The iPad mini has gone from being a minority model intended only for a very specific user, to become a real treat that overflows power and versatility on all four sides.

Many consider that the 10.2 inches of a conventional iPad are too large and heavy to read comfortably and that the screen of an iPhone is too small. in this context, the iPad Mini gains positions as a device-oriented to the consumption of content in mobility.

With this renewal of the iPad Mini of the 6th generation, Apple brings us all the features of the iPad Air of 4th generation seasoned with the power of the new A15 Bionic processor.

iPad Mini 6th Generation (2021)
Screen Liquid Retina IPS 8.3-inch | Resolution of 2,266 x 1,488 pixels | Density of 326 dpi | TrueTone | 500 nits
Processor A15 Bionic with Neural Engine
RAM and storage 4 GB | 64 and 256 GB
Rear camera 12 Mpx | f/1.8
Front Camera 12 Mpx | f/2.4 | 122º with Centered Framing
Battery 19.3 Wh | 20W USB C fast charging
Operating system iPadOS 15.0.2
Connectivity 5G | WiFi 6 (802.11 ac) | Bluetooth 5.0 | GPS | USB-C 3.1
Dimensions and weight 195.4 x 134.8 x 6.3 mm | 293 gr (297 gr for 5G version)
Sound Stereo

A pocket iPad Air with the connectivity of an iPhone 13

I must admit that, until the arrival of this model, the iPad Mini has never been my favorite iPad. Apple proposed this model as a reduced version of the iPad (dry) or with few incentives, so it had never brought me anything that the iPad Air on duty did not already offer me.

In terms of design, the 2021 iPad Mini takes the path of the iPad Pro and sits right at the level of the iPad Air 4 with the same style with straight faces and rounded corners that those models wore.

Recycled aluminum is kept as the main ingredient in 4 finishes. The one that Apple has sent us sports the Star White finish, but it is also available in Space Grey, Pink Purple.

One of the main arguments of the iPad Mini is to have a very small size that plays in favor of mobility. With dimensions of 195.4 x 134.8 mm, thickness of 6.3 mm, and a weight of 293 gr (297 gr for the 5G version), the new Apple tablet becomes the perfect travel companion.

The new model is compatible with the second generation of the Apple Pencil and has a magnetized loading area on the right side. Since the Apple Pencil is pretty much as big as the iPad Mini, the volume buttons have shifted to the top edge.

Here we find the slots for the top speaker and the power button that, like the iPad Air 4, has a Touch ID function working with the same efficiency. On the bottom edge, there are also indications of the presence of a second speaker and a key addition to this device: the USB Type-C connector.

In this case, we do not find a USB type C with Thunderbolt 3 function, as it happened in the iPad Pro, but it is limited to fast charging functions and data transmission at 5 Gbps. In any case, the good news for users who see improved connectivity with other devices and accessories is more generic.

The incorporation of the Touch ID in the power button has allowed it to be removed from the front leaving space available to expand the diagonal of the screen, which now shows an asymmetrical frame similar to that of the iPad Pro.

Considering its size, we believe that Apple could have reduced these frames a little more without compromising comfort when holding the tablet by letting the thumbs settle on the edge of the front without interfering with the use of the screen.

The similarities of the iPad Mini with the iPad Air 4 are also found on its rear, monopolized by the logo of the bitten apple in the center and the main camera that protrudes in the upper left corner.

Another important novelty in the iPad Mini is the incorporation of 5G connectivity next to Wi-Fi 6, which provides excellent versatility when it comes to staying connected from anywhere. Of course, there is also no lack of Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity and integrated GPS.

iPad Mini 6th Generation (2021), analysis and opinion

The Mini has all the ingredients to consume content in mobility

One of the arguments for choosing the 6th generation iPad Mini is its screen, which in this update is not limited to growing to 8.3 inches, but adds some technologies that improve the user experience.

Apple has not wanted to leap OLED screens in its most compact iPad and the 6th generation is maintained with an 8.3-inch Liquid Retina IPS screen with a resolution of 2,266 x 1,488 pixels, which leaves a density of 326 dpi with a 3:2 form factor.

In addition, it adds the TrueTone function thanks to an ambient light sensor that adjusts the color temperature of the screen to the ambient light conditions, so that the color is always perceived correctly.

By size and format, the 6th generation iPad Mini is very versatile for reading books or comics, as well as for multimedia content with expanded P3 color space. However, we would have liked to find HDR support.

In our measurements, we have obtained an average of 590 luxes of brightness with peaks above 600 luxes. It is more than enough to get a more than decent HDR, so it is not understood that Apple has not taken advantage of this feature that would improve the experience of use when watching series and movies on trips.

Apple has also not added ProMotion technology that raises the frequency of the screen to 120 Hz making games, video content and texts display more clearly. This, without a doubt, would have made the iPad Mini one of the best options for consuming multimedia and reading content.

Despite these shortcomings, the screen offers very good sharpness and sufficient brightness levels so that the user experience is as expected in a high-end tablet.

In the sound section, we repeat the same experience as on the screen: the results are good, but with some small additions they would have been excellent.

The iPad Mini of 6th generation has balanced stereo sound and good power for its size but suffers from a rather nondescript sound in which neither a resounding bass nor bright treble stands out, although the truth is that it improves by putting it in a horizontal position.

The absence of support for Dolby Atmos also plays against you when it comes to getting a more immersive experience when watching series or movie content. The absence of a 3.5mm jack also does not leave it to the taste of the most gourmet audio who must settle for Bluetooth connectivity for headphones.

Of course, Apple has taken care that the new location of the volume buttons does not pose a problem when using the iPad Mini in any position. The same button that vertically raises the volume, when rotated in a horizontal position will lower it coinciding with its position concerning the user.

iPad Mini 6th Generation (2021), analysis and opinion

Updated power that exposes some shortcomings

Again, the iPad Mini is shown as a very solvent platform for entertainment that follows in the footsteps of the iPad Pro offering very good results when running games. The five graphics processing cores provided by the A15 Bionic, and the 16 cores of Neural Engine, give it a good performance when editing videos and photographs in mobility.

iPad Mini (2021) iPad Air 4 (2020) iPad Pro 12.9" (2020) iPhone 13 Pro Max
Processor Apple A15 Bionic Apple A14 Bionic Apple A12Z Bionic Apple A15 Bionic
AnTuTu 820.931 668.382 746.074 802.319
3D Mark Sling Shot Extreme Too high 7.832 7.369 Too high
3D Mark Wild Life | FPS 6,906 | 41.4 fps 8,887 | 53 fps - | - 9,071 | 54.3 fps
 

Although the iPad Mini has been able to do everything it did so far with an iPad Air 4, the software has shown some limitations caused by the size of its screen. iPadOS 15 has proven once again not to be entirely optimized for such a compact display.

The clearest example is found when using the touch keyboard, which occupies most of the small screen hiding the content, so when using it horizontally, you do not see what you are writing in the body of an email or if you are correctly filling in the data of a form.

However, its use still has a lot of room for improvement in its integration with the iPad's interface and forces you to put it aside on too many occasions to use your fingers in functions as basic as deploying the dock or launching an app in Split View.

For everything else, the iPad Mini is a very versatile tool that serves both to take notes quickly at any time and place and to edit a photo or video promptly without having to carry a laptop in the backpack.

Improvements to video calling and occasional photos

We have commented on many occasions that tablets are not the most suitable devices to take photos because of their ergonomics.

However, we are facing a tablet with much smaller dimensions and that equips a set of cameras reminiscent of those mounted by the iPhone 12, so the results have been more than acceptable.

The main camera is formed by a 12 Mpx sensor with f/1.8 aperture that offers the same tones with a warm tendency to which Apple has accustomed us reaching a digital zoom of up to 5 increases, although we do not recommend you to go beyond the 2X that offers directly from the Camera app.

iPad Mini 6th Generation (2021), analysis and opinion

This good photographic quality has been especially useful when scanning documents and digitizing texts with the Live Text function that allows you to select the text of a photo and copy it to the clipboard.

It also convinces the ability of this camera to record video in 4K at 60 fps and slow motion in Full HD up to 240 fps. Not bad for a tablet.

No less surprising has been the very successful decision of Apple to replace the mediocre facetime HD front camera of this iPad with a more solvent ultra-wide-angle of 12 Mpx with centered framing technology like those of the iPad Pro.

This camera not only offers better image quality in video calls, but it also allows you to leave the iPad on the table without worrying about framing during video calls.

The Neural Engine cores will be responsible for detecting the position of the face and always keeping you framed even when you move, opening the plane more if someone joins your side.

As we say, this has been a success in a time when video calls are the order of the day and, above all, it makes all the sense in a device designed to make them in mobility as is this iPad Mini.

Enough battery for a day of use

One of the questions that raised the most doubts since the same day on which the iPad Mini of 2021 was presented was its autonomy. It is a device with compact dimensions and equipped with a powerful processor, would it be up to its battery?

A tablet does not have the same usage profile as a smartphone. You are probably not using it at all hours as we do with the mobile.

Still, we've been using the iPad Mini as a secondary screen to a MacBook Pro through Sidecar for much of the day, and we've alternated it with some browsing, social media, and some videos, getting an average autonomy of about 9 hours of screen.

Unlike the iPhone, the 6th generation iPad Mini does include a 20 W charger that has allowed us to recover 50% of the charge in about 40 minutes and 100% in 103 minutes.

It is not an excessive time considering that it is a 19.3 Wh battery but, and if I may wink, Apple has to put the batteries with fast charging.

The perfect iPad for those who don't want an iPad

iPads have their raison d'igua for being when you need a screen with a generous diagonal, but you don't want to carry a laptop all day long.

But what if you just need a slightly larger screen than an iPhone 13 Pro Max and don't want to carry a tablet the size of the iPad? In that case, do not give it more thought because that is the space where Apple has placed this iPad Mini.

The increase in power, the optimization of the screen, and the improvement in the cameras have made the iPad Mini a very versatile device for those who want to consume content or play during trips or quietly lying on the sofa on a Sunday without the inconveniences of holding a screen of more than 10 inches.

His best quality can also become his worst enemy. The compact size of its screen can be a limiting factor in office automation tasks or image and video editing, in which having more space improves productivity.

The price always has an important weight when choosing a tablet, but in the case of the iPad Mini of the 6th generation, it is especially striking because it can seem somewhat high concerning its dimensions.