Home Latest News Three Months With The Apple iPad mini 6 – Forbes

Three Months With The Apple iPad mini 6 – Forbes

Apple’s iPad mini 6 has been in short supply, and I can see why. The company’s supply chain is under pressure, but the iPad mini 6 is also a really good tablet. I bought one soon after Apple announced the sixth generation of its smallest iPad. I waited until early October (pre-orders started on September 17, 2021) and they were already seriously backlogged. I lucked out and found one in stock on Apple’s Amazon store — even though Apple’s own online store was showing a three-week wait. I ended up buy two more for my kids as Christmas gifts. Those orders were placed on November 1 and arrived the week before Christmas, so it was a bit of a nail-biter.
I’ve now been using the iPad mini for a solid three months. Here are my thoughts on the latest version of Apple’s littlest iPad.
My primary use for an iPad over the past few years has been to read online news in the morning, while also streaming music. Not exactly taxing stuff. When my old iPad mini (generation 2) started having frequent display issues, I switched to a Microsoft Surface 3 I had lying around. That was a pretty miserable experience — news in a web browser was not that tablet’s strong point. Then my wife upgraded her iPad Air to an iPad Pro. I got the hand-me-down! I was reasonably happy with the old Air, although it sometimes took forever to render News+ pages.
This is what an iPad look like when you shatter its display.
Then the unthinkable happened. The iPad Air took a tumble off a high workbench onto a hardwood floor and its display shattered. There was no point in even thinking about fixing it. Faced with a replacement, I considered the basic (10.2-inch) iPad, but I’ve always liked the smaller form factor of the mini — plus the new version had Apple’s powerful A15 Bionic chip, a new edge-to-edge Liquid Retina display, a USB-C port, and Touch ID. I figured if nothing else, it would have a much longer useful life. 
iPad mini 6 unboxing.
It would be shocking if the iPad mini 6 wasn’t a big improvement on my iPad mini 2. After all, that second generation iPad was released way back in 2013.
However, the iPad mini 6 is a serious performer — period. It’s equipped with Apple’s latest A-series processor, the A15 Bionic. That’s a big leap over the A13 chip in the current base-level iPad. The display is beautiful. It may not compare to my iPhone 13 Pro Max’s OLED Super Retina XDR display, but the new iPad mini’s 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display is bright, sharp, and colors pop nicely. When reading, text is crisp, photos look great, as does streaming video.  
My old iPad mini (L) and the iPad mini 6 (R). The new iPad is physically smaller, but with a larger … [+] display.
The display can functionally do the iPadOS Split View, but practically speaking it’s a bit small for that feature to be useful. 
With Wi-Fi 6, page loading is no longer an issue. While the “edge-to-edge” display still has bezels, getting rid of the Home button in favor of Touch ID on the power button makes a huge difference. While the new version is slightly shorter than my old iPad mini, the display is noticeably larger.
A better look at how the iPad mini 6 (L) display has grown.
For what I bought it for — primarily reading Apple News+ and streaming music — the iPad mini 6 performs admirably.
Early reviewers reported a problem with the new iPad mini’s display that came to be known as “jelly scrolling.” You can read about the issue in this post by Forbes senior contributor Janhoi McGregor.
I have the Wi-Fi model of the iPad mini 6, which is supposed to be the version that’s primarily affected by jelly scrolling. Do I notice it? No. Scrolling is nowhere near as smooth as with my iPhone and its 120Hz ProMotion display, but that holds true for most of my devices. So far as I’m concerned, it’s a non-issue. 
Apple’s iPads have always had front and rear cameras. The versions on the non-Pro iPads haven’t always been great. I’ve snapped many pictures of the kids, dogs, or cats doing something cute over the years using an iPad when my iPhone wasn’t in reach, and the results have almost always been underwhelming. There’s a lot of blur and resolution isn’t great.
Apple upgraded the main shooter on the iPad mini 6 to a 12MP wide angle camera with autofocus using Focus Pixels, image stabilization and HDR 3. It takes pretty decent pictures now. And because it’s a mini, not a full-sized iPad, it’s a little less awkward to be taking them. 
Nigel shot with the iPad mini 6. The new camera can capture photos that are “keepers.”
The FaceTime HD camera on the latest iPad mini gets a big resolution bump compared to the previous generation, going from 7MP on the iPad mini 5 to 12MP. It’s a much wider angle camera that supports Apple’s new Center Stage feature and offers image stabilization. FaceTime or Zoom calls look very good. They may be on a very compact display, but it’s still bigger than my iPhone’s.
I haven’t done much in the way of iPad gaming for a long time. I have an Xbox Series S as my primary system and a Nintendo Switch for portable gaming. However, the iPad mini 6 is a very solid gaming option and it’s gotten me a bit hooked. It makes a great little mobile gaming device — in fact I haven’t picked up my Switch since buying the iPad. 
Apple’s A15X processor give the iPad mini 6 serious gaming chops, plus it can output video over … [+] USB-C and supports third party wireless game controllers.
With the iPadOs support for third party game controllers (including those from the Xbox and Playstation), the A15X processor, and the iPad’s USB-C port able to output video to an external display, the iPad mini 6 is surprisingly capable for such a compact device.
I rediscovered using a stylus with the iPad mini 6. I’d played around with capacitive styluses years ago, but never found much use for them.
In testing an active stylus with the iPad mini 6, I discovered this is actually a very useful feature. I was working with a Zagg Pro Stylus (review here), which attached magnetically to the side of the iPad. It connects instantly, and while this stylus doesn’t offer pressure support, it does offer tilt recognition so you can do thicker lines just by angling the stylus.
I’ve found the iPad mini 6 is ideal for taking notes using a stylus — which can attach magnetically … [+] to the iPad.
I used to keep a pen and Post-It notes on my desk, but the iPad mini 6 is the perfect size for being a digital notepad. With a stylus secured to its side and always ready to go in an instant, I jot things down in Notes instead of wasting paper — and, amazingly, the iPad interprets my atrocious handwriting correctly well over 99% of the time. Unlike the Apple Newton I still have stashed in a desk drawer…   
The iPad mini 6 is ideal for reading.
My only complaint about the iPad mini 6 is storage. It comes with a base 64GB, which is really on the the low end of what’s useful these days. I would have happily paid extra for an upgrade to 128GB, but that’s not an option. The only storage upgrade is to 256GB, which adds $150 to the price tag. I ended up sticking with 64GB, but probably should have paid the extra. Anyway, it’s too bad Apple doesn’t offer that 128GB tier for this model…
It would also have been nice to have a few of the iPad Air colors available, like the green and blue. Purple and gold really aren’t my thing. But that’s nit-picking. 
If you’re looking for an iPad that can do just about anything you throw at it, and you want it to be small enough to slip into a jacket pocket, Apple has your number with the iPad mini 6.