Back in 2012, Apple had two iPad Models, the standard 9.7-inch iPad and then the Mini. Fast forward to 2019, where Apple’s iPad lineup has grown, to include the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro, the 10.5-inch iPad Air, the 9.7-inch iPad and finally the new 7.9-inch iPad Mini.

With its refresh in 2019, the iPad Mini is an odd position as smartphones (including Apple’s own iPhones) are getting bigger with even larger screens, the iPhone XS Max has a massive 6.5-inch display which is not that much smaller than the current iPad Mini. Even with that in mind, the latest iPad Mini is a great device apart from a few issues.

Design & Hardware

The iPad Mini (2019) has a 7.9-inch Retina display that has a resolution of 2048 x 1536. Apple also added their True Tone technology which will automatically adjust the white balance of the screen based on the current lighting conditions.

The device also comes with support for the Apple Pencil but it only works with the 1st Gen Apple Pencil with the Lightning connector that plugs into the iPad Mini and makes it look like a mechanical lollipop. Even though Apple has released a second generation Apple Pencil that only works with its iPad Pro, it would have been great if Apple gave the 1st Gen Apple Pencil a slight overhaul to launch alongside the new iPad Mini.

The Apple Pencil is great to use but it does come at an additional cost of $129 CAD. Here’s a sketch I made using the Apple Pencil on the new iPad Mini.

The design of the new iPad Mini hasn’t changed one bit, you would think that four years between model releases (yes, the last iPad Mini came out in 2015) that Apple would have made at least the bezels on the new iPad Mini smaller, so then you get more screen real estate.

It still has a Lightning port, volume buttons, home button with Touch ID and speakers. Most of the changes for the new iPad Mini are with the display and the internals.

The new iPad Mini is powered by the Apple A12 Bionic processor which is the same one featured in the new iPad Air and the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR. Performance on the new iPad Mini is great with little to no slowdowns.

For cameras, the new iPad Mini comes with an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 7-megapixel front-facing camera. Both cameras are good but they’re not going to blow you away.

Battery life is also great, I was able to easily get 10 hours on a single charge and like most Apple devices, the new iPad Mini has good standby time, so if you forgot to charge it overnight, you’ll still have some battery life left.

Since the new iPad Mini still has a Lightning port, Apple still decided to include their 10W USB Power Adapter, which makes charging the new iPad take forever. If you want faster charging, you’ll need to shell out $59 CAD for Apple’s 30W USB-C Power Adapter and another $25 CAD for an Apple Lightning to USB-C cable for a total of around $84 CAD.

If you go the third-party route, you can go with the Anker USB-C to Lightning Powerline II cable (that is certified by Apple) for $27 CAD and Anker’s USB-C Wall Adapter for $25 CAD or Anker’s new PowerPort Atom PD 1 for $40 CAD for a total of $52 CAD or $67 CAD, depending on which Anker charger you go with.

The max wattage of the new iPad Mini is around 20W, but you buy a charger that is 30W, it will work but it will just charge at 19-20W so it doesn’t damage your device.

The new iPad Mini comes in Space Grey, Silver and Gold colour options.

Canadian pricing for the new iPad Mini is as follows:

  • 64GB (Wi-Fi) – $529 CAD
  • 256GB (Wi-Fi) – $729 CAD
  • 64GB (Wi-Fi & Cellular) – $699 CAD
  • 256GB (Wi-Fi & Cellular) – $899 CAD*

* The model I tested

The new iPad Mini is available from Apple’s website.

Apple is actually charging more for less. Sure you’re getting the latest processor, more storage, Apple Pencil support and a True Tone display. Apple’s iPad, which was announced last year, starts at $429 CAD and goes up to $719 CAD for the 128GB (Wi-Fi & Cellular model).

If you were to buy the top of the line iPad (2018) and the Apple Pencil, it will set you back around $848 CAD, which is still less than just the top-specced iPad Mini (2019). The iPad Mini (2019) and Apple Pencil would set you back $1,028 which is close to iPad Pro and laptop territory.

If you prefer the smaller screen of the new iPad Mini and want the Apple Pencil, then go right ahead and buy the new iPad Mini but just consider your options and how much you’re willing to spend on an iPad.

Software

The new iPad Mini is running iOS 12 which brings a number of new features and improvements. While iOS 11 brought a whole new look to iPads with the Dock and Split View, iOS 12 brings Group FaceTime which will allow you to talk to multiple friends and family at once.

Siri Shortcuts is also new for iOS 12 which allow you to program actions for Siri to perform to things quickly. Screen Time in iOS 12 allows you to see detailed info about your device usage and help manage it.

With the help of the A12 Bionic chip’s Neural Engine, it can help provide better-augmented reality experiences in iOS 12. I used a number of AR apps on the new iPad Mini including:

You will also find the usual creative apps like iMovie, GarageBand and more. There’s no shortage of great apps for iOS on the iPad.

Even though iOS 12 has made improvements for the iPad, it’s also sometimes frustrating to use. iOS 11 brought a new multitasking screen to the iPad where you can see all your open apps laid out.

While it’s great to see everything in a simple layout, you still have to swipe up to close each app instead of having a clear all button that you’ll find on Android.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the new iPad is a great device that is pretty pricey for a small tablet, considering Apple also offers its iPad (2018) for about $100 less than the starting price of the iPad Mini (2019) but at least Apple is offering improved performance, Apple Pencil support, bigger storage and their True Tone display technology.

Pros

  • Now supports Apple Pencil
  • Good display
  • Smooth performance
  • Lots of apps including quite a few AR apps
  • Same specs as new iPad Air
  • Long battery with great standby time

Cons

  • The design hasn’t changed
  • Only works with the older Apple Pencil
  • Slow 12W charger included
  • Costs more than the bigger 9.7-inch iPad (2018) that also supports Apple Pencil

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