Apple’s iPad mini gets its first total overhaul with an all-new modern design, schermo più grande, fantastica videocamera per videochiamate e tanta potenza per 2021.
Ma essere il più piccolo di Apple non lo rende il più economico. The iPad mini starts at £479 ($499/$A749), sitting above the standard £319 iPad and below the £579 iPad Air.
This is the first time since the mini’s launch in 2012 that it has seen a big physical change, inheriting the flat sides, thinner bezels and “all-screen” design first introduced with the iPad Pro in 2018 and which have been trickling down the order ever since.
The new mini is essentially the 2020 iPad Air hit with a shrink ray. It has the same home button-less look, Touch ID fingerprint reader in the power button, USB-C for power and a great set of stereo speakers, just with a screen that is only 8.9in on the diagonal compared with 10.9in on the Air.
The display is super-crisp and bright, with excellent viewing angles and low reflectivity, which makes using it in direct light easier. It is a delightful size, about the same as a Moleskine notebook, and only weighs 293g, meaning you can easily hold it with one hand for reading, note-taking or watching video.
The iPad mini is one of the first devices to ship with Apple’s A15 Bionic processor, alongside the iPhone 13. Benchmarking shows similar processor performance to last year’s A14 in the iPad Air, but with faster graphics. As such, the iPad mini is one of the most powerful tablets you can buy and performs excellently all round.
The battery lasts just over 10 hours when watching streaming video over wifi or a mix of browsing, emailing and light app use. Playing graphically intensive games or streaming over 5G will reduce the battery life, tuttavia. That’s still more than enough to get through a commute or most flights.
Apple does not provide an estimated lifespan for the iPad mini’s battery, but it can be replaced for £99. Batteries in similar devices maintain at least 80% of their original capacity for at least 500 full charge cycles. The tablet is generally repairable, con il out-of-warranty service cost being £326.44, which includes the screen.
The tablet has a 100% recycled aluminium body, 100% recycled tin in the solder of its main board, 96% recycled rare earth elements, and at least 35% recycled plastic used in multiple components. Apple breaks down the tablet’s environmental impact in its report.
Apple also offers trade-in and free recycling schemes, including for non-Apple products.
The iPad mini ships with iPadOS 15, which was released on Monday. The new multitasking tools are significantly easier to use and, despite the small size of the screen, make using two apps side-by-side useful for things such as keeping an eye on fantasy football while watching the game.
The quick notes feature is also particularly useful at this size, allowing you to jot down ideas or clip links, as you might with a paper notebook.
But it is the abundant app library that sets iPadOS above the competition, with everything from advanced learning and note-taking apps to desktop-class photo editors all available even on the mini.
Apple provides very long software support for its tablets, with some models receiving more than seven years of updates from release, meaning you can safely use them for longer.
The iPad mini has Apple’s gamechanging 12-megapixel automatic panning and zooming video call camera from this year’s iPad Pro. It works just as well, keeping you in frame whether on your own, in a group or moving around – a feature usually found on high-end video conference solutions and a few smart displays.
For comparison, the 10.2in iPad costs £319, il iPad Air costs £579 e il iPad Pro costs from £749, Amazon’s Fire HD 8 costs £90, il Fire HD 10 costs £150, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S7 costs £519 e il Galaxy Z Fold 3 costs £1,599.
The iPad mini is without doubt the best small tablet you can buy, but unlike most rivals at this size it is not a cheap machine.
The screen is excellent and big enough to be usable for most things despite the tablet’s almost-pocketable size. It has a really powerful chip, solid 10-hour battery life, USB-C and iPadOS with a huge library of quality apps. The Centre Stage camera is super for video calls. It can even be used with the Apple Pencil, which turns it into a great digital Moleskine notebook replacement.
I’m sure the original iPad mini’s many fans will love this reinvigorated version. It is better all round and built to last. But the cheaper, larger 10.2in iPad offers much more for your money, and the bigger iPad Air is more useful as a computer replacement. That leaves the mini most desirable for those who want a secondary note-taking tablet or need the smallest iPad in space-constrained applications where a £90 Android tablet won’t do.