The iPad mini is back. And while it may look identical to the iPad mini 4, Apple's small tablet sequel has a lot of upgrades stuffed inside. It sports a new, faster processor, an improved display and Apple Pencil support. And the $399 price is fairly reasonable given the specs. Still, this slate isn't perfect.
Here are five reasons to buy the new iPad mini and three reasons to skip it. For a deeper dive, be sure to check out our full iPad mini review with benchmark results.
Most Powerful Small Tablet
Thanks to Apple's A12 Bionic processor, the iPad mini is just as mighty regarding performance as the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR. That means you'll be able to load apps quickly, edit photos and videos with ease and play the most demanding games in the App Store. In addition, iOS 12 lets you run up to three apps at once on screen, so you can seriously multitask with this device.
Apple Pencil support
With its compact design, the iPad mini makes for a great mini notebook or sketchbook, which is where Apple Pencil support comes in. You can use Apple's $99 accessory to write notes in the Notes app or in third-party apps like GoodNotes 5. And one of our own graphic designers appreciated the smooth performance when sketching in the Procreate app. The force and tilt detection is good, but you don't get the gestures that the newer Apple Pencil offers on the iPad Pro.
Bright and colorful display
Apple has upgraded the 7.9-inch Retina Display on the iPad mini to a screen that supports True Tone, which means you'll get more natural-looking colors in ambient light. The panel is also brighter and more colorful than the last iPad mini, making this a great device for bingeing on Netflix, reading and more. The viewing angles are remarkably wide, too, for an LCD.
Extra-long battery life
Although Apple rates the battery life on the iPad mini at 10 hours, we got over 12 hours on the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which involves continuous web surfing at 150 nits of screen brightness. In other words, you should easily get through a full day of typical use, whether you're watching Netflix, playing games or taking notes with the Apple Pencil in meetings or classes.
While Google still doesn't offer a great selection of Android tablet apps in the Play Store, Apple's App Store offers a rich array of apps in a variety of categories. Procreator and Good Notes 5 take full advantage of the Apple Pencil, while there's also a growing number of compelling iOS AR apps that deliver compelling augmented-reality experiences, such as JigSpace and Plantale. And the games are getting closer and closer to console quality with such titles as NBA 2K.
Dated design with big bezels
The iPad mini looks identical to the model Apple introduced four years ago, which means you get oversized bezels around the display and Touch ID instead of Face ID. I can live with the older way of unlocking the device and entering passwords, but when you have such a gorgeous display it's a shame that it has such a prominent border around it.
As long lasting as the iPad mini’s battery is, it is pretty slow to charge. And that's because it uses a Lightning connector instead of a USB-C connector. The newer iPad Pros use USB-C as well, which allows them to connect to other peripherals at higher speeds, such as displays, cameras and external storage.
Credit: Laptop Mag
Stay in the know with Laptop Mag
Get our in-depth reviews, helpful tips, great deals, and the biggest news stories delivered to your inbox.