The "1-Minute" Review
VerdictIf you’re looking for a smaller tablet, reviewers loved the iPad Mini (2019). It’s ultra-portable, powerful, and affordable. You can’t ask for much more.
- 1st Generation Apple Pen support
- Excellent performance
- Plenty of storage
- 3.5mm headphone jack
- No storage expansion options
- Older-looking design
- No Face ID
- So-so cameras
It’s been nearly 4 years since the last iPad Mini model update. With their latest release, Apple looks to bring their ultra-portable small tablet into a more modern era -- even if you can’t tell by looking at it. But with tablet and phone sizes increasing by the year, is a tiny tablet still worth buying? Reviewers are weighing in on Apple’s latest release. Let’s see what they’re saying...
If you’ve seen the Apple iPad Mini 4 from 2015, you’ve seen the iPad Mini (2019). In fact, a few reviewers mentioned getting confused between the two when comparing them.
This means you’ll find the chunkier bezels and chins of Apple’s older devices and a Touch ID sensor on the front instead of Face ID authentication.
While some reviewers wanted a more modern design, most were happy with the older format by the end of their reviews.
Phone Arena appreciated the older design because of the tablet’s smaller size, noting, “... we find that holding it, as is, can be tough to avoid accidentally touching the display, so the bezels are perfectly OK with us.”
At just 8 inches by 5.3 inches by 0.24 inches, this tablet bucks current trends of huge displays to offer a near pocket-friendly option for enjoying your favorite apps and media on the go or at home.
Around front, you’ll find a 7.9-inch, 2048-by-1536 pixel display with a pixel density of 326 PPI. While the screen looks similar to earlier models, that’s not a bad thing. Apple still cranks out some of the best displays on the market.
The new model also supports a wider DCI-P3 color range and True Tone technology for color-sensitive tasks such as photo editing. And screen lamination and an anti-glare treatment make reading easier in bright environments.
Overall, reviews indicate the tablet offers a flexible, beautiful viewing experience whether you’re at the park or cozy in bed.
Engadget says, “... The display looks as punchy and accurate as possible no matter the lighting conditions. While I'd appreciate if this screen were a little brighter -- the iPhone XS series has the clear edge here -- this is still the best the mini's display has ever looked.”
This is the area where updates are most obvious. The tablet features an A12 Bionic processor with an M12 coprocessor and Neural Engine -- the same setup used in the iPhone XS and XR. Paired with 3GB of RAM, reviewers had no issues with sluggishness or crashing.
Whether you’re looking to edit video or watch Netflix, the iPad Mini (2019) has it covered.
Phone Arena found performance stellar, saying, “The A12 Bionic chip powering the iPad Mini is the best mobile processor in the game right now and it makes short work of any task on the mini.”
The tablet runs iOS 12.2 and is sure to receive updates for years to come. Reviewers found gesture commands slightly awkward but otherwise loved the multitasking features and general layout of the interface.
The baseline iPad model includes 64GB. But there are no expandable storage options. So if you think you might need more room, upgrading to the 256GB will provide extra flexibility.
Like most tablets, the iPad Mini (2019) focuses more on quick snapshots and video chats with their cameras. You’ll find an 8MP rear camera and a 7MP front-facing lens.
In good lighting, they can capture clear pictures -- though shots lack detail compared to many smartphones. Low-light shots are predictably noisy and dim though. So plan to stick to your phone or point-and-shoot for most photography.
Engadget sums up opinions regarding the cameras well, saying, “... they just might be the least thrilling things about this new mini.”
Apple is always tight-lipped about battery specifics. However, they state the iPad Mini (2019) can reach 10 hours of use on a charge. Reviews show Apple’s estimate is accurate. However, a full recharge requires a whopping 4 hours.
Also, the tablet doesn’t use USB-C. Instead, Apple kept their older Lightning connection. So charging nightly is the best way to avoid needing to carry an extra cord or charger to keep your iPad topped off.
ZD Net praised the tablet’s endurance, saying, “The battery easily lasts me a full day, which includes my 1.5-hour train commute and full work day in the office.”
Overall, audio performance impressed reviewers. The down-facing stereo speakers offered well-rounded sound with more bass response than most phones and plenty of volume.
There’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack for private listening or better immersion and Bluetooth 5.0 for connecting your wireless headphones or headset.
The latest release brings 1st Generation Apple Pencil support to the iPad Mini. While the smaller screen makes the tablet less than ideal for larger art or graphics work, reviewers found the tablet perfect for taking notes.
The laminated display also provided a more “paper-like” writing experience for those who found earlier Apple Pencil devices odd to use.
Reviews for the iPad Mini (2019) are very positive. The only complaints centered on the older design. Still, Apple’s build quality is some of the best available. So while the device might not look as modern as the latest iPad Pros, it still offers a premium experience.
Mac World says, “The iPad Mini is the best small tablet you can get. I like that it’s unabashedly a tablet at a time when Apple is encouraging all kinds of conversations about whether iPad Pros can replace traditional laptops.”
Stuff calls the iPad Mini (2019) “the best small tablet money can buy, with an excellent mix of portability, power, and apps.”
What the Critics Are Saying...
- Matthew Bolton, T3
Originally, the iPad mini was a small, cheap games and media machine – ideal for kids or a bit of sofa browsing. Limited versatility from the screen size wasn’t a problem, especially before iOS had proper multitasking. This new version has hardware geared up to do so much more, but the limits of the...
- Nick Fernandez, Android Authority
Small tablets are hard to come by in 2020, and the iPad Mini 5 is one of the last of a dying breed. Thankfully, it delivers on the promise of packing the best of Apple's larger iPad lineup into a smaller form factor. If you can overlook the large bezels and lack of USB-C charging, it's one of the be...
- Matt Swider, TechRadar
The iPad mini 2019 is Apple’s most totable iPad, and it’s deceptively powerful for its small size. It has a bright 7.9-inch display that works with the Apple Pencil and a chipset that smokes the small tablet competition. Its price is equally deceptive, costing more than the larger iPad 9.7. For its...
- Henry Burrell, Tech Advisor
The iPad mini proves that this form factor is still desirable and useful even in an age of larger smartphones. With the A12 processor at an affordable base price, Apple’s smallest tablet is a tiny powerhouse of a computer. Yes, the design is seven years old but with the addition of Apple Pencil supp...
- Jordan Carter, Gear Hungry
The iPad Mini is designed to let users do more on a small device. Love Photoshop? The iPad Mini can handle it for you. Love doodling? Get an Apple Pen and doodle away. Think of it as a digital notebook that is much smarter. Thanks to the Neural Engine capability of the chip, the iPad Mini goes the e...
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