The sixth-generation iPad Mini or the iPad Mini 6 does not only look like the little sibling of the iPad Air and the iPad Pro but also has Air-like and Pro-like features and use cases. But there is more to its larger screen-to-body ratio than meets the eye.
Pros of iPad Mini 6: New Features and Selling Points
One of the biggest selling points of the iPad Mini 6 is its new look. Compared to the iPad Mini 5 and all other previous generations of the Mini line, this new device from Apple now looks like a smaller and more compact version of the iPad Air 4 and the iPad Pro.
And because it is a new product launched alongside the iPhone 13 line of smartphones and the ninth-generation iPad, it is also equipped with the most latest hardware components, software features, and other functionalities.
Below are the key features and advantages of this new device:
• Improved CPU and GPU: The A15 Bionic system-on-a-chip comes with a 6-core CPU consisting of 2 high-performance cores and 4 energy-efficient cores, and a 5-core GPU. The CPU is 40 percent faster than the CPU found in the A12 Bionic while the GPU has a performance improvement of up to 80 percent. The SoC is also equipped with an image signal processor, Neural Engine, and other hardware components.
• The Neural Engine: The machine learning capabilities of this device are also twice faster than the previous A-series bionic chip. The 16-core Neural Engine can perform 15.8 trillion operations per second compared to the 11 trillion operations per second capability of the previous Neural Engine of the A14 Bionic.
• Based on 5nm Process: Similar to the A14 Bionic and the Apple M1 SoCs, the A15 Bionic chip is based on a 5nm process node. The performance improvements of the A15 come from its 15 billion transistors that allow faster and more energy-efficient data processing in a small form factor.
• Liquid Retina: Another advantage of the iPad Mini 6 is that it sports a newer form factor and additional features for its IPS-based Liquid Retina LCD. The 8.3 inch occupies an almost edge-to-edge area. The display itself has a peak brightness of 500 nits, ultra-low reflectivity for daylight use, True Tone, and a P3 wide color gamut.
• 2nd Gen Apple Pencil: Support for the second-generation Apple Pencil is also another key selling point and feature of the sixth-generation iPad Mini. Similar to the iPad Pro and iPad Air, users can take down notes and create digital artworks with the proven precision of the Apple Pencil. Note that this accessory magnetically attaches and wireless charges to the right side of the device.
• Comes in 5G Cellular Variant: This device comes with a cellular variant that connects to a 5G network based on the Sub-6 GHz 5G technology. The device can support a theoretical wireless data transmission speed of between 50 Mbps to 200 Mbps with improved network latency and faster continuous data transfer.
• The USB-C Port: This device follows the principles behind the iPad Air 4 and the iPad Pro. Another noteworthy advantage of the iPad Mini 6, especially when compared to the iPad Mini 5 and the ninth-generation iPad, is it supports wired connectivity via USB-C, thus making it compatible with several third-party accessories.
Cons of iPad Mini 6: Limitations and Key Issues
The most notable advantage of the iPad Mini 6 is that it is undeniably similar to the iPad Air and, to a certain extent, to the iPad Pro. The powerful A15 Bionic SoC makes this device a small but capable tablet computer that can outclass the iPad Air 4 and other mid-range to high-range alternatives.
However, it is important to understand the aforesaid claim with a grain of salt. This new device from Apple has some serious limitations and issues that can be a deal-breaker for a lot of people, especially for those with specialized use cases for tablet computers.
The following are the key issues and disadvantages of this device:
• Apple Keyboards: One of the notable cons of the iPad Mini 6 is that it is not compatible with the Smart Keyboard Folio and the Magic Keyboard from Apple. Of course, this device is too small for these accessories. There are keyboard cases available from other manufacturers, but the keys are too small.
• Word Processing: Again, because of its small size and the absence of keyboards with appropriately-sized keys, this device might not be suitable for typing large amounts of text, such as in the case of writing articles, documents, or academic papers. The bigger iPads are a better option for this specific use case.
• No 35mm Headphone Jack: There is also the absence of a 35mm headphone jack, unlike the iPad Mini 5 and the iPad. This has been a trend in the industry since 2018. A user could opt to buy a headphone based on USB-C, a USB-to-headphone jack adapter, or a wireless headphone such as the Apple AirPods.
• Limited 56: It is also important to note that this device only connects to a 5G network based on the Sub-6 GHz standard. Hence, another disadvantage of the iPad Mini 6, especially the cellular variant, is that it does not support connectivity to the faster and better mmWave 5G network standard.
• 60Hz Refresh Rate: Another possible deal-breaker to some consumers is that the Liquid Retina screen only has a 60Hz refresh rate. Of course, this provides key advantages centered on power efficiency. However, 90Hz and 120Hz screen refresh rates are becoming more popular because they provide a better user experience.
Verdict: The Good and Bad About the iPad Mini 6
The iPad Mini 6 is undeniably a powerful tablet computer with capabilities and features similar to the iPad Air and the iPad Pro. In fact, with the A15 Bionic SoC, it is more powerful than the iPad Air 4. Equipped with powerful hardware components, this device can run resource-intensive apps and graphic-intensive games without hiccups. However, this power is somewhat lost due to its key limitations that include the low screen refresh rate, no support for mmWave 5G, and the absence of a fitting decently-sized keyboard.