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iPad Air 5 vs iPad Mini 6: Is smaller always better?

With the launch of the iPad Air 5, it’s time to look back to the previous iPad release to ask if the Mini is the better solution.

The iPad Air 5 has finally launched at the Apple Peak Performance event, packing in the M1 chipset alongside 5G connectivity.

With all of these new specs and features, we thought it was time to see how the latest iPad compares to the iPad Mini 6, which came out last year and scored an impressive 4/5 recommended when we got it in for testing.

It is important to note that we haven’t had a chance to test out the iPad Air 5. That means that we won’t be talking about the performance of the latest tablet, but we will be talking through the specs and overall design and making some early judgements on based on our expert knowledge and experience reviewing other tablets and iPads.

Screen

Starting off with what we know, the iPad Mini 6 has an 8.3-inch Liquid Retina LED display with a 60Hz refresh rate. Our testing hit up to 450 nits of brightness and we found that it covered a decent portion of the DCI-P3 gamut. This means it’s not as reactive as Pro level iPads which have 120Hz refresh rates (a key metric that facilitates smoother scrolling and more responsive gaming performance).

The resolution sits at 2266×1488 and the screen has HDR support, which is perfectly serviceable, though our review noted that the colours didn’t punch as hard and the blacks veered on being grey, which is more of an issue if you’re using the tablet to watch media.

Turning towards the iPad Air 5, it has a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina LED display with a resolution of 2360×1640. Apple claims that it has a brightness of 500 nits and has a wide P3 colour display, though we will need to check these claims once they’re in for testing. If true it should be better for general Netflix watching and doodling in procreate than its smaller sibling.

ipad mini 6 website

Design

The iPad Mini 6 comes in four colours, including Space Grey, Pink, Purple and Starlight. During testing we found the tablet is small enough to slip into any bag with ease and is light enough to grip comfortably in one hand, with our consensus being that it is a great iPad to take out on the go.

As usual, the design is sleek, with the same rectangular shape with rounded edges.

Looking at the iPad Air 5, it comes in five colours, including Space Grey, Pink, Purple, Blue and Starlight. Apple is claiming that is has an “all-screen” design.

It also has a 12-megapixel front camera that now features Centre Stage, which keeps you in frame and in focus while you’re taking a video. Air tablets traditionally are bigger than their mini siblings, but are suitably lightweight to be used on the go. We’ll be curious to see which proves more travel friendly when we get the new Air in for testing and use it as our primary day-to-day tablet.

Specs

The iPad Mini 6 comes with the same A15 Bionic chipset as the iPhone 13 series of phones, which makes for a speedy performance. Our review says that the tablet never ran into a hitch, even while playing intensive video game titles.

Our Geekbench 5 tests show that the iPad Mini 6 scored 1594 during the single-core testing, and 4687 for the multi-core tests. While these are not the highest scores around for an Apple tablet, it is perfectly serviceable, especially for a smaller device.

In terms of storage and RAM, the base storage sits at 64GB, with the jump to 256GB coming with a hiked up price. Both variations come with 4GB of RAM.

Toppling the iPad Mini 6 in terms of power, the iPad Air 5 comes with the M1 chipset, which will tower above the A15 in terms of power based on our benchmarks and experience using other devices running the M-series silicon. Coming with a 16 core neural engine and 8 CPU cores, made up of 4 P-cores for high performance and 4 E-cores for energy efficiency the M1 is a cut above the A15 on a technical level.

Apple’s marketing reflects this, with it claiming the iPad Air 5 offers a 60% performance increase over the iPad Air 4, which came with the A14 processor, with double the GPU power than its predecessor, as well. In short, if Apple’s marketing rings true when we test it, it’ll be far better for gaming and demanding creative work like video editing and vector artwork.

While we can’t make any claims on how it will compare to the iPad Mini 6, even the A15 chip won’t be able to outrun the desktop level M1, and we would expect the iPad Air to have better performance and to better handle gaming or other intensive tasks.

Another new addition is the 5G connectivity, with the iPad Air 5 coming with cellular options, as well as WiFi options.

The iPad Air 5 comes in two flavours in terms of storage, at 64GB and 256GB.

Early verdict

We can’t make any definitive verdicts on how the two tablets compare until we get the iPad Air 5 into our labs for testing. But at a technical level it looks like a decent upgrade on the Mini. It has more powerful hardware which should make it better for gaming and creative work. The larger screen should also make it better as a media tablet for watching Netflix. But the Mini is smaller, making it a better choice for people regularly on the move, potentially. We’ll update this page with our final verdict on how the iPad Air 5 and iPad Mini 6 compare when we’ve tested Apple’s newest slate, so make sure to check back with Trusted Reviews regularly.

You can compare the prices and known specifications of the two devices side-by-side in the below table:

UK RRP
USA RRP
EU RRP
CA RRP
AUD RRP
Manufacturer
Screen Size
Storage Capacity
Rear Camera
Front Camera
Video Recording
IP rating
Battery
Fast Charging
Size (Dimensions)
Weight
ASIN
Operating System
Release Date
First Reviewed Date
Resolution
HDR
Refresh Rate
Ports
Chipset
RAM
Colours

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