New iPad Mini (2021) hands-on review

Apple’s newest tablet is smaller and lighter, with an updated design and a new screen. But does it still have the power to satisfy?

The ipad mini 2021 review is a hands-on review of the new iPad Mini.

CNN —  

Apple has been ignoring the iPad Mini for years, preferring a tech boost here and there over a complete update. However, unlike the scarcely visible modifications to the entry-level iPad, Apple revamped the iPad Mini for 2021 in an attempt to bring it in line with the rest of the company’s tablet products.

We’ve spent six days with the new iPad Mini and are ready to answer the question: Who is this little tablet for? It’s just slightly bigger than the iPhone 13 Pro Max in terms of size.

Powerful portability

The iPad Mini is the perfect gadget for anybody looking for a small, lightweight tablet that doesn’t skimp on performance.

Who this gadget is for: The iPad Mini is perfect for anybody looking for a small, lightweight tablet that doesn’t skimp on performance.

What you should know: Despite having a smaller 8.3-inch screen, the iPad Mini is equally as powerful as the iPad, iPad Air, and even the iPad Pro in certain ways. However, the device’s screen size limits multitasking, and it lacks a Smart Connector for simple accessory connection.

How this stacks up: In comparison to other smaller tablets like the Fire 7 and Fire HD 8, the iPad Mini outperforms them in terms of runtime and overall experience – apps launch quicker and content appears better. For most tasks, the iPad Mini is a smidgeon quicker than the ninth-generation iPad and bit pace with the iPad Air. However, you may feel more restricted on the 8.3-inch screen than on a 10.2-inch or 11-inch, particularly if you’re trying to utilize two applications at once.


CNN/Jacob Krol

The iPad Mini is so small and light that it’s almost absurdly portable. One hand can comfortably hold the 8.3-inch tablet. It’s very amazing, and it won’t put too much pressure on your hand (or hands) while in use. Let’s not forget about the elephant in the room: It is much more expensive than the Fire HD 8 or Fire 7, but it also trades a beautiful plastic construction for a considerably higher-end one.

The edge is flat and smooth metal, much like the iPhone 13 and iPad Air, with markings for the antenna bands if you have a cellular device. When held vertically (or horizontally), the device’s top (or left) includes speakers, volume up and volume down buttons, and a power button with Touch ID. While there are minimum bezels that might have accommodated the TrueDepth sensor for Face ID, Apple chose Touch ID, as it did with the iPad Air. The fingerprint sensor has been nestled inside the power button and topped off with a frosted glass piece. It was very easy to add a few of fingerprints, and it’s worked out pretty well. On the iPad Mini, we don’t miss the home button at all; it’s a more practical design this way. It’s also in an excellent position regardless of how the tablet is held.


CNN/Jacob Krol

Another significant alteration is the USB-C connector, which is located on the tablet’s bottom. The iPad Mini no longer has Apple’s exclusive Lightning connection, which offers up new possibilities for engagement. To transfer files, you may use an external drive or a more widely accepted dongle. The big benefit, however, is that you may be able to reduce the number of charges you need to carry. A USB-C to USB-C cable and a 20-watt wall socket are also included in the package. The iPad Mini now has USB-C, leaving the ninth-generation iPad as the only tablet with a Lightning connector.

The back of the tablet is relatively uncluttered, with the exception of a 12-megapixel camera that protrudes and prevents the Mini from lying flat on its own.

Purple, pink, Starlight (silver), and Space Gray are the four colors offered for the iPad Mini.


CNN/Jacob Krol

The 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display is the true show-stealer. Colors were true in our tests, with a little more brightness and deeper contrast points than the previous iPad Mini. In reality, the iPad Mini’s display performance is almost identical to that of the iPad Air. When watching a video, the images seem to be lifelike, and the information moves smoothly across the screen.

Another area where the display has improved is when using the Apple Pencil on it — there is less latency and the handwritten language seems to flow into the digital screen more realistically than on the previous iPad Mini.

However, this is the second-generation Apple Pencil, which can be magnetically attached to the right-hand side of the iPad. It not only makes it simple to keep both devices together, but it also allows the iPad Mini to charge the Apple Pencil wirelessly.

The bezels on this model don’t bother us at all, and if anything, they give us a little more space to hold the iPad Mini. With a gadget that’s just 7.69 inches tall and 5.3 inches broad, you’ll need a lot of space to hold it and operate it properly.

The 12-megapixel front-facing camera, which also powers Face ID and the TrueDepth sensor, is located on the top (when held vertically). It’s also bringing along its Center Stage feature, which turns the iPad Mini into a great video call and content recording device. Your face will be maintained in frame and zoomed in little when on a FaceTime or video chat. It will pan and move to keep you in the picture if you get up to walk around or get a drink.


CNN/Jacob Krol

The iPad Mini defies the common misconception that a smaller tablet means less features and power.

The iPad Mini is powered by Apple’s A15 Bionic chip, which is also found in the iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max. Slack, Outlook, Word (actually, the whole Office suite), Photoshop, management systems, and even spreadsheets are all supported. It’s almost on par with the iPad Air and even the 11-inch iPad Pro at all of these key tasks in side-by-side testing. It has capabilities that many other smaller tablets lack. In the same spirit, a Fire HD 7 or Fire HD 8 is unlikely to be able to manage the entire production of a movie or batch out picture changes.

We’ll point out that Apple isn’t launching a Magic Keyboard or Smart Keyboard for the iPad Mini, which is a shame since we think it has a lot of promise. The iPad Mini packs a punch and may be a great, ultra-portable method to finish papers, emails, and other professional activities. Bluetooth allows you to connect a keyboard and even a trackpad, although a case would have made this gadget seem more polished. Apple also omitted the Smart Connector from the design.

You may also multitask, but keep in mind that using Split Screen will only offer you a limited amount of room for each activity. In our opinion, the iPad Mini is most similar to the original iPad in that it allows you to concentrate on one job at a time.

The iPad Mini’s 8.3-inch display and overall dimensions make it ideal for consumption. On a gadget this small, catching up on “Ted Lasso,” “The Morning Show,” or even a flashback to “Lizzie McGuire” (we have a broad variety of interests) was a pleasure. It’s small enough to take along for a car trip, a train ride, or to watch while laying in bed or on the sofa. Yes, we confess it was some of our toughest testing, and even a small pill may hurt when it falls on your face while you’re sleeping.

The iPad Mini’s screen size and general design are comparable to that of a Nintendo Switch, and gaming on it is a lot of fun. We checked out an early preview of Catalyst Black (a Fortnite-like game coming soon), which worked well on the tablet. The same can be said about Real Flight Simulator, which may cause the graphics to get dizzy at times. While flying, we had good virtual sight lines, and building an underground train system using Mini Metro was a nice way to finish the day. The CPU inside is powerful enough to handle almost any game you might play on an iPad locally.

The point is that the screen size is ideal for viewing or interacting with information, as well as digitally reading a book. It’s more of a catch-all gadget that aspires to be a jack-of-all-trades iPad in a small package.

When size is taken out of the equation, the iPad Mini is almost as powerful as any other iPad. In fact, in our qualitative assessment, it outperformed both the iPad Air and the ninth-generation iPad. Similarly to our experience with the iPhone 13, the A15 is a powerhouse of a processor. In our battery test, we found that Apple’s claim of up to 10 hours of playing was exceeded. In this test, we increased the brightness to 50% and looped a movie until the gadget died. For redundancy, we also shut off all connection and monitored it with two cameras. The iPad Mini lasted 10 hours and 45 minutes on a single charge.

Apple is adding 5G capability to the iPad Mini Cellular versions, much as it did with the iPad Pro last spring. However, there is a catch: just one of the key 5G standards in the United States is supported here.

The iPad Mini supports Sub-6 5G, which is more generally accessible across AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon networks. It’s not the super-fast 5G standard, however; that’s mmWave, and it’s only available on Apple’s iPad Pro tablet.

To some extent, Apple is being realistic, since you may not be interested in 5G mmWave, but Sub-6 is more likely to be available nationally. When utilizing Cellular on the iPad Mini and linked to 5G, you may anticipate rates of 100 to 300 Mbps, which are comparable to 4G LTE. The actual benefit of utilizing a Sub-6 5G network is that there is greater network capacity.

However, cellular isn’t included with any iPad, and if you want it, you’ll have to pay an extra $150.

There’s a lot to appreciate about the iPad Mini: it has a bright display and a powerful CPU, and it allows you do everything an iPad can do… with some physical limitations. Multitasking is a challenge, and there isn’t a specialized keyboard case available.

You just must be willing to compromise on size and seek an ultra-portable option. If you’ve already had an iPad Mini, this is most certainly the model you’ve been waiting for.

If you’re new to the iPad, though, you should think about your choices. The iPad Air, which offers many of the same capabilities and has a Smart Connector for simple accessory connection, costs $100 extra. The $329 iPad is a more basic tablet that can do many of the same things without sacrificing performance.

Apple’s iPad Mini is now available for pre-order, with a starting price of $499, and will begin shipping on September 24.

The ipad mini 2021 accessories is a new iPad that will be released in 2021. It has a 10-inch screen, Face ID, and Apple Pencil support.

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