OPINION: Apple’s new iPad Mini 6 has been available for just over a week now and I have to say it’s already one of my favourite tech products I have used all year.
From the diminutive size that I can hold comfortably in one hand to the blushing pink hue and the support for the excellent Apple Pencil 2, the iPad Mini 6 is the tablet I didn’t know I needed.
While I am most productive on the iPad Pro (2021), the iPad Mini has already taken its place as a secondary device more focussed on entertainment. I pick it up, rather than a phone, to watch a YouTube video and I have even been using it as an alternative to a Kindle for reading since I started testing it a few days ago.
It’s so small and light that I don’t even think twice about chucking it in a bag alongside a laptop, something I rarely do with the 12.9-inch Pro.
But, there are some areas that still have me wishing I could grab the iPad Pro instead. Yes, this comes from the privileged position of being able to use and review all these tablets, but once you’ve used an iPad Pro for an extended period there are a number of things that can be hard to leave behind. That’s why I would love, somewhere down the line, an iPad Mini-sized entry into the flagship range.
It’s the screen that hit me first. I have been spoiled by ProMotion on the iPad Pro for years and now with it on the iPhone 13 Pro, almost all my interactions with iOS devices are at 120Hz. I’ve always found faster refresh rate displays to only matter when you’ve actually used one – then it can be hard to go back.
The 8.3-inch display on the iPad Mini 6 might have a thinner bezel and mimic the design of the Pro iPads, but it sticks to 60Hz without any ProMotion benefit. I find it more noticeable here than with the iPhone 13 and, at times, it can be quite jarring.
ProMotion makes everything from swiping to scrolling to drawing feel so much smoother. The adaptive nature of the screen tech is key on iPads too, as it helps save battery by slowing the screen down when you’re reading. The battery life hasn’t wowed me on the iPad Mini 6 so far so this could be a way of upping it.
I’d also love the same mini-LED tech utilised on the larger 12.9-inch to trickle down to a Pro Mini, although this feels very much like wishful thinking.
These mini-LED panels have far more dimming zones than the regular LED ones used by the iPad Mini, meaning they get darker and produce far better, brighter HDR content. For a media consumption device, the best possible screen is always welcome.
I’ve watched countless hours of HDR content on the iPad Pro 12.9 and the experience is better than my lowly TV at home. Blacks are incredibly inky and colours pop with so much more clarity. The screen on the iPad Mini is muted in comparison.
A Pro version of the iPad Mini 6 could also bring across some more of the higher-end features, like mmWave 5G and Thunderbolt support. Neither of those would be high on my request list, but I’m sure they’d be dealbreakers for others.
The obvious issue here is the price. At £479 for the 64GB model and £619 for the 256GB model. the iPad Mini 6 isn’t cheap. Add in features like mini-LED (currently restricted to the £999 iPad Pro 12.9) and ProMotion and that already high price could rise a lot.