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Home / Technology / Review: iPad Mini is back and Apple's 2019 update offers new mojo for small tablets

Review: iPad Mini is back and Apple's 2019 update offers new mojo for small tablets



I remember when I met the iPad Mini . It was back in 2012, when I first moved to New Jersey and started my routine of hour-long commutes into Manhattan.

It's my favorite iPad.

I now carry a lot of gear on that same train ride: A Nintendo Switch a Kindle Paperwhite my phone, a iPad and maybe a laptop. There's plenty of redundancy in my life. But it's where we are as a culture. Busy people with their faces buried in many purpose-built portable gadgets.

The iPad is now home to 6-inch phones, Chromebooks and convertible tablet PCs. It's another tool in the bag. Maybe I have gadget clutter. Maybe the new 7.9-inch Mini ̵

1; starting at $ 399 (£ 399, AU $ 599) Kondo things up a bit .

But here's the thing: The new iPad Mini is an incremental product update, a spec that looks like it's the model from 2015. Does that spark joy ? After using it for a few days … it's fine. But it's not something you need. In fact, if you have an old iPad Mini 4 you're good. Lifestyle clutter problem solved. (You're welcome.)

 http://www.cnet.com/


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Who's the new iPad mini for, exactly?
                



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The Mini now has an A12 processor and Pencil support. VR and AR headsets

This is a device you need? I dont. My phone takes notes. I jot ideas and watch movies on a iPad. The size of the mini still feels really nice, but its nonupdated design – same shape, same thing – same old-fashioned Foldable phone-to-tablet ideas arriving imminently. Foldables wants to cost a fortune but they blow up the idea of ​​even two different gadgets.

Maybe the iPad Mini is a hold-the-fort update, a spec bump to last until Apple reinvents its product lineup again. If you want to know more, read on.

 ipad-mini-2019-17

Pencil support: Nice to have.


Angela Lang / CNET
                                                

Yes, it's almost

Its A12 processor will not end up being the iPad Pro's A12X, though. Early Geekbench 4 benchmarks show a single core score of 4,810, and a multicore score of 11,559, which is basically the same speed as the iPhone XS. Meanwhile, the 11-inch iPad Pro's A12X processor gets benchmarks that are somewhat faster in single-core and significantly faster in multicore. Multitasking, for the apps I've tried the iPad Mini 4 could handle so no surprise there.

Pencil support is nice to have (and the Logitech Crayon too)

The iPad Mini does not work with the new Apple Pencil and it works just as well as last year's 9.7-inch iPad. It also supports Logitech's cute little pencil alternative, the Crayon . Sketching is fun, but I'm not an artist. 7.9-inch screen has less real estate. The larger one removes a chunk of a possible work area. Pencil there in.

 ipad-mini-2019-11 "data-original =" https://cnet2.cbsistatic.com/img /929XgDsgt1-tnR5WhGoD0LnDp30=/2019/03/20/2dc8e385-f355-4c47-af40-6f11be4f56b4/ipad-mini-2019-11.jpg

The Pencil charges via the Lightning port. But do not ever hold your iPad.


Angela Lang / CNET
                                                

Touch ID and a headphone jack are still there

I'm happy that the mini lacks Face ID, and still works with headphones. Most people, I bet, want to agree. Hemmed-in and small.

It's crazy little compared to iPads …

It's bigger than my Kindle, but it's easy to use one-handed and carry around like a book. For a casual travel and reading, it's a solid middle-ground screen.

 ipad-mini-2019-13 "data-original =" https: //cnet2.cbsistatic .com / img / cl4H_enpw7roNMg2AEq6HApQfjg = / 2019/03/20 / 9f26875a-0662-476a-85a4-06af9fe10b77 / ipad-mini-2019-13.jpg

iPhone XS, iPad Mini, 11-inch iPad Pro. Note the bezel.


Angela Lang / CNET
                                                

… But that bezel.

The extra space on the top and bottom of the iPad Mini are not aging well. It could easily be used for more screen space. Against the latest iPhones and the Fancier iPad Pros, it feels glaring. But if it had a face-to-face ratio, it would have been more expensive.

This is not for kids … or is it?

I mean, you could buy your little kid's iPad Mini for $ 399, but I would not. That price (or $ 529 for the 256GB model) sets it out of range for a lot of parents. It's a shame, because the iPad mini is a perfect tablet for children. The $ 329 9.7-inch iPad (which is often on sale for even less) is not quite a better bet, since it has less storage (32GB) and an older processor. But at least it's less expensive. Pencil

The first-gen Pencil is still good, but it's big, and almost dwarfs the mini. The Logitech Crayon is a little more compact and works with the Mini, too. But it would be nice to have a smaller, custom-designed stylus instead.

 ipad-mini-2019-12 "data-original =" https://cnet2.cbsistatic.com/img/bsE3C1TaDKKYpJsgU_bKWM3Wwxc=/2019/03 /20/824eb1a9-1267-4751-bf3b-e60e291de77f/ipad-mini-2019-12.jpg

Angela Lang / CNET
                                                

I'd rather get the iPad Air instead, or the entry-level iPad

I prefer typing on iPads with a connected keyboard case, which becomes tough (but not impossible) on the Mini. The 9.7-inch $ 329 iPad has plenty of great keyboard options. So does the new iPad Air which is basically the 2017 10.5-inch iPad Pro with an A12 processor and no 120Hz ProMotion in the display. The Air is an extra $ 100, but its extra screen size and smart connector is sea worth it.

An iPad Mini with a faster processor and Pencil support is filling a specific need not everyone will have. It's like a specific size screw, or a particular TV size. IPhone keeps splitting its iPad line into more variants, the Mini feels less than ever, especially the iPhone screens creep to 6 inches or more. But if you need an efficient iPad this size and do not want a bigger iPhone for the job, well, this is what you're looking for.

A missed opportunity

It would be nice if Apple had reconceived the design of the iPad Mini and the pencil would be better at maximizing its size and function. Is this a notepad or something more? Could it be as versatile as a Surface Go or push further into a perfect little full-screen device? The Mini is a spec-bumped tablet, rather than a truly reimagined product.

And that's the thing: It's fiiiine. But unlike the iPhone SE which manages to throw both back and forth, or the retina return of the MacBook Air, the Mini does not quite make it triumphant in the sea of ​​other Apple-made alternatives.

I guess in the end, what I say is not spark joy.


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