IPad mini 6 review: much more than it seems

Yes, let's talk about Apple here on Giz. Long last.

Ok, I've always been a fan ofiPad mini. In fact, somewhere, I still have a very old second generation iPad mini which, even though I don't use it anymore, I just can't let go. And yes, despite always being a fan of the smallest iPad ever, with every presentation of a new generation I have never felt that I blame people who were wondering. what was a tablet of this size for. Especially at this price.

Because to frame a product like theXNUMXth generation iPad mini, it is important to clarify two fundamental points: the price and your needs. And let's start immediately contrary to what you would normally do in a review, that is, from the price: XNUMXth generation iPad mini has a base price of 559 euros in the 64 Gb variant, which then becomes 729 euros for the 256 Gb version (which is the only other storage option). And if you want to buy the version with 5G, the price increases again. So yes it is expensive. But it's an iPad.

You see, among the layman probably few could realize the difficulty of testing a product like theiPad mini 6 because, yes, it is one of those typically Apple-style devices with which you immediately become familiar, but it is one of those products that, in order to be understood, need to have a clear idea of ​​how to use it (or if would like to do).

And to people who are convinced that theiPad mini 6 is just a smaller iPad Air (or iPad Pro) I say: yes, but also no. And that's the same answer I'd give to anyone who thought Apple's new tablet is just a bigger iPhone: it is so, but it is not quite so. I am convinced that the mini it is much more than a tablet that caters to doctors or amateur pilots as Apple wants to say (yes, apparently there are many pilots who use one because of its compactness). But one thing is certain: theiPad mini it's a great tablet, and there is practically no product on the market that can provide remotely similar power and user experience in such a small size.

Of course, for poco more than 100 euros you can buy an iPad Air which all in all is very similar to the mini, but with a larger display. But let's face it, iPad mini is more powerful than the Air for now, and it is thanks to the new A15 Bionic that - at the moment - it is not in the Air. But these, in a sense, are details because when analyzing such a device, it is not the characteristics that are most important, but the user experience.

In short, there is a lot to say about this new iPad mini.

IPad mini 2021 review: it's more than it seems

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Design and materials

Let's start with the basics. That theXNUMXth generation iPad mini has been redesigned to fit the entire new lineup of iPad Air and iPad Pro is a fact but in fact, given the presence of the Touch ID in the power button, I would approach its design more to the Air than to the Pro. It is clear, however, that the real star of the show is the screen: it is larger than the previous generation, it is surrounded by smaller frames which, okay, are not really very small, but are of a size that guarantees a better grip when you hold it with a hand.

And yes, the screen is certainly not up to par with the one used in the Pro models and is still at 60Hz, but let me tell you one thing: I like it. The resolution is sufficient to guarantee a good density of pixels per inch and ok, there is all that question of jelly scrolling but, let's face it, it is a phenomenon typical of all IPS screens and it is so imperceptible that few would really notice it.

Two things to say on theiPad mini 6 but there are. If you are coming from an iPad Pro or one of the new iPhone 13 Pro, the lower refresh rate is noticeable in practically everything, there is poco to do. And then, there is a value that I would have liked slightly higher: the maximum brightness.

The 500 nits peak of theiPad mini, are able to be sufficient to be able to use the tablet even in direct light conditions, but not to give that "wow" effect that you have with the 1000 and pass nit of the iPhone 13 Pro. The truth, however, is that over time i am adoring the screen of this new one mini, mainly because it is slightly larger than the previous generation.

It is the first mini to be compatible with the second generation Apple Pencil and, for this reason, those of Apple had to move the volume keys to the upper side, implementing a very comfortable software optimization thanks to which the volume control will adapt according to the rotation.

Everything else in the design is what you'd expect from an Apple product. It is built entirely with recycled aluminum, the edges are flat, at the rear there is a single camera with LED flash and at the front in the frames a new ultra wide-angle front camera compatible with Center Stage has been integrated (which follows you and keeps you in the center of the shot during video calls), has an excellent stereo sound and is available in new colors, including the Galaxy (which we are testing, very similar to the Silver) and the one in purple, in my opinion the most beautiful of all.

From his older brothers he (finally) inherits the USB-C connector, making the basic iPad the only one to still use the Lightning connector, but not the Smart Connector that would have allowed him to connect with a keyboard by powering it and without the need for bluetooth. : here, in my opinion this is a missed opportunity by Apple because, ok, the mini is definitely too small to use a cover with integrated keyboard, but if the company had implemented the technology it could have passed the ball to third-party manufacturers such as Logitech, which makes great iPad accessories.

Specifications - iPad mini 6 (2021)

From the hardware point of view, the news are many. iPad mini is animated by the new Apple A15 Bionic, the top of the range among the mobile SoCs of the bitten apple, with a CPU equipped with 6 cores (2 high performance and 4 high efficiency) flanked by a GPU with 5 cores, a Neural 16 core engine and 4GB of RAM memory.

It goes without saying that the performance is exceptional. Although the sample received in the test is animated by the Beta version of iOS 15, I have never encountered a single slowdown or micro lag: everything flows like butter, in typical Apple style.

Speaking of battery then, one thing is immediately clear: it is called mini because it is small and, therefore, even the integrated battery is not at the levels of that present in the other iPads. The reality of the facts is that with an average use, you could easily reach 2 days of autonomy, but not that much. With extreme use, perhaps in 5G, the battery life of theiPad mini it would drop to the single day. So no, this time the battery / iPad combination does not lead to exceptional results like with other Apple tablets. But that's right, on the other hand, physics is physics.

The power of the new processor then makes theiPad mini perfect for games. Its performance with all the games available in the App Store is exceptional, and the combination of screen size and weight make it probably the best iPad to play: it is large enough to guarantee a superior gaming experience than any iPhone and, at the at the same time, its 293 grams (which becomes 297 for the Cellular version) make it light enough not to tire while holding it to play, which is impossible with any other iPad out there. And the same goes for cloud gaming platforms: playing with Stadia or Xbox Game Pass on the mini is a show (just a pity that the native apps in iOS are missing), and it is also when you connect it to a TV via AirPlay or a USB-C / HDMI cable. In short, it is (almost) a portable console.

Here, probably the one related to gaming could be one of the reasons why I would recommend the purchase of an iPad mini.

Then there is the iPad OS 15, which we now know more than well, but that with the mini it made a few people turn up their noses. You see, in fact it is true that it is as if Apple has not thought of optimizing its interface for such a small screen and yes, the widgets and icons may seem too small even compared to those you find yourself using with an iPhone Pro. Max.

The keyboard then, when used in full screen in landscape mode tends to cover half the screen and, in short, the "complaints" about the (non) adaptation of iPad OS 15 to the new mini are so many. But despite everything, I am personally loving this a lot iPad mini, to the point of replacing my iPad Pro in the vast majority of days.

Who should buy an iPad mini

The real crux of the matter, however, is another: if someone asked me if it is worth buying a mini Compared to any other iPad, I wouldn't feel like saying neither no nor yes, and I would most likely answer with another question: what would you need a small iPad for? Why would you want to buy it instead of buying a larger smartphone or a “standard” size tablet?

The point is that in my opinion theiPad mini it is not the best solution for the vast majority of tasks that would be done with a larger model, but it is far superior for some types of uses.

And I'm not just talking about technical uses, such as on construction sites, for amateur pilots or in the hospital where, clearly, a more compact device armed with iPad OS, compatible with Apple Pencil 2 and with the latest SoC could really make a difference, but I'm talking about everyday life.

As far as I'm concerned, theiPad mini it is perfect in everyday use. Once you're familiar with iPadOS multitasking on such a small screen, taking advantage of it by holding the tablet with one hand is something of a treat. Ok, it's not a Kindle, but I find it perfect for reading books while on the go or for watching my TV series on the go, but I find it better than the smartphone also for browsing the web and chatting with my contacts on Telegram.

At the end of the fair, I found myself using theiPad mini as a larger extension of my smartphone: its size and weight are such that you do not feel the "burden" of using a tablet with the advantage of being able to use all the apps with a graphical interface richer in information and to browse, for example, websites in web mode with the right space available or take notes in full screen with the second generation Pencil.

And I also loved traveling. Apart from the fact that, as I have already said, it is a perfect tablet for games, having all this power in a device so compact that it can be connected to a monitor to a TV along with a bluetooth keyboard and mouse, for some people. it could be priceless: when you carry it with you it is so light and compact that you do not feel it, but then when you are in a hotel you can use it as a sort of computer to work with iPadOS. And then ok, you can use it as a small additional screen of your Mac via Sidecar: always telling my experience, I found it very comfortable using Photoshop for Mac with Sidecar, with which I was able to work very well with the Pencil 2 just as if you were using a small graphics tablet.


Summing up, the point is this. The setting that Apple wanted to give to his mini it is much more than you might have imagined before actually using it. It is not suitable for everyone, it is true, and even if its dimensions have not prompted the Cupertino company to modify the graphic interface, it is precisely these compact dimensions that profoundly change the way in which all the software available for iPadOS is used. .

For my days, the mini turned out to be the perfect iPad. But if I were to recommend buying it to someone else, I would ask them if - really - they are convinced that such a user experience is suitable for their needs.

But one thing is clear: the iPad mini is more than it seems.

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Design and materials
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In the world of technology since 2007, a computer engineer by training, he shares his passion for tech with that for animals and good food. He believes that technology must always be within everyone's reach, and for this reason he loves to explain it in the simplest and clearest way possible. Reviews are his daily bread.
review-ipad-mini-6-2021 Yes, let's talk about Apple here on Giz. Finally. Okay, I've always been a fan of the iPad mini. In fact, somewhere, I still have a very old second generation iPad mini which, even though I don't use it anymore, I just can't let go. And yes,...