Apple’s smallest iPad got a major update in 2021. If you’ve been looking for a better iPad mini, the 2021 revision announced with the iPhone 13 is an exciting prospect. Here’s what we love about the new iPad mini.
Powered by Apple’s A15 Bionic System-on-Chip
One of the most prominent features of the sixth-generation iPad mini is the addition of Apple’s latest A15 Bionic system-on-chip (SoC). This is the same chip that powers Apple’s flagship smartphones such as the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro, marking a big leap in performance over the previous iPad mini.
The fifth generation iPad mini had an A12 processor that was first introduced in 2018 along with the iPhone XS. While the A12 still works and receives software support, the A15 includes three years of performance and efficiency improvements.
While the A15 Bionic in the iPad mini is basically the same chip as the one found in the iPhone 13, early benchmarks show a performance penalty of 2-8% compared to the iPhone 13. This suggests that the chip is slightly downward by Apple (binning, anyone?), but the performance difference will be hard to spot in the real world.
The A15 Bionic in the mini also lacks the extra GPU core that Apple so aptly put in the iPhone 13 Pro. This led Apple to call the iPhone 13 Pro’s SoC to be the world’s most powerful mobile chipset, but at double the price of an iPad mini, it can be expected.
Buying an A15-powered iPad mini right now is a great option if you want years of support out of your tablet. We do not know when Apple will update the tablet again (it may be faster than three years this time), but the A15 will likely find its way to iPads and iPhones in the coming years.
A new, modern design
The iPad mini’s form factor is its biggest draw with a physical size close to a generous sized notebook (only much thinner, only 6.3 mm (0.25 inches). While the previous model was smart, the design was dated in proportion to its contemporaries like the iPad Air and iPad Pro series.
This is no longer the case, as Apple has taken the time to redesign the mini. Despite being slightly shorter than the previous model, the iPad mini 2021 has a larger 8.3-inch screen with much smaller edges than the fifth-generation model.
This shift also sees Apple drop the Home button, as it has done on other iPad and iPhone models. Although the iPad mini lacks the Face ID face recognition seen on the iPhone 13, you can still unlock it with your fingerprint thanks to the integrated scanner in the power button on the side of the device.
It has more screen properties than any iPad mini that came before it, while it was the smallest iPad mini Apple has ever produced.
A brand new camera system
Taking photos on your tablet can be criminal scary, but photography is often an occasional pursuit, and one never knows when the perfect photo opportunity will present itself. The iPad mini has a new 12MP wide camera on the back of the device, up from 8MP on the previous model.
The camera is in almost every way better than the old model with a larger sensor that lets in more light, a faster aperture of f / 1.8, and for the first time (on the mini) a Quad-LED flash for better shooting in the dark.
Also, do not underestimate the addition of the A15 Bionic SoC here. Image processing is often one of the things Apple improves year by year, so expect cleaner results from the improved image signal processor on the newer silicon.
On the front of the device is a new 12MP ultra-wide lens, which enables one of Apple’s new standout features: Center Stage. This feature allows you to be tracked around the room while on a FaceTime call using an ultra-wide perspective and software perspective correction.
Finally 5G and USB-C
Apple’s Lightning port is one of the latest proprietary connectors in the industry. Other iPad models, including the iPad Air and premium iPad Pro series, have been using USB-C connectors for a while now, and it’s finally time for the iPad mini to join them.
This means you can use any old USB-C cable to charge your iPad mini or connect USB-C peripherals such as keyboards and mice directly to your tablet. If you use an external drive or sync your iPad mini with a computer, you will be able to take advantage of faster transfer speeds, as Lightning connectors still ultimately work with USB 2.0 speeds.
If you like your iPad having a mobile connection, the mobile version of iPad mini now comes with 5G support for even faster roaming internet speeds. Unfortunately, 5G coverage is limited to wavelengths below 6 GHz (there is no mmWave support yet), but it is still faster than 4G in supported regions.
For future-proof wireless home connections, Apple has updated the tablet to also support Wi-Fi 6.
Now With Apple Pencil 2 Support
Apple’s best stylus now works with the iPad mini, with support for the Apple Pencil 2 on sixth generation laptops. The pen clicks to the side of the tablet for charging and storage, though you’ll have to cough up an extra $ 129 for pleasure.
Apple Pencil (2nd generation)
Apple Pencil (2nd generation)
Second-generation Apple Pencil uses a new snap-on design for easier storage and charging, with greater sensitivity and an improved design to stop the pen from rolling away on a flat surface.
This makes the iPad mini perfect for handwritten notes, document annotation or doodling in apps like Paper and Procreate. With a screen size of 8.3 inches measured diagonally, the iPad mini is not much of a canvas for serious digital artists, but it has its use nonetheless.
You can even turn your iPad mini into a makeshift tablet for use with your Mac or PC.
Surprisingly well priced
While the similarly powerful iPhone 13 starts at $ 799, the iPad mini is $ 300 cheaper at its starting price of $ 499. You don’t get as much storage space as an iPhone, the chip is a bit slower, and there is no mobile support unless you choose it more expensive model, but the two devices match surprisingly well in terms of raw performance.
2021 iPad mini
2021 Apple iPad Mini (Wi -Fi, 64 GB) – Starlight
Apple’s smallest and most powerful tablet to date, the iPad mini in 2021 is powered by the same A15 Bionic chip found in the iPhone 13, with a brand new slim design, better cameras and support for the second generation Apple Pencil.
Using an iPad mini as a smartphone is not practical or recommended, if you do not need a new iPhone and instead prefer a larger form factor with just as much bite, the iPad mini is a compelling choice. Wondering how it stacks up for the rest of the iPad series? See our list of the best iPads.