| iPad Mini review: Small, but mighty|
Apple's redesigned iPad Mini is tiny but powerful
The question always arises when a new iPad hits the market - even though the tablet computers have been around for more than 10 years now: What’s the point?
People always have to ask what would you use an iPad for when you already have a phone and a computer that do almost all an iPad can do.
It’s a daft question, of course - the iPad is better at some things, worse at others - and whether you should buy one depends on what you want to do.
The Mini is a perfect case in point - to some its diminutive screen size compared to a regular iPad or computer will make it less useful. For others, portability brings many advantages.
The portability is obviously the Mini’s biggest selling point - it’s small and light, but powerful and features 5G connectivity for fast data when out in the wild.
And it can do everything a bigger iPad can do.
In fact, this newly-redesigned Mini shares more in common with the mid-range iPad Air than it does with the base model iPad. That goes for it’s looks, its compatibility with the second generation Apple Pencil, and, of course, the all-screen front with no home button.
There’s no FaceID, but unlocking is simple - the TouchID sensor has, like the Air, been built into the sleep/wake button on top of the device.
Essentially the new Mini fills the gap in sizes between the largest iPhone and the regular iPad.
The screen is 8.3in diagonally. And it has absolutely nailed the sweet spot for various activities.
It is the perfect size for reading, watching video, and comes into its own as an ultra-portable games console, especially as Apple’s Arcade gaming subscription continues to grow.
It’s also very light - you can hold this thing all day and not feel it.
It’s not exactly a writer’s dream machine - Apple isn’t even making a dedicated keyboard case, as it does for all other iPads. It's good for dashing off emails and texts, but it’s a little cramped when it comes to more long-form efforts- with the touch keyboard open there’s not a lot of room left.
Pairing with an external bluetooth keyboard might just fix that, though.
Performance is blazing - the Mini features the same chip you find in the new iPhone 13 variants, and we already know how fst and power-efficient that is.
So for creating, while the screen size might limit things a bit - especially for things like video editing - the power to do that is certainly all there.
The Mini borrow’s another feature from its big brother - wired connection to external devices is done via USB-C rather than lightning, so there’s much more compatibility. It’s a lot easier to connect to things like cameras for fast data transfer.
This also brings support for connecting to an external display, although this feature remains frustratingly limited in iPadOS.
I found the screen size to be perfect for one creative pursuit - music making with Apple’s own GarageBand app is a delight, especially when it comes to playing the on-screen touch instruments.
Compatibility with the Apple Pencil also makes this a very good on-the-go notepad and drawing canvas.
And the new ultra-wide angle front camera brings a feature from the iPad’s Pro models - Centre Stage. This keeps you in fame while moving around your room when making video calls and it makes for a much more natural interaction.
Whether you want this iPad will depend on what you want to do with it. It’s certainly a spectacularly designed and well-made product - I’m pretty sure it’s one of those that if you love it, you really love it. But you’ll only really know when you have one in your hand.