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Apple iPad Mini 6 2021 Review: Small in Size Max in Performance

The iPad Mini 6 is finally out after months of waiting and speculation. After the iPad Pro then Air, there is a small format tablet that adopts the design of other Apple tablets. The device has a larger screen, a better screen, rounded edges and no longer square, and good performance.

PROSCONS
A15 Bionic processorNo FaceID facial recognition
Strong battery life60Hz screen
Wi-Fi 6 and USB-CMedium storage option
iPadOS 15 improvements
USB-C charging

Key Specification

Apple IPad Mini 6
Released2021, Sept 24
ProcessorApple A15 Bionic (5 nm)
Display8.3 inches
Memory64GB 4GB RAM
256GB 4GB RAM
Camera12 MP

Design

Dimensions195.4 x 134.8 x 6.3 mm
Weight293 g (Wi-Fi) / 297 g (Wi-Fi + Cellular)
Screen Size8.3 inches, (~77.4% screen-to-body ratio)
Resolution1488 x 2266 pixels
ColourSpace Gray, Pink, Purple, Starlight
TypeLiquid Retina IPS LCD, 500 nits
MaterialAluminium

The iPad Mini had retained its original aesthetic for years. However, Apple has radically changed the aesthetic appearance of its tablet in recent years. First, the Pro versions, then the Air version and finally the Mini; it was about time. There is a slightly thicker tablet, but for a good reason, this model is very uniform, as are the higher-end models.

The screen has grown from 7.9 inches to 8.3 inches on the front side, which is larger and more suited to this new format. The edges are uniform, each the same size, making the iPad very pleasant to use. We find the front camera on the upper part of the screen, but no Face ID, unfortunately. For the price, Apple could have put this technology.

On the upper edge, there are two speakers, allowing you to broadcast stereo sound with the two speakers below as well. The volume adjustment buttons are also present at the top, with two separate controls for the volume and a large button enclosing the fingerprint sensor on the right for locking/unlocking.

On the left edge, there is nothing in the version, namely the Wi-Fi version only. On the right edge is the magnetic part for the Apple Pencil; the Pencil is, however, not sold with the iPad and remains marketed for more than a hundred USD on the Apple site.

The underside of the iPad Mini indeed includes the other two speakers, as well as the USB-C port. Apple is adopting USB-C little by little on the iPad. Therefore, we are delighted that this iPad is switching to USB-C for more connectivity and convenience.

On the back, as usual, the apple is present, with the mention of the product “iPad” and some legal notices. The iPad Mini 6 does not have a 3-point connection for keyboards or recharging devices on the back; it’s a shame. The camera also adopts a flash, a big change on this small tablet devoid of it before.

However, the sensor extend quite a bit from the surface of the device, as on the iPad Pro 2018. It’s a shame because the mini version of the tablet was still the only version without a camera that extend, but it is, so now, a shell will be required to protect it if necessary. Along with this, a microphone is present on the back.

Display

This small-format tablet by Apple adopts a fairly classic IPS LCD panel, Apple is not yet at AMOLED on the iPad, unfortunately, and it shows. Faced with an iPhone 13 Pro Max, the iPad Mini has difficulty standing out with its screen. Also, we note that it uses a 60 Hz panel and not a 120 Hz panel. Faced with a 2018 iPad Pro, this is noticeable, and the difference is striking.

The screen adopts a resolution of 2266 x 1488 pixels, the bare minimum for a pixel density of 326 DPI. On this iPad Mini 6, Apple did not go overboard, that’s for sure.

However, we can congratulate ourselves on a size of 8.3 inches against size of 7.9 inches previously. Indeed, this larger screen is also much more pleasant to use with more harmonious edges. There is indeed a difference between the two generations, the 5 and this iPad Mini 6. However, there are rounded corners with a much wider rounding on the outer edges than the inner corners of the screen.

The brightness is 500 nits, which is not bad however, if the Colorimetry is DCI-P3.

Apple has its TrueTone display habit; this feature allows the iPad to adapt to the ambient light to offer colour temperatures. However, more preferences for a default display with a fairly cool colour temperature give a much better visual result. It is possible to deactivate the TrueTone easily.

The screen is compatible with Apple Pencil, and the iPad Mini 6 has support for the latter on its right edge. However, we note that the oleophobic coating supposedly resistant to fingerprints does not resist very long and not as much as hoped. However, this is the case with many tablets, which are pretty sensitive to fingerprints on the screen.

As usual, Apple does not offer tempered glass protection or protective film on the iPad Mini. It is not the only one. However, Apple never protects its devices, access to the user if necessary.

Performance

GPUApple GPU (5-core)
RAM4GB
Storage64GB, 256GB
ExpansionNo
OSiPadOS 15

The iPad Mini 6 has an Apple A15 Bionic chip, a 6-core processor. However, the device is a bit lower than what is found in the iPhone 13 Pro Max. With this, we find 4 GB of RAM and the 5-core GPU found in the iPhone 13 Pro Max, but the frame rates are a little lower and the performance as well. After all, we are on a “Mini” version; Apple would not offer the same performance as the iPad Air or Pro.

GeekBench

On GeekBench, the iPad Mini 6 is doing well. It must say that it is perhaps less good than the iPhone 12 Pro Max but much better than many or even many Android smartphones, of course. The Huawei MatePad 11 is struggling to keep up on that side. Indeed, the GeekBench score of the iPad Mini 6 is 4360 points.

The processor clocked at 2.93 GHz, and if we appreciate its performance, it is far from extreme. However, we will agree that this version is not made for extreme tasks either, like video editing, for example).

Antutu score

iOS and iPad OS let us download Antutu Benchmark as we wish, which is also a big positive point when we benchmark against Android. The Antutu score for the iPad Mini 6 is 755,302 points. 

This is a good score, which beats many Android smartphones, with the GPU and processor advertised as the best performing. Indeed, the latter is powerful, despite being restricted in this version of the iPad.

Performance Test

We can see read and write performance, among other things, of the storage chip and the RAM of the iPad Mini 6. The performance of the RAM with more than 20 000MB / read and nearly 22,000MB / s write, with just 18.9ns of latency. No other device on the market does better; Apple has a habit of hitting hard on RAM if it isn’t present in huge amounts.

We ended up with only 494MB / s read and 218MB /  this contrasts significantly with the very efficient RAM.

3DMark

The performance is good, but also in the game, even though it is only 60 frames per second and that sometimes, we fall to less depending on the game.

iPadOS 15

iPad Mini 6 equipped with iPad OS 15; Apple’s software adapted for tablets appeared a few years ago and left room for different functionalities and organization from what classic iOS offers. However, iPad OS has its flaws, and its integration on this iPad Mini is a bit risky, especially at the edges.

However, we find all the features we already love on the iPhone, plus real multitasking, allowing you to use two applications simultaneously. Continuity is required with the possibility of receiving and sending messages from the iPad when it is close to the iPhone and on the same Wi-Fi network, whether they are iMessages or SMS!

Overall, iPad OS 15 does not change much compared to iPad OS 14; the interface is still an absolute pleasure to use.

Camera

Rear12 MP, f/1.8, (wide), AF
Front12 MP, f/2.4, 122˚ (ultrawide)
Video recording1080p@25/30/60fps, gyro-EIS

Apple IPad Mini 6 has a single back-mounted photosensor and a front-facing photosensor, both 12 MP. However, no ultra-wide angle on this iPad Mini 6 but a zoom that can go up to x5 on the back camera. On the other hand, there is a microphone on the back and a flash with 4 LEDs. At the rear, the photosensor has an f / 1.8 aperture, which is very practical for taking photos while capturing a lot of light.

The photos taken with the iPad Mini 6 are quite correct, provided good ambient light conditions. In night photography, it’s not terrible; the photos are not exceptional, far from it. 

On the front camera side, we appreciate its angle of 122 °, which is very wide and pleasant. This allows you to take pictures in good quality and remains ideal for video conferences via FaceTime in particular.

Multimedia

Headphone jackNo
LoudspeakerStereo speakers
MicrophonesNo
FM RadioNo

With 4 speakers, the iPad Mini 6 offers the good sound quality, powerful and pleasant. We especially appreciate the fact of finding four sound outputs on a small iPad like this one! The sound power isn’t extraordinary either, however, it’s enough for such a small tablet. The bass is present and pleasant, the midrange and treble are also well balanced.

Battery Life

Capacity5078 mAh
TypeLi-Ion
LifeUp to 10 h
WirelessYes
Power Supply19.3 Wh
User-ReplaceableNo

5078 mAh battery, the iPad Mini 6 has a good battery that lasts the day without too much hassle. After about 10 hours, the battery showed signs of weakness, which is still really good for this tiny tablet. However, do not go too hard on the use; we used the tablet with the brightness at about 1/3 and in web browsing in Wi-Fi only.

It should not be counted on to work miracles in terms of autonomy in more intensive use. Even if Apple has worked well with its A15 chip, after 4 or 5 hours in play, it will give its first signs of weakness. However, Apple screwed up the charger and the cable with this iPad, fortunately! But the battery is still recharged in 20 Watts, which is a small revolution on the apple side.

Connectivity

SIMNano-SIM, eSIM
Bluetooth5.0, A2DP
WifiWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6
NFCNo
GPSYes
ConnectorsUSB Type-C 3.1, DisplayPort
SensorsFingerprint (side-mounted),
accelerometer, gyro, compass, barometer

The iPad Mini 6 goes to USB-C, finally! It is thus much more practical to read external storage media, it is also efficient to recharge the iPad with the charger of the Mac. In short, Apple has put the new universal connector on its small-format iPad, and that’s a perfect thing, to the detriment of lightning.

In terms of wireless connectivity, we have Bluetooth 5.0 and Wi-Fi 6, which is good, but We would have appreciated a more recent version of Bluetooth! That would have been the least of things for an

The iPad Mini 6 is also available in the 5G version. Connection sharing from an iPhone is so easy and quick to perform that I didn’t have to take the cellular version.

No Face ID for the iPad Mini 6. On the other hand, Touch ID, the fingerprint sensor, is in the game. It’s a shame not to have the facial recognition sensor here, as it is present on the higher-end versions. Admittedly, it is an iPad “Mini”, but Apple sells it sufficiently expensive like that!

Fortunately, we are at a point where the fingerprint sensor is excellent; just during the configuration, removing and putting your finger on the lock / unlock button very quickly is no problem. Likewise, unlocking the iPad daily is not a problem; it is speedy. However, we can regret the positioning of the locking/unlocking button at the top of the device.

Conclusion!

The iPad Mini 6 is undeniably a good tablet, excelling many other Android tablets without a doubt. However, it is a product that is marketed as too expensive for what it is. However, we can welcome the improvements which are indeed numerous and notable, such as the change of format, the switch to USB-C and the camera flash, among others.

From a technical point of view, Apple has not struck hard if we looked at the iPad Pro a few years ago, but if we look at the evolution of the iPad Mini, the changes are numerous, for our greatest happiness.

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