New iPad Mini Reviews: Capable Small Tablet With Nearly All Features of New iPad Air

Early reviews and hands-on impressions of the new iPad mini came out today. Most publications agree that the iPad mini is a great update for fans of the smaller 7.9-inch tablet with almost identical tech specs to the new iPad Air.

ipad mini 5 colors
That includes the same A12 Bionic chip, 8-megapixel rear camera, 7-megapixel front camera, Touch ID, Lightning connector, 64GB and 256GB storage options, two speakers, headphone jack, Gigabit-class LTE, first-generation Apple Pencil compatibility, and up to 10 hours of battery life.

The new ‌iPad mini‌'s only notable differences versus the new ‌iPad Air‌ are its smaller screen and lack of Smart Keyboard compatibility.

As The Verge's Nilay Patel notes, however, the ‌iPad mini‌ design is now very old:

You're still looking at the exact same external design, which is now nearly seven years old. If you secretly replaced any previous iPad mini with the new one, there's a chance you might not even notice the difference. All the changes to this new mini are on the inside, and they're significant — which they should be, given the amount of time since it was last refreshed.

And while the ‌iPad mini‌ finally supports the ‌Apple Pencil‌, it comes with all of the downsides of the first-generation version:

…the iPad Pro came out late last year with a new second-gen pencil that magnetically clips onto the side of the iPad and charges wirelessly, but this new mini doesn’t have any of that. Instead, you’ve got Apple’s first-gen Pencil, which has never been a triumph of design or usability. You still pair and charge it by plugging it into the bottom of the iPad, which looks even more ridiculous on the mini, and the cap is still insanely easy to lose.

As for the ‌iPad mini‌ sticking with the Lightning connector, Apple told Patel that it views USB-C as a "pro" feature — aka iPad Pro.

Patel added that "the display is very nice" on the new ‌iPad mini‌ despite not having the ‌iPad Pro‌'s ProMotion variable refresh rate for smooth scrolling, but found that its same old 8-megapixel rear camera "takes at best medium-good photos."

Most reviews conclude that if you want the smallest iPad possible, the new ‌iPad mini‌ is quite capable and at least somewhat reasonably priced at $399. And with little competition from Android tablets, the ‌iPad mini‌ is one of the only small tablets worthy of consideration in the first place.

Patel's closing paragraph:

But the decision to get an iPad mini is simple: do you want a small, capable tablet? If you do, the mini is obviously worth $399, especially when you consider how long Apple has supported iPads for in the past. There’s just nothing else like it. Let’s just hope that next time we don’t have to wait four years for Apple to remember it exists again.

Lauren Goode of Wired:

I haven't fallen in love with the new Mini, just as I never felt the need to buy one before. But I could see why people would. It's less burdensome than a lot of other things we carry. It's not quite pocketable, but it's close. Again, I can't hold it in one hand, but some people can, I'm sure. The Mini feels personal in a way that other devices no longer do. Not because of its actual newness, but because it is still here, and slightly reinvented once again.

Harry McCracken of Fast Company:

It still looks like an iPad Mini–complete with home button and headphone jack. But after three loooooong years, Apple’s little tablet is finally getting the features it needs to qualify as a modern iPad.

Chris Velazco of Engadget:

I'd actually argue it's perhaps the best small tablet out there right now. There's more than enough power here for most people, and if portability is your biggest concern, there's no denying the mini is more convenient to lug around.

Raymond Wong of Mashable:

There simply isn't a tablet as powerful as the new iPad mini with the same or similar dimensions. You can get a 7-inch Kindle Fire for $50, but it's demonstrably inferior in every way from the construction, to the app selection, to the performance, to the storage, to display, and etc.

Scott Stein of CNET:

An iPad Mini with a faster processor and Pencil support is filling a specific need not everyone will have. It's like a specifically sized screw, or a particular TV size. As Apple keeps splitting its iPad line into more variants, the Mini feels far less essential than ever, particularly as the iPhone screens creep to six inches or more. But if you need an efficient iPad this size and don't want a bigger iPhone for the job... well, this is what you're looking for.

Videos


Other Reviews and Hands-On Impressions

The new ‌iPad mini‌ can be ordered now on Apple.com and will be available in Apple Stores starting next week.

Related Roundup: iPad mini
Tag: reviews
Buyer's Guide: iPad Mini (Buy Now)
Related Forum: iPad

Top Rated Comments

Rafterman Avatar
37 months ago
There is no way of getting around how bad those top and bottom bezels with the off-center Home Button look, especially when you compare it to the iPad Air.
What is the obsession with some people for the "off-center" button? Talk about petty complaints...
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Baymowe335 Avatar
37 months ago
There is no way of getting around how bad those top and bottom bezels with the off-center Home Button look, especially when you compare it to the iPad Air.
You’re exaggerating.
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MacFather Avatar
37 months ago
Deleted.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ThunderSkunk Avatar
37 months ago
I honestly couldnt care less if this thing looked like frankensteins neck. The ability to sketch and take accurate, legible notes on a device that is large enough to see what youre doing, but small enough to always be with you, makes this the greatest thing Apple has ever made.

If I were to give a damn about what it looks like, I’d still say bezel symmetry doesn’t matter as much on the mini, because unlike the full size ipads youre comparing it to, this is actually capable and useful as a mobile device, and youre going to want a silicone back on it. As soon as you put that on, which curls around the front edge, you ruin the symmetry anyway. One can dream of a world where the device has a perfect Apple-produced silicon back, and the button is centered in the remaining space, but then we waited 4 years for this much, lets not make it 8 by trying to add cuteness.

And as a mobile device, USB-C currently means you cant scrounge a charge from anywhere out on the road unless you happen to have your C charger assembly along with you. You can find cords with lightning ends everywhere. ...and they all have USB-A ends, that work in every coffee bar and airport and university hotspot and car stereo everywhere.

With the inexplicable decision of “lets wait 4 years to update and then update it with a 4 year old Apple Pencil” being an odd exception, this is the perfect ipad for “right now”. Maybe in a couple years when apple fixes their multitasking/gesture mess they can do away with the home button. ...and then we can probably kiss using our favorite headphones goodbye too.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nwcs Avatar
37 months ago
I sort of get the complaints about the exterior design but at the same time, what’s wrong with it. The fact is has bezels isn’t wrong. That’s more of a fad than a defining characteristic of usability. Face ID would have been nice but Touch ID works fine. If I hadn’t gotten the 10.5” pro last year this updated mini is what I would have gotten. I’m glad Apple finally updated the Mini. Hope they keep it up.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Relentless Power Avatar
37 months ago
Macrumors complaints before the Mini launches:

“C’mon Apple, we want a refreshed Mini with Apple Pencil Support!”

Apples response: “Here you go, an updated Mini with Pencil support.”

Macrumors complaints after the Mini launch:

“Look at the off-center home button”, Or “What, no USB-C?”, ect, ect, ect, ect.

**************************

Clearly Apple can never do anything right, at least according to the Macumors rhetoric.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

airpodsinear 1

AirPods Save Woman's Life With Feature Everyone Should Know

Friday January 21, 2022 2:13 am PST by
Apple's AirPods have been credited with saving a woman's life after a potentially fatal fall, People reports. When a 60-year-old florist in New Jersey tripped and hit her head in her studio, she lost consciousness and awoke heavily bleeding. With nobody around to call for help, she realized she had her AirPods in, and used a "Hey Siri" command to call 911. An operator was able to stay on the ...
Upcoming Products 2022 Feature

Gurman: Apple Preparing 'Widest Array of New Hardware Products in Its History' for Fall

Sunday January 23, 2022 10:32 am PST by
Apple is working on a number of new products that are set to launch this fall, and Bloomberg's Mark Gurman says that it will be "the widest array" of new devices that Apple has introduced in its history. In his latest "Power On" newsletter, Gurman explains that Apple is working on four new flagship iPhones (iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Max, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max), an updated low-end Ma...
Questionable Design Decisions

Apple's Most Questionable Design Decisions in Recent Memory

Sunday January 23, 2022 2:59 am PST by
Apple has always emphasized the depth of thought that goes into the design of its products. In the foreword to Designed by Apple in California, a photo book released by the company in 2016, Jony Ive explains how Apple strives "to define objects that appear effortless" and "so simple, coherent and inevitable that there could be no rational alternative." But every once in a while even Apple...
top stories 2022jan22

Top Stories: Spring Apple Event Rumors, Apple Opposes Sideloading, and More

Saturday January 22, 2022 6:00 am PST by
As we roll into the latter half of January, we're starting to hear more about a potential spring Apple event, which is likely to take place in March or April. There are a number of potential announcements on deck, so an event would be a good opportunity for Apple to get them all out there. We've also been going back and forth on some iPhone 14 rumors, and we've taken a look at a number of...
att gigabit internet

AT&T Bringing $180/Month 5-Gigabit Internet to 70 Cities

Monday January 24, 2022 9:20 am PST by
AT&T today announced the launch of upgraded AT&T Fiber plans, which support speeds of up to 5 Gigabits for some customers. There are two separate plans, one "2 GIG" plan and one "5 GIG" plan, available to new and existing AT&T Fiber subscribers. According to AT&T, the new plans are available to nearly 5.2 million customers across 70 metro areas including Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, San...
macbook pro 14 16 2021

Three Months After Launch, Apple Still Struggling to Meet Demand for Redesigned 14-Inch and 16-Inch MacBook Pro

Monday January 24, 2022 7:12 am PST by
Three months after their launch, the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros continue to experience high demand and seemingly short supply, with shipping dates for both models stretching into multiple weeks in several of Apple's key markets. In the United States, the baseline 14-inch MacBook Pro with the M1 Pro chip is estimated to ship in three to four weeks, promising an arrival by at least...
peloton tv workout cardio

Apple Floated as Potential Buyer of Peloton

Friday January 21, 2022 6:11 am PST by
Following months of bleak news about Peloton's "precarious state," including the revelation that it has halted production of its bikes and treadmills, Apple is being floated as a potential buyer of Peloton's troubled fitness business. Yesterday, CNBC reported that Peloton will temporarily stop production of its connected fitness products due to a "significant reduction" in consumer demand, a ...
Spring 2022 Apple Products Feature

New iPad Air, Macs, and iPhone SE With 5G Likely to Be Announced at Apple Event This Spring

Thursday January 20, 2022 8:32 am PST by
Earlier this week, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman tweeted that Apple "will be holding a spring event" to announce a new iPhone SE and other hardware. In a recent edition of his newsletter, Gurman said the event is likely to occur in March or April. Gurman did not elaborate on what "other hardware" will be announced at Apple's purported spring event, but rumors suggest at least four products are...