Apple iPad mini review: no competition

People who love the iPad mini really, really love the iPad mini.

It's easy to forget, because Apple apparently forgot that it made the iPad mini, the latest update, the iPad mini 4, arrived in 2015, and has barely been mentioned since. Most people, both inside and outside of Apple, assumed that the mid-sized mini-market position would eventually be eliminated from existence by increasingly larger phones and the repositioning of the iPad as a replacement for a laptop.

But people really love their iPad minis, and they kept buying the iPad mini 4, even when the rest of the iOS line was updated and improved over time. Apple told me that he was surprised to discover that people bought the mini mainly because of its size, not because of its price. And if people are going to keep buying something, it's worth updating. So now there is a new iPad mini, updated with some of the latest Apple technologies, and from $ 399.

That's something of the latest Apple technology, not all. You're still looking for exactly the same external design, which is now almost seven years old. If you secretly replaced any previous iPad mini with a new one, there is a chance that you will not even notice the difference. All changes to this new mini are inside, and they are meaningful, what they should be, given the amount of time since it was last updated.

You would expect an update of this type to occur. quite boring, especially since Apple made some curious decisions about the support of Lightning and Pencil on the way. But it turns out that I really loved using the iPad mini these last days. I had forgotten how much I liked having a small tablet instead of a giant phone. Sure, it's a bit of an Apple parts-bin remix, but it turns out that all the parts are good.

8.5

Verge Score

apple ipad mini review no competition

Good Stuff

  • All the same specifications as the largest iPad Air in a smaller size
  • Solid performance
  • Headphone connector
  • The purchase of one sends the signal from the market that not all devices have to be gigantic

Bad things

  • Seven-year outer design with huge bezels [19659011] First-generation Apple Pencil
  • Lightning Port instead of USB-C


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The only reason to buy an iPad mini is because you want a small and spectacular tablet. There is simply no other tablet of this size that can compete: the ecosystem of the Android tablet application is far from excellent, the small Android tablets usually have much slower processors and are really designed to watch videos anyway, and There simply is not any good little Windows tablets, apart from the Surface Go, which is considerably larger than the mini.

With the new iPad mini, you get basically the entire set of features of the new iPad Air in a smaller package with more and better support for tablet applications than anything else on the market. If you are the type of person who wants a small and powerful tablet, the new iPad mini is the best option. It is basically the only option .

That does not mean that this new iPad mini is perfect, not even state. Of art. Those bevels are a real setback, and the decision to use the first generation Apple Pencil instead of the much higher second generation Pencil Apple developed for the new iPad Pro is extremely strange. If you try to put together a coherent story about Apple's iPad line, well, good luck. But it turns out that none of that really affects the use of iPad mini day by day.

Here's what's new: there's an A12 processor with Apple's neural engine, an updated 7.9-inch screen with ample color support, Gigabit LTE and dual-sim support in cellular models, and a new 7-megapixel front camera with lens f / 2.2.


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Then there's a lot of old stuff: you still have a physical home button with Touch ID on the front (no Face ID or fancy fancy button here) and two stereo speakers on the bottom. On the back there is the same old camera with 8 megapixels f / 2.4, which takes pictures in the best of media. There is a headphone jack, which warms my heart. And there's a Lightning connector on the bottom, not USB-C like the new iPad Pros.

Apple told me they think of USB-C as a professional feature and that it was really important to maintain compatibility with the existing ecosystem. Of the accessories and workflows of iPad mini, so the company stayed with Lightning. I understand that the new mini is an easy and simple replacement for any of the old ones, and you can not do it with a connector change, but at this point Apple's commitment to the USB-C is everywhere. At a minimum, the delivery of two new iPad Lightning means that Lightning will remain in Apple's mix of connectors for several more years, which will delay the future in which everything uses only a universal connector. You have dreams, the iPad mini has reality.

Apple Pencil support is equally confusing: the iPad Pro came out at the end of last year with a new second generation Pencil that is magnetically attached to the side of the iPad and it is charged wirelessly, but this new mini does not have any of that. Instead, you have Apple's first-generation stylus, which has never been a design triumph or ease of use. He still paired it and charged it by plugging it into the bottom of the iPad, which looks even more ridiculous in the mini, and the cover is incredibly easy to lose.


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Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

Using the old pencil is the reason why I say it feels as if Apple has leveled the container of parts of the iPad: the new pencil is much easier to hold, load and control. If there was a vibrant competition in the small-tablet market, I'd bet Apple would have opted for the second-generation pencil in the new mini, because it's clearly superior. But there is not, so you get the first generation pencil, which is obviously worse.

The Pencil itself works the same as the first-generation Apple Pencil on any other iPad: it is fast and responsive, works well on all applications that support it, and generally makes the iPad look much more than a simple device of consumption, even if you do not use it a ton. But it's not included in the box: it costs $ 99 more, which raises the total cost of the new mini to $ 500 to start. That feels like a fault; If Apple takes seriously the iPad developers who support the stylus, they should put it in the box.

In addition to adding pen support, the screen is very good, in the way that Apple LCDs are always very good. It has ample color support, a respectable 500 nits of brightness and is laminated, unlike the cheaper iPad, so it looks like you're touching the pixels. What it does not have is ProMotion, which is Apple's sleek technology that makes scrolling super smooth on the iPad Pros. I love ProMotion, but the truth is that I did not miss too much on the smallest screen of the mini.


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I did not have the mini enough time to test the battery life completely, but I have not charged it. Once a week I had it, and the battery is still at 31 percent. Apple cites 10 hours of video playback time, and it's not as if the iPads have had problems with the battery, so I would expect it to work pretty well.

The A12 processor is the same chip on the iPhone XS and XR, so pretty fast: I did not find any slowdowns or delays when I edited photos on Lightroom, played some games and tried a couple of AR demos. The mini runs the same iOS 12 as other iPads, which means you can also multitask it, which is fun on such a small screen. There was a time when I had two applications open, another application open in a pop-up window and a video that was running at the same time, it was crowded, but everything worked fine.

When I reviewed the iPad Pro I discovered that iOS 12 was too limiting: while the hardware seemed to replace the one on my laptop, the software simply was not up to the task. Not so with the iPad mini, which is too small to carry out any of those high expectations. iOS 12 on a screen of this size feels light and nimble, and the iPad's multiple application features simply feel that the system is helping to organize the small amount of screen space, rather than trying to invent a fully computer mode new. You can do many things on an iPad mini, but not too much, and that feels good for a device that is obviously between a phone and a laptop.

And after using the new iPad mini for a while, I remembered why people like them so much. Telephones and tablets have been growing for years, and it's refreshing to use a tablet that remains stubbornly small. I like to read in the mini better than my big iPads, I feel less rude when using it in meetings than my phone or my laptop, and it has a headphone jack. The only thing I would have liked to have was a smart keyboard connector, so I did not have to play with a Bluetooth keyboard, but it's not a big loss.

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