The iPad Mini 6 is easily the best small tablet around, although the price will likely make it a very niche device. If it’s the size that matters, however, then the design, performance and accessory support are all fantastic here.
- Great new design
- Works with the second-gen Apple Pencil
- Super-speedy thanks to the A15 Bionic chipset
- 5G option makes for great portability
- Odd storage sizes
- Some iOS elements are too small
- UKRRP: £479
- USARRP: $499
- EuropeRRP: €559
- CanadaRRP: CA$649
- AustraliaRRP: AU$749
- New designFinally, the iPad Mini has a fresh new design similar to the iPad Air and Pro
- Support for new add-onsThe Apple Pencil 2 is supported here and charges on the side
- SpecsApple A15 Bionic, 4GB of RAM and up to 256GB of storage
It’s happened – Apple has finally redesigned the iPad Mini, ditching the chunky bezels and updating it with many of the features I’ve loved on other modern iPads.
‘Mini’ devices have had something of a renaissance in Apple’s product lines recently, headlined by the iPhone 13 Mini and now the completely redesigned iPad Mini 6.
These remain niche devices, but it’s great to see that Apple is at least trying to target audiences who prefer smaller tech.
This is really the first time the iPad Mini has been redesigned, with all previous models looking very much the same. Considering the first device dates back to 2012, this freshening up has been a long time coming.
Design and screen
- First big redesign for the iPad Mini series
- 60Hz LCD
- USB-C replaces Lightning
Apple likes to tout many uses for the iPad Mini 6, including being a buddy for pilots, but I’d assume that the majority of folk will use it as a media consumption device, which slips into just about any bag with ease.
The iPad Mini 6 (or sixth-generation) is modelled after the latest iPad Air. It looks modern, with a screen that pushes closer to the edges and no home button in sight.
Touch ID, the main form of biometric unlocking, has been moved inside of the power button, while the volume keys are also now on the top – a change that took me a few days of use to properly get used to.
Like the iPad Air and iPad Pro, the new Mini has flat sides and a flat back. It also comes in a variety of colours, including the pinkish hue seen in the sample images included with this review.
Also like the iPad Air and iPad Pro, it replaces the Lightning port with USB-C and ditches the headphone jack, pushing you to use wireless or USB-C headphones.
Following years of the old iPad Mini design, the new look here is refreshing – and it works very well in this smaller size. The larger display (8.3-inch versus 7.9-inch) fits inside a very similar-sized body.
It’s light enough to grip comfortably in one hand for Kindle reading sessions, or for watching videos on a busy train. It will fit nicely inside a decent-sized handbag too, or a back pocket on some decidedly baggy trousers. This really does feel like the iPad that can go anywhere.
The display itself impresses less than the overall design, but I’d say that’s because I’ve been spoiled by the OLED panel on recent iPhones and the mini-LED on the big iPad Pro.
The 60Hz (apologies to those hoping for 120Hz ProMotion) LCD here is perfectly fine. It hits around 450 nits of brightness, covers a decent portion of the DCI-P3 gamut, and is pin-sharp. But, when compared to OLED, the colours just don’t punch as hard and blacks tend to look more grey. This is especially noticeable with those bars that sit around widescreen content; compare the colour to the actual black bezel and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Some have complained about issues of ‘jelly scroll’ here, where one half of the screen moves slightly slower than the other, leading to a jelly effect when you’re moving through content in the portrait orientation. I can’t say that I’ve come across such an issue, or at least it hasn’t been obvious to the naked eye, but it does certainly seem like a problem many are experiencing.
- Same A15 Bionic chipset as the iPhone 13 series
- 4GB of RAM and either 64GB or 256GB of storage
- Runs iOS 15
The storage situation isn’t quite as positive. The base version is a meagre 64GB, which feels stingy for a device of this price, while the 256GB option requires a significant jump in the cash you’ll have to part with, making this tablet even more niche. It seems like a 128GB model would have been the sweet spot.
The A15 is Apple’s latest chip and it makes for suitably speedy performance. All the games I played from Apple Arcade, including intensive titles such as The Pathless, ran without a hitch. Pair up a controller and this is arguably the best sized iPad for gaming on the go.
The smaller size makes it less of a productivity beast than the iPad Air and iPad Pro, even though it’s technically just as capable. There’s enough grunt here for RAW photo editing, decent video editing and the like – just be aware that the smaller display isn’t ideal for these kinds of tasks.
You can see Apple isn’t positioning this device as a true workhorse, since it doesn’t include the handy Smart Connector you’ll find on other iPads. This means you’ll have to connect up keyboards via Bluetooth, and there’s no official keyboard accessory. This probably makes sense, though: a Magic Keyboard at this size would hardly be ideal.
While there’s no Magic Keyboard, support for the excellent Apple Pencil is included. And it’s no longer the older version; it’s the magnetically charging version that sticks to the side of the device, and that doesn’t require plugging into the Lightning port for charging. Finally.
I love using the Apple Pencil (an extra £119/$129) with the iPad Mini 6, since it turns the device into a fantastic little notebook for jotting down thoughts. iOS 15 also has a handy Quick Note feature that lets you take down notes without opening the full app.
If you want to make the iPad Mini 6 even more portable, there’s an option to buy it with 5G connectivity. You can then pop in a SIM (or use an eSIM) and get online away from WI-Fi. If you’re in the USA, then it’s important to note there isn’t support for the mmWave 5G network used by carriers such as Verizon. Instead, it’s the sub-6GHz version. Considering there’s no mmWave 5G in the UK (yet), and even Apple’s iPhones don’t ship with the tech here, it isn’t a reason to avoid this tablet on these shores.
There are two cameras on the iPad Mini 6, although it’s only really the front 12-megapixel unit that’s interesting. This selfie camera uses the same Center Stage tech first introduced in the iPad Pro 2021. When you’re on a video call – be it on Zoom, FaceTime or something else – the ultra-wide camera can follow you around and zoom in depending on your movement. This works fantastically well, especially when you’re not simply sitting down for a video call.
The 12-megapixel camera on the rear of the iPad Mini 6 is paired up with a small flash and takes perfectly adequate snaps. It captures plenty of detail, which makes it ideal for AR demos and capturing documents to sign.
The iPad Mini 6 runs the same version of iPadOS 15 as the cheaper iPad 9 and the pricier Air and Pro models. The experience is very much the same across the range and that can be, at times, an issue for the smallest model.
There are certain UI elements that feel overly small here, especially the widgets on the homescreen. The weather widget, for example, is dinkier than the same widget on an iPhone 13 Pro Max; the same can be said for the smallest size of widget in general. It feels like this screen needs a more bespoke version of the software.
However, there are many areas in which the software is better than that on the phones – even the Max versions. You can have multiple apps open side-by-side at once, with a video player window popped out too. I’m still amazed that this isn’t available on the Max phones. It’s great to be able to have both Twitter and Safari open at once.
- Charges via USB-C rather than Lightning
- Comes with a 20W plug
The iPad Mini 6 ditches the Lighting port of its predecessor, replacing it with the more modern USB-C connector. If you have a recent MacBook or Android phone – or even a Nintendo Switch – then you’ll likely be very familiar with this type of connector.
USB-C is great. Not only is it used by a wider variety of devices over Lightning, but it enables support for a multitude of accessories. You can attach a USB-C to SD card reader, for example, to transfer snaps from a camera.
The iPad Mini 6 also charges faster than the older mini iPads, with a full charge taking around two hours with the included 20W power adapter.
In terms of actual endurance, my tests place the iPad Mini 6 sits just below the iPad Air 4. However, how long the device lasts will really depend on how it’s used. If you push it daily with heavy apps such as Lightroom, LumaFusion and lots of video streaming, the iPad Mini 6 is unlikely to survive beyond a day of use. If it’s more a commuting tool, for shorter bouts of reading and streaming, then you’ll get a good few days before it needs a recharge. Standby time is good, so it won’t drain too quickly if it’s just left in a bag.
Should you buy it?
You want the best small tablet This is easily the best small tablet around. It has the power and skills to get stuff done – and you can even play some of the best games on iOS on it.
You want a tablet to replace your laptop If you want a productivity workhorse then we’d suggest opting for the iPad Air instead. The small screen here is better for casual watching over proper work.
The iPad Mini 6 isn’t going to be for everyone; however, it’s a lovely little tablet that sits in an arena where it has virtually no competition. If a small tablet is what you’re looking for then this is the best.
The design of this device offers a huge upgrade over previous models, the A15 Bionic will serve you well for years, and it’s great to see USB-C finally adopted here.
If it’s just a general tablet you’re after then the iPad Air 4 (2020) is the better choice. The bigger screen is better for productivity and it has the Smart Connector for those keyboard accessories.
How we test
We test every mobile phone we review thoroughly. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly and we use the phone as our main device over the review period. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Used as our main tablet during test period
Tested with synthetic benchmarks and real world use
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Yes, both the charger and cable are included.
No, you’ll need to buy the Apple Pencil separately.
No – the iPad Mini 6 features an LCD panel.
Trusted Reviews test data
All the test data we picked up from testing out the iPad Mini 6.