It’s a miniature version of an Apple favourite but its small size hides some big features and serious battery life.
Apple has just brought out the latest generation of its iPad mini boasting the attractive flat edge design that we’ve seen on the iPhone 12 and 13. The mini now comes in pink, purple, “starlight” (silver) and “space” grey.
Inside the box you’re presented with the iPad mini in a protective wrap, documentation including the iconic Apple stickers, a USB-C to USB-C charging cable and a wall plug power brick. When turning the device on for the first time you’ll be greeted with Apple’s ‘Hello’ welcome screen, filling the gorgeous 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display. The device itself is 6.3mm thin and really does feel like a shrunk iPad Air – in a good way. It’s almost pocketable, which is hilariously awesome.
The iPad mini now has the A15 chip with a 6-core CPU and 5-core GPU. Although small in size, this helps the iPad mini to perform intensive tasks such as 4K video editing, high end mobile gaming and even graphic design. And to assist you with your design and notetaking the iPad mini is now compatible with Apple’s Smart Pencil (2nd generation). The Pencil magnetically attaches to the right side of the iPad mini and charges via the device, which is extremely convenient. There’s no Face ID unlock for the iPad mini but there is a Touch ID button on the top right of the iPad, which is fast and accurate. Also a notable feature, yet not always mentioned, is that the iPad mini is made of a 100 per cent recycled aluminium enclosure and speakers – love that.
The back 12MP camera can shoot up to 4K video and produces surprisingly stable footage. You can see the difference in the camera’s improved sensors in the quality of photos and videos it captures. This iPad will definitely suit people in all kinds of fields whether you’re a student, using the iPad for work or even in the creative arts. The front 12 MP Ultra Wide camera is great for video conferencing, now that the iPad mini has the Centre Stage feature. The camera is able to keep you in frame even if you’re moving around on screen, which is great for presentations or calls with the family. The selfies from the front camera are pleasant, bright and saturated, although noticeably a little bit lower in quality than what the back camera produces.
Apple claims that the iPad mini has all-day battery life. I put it through the paces by taking a Zoom call on the iPad, watching a bunch of TikTok videos, listening to music, sketching with the Apple pencil, using Maps and playing some games. After running the iPad for a total of 9 hours with 5 hours of screen time logged, I was surprised that I still had 25% battery left. This was even more impressive to me as I have the cellular model of the iPad mini so I also tested taking phone calls and FaceTime calls. In these tests I was impressed with the stereo speakers in landscape mode. The iPad mini produces great volumes and high quality audio.
Should you buy it?
The 64GB internal storage model retails for $749 (or $979 for the cellular model) and then steps up to 256GB for $979 (or $1209 cellular). The iPad mini has a solid price point, though if you’re looking for a compact iPad with a powerful processor the iPad mini will deliver on performance.
Elly Awesome is an Aussie tech and lifestyle vlogger | @ellyawwesome | YouTube