Apple iPad Mini (2021) evaluation: This one’s excellent

Patrick

In years previous, the iPad Mini has all the time match into an odd nook in Apple’s iPad lineup. It didn’t characteristic probably the most highly effective processor, it didn’t help the most recent equipment, and it took design cues from Apple gadgets that have been already a number of years previous. The one really distinctive promoting level was its measurement.

With the discharge of the 2021 sixth era iPad Mini, Apple has flipped the script. It retains the identical small footprint, however packs some options which are solely discovered on the high-end iPad Professional fashions.

However is that sufficient to sway consumers away from bigger tablets, or encourage present customers to improve? Discover out extra in Android Authority’s 2021 iPad Mini evaluation.

About this iPad Mini evaluation: I examined the sixth era Apple iPad Mini (64GB/Wi-Fi) over a interval of 14 days. It was initially operating iPadOS 15.0 and was later upgraded twice to iPadOS 15.0.2. The iPad Mini (2021) unit was bought by Android Authority for this evaluation.

What you should know concerning the iPad Mini (2021)

Nick Fernandez / Android Authority

  • iPad Mini (Wi-Fi solely, 64GB): $499 / £479 / €549
  • iPad Mini (Wi-Fi solely, 256GB): $649 / £619 / €719
  • iPad Mini (Wi-Fi + Mobile, 64GB): $649 / £619 / €719
  • iPad Mini (Wi-Fi + Mobile, 256GB): $799 / £759 / €889

The sixth era iPad Mini launched on September 24, 2021, a yr and a half after the discharge of the earlier mannequin. It represents a major redesign, with enhancements to each exterior and inside elements of the gadget.

The display, whereas nonetheless a 60Hz LCD panel, now measures 8.3 inches and options rounded corners like different trendy Apple gadgets. The sides of the gadget at the moment are flat, and the Contact ID reader has moved from the entrance of the gadget to the highest, alongside the amount rockers.

Learn additionally: The very best pill offers

Regardless of the bigger display, the 2021 iPad Mini is barely lighter and smaller (other than an unnoticeable 2mm enhance in thickness), and retains the identical 10-hour battery life. It achieves this due to the highly effective and energy-efficient A15 Bionic chip, which is similar chipset discovered within the newest iPhone 13 lineup.

Different notable adjustments embrace help for the Apple Pencil 2 ($119), which attaches to the facet of the gadget to cost. It additionally drops Apple’s proprietary Lightning connector in favor of the now-ubiquitous USB-C. Meaning all your USB-C equipment now work with the iPad Mini, and there’s even a USB-C charger within the field, in case you don’t have already got one. Nowadays, a charger within the field is sort of a luxurious characteristic in Apple merchandise.

Nonetheless, all of this comes at a better value than earlier fashions. The most affordable iPad Mini will run you $499, and the costliest mannequin with mobile connectivity runs $799. That’s scratching on the heels of the 11-inch iPad Professional, which additionally begins at $799. That mentioned, one is designed to be a laptop computer substitute and the opposite a extra moveable, pocketable pill expertise.

The Apple iPad Mini is available in House Grey, Pink, Purple, and Starlight. It’s that can be purchased from Apple, Amazon, and different main retailers globally.

How is the brand new design?

iPad Mini review 2021 camera bump fingerprint reader

Nick Fernandez / Android Authority

Talking as somebody who has used the earlier iPad Mini day by day for the previous two years, the brand new design is a much-needed breath of recent air. The curved edges and bodily residence button have been already old-fashioned in 2019, and now the iPad Mini appears to be like like its counterparts within the higher echelons of Apple’s merchandise.

Initially, I used to be apprehensive that the bigger display would make the gadget harder to carry, however the bezels on the facet of the display are the identical measurement as earlier than, with solely the highest and backside bezels decreased. It’s nonetheless very simple to carry with one hand. I’m not completely offered on the flat edges from a usability perspective (there’s little or no grip), however they actually do look nicer.

The 2021 iPad Mini now takes design cues from Apple’s premium iPad Professional lineup.

The display itself is significantly bigger than its predecessor. A leap from 7.9 inches to eight.3 inches doesn’t sound like a lot, nevertheless it’s truly considerably extra actual property. Plus, the added area makes the show longer and extra suited to streaming media consumption. You’ll nonetheless see black bars on the 14:9 show, which is someplace between 4:3 and 16:9.

See additionally: The very best equipment you may get for the iPad

Sadly, the display itself is… effective. Regardless of the supposed improve from a “Retina” show to a “Liquid Retina” show, it’s nonetheless only a 60Hz LCD panel (now with rounded corners). It maintains the identical excessive 327ppi (increased than even the iPad Professional) and nice brightness of the earlier mannequin, however other than the dimensions enhance, it isn’t a lot of an enchancment and sadly lacks the graceful “ProMotion” adaptive refresh fee of Apple’s Professional tablets and smartphones.

Though there’s no Face ID right here, it does have a fingerprint unlock situated on the ability button on the prime of the gadget. That is rather more handy than the earlier location on the entrance of the gadget, and it’s each bit as quick.

What’s it like to make use of iPadOS 15?

iPad Mini review 2021 landscape in hand

Nick Fernandez / Android Authority

Other than the bodily redesign of the iPad Mini, it additionally launched with a brand new software program replace in iPadOS 15. It isn’t an enormous change from earlier variations of the tablet-only OS, and a lot of the new options are pretty irrelevant on the iPad Mini.

iPadOS 15’s keystone additions all must do with multitasking. It’s now simpler to create cut up views with a number of apps and swap between apps with a brand new app shelf. There are different productiveness options like focus mode (primarily a elaborate don’t disturb) and extra keyboard shortcuts.

Many new iPadOS 15 options solely apply to bigger, productivity-focused iPads.

These are unbelievable on the bigger iPads, and push them nearer than ever to turning into true laptop computer replacements. The iPad Mini, nonetheless, remains to be just too small to make use of with split-screen. Get a bigger iPad if that’s primarily what you’re after.

After all, there’s rather more to iPadOS 15 than simply multitasking. Widgets at the moment are instantly in your homescreen (as an alternative of in a wonky pull-out menu), and different options like Fast Notes pair completely with the Apple Pencil 2. Simply swipe up from the underside left nook of the display to scribble down a notice which is then accessible from all your Apple gadgets.

Learn additionally: Apple’s iPadOS 15 is a wake-up name for Android pill makers

Like iOS, iPadOS additionally now helps app drawers, so you’ll be able to maintain your property display organized and streamlined. You additionally achieve entry to the App Retailer ecosystem, which for all its faults remains to be extremely strong. If you happen to use an iPhone, Mac, or Macbook, there are much more integrations to discover. That is along with all of Apple’s providers like Apple TV Plus, Apple Music, and Apple Arcade.

How is the battery life?

iPad Mini 2021 on table

Nick Fernandez / Android Authority

Just like the earlier iPad Mini, Apple guarantees 10 hours of battery life, and that was largely the case in our testing. After a couple of days of heavy use with video conferences and graphically intensive video games, it achieved effectively over seven hours of screen-on time. Underneath extra typical use instances like internet shopping and media consumption, it simply achieved 10 hours or extra.

Granted, these numbers are for the Wi-Fi-only mannequin we used for testing. The mobile fashions may even see barely worse battery efficiency.

Charging is a little bit of a combined bag. As somebody who doesn’t use an iPhone, the swap to USB-C charging meant I might lastly eradicate Apple’s proprietary Lighting chargers from my life fully. Good riddance.

The iPad Mini achieved seven hours of battery life in heavy use and over 10 hours in customary use.

Nonetheless, the included 20W charger isn’t the quickest and took about 90 minutes to cost from 10 to 100%. Charging from 10 to 50% took simply half-hour. Apple isn’t identified for being on the forefront with regards to quick charging, with even its premium iPhone 13 lineup utilizing 30W chargers.

Associated: The very best charging equipment

That mentioned, tablets needs to be held to a unique customary than telephones with regards to charging. You’re a lot much less more likely to want a fast top-up of a pill you utilize for a couple of hours a day than you’re a cellphone that you just use all day day by day. I usually learn and browse the online for an hour or so earlier than sleeping, and beneath these circumstances, the battery lasted for effectively over per week.

How highly effective is the iPad Mini (2021)?

iPad Minir review iPadOS 15 homescreen

Nick Fernandez / Android Authority

In a phrase, the iPad Mini’s efficiency is spectacular. It makes use of the identical A15 Bionic processor as the most recent iPhone 13 lineup, which is heads and tails above the earlier mannequin’s A12 Bionic processor. This pill punches far above its weight restrict, and needs to be able to dealing with every part you’ll be able to throw at it, each at the moment and for years to return.

Though it isn’t listed on the official specs, it additionally contains 4GB of RAM, up from 3GB within the earlier iteration. This may sound low, however Apple’s software program is remarkably environment friendly. Even the top-of-the-line iPhone 13 Professional Max solely has 6GB of RAM. In on a regular basis use, you received’t discover a factor.

The most important disappointment right here is the restricted 64GB of base storage.

The iPad Mini by no means missed a beat when streaming video, enjoying demanding video games, or opening a number of apps in split-screen. It received’t deal with really skilled apps as easily because the iPad Professional lineup will, however then once more, it isn’t actually designed to.

Maybe the largest disappointment right here is the restricted 64GB of storage on the 2 base fashions, with no expandable storage. Whereas that is serviceable for individuals who primarily stream content material, it’s woefully unequipped for downloading media and putting in a number of storage-heavy apps. To make issues worse, the following step up is 256GB and runs a full $150 extra.

There have been stories that the gadget suffers from jelly scrolling, the place one facet of the display scrolls extra slowly than the opposite, however I didn’t expertise this in any respect when testing the iPad Mini for this evaluation. Both approach, it’s not one thing that ought to cease you from shopping for this gadget.

The rest?

iPad Mini 6th gen angled

Nick Fernandez / Android Authority

  • Entrance-facing digital camera: The 12MP ultra-wide front-facing digital camera is greater than serviceable, and mixed with the brand new Heart Stage tech it makes the iPad Mini a superb gadget for 1080p HD video chatting on the go. When activated, it should focus the digital camera on any face it detects to provide you a tighter shot. Word that it’s positioned within the middle of the highest bezel, so chances are you’ll seem like staring off into the gap in panorama mode.
  • Rear digital camera: The 12MP rear digital camera is a slight enchancment over the earlier mannequin, however nonetheless not an enormous performer. There’s additionally not one of the cool LiDAR help present in premium iPad Professional fashions. To deal with the bigger sensor, a slight digital camera bump stands proud from a nook of the gadget, though it’s not giant sufficient to trigger the iPad Mini to rock when sitting on a desk.
  • Connectivity: All iPad Mini fashions help Wi-Fi 6, and the mobile fashions all help 5G. Nonetheless, they don’t help mmWave, which is a slight hit to futureproofing. Nonetheless, this shouldn’t be a dealbreaker for nearly anybody proper now whereas the superior networking is so scarce (particularly outdoors the US). The mobile fashions characteristic a barely completely different design to the aluminum edges that home the antennae, however nothing that you just’d discover with out placing the 2 facet by facet.
  • Audio: The iPad Mini options succesful stereo audio system, one on the prime and one on the backside for loud and clear audio. Just like the 2020 iPad Air, it drops the headphone jack, which is now discovered paradoxically solely discovered on the most cost effective iPad.
  • Keyboard case: Not like the remainder of the iPad lineup, Apple doesn’t promote a suitable keyboard case, though iPadOS will work with most Bluetooth keyboards and mice.

iPad mini specs

Apple iPad Mini (2021)
Show 8.3-inch Liquid Retina LCD
1,488 x 2,266 pixels
327ppi
Processor Apple A15 Bionic
RAM 4GB
Storage 64GB
256GB
Digicam Fundamental:
12MP digital camera (vast)
ƒ/1.8 aperture

Entrance:
12MP (ultrawide)
ƒ/2.4 aperture

Battery 19.3Wh
Rated for 10 hours
Headphone jack No
Dimensions 195.4 x 134.8 x 6.3mm
Weight Wi-Fi: 293g
LTE: 297g
Ports USB-C
Charger included
Colours House Grey, Pink, Purple, Starlight

Worth and competitors

2021 iPad Mini

Apple iPad Mini (2021)

The teeny tiny iPad will get a 2021 refresh with extra energy.

The smallest within the iPad line has some new energy beneath the hood for 2021 in addition to Apple Pencil (2nd Gen) help.

Beginning at $499, the iPad Mini prices a full $100 greater than the earlier mannequin. That places it in a precarious place slightly below the 2020 iPad Air ($599). Each gadgets are wonderful tablets, and which one you select will rely extra on what measurement you need relatively than any value distinction.

Nonetheless, if you wish to step up from the bottom 64GB of storage, the worth is significantly worse. You’ll have to drop $150 extra for 256GB, which is similar premium charged on the iPad Air (although that too solely has 64GB storage). Keep in mind that the brand new USB-C charging port additionally makes it simpler to make use of with exterior laborious drives for individuals who want heaps of storage and you can too join iCloud storage plans, however that received’t minimize it for apps.

The iPad Professional lineup, whereas distinctive gadgets, are in a totally completely different class. They’re finest paired with equipment like a Magic Keyboard ($279) and Apple Pencil 2 ($119), which is able to put the whole value at effectively over twice an iPad Mini. Plus, they’re designed with productiveness in thoughts, whereas the iPad Mini is extra for play.

Learn additionally: The very best Android tablets to spend your cash on

On the Android facet of the fence, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8.4 ($279) is the closest you’ll discover to the iPad Mini expertise. It’s only a hair bigger, and regardless of the paltry 32GB of onboard storage, it helps microSD playing cards as much as 512GB. That mentioned, it’s extra of a finances gadget, so don’t anticipate many premium trappings. If you happen to can wait a bit longer, the anticipated 2021 Galaxy Tab A8 refresh is predicted within the close to future and will present a extra compelling various.

The bigger Samsung Galaxy Tab S7/S7 Plus ($579) and Tab S7 FE ($599) are an honest worth and embrace a stylus within the field, however size-wise they’re extra in keeping with the iPad Professional lineup than the iPad Mini. The latter can also be significantly underpowered in comparison with Apple’s iPads, particularly the 5G variant. The smaller, extra rugged Samsung Galaxy Tab Energetic 3 ($489) may match the invoice, however with growing older specs and a chunky design, it doesn’t fairly match Apple’s providing.

If you happen to’re really on a decent finances, the Amazon Fireplace HD 8 ($89) is roughly the identical measurement and prices considerably much less. Nonetheless, it’s constructed like a finances pill, and also you’ll must endure via Amazon’s heavy-handed promoting. Plus, it doesn’t have Google apps.

iPad Mini evaluation: The decision

6th gen iPad Mini review purple flat showing rear view and camera

Nick Fernandez / Android Authority

For anybody available in the market for a small pill, there’s little doubt that the iPad Mini is the perfect pill you may get. Apart from the middling show, the diminutive pill does all of it with only a few compromises.

The bigger display means it’s now not relegated to area of interest makes use of and might function a succesful media companion. The broader facet ratio is now rather more streaming-friendly, and the small measurement means it received’t tire your arms throughout lengthy streaming or studying classes.

The iPad Mini is well the perfect small pill available on the market, lastly providing one thing for everyone.

Not like the iPad Air and iPad Professional, the iPad Mini doesn’t attempt to be something however a pill. Regardless of being each bit as highly effective as its bigger cousins (barring the ultra-premium M1 iPad Professional fashions), Apple doesn’t even attempt to upsell you with a magic keyboard to show the iPad Mini right into a mini laptop computer substitute.

And it’s all the higher for it. It’s not a productiveness powerhouse, however it’s an absolute delight to make use of.

Take a look at: The very best iPad offers

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