will be fine if you primarily stream content and don’t install a lot of large apps, but it can be tweaked if you want to download a lot of videos or photos.
For comparison, the 10.2-inch iPad costs £ 319, the iPad Air costs £ 579 and the iPad Pro costs from £ 749, Amazon’s Fire HD 8 costs £ 90, the Fire HD 10 costs £ 150, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S7 costs £ 519 and the Galaxy Z Fold 3 costs £ 1,599.
The iPad mini is without a doubt the best small tablet you can buy, but unlike most rivals of this size, it is not a cheap machine.
The screen is excellent and large enough to be used for most things despite the tablet’s near-pocket size. It has a really powerful chip, a solid 10 hour battery life, USB-C and iPadOS with a huge library of quality apps. The Center Stage camera is ideal for video calls. It can even be used with the Apple Pencil, making it a great Moleskine digital notebook replacement.
I’m sure the many fans of the original iPad mini will love this revamped version. It’s better in every way and it’s built to last. But the bigger, cheaper 10.2-inch iPad offers a lot more for your money, and the larger iPad Air is more useful as a computer replacement. That leaves the mini more desirable for those who want a secondary tablet for note-taking or need the smaller iPad in space-constrained apps where a £ 90 Android tablet just isn’t enough.
Pros: compact design, great performance, 10 hour battery life, great display, USB-C, iPadOS, many apps, great speakers, great microphones, great camera for video calls, very long software support, recycled aluminum.
Cons: The small and expensive size is reduced for some applications, there is no support for smart keyboards, relatively small storage in the initial model, and there is no way to add more.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism