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.


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 5
Tag: reviews
Buyer's Guide: iPad Mini (Caution)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
20 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)
Avatar
20 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)
Avatar
20 months ago
Deleted.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
20 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: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
20 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)
Avatar
20 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)

Top Stories

Leaker: 'iPhone 12 mini' and iPhone 12 Storage Capacities Start at 64GB, Pro Models at 128GB

Tuesday September 29, 2020 2:31 am PDT by
Rumors suggest Apple's iPhone 12 launch event will be held on October 13, with the more affordable 5.4 and 6.1-inch devices set to ship out ahead of the more expensive 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch Pro devices, and this morning hit-and-miss leaker Jon Prosser has further committed to that date by providing alleged details on Apple's first shipment of finalized iPhone 12 units. Prosser claims the...

Hands-On With iOS 14.2's New Shazam Music Recognition Toggle in Control Center

Monday September 28, 2020 2:35 pm PDT by
Shortly after launching iOS 14, Apple introduced an upcoming iOS 14.2 update, which is now available to developers and public beta testers ahead of a public release that could come at some point in October. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The iOS 14.2 update mainly focuses on the Control Center, introducing a new Music Recognition toggle that deepens the Shazam...

Top Stories: iOS 14 Feature Tour, 'iPhone 12 mini' Rumors, Apple Watch Band Controversy

Saturday September 26, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
Things started to calm down a bit this week following last week's rush of media event, Apple Watch and iPad launches, and the release of iOS 14 and other operating updates. But that doesn't mean there wasn't still a lot of news, from digging deeper into iOS 14 to more iPhone 12 rumors to the uproar over trying to exchange band sizes on the new Apple Watch. On top of all of that, we heard...

DigiTimes: 12.9-inch Mini-LED iPad Pro Arriving Early 2021, Mini-LED MacBook Coming Later

Tuesday September 29, 2020 4:18 am PDT by
Apple will launch a 12.9-inch mini LED-backlit iPad Pro in early 2021 and a mini LED-backlit MacBook in the second-half of next year, according to DigiTimes. The Taiwan-based industry publication claims Epistar will supply the over-10,000 mini LEDs used in each iPad Pro tablet. Meanwhile, Apple is expected to recruit Osram Opto as another supplier of mini LEDs for use in a new "high-end"...

iPhone 12 May Launch Earlier Than Usual in South Korea

Monday September 28, 2020 5:24 am PDT by
The upcoming iPhone 12 lineup may launch earlier than usual in South Korea, reports The Korea Herald. South Korean telecoms firms speaking to The Korea Herald have said that the iPhone 12 lineup will launch ahead of its usual schedule. Normally, the release of new iPhones in South Korea comes about one month after launch in the United States. Last year, the iPhone 11 arrived in South Korea ...

iOS 14: 'Phoenix 2' Space Shooter Delivers Playable Demo via App Clips

Saturday September 26, 2020 2:08 pm PDT by
One of the new features that arrived in iOS 14 is called App Clips. App Clips is described by Apple to be a "small part of your app" that can be available to users at just the right moment.App Clips focus on finishing one task quickly. An ideal App Clip experience allows users to open and complete a task in seconds. Instead of requiring an App Store download, they can be loaded and run via...

Epic Games Unlikely to Win Injunction in Ongoing Fortnite Battle With Apple, Jury Trial Possible

Monday September 28, 2020 1:14 pm PDT by
The ongoing legal dispute between Apple and Epic Games continued on today, with a preliminary injunction hearing taking place this morning. We're still waiting to hear the judge's official ruling, but it looks like Epic is not going to be granted an injunction to allow Fortnite back into the App Store as the case unfolds. Many of the arguments that lawyers for Apple and Epic Games made were...

iPhone 12 Production Lines at Foxconn's Zhengzhou Factory in China Running '24 Hours a Day'

Tuesday September 29, 2020 3:38 am PDT by
Apple contract manufacturer Foxconn is running its massive Zhengzhou factory in China 24 hours a day to produce the new iPhone 12, according to Chinese media reports. Apple's main iPhone manufacturer in China is said to be cancelling workers' holidays and introducing mandatory overtime with additional bonuses for longer-serving staff, according to information garnered from employees,...

'iPhone 12 mini' Name Reappears in Leaked Apple iPhone 12 Case Stickers

Friday September 25, 2020 1:58 am PDT by
Earlier this week a proven leaker claimed that the iPhone 12 lineup would be named "iPhone 12 mini," "iPhone 12," "iPhone 12 Pro," and "iPhone 12 Pro Max," and today the same nomenclature has appeared again in a photo depicting alleged stickers from unreleased Silicone iPhone cases originating from Apple's international distribution center in Ireland. The photo shows three stickers with the...

Apple Releases iOS 14.0.1 With Fix for Bug That Resets Default Apps After Rebooting

Thursday September 24, 2020 10:12 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 14.0.1, the first update to the iOS 14 operating system that was released on September 16. Today's update is a bug fix update addressing issues that weren't able to be fixed in the initial iOS 14 launch. The iOS 14.0.1 update is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new software, go to Settings > General > Software Update. ...