Review: Apple’s iPad Mini Goes Pro With Stellar Features

Apple’s recent introduction of the 6th generation iPad Mini has seen a major shift in the line-up of the current iPad family, with the Mini now positioned towards the ‘pro’ category, just like the 4th generation iPad Air, while the iPad remains in the home and education market.

Now available in pink, starlight, purple and space grey, the Mini is now in a new design that’s similar to the iPhone, iPad Air and iPad Pro with a monolithic glass body with aluminium borders and an absolutely spectacular 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display True Tone and 500 nit brightness, which is brilliant for reading emails or watching streaming videos while sitting outdoors at a coffee joint.

Oh with the change in form factor has meant that Apple has added two additional speakers for a total of four, so you experience stereo sound while the iPad Mini is in both portrait and landscape mode, while Touch ID has now been moved to the top button. This works with zero issues. I did wonder why Apple didn’t also add in Face ID as it looks like there’s plenty of space at the bezel, though this makes perfect sense in the Time of COVID-19. On the back remains a single camera, which is quite decent for when you need to take a snap, and the 12MP sensor actually has Focus Pixels, so it is actually quite good.

Apple has upgraded the 12MP FaceTime camera on the iPad Mini to include Centre Stage, which I use quite often with my iPad Pro, and this feature really enhances the Mini’s versatility as a communication device, especially as it’s also available with 5G connectivity, and that comes to another new feature that further distinguishes the Mini as a ‘pro iPad’ – replacing the Lightning connector with USB Type-C.

As you may have read in the previous issue, the USB Type-C standard is significantly faster, in both data transfer and power delivery, than Apple’s Lightning standard, and the switch in the Mini enables it to connect to cameras for fast data transfer and even USB Type-C DisplayPort enabled monitors, like my 27-inch Dell UltraSharp.

Powering the 6th generation iPad Mini is Apple’s new A15 Bionic chip, which is the same processor in the iPhone 13, though at a lower clock speed. This still provides the new iPad Mini with 40% more performance than its predecessor, while the A15’s integrated image processor and neural engine enables the Mini to perform brilliantly in multimedia creation, from drawing with the Apple Pencil (2nd Generation) to video and photo editing.

Technical Specifications (as tested)

  • Operating System iOS 15
  • Display 8.3-inch Liquid Retina IPS, LED-backlit, 2266×1488 resolution,326 ppi, 500 nits
  • Processor A15 Bionic Processor, 6-core CPU, 5-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine Storage 256GB
  • Connectivity USB Type-C, 5G, WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5, GPS, Apple Pay
  • Battery Up to 10 hours web surfing with WiFi
  • Dimensions 214.9 x 280.6 x 6.4mm
  • Weight 297g

We say

The new iPad Mini is a serious tablet with similar functionality with the iPad Pro, remaking this small tablet into a pro-machine.

Rating: 4.5/5

From S$749