It seems like years since we’ve seen a new iPad Mini — and that’s because it has been. Apple released the iPad Mini 4 in 2015, and we’ve heard little except rumors about Apple’s diminutive digit-tapping tablet since then.
But the long wait is finally at an end. Apple has announced the iPad Mini alongside the new iPad Air. But it’s not overshadowed by its bigger sibling, and the tiny tablet’s body is packed with powerful new specs, a new design, and a beautiful new display. But in a world of larger and larger phones, does a tablet with a 7.9-inch display stand a chance? Check out our iPad Mini review for in-depth impressions of the tablet.
Here’s everything you need to know about the iPad Mini.
Design and display
Standard iPads are powerful, but they’re pretty large, and while they’re extremely portable when placed in backpacks and similarly sized laptop bags, they’re not the best for smaller bags or quick trips out. The iPad Mini’s headline feature is — unsurprisingly — its smaller body size and comparatively smaller display. It’s slim, measuring just 6.3mm thick, and it weighs less than a pound. That makes it the perfect size to slip into a smaller bag and travel around with, or keep on the bedside for use as an e-reader or YouTube video-watching machine.
The 7.9-inch display is small compared to the 2018 iPad‘s 9.7-inch display, but it’s no less impressive. It’s powered by Apple’s Retina technology and it comes with TrueTone as well.
Apple’s advanced Face ID hasn’t made it to the iPad Mini yet, so you’ll find a Touch ID sensor on the front, and while Apple’s super-slimmed-down bezels from the latest iPad Pro range haven’t come across to the Mini 5 yet, the bezels are slimmer than previous entries in the range. These decisions were likely made as cost-cutting procedures, ensuring the $400 price tag.
In terms of ports, you’ll find a Lightning port at the bottom, and a 3.5mm headphone jack at the top. There’s no water resistance though, so make sure to keep a strong hold on it near the pool or bath.
Specs and battery
The iPad Mini has seen a substantial power boost since the last iteration, so there’s no need to worry about playing the latest games and swapping between multiple apps. The Mini is powered by Apple’s A12 Bionic processor, the same processor you’ll find in the iPad Pro 2018 and the latest iPhones. It provides extremely strong performance, and it should be able to handle absolutely everything you can throw at it. The base model comes with 64GB of onboard storage, with Apple iCloud support, too, and there’s a 256GB model if 64GB just isn’t enough.
There’s also the option for an LTE connection in some of the more advanced models, and though you’ll have to put money down for these models, it might be worth it to keep your work accessible on the go. Apple promises the battery has enough power for ten hours of constant usage, giving you plenty of oomph for a productive day.
Software and special features
You’ll be unsurprised to find Apple’s latest iOS 12 is the operating system being used here. Expect it to be sleek, snappy, and supremely useful, thanks to the addition of quick access to Siri Shortcuts, a Dock to access recent documents and apps, and easy access to multitasking with Split View and Slide Over.
You can also expect the iPad Mini to stay relevant for a long time with Apple’s excellent update record. If you pick up the iPad Mini as a portable machine for work or play, it’s likely to be updated for a good few years.
Like its stablemate, the iPad Air, the cellular model of the new iPad Mini also comes with eSIM support. That means it’s easy to swap between service providers when needed — whether you’re changing to a new carrier, or heading abroad.
There’s also support for the Apple Pencil, so if the Mini is joining a household with another Pencil-equipped iPad, then you’ll be able to swap the Pencil between tablets as you go.
The camera is less of a concern for tablets than it is with smartphones, but it’s good to know you can take a quick snap with your tablet if needed. The iPad Mini comes with an 8-megapixel lens on the back, and it’s joined by a 7-megapixel front-facing selfie lens for FaceTime calls.
Release date and price
The Apple iPad Mini is currently available from Apple and other retailers, both online and in-store. Prices start from $399 for the base Wi-Fi model with 64GB of storage, while the upgraded version with 256GB of storage will set you back $549. If you need an LTE connection, then you can grab an LTE-connected 64GB iPad Mini for $529, while the 256GB version will cost $679.
Updated on March 29, 2019: The iPad Mini is now available in stores.