First Look: iPad mini 2021 Review

The iPad mini 2021 is the first iPad mini that supports Apple Pencil, and it supports Apple Pencil 2 just like the iPad Pro. You can magnetically attach it to the right side of the iPad mini to pair and charge it.

So to use the Apple Pencil 2 that was previously paired with my iPad Pro, I just had to attach it to the iPad mini for a second, and it was ready for use. No need to unpair it from the iPad Pro.

Using the Apple Pencil with apps like Lightroom or Photoshop just feels like the iPad Pro. I didn’t notice any lag or offset on the iPad mini.

Things to consider before buying an iPad mini 6

However, there are a few things you should know before buying an iPad mini 6.

Screen Size

Sure, the smaller screen size was one of the reasons I bought the iPad mini. But if you have poor eyesight, the iPad mini screen and especially the font may be too small.

Though you can increase the font size for apps that support it, the font of, e.g., the widgets is small – even for me. But for me, the text does not matter that much in the widgets I use.

Battery Life

I’ve been using the iPad mini for over a week, substituting my iPad Pro 2021. I didn’t notice any difference in the battery life of the iPad mini compared to the iPad Pro.

One additional benefit of the smaller device is that it doesn’t need so much power like an iPad Pro and thus has a smaller battery. That, in turn, allows me to charge the iPad mini almost three times from 20 to 100% using a 20.000 mAh power bank.

Storage Capacity

For some reason, the iPad mini 2021 is only available with 64 gigabytes and 256 gigabytes. There’s no in-between model with 128 gigabytes, though this would be the perfect storage size for me.

But after checking the storage used on my iPad Pro 2018 (40 gigabytes), I bought the 64 GB model. The additional markup of USD 150 for the 256-gigabyte model was not feasible for me.

So, carefully check how much memory you need. This can save you a few bucks.

Clocked down A15 Bionic Processor

According to the tech specs, the iPad mini and the iPhone 13 have the same processor: The A15 Bionic with six cores.

But even before the iPad mini six was released, I read that the iPad mini was clocked down by 2% to 8% compared to iPhone.

Please let me cite singer Pink: “So what?” In simple, real world, numbers it means that something that would take 10 minutes on an iPhone 13 Pro would take between 10 minutes and 12 seconds and 10 Minutes and 48 seconds.

I don’t know about you, but I can afford the additional 48 seconds.

USB-C Connector

Just like its bigger siblings, the iPad mini now comes with a USB-C connector. This connector allows you to connect the iPad mini to an external display that supports USB-C or display-port connections.

I’ve tried this setup a few times and find it quite appealing. By connecting a bluetooth keyboard and bluetooth mouse, you get an almost desktop-like feeling when using the iPad mini with a big screen. I like that!

No keyboard connector

Unlike the iPad Pro, the iPad mini does not ship with a keyboard connector. Personally, I don’t mind. I’ve never used an attachable keyboard with my iPad Pro. In fact, most of the time I used the iPad Pro without an external keyboard.

If you need or want to use an external keyboard with the iPad mini, simply connect a supported bluetooth keyboard and start typing!

Jelly Scrolling on the iPad mini

Someone recently posted a video showing an effect on iPad mini known as jelly scrolling. The internet almost exploded.

That’s a visual effect that makes it look like the left side of a screen is a bit behind the right side of the screen when scrolling. Let me cite Pink again: So what?

First, I experience jelly scrolling on my iPad mini only if I scroll up and down extremely fast – like five times up and down in a second. I usually don’t scroll that fast because I want to read what’s on the screen.

Second, jelly scrolling is an effect that occurs on many LCD screens. If you search Youtube for jelly scrolling, you’ll find dozens of videos about other non-Apple devices where you can see this effect, too.

So, if you tend to spend most of your time swiping up and down the iPad mini screen extremely fast, you may want to go to an Apple store to try it out first and see if you can actually see the effect and if you’re annoyed by it.

The Verdict

I’m glad I bought the iPad mini! So far, I don’t miss my old iPad Pro.

On the pro side, the iPad mini offers better portability and it’s much more convenient to use. The battery life is about the same as I got from my old iPad Pro. Moreover, the iPad mini 2021 supports the Apple Pencil so you can get creative, take notes or edit and retouch photos.

On the con side you may miss the keyboard connector and the currently famous jelly scrolling issue may prevent some from buying it. But as I mentioned, you’ll encounter this on many other LCD screens, too.

So, if you’re looking for a portable yet still powerful device, I recommend having a look at the iPad mini 2021. You can buy the iPad mini 2021 e.g., from Amazon.

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