Test: Apple Ipad Mini (2021) – Big but small

The development of the Ipad series in recent years has mainly been about being able to do more, to be able to use several apps at the same time in a smoother way, to increasingly bridge the gap to the computer and not just act as an enlarged Iphone. Pencil and advanced keyboard case with touchpad have accelerated this development. It has also increased performance and the development of the iPad OS has done, with support for controlling the system with just the touchpad or mouse, ie without actually touching the screen.

Keyboard shell too small

Pen, Apple’s second generation Apple Pencil works with Ipad Mini and the device has usb-c in the bottom which makes it easier to connect external storage and accessories, but in many other ways the tablet feels a bit like it is still alive in the time when the previous version of the Ipad Mini came and it is as long ago as 2019 and before that the model came before already 2015. Even if the pen is there, a physical keyboard is not a good idea for this device. Apple does not sell anything and the reason is simply that a keyboard shell that for the larger Ipad models would be too small to fit all the keys in a useful way. The size also means that I do not think I will benefit from the progress the iPad series has made in recent years. A swipe with the pen from the corner of the screen opens the small quick note that should appear and hide only a small part of the screen, easily on larger Ipads. But here, too, a small note takes up a large part of the screen, so that the very purpose, to still have other apps running and visible, falls a little short. Same thing with multitasking. Dividing the screen for several apps, which is now a bit easier with Ipad OS 15, does not have the same obvious advantage here.

Place in the back pocket

In large parts, therefore, the Ipad Mini becomes a slightly enlarged Iphone. Pretty much magnified if you compared to an Iphone Mini, not so magnified if you compare with an Iphone Max. In terms of size, I can push the Ipad Mini into the back pocket of the jeans, but it is not comfortable or practical. Carrying it in, for example, the jacket pocket is more reasonable and the fact that it is extra portable is an obvious advantage with the tablet compared to larger Ipads. At the given expense then of the screen being smaller.

If we for a moment ignore the size and what limits it sets for what can fit here, the iPad OS still offers great freedom of choice and the performance can not be complained about. The app range in the App Store of course includes apps for all the major streaming services, productivity apps from Apple itself, Google and Microsoft, as well as, for example, apps for being able to read books, newspapers and of course a wide range of games to play. However, I quickly notice that the pen is not very useful in Google’s Office apps. In Apple’s own apps and in the system as such, however, the iPad is astonishingly good at interpreting ordinary handwriting and making text I write by hand translated into editable text, which of course makes the benefit self-evident rather than having to write purely myself afterwards. The pen can be attached just like on the Ipad Pro on the long side of the Ipad Mini with a magnet so you have it available and the risk of losing it is reduced. If the iPad Mini to the outside borrowed much of the design from the iPad Pro, the same legacy has not happened in terms of performance. Here too, however, it is enough and will be over. Ipad Mini is powered by A15 Bionic, the same chip that is in Iphone 13 and it manages to make Ipad Mini fast when we use it. However, this screen lacks the fast screen update that was introduced in the Iphone 13 Pro and for that matter also existed previously in the Ipad Pro. Here we have to settle for 60 hertz instead of 120. I also react to the fact that the screen is in the odd format 3: 2, which means that both films and photos have black edges around and we thus never really make full use of the surface.

One camera each

The cameras are another clear difference on other devices, whether we compare with phones or other tablets. At the back we find a solitary camera with a narrow angle, so if you are going to take a picture of something in front of you on the table, you may need to take a step back. No wide angle then. The selfie camera is equipped with the Centered function, which means that when you have video meetings, you always end up centered in the image, even if you leave the plate on a table and move freely in front of it. How much use you have of it in practice is another question. Most of the time, you might still sit quite still in front of your video meeting, especially when you have an Ipad with such a small screen as this one has, it is not so practical to look at from a distance. Unfortunately, the selfie camera used for video calls is located on the short side of the iPad Mini, which makes the angle a bit awkward because video meetings usually take place in landscape mode.

Otherwise, Apple is good at adapting the Ipad Mini so that it works well in all different directions. Of course, the screen spins around so it adapts regardless of which joint you hold the Ipad Mini and Touch ID that is in the button on one short side, you are recommended to learn several fingers, so that you reach naturally regardless of how you hold the tablet and which finger you then use for identification. It is still a bit unusual not to have Face ID, but Touch ID works well and by resting your finger on the reader, the screen lock is unlocked, if you leave your finger a little longer, you will also go directly to the home screen with icons.

Maybe the new Ipad Mini is a taste of what a possible foldable Iphone can offer. Imagine that you fold the Ipad Mini in the middle and you get a device of 13 x 10 centimeters folded approximately. If such a foldable Iphone is to be a success, Apple must work harder to add extra features in tablet mode. As the iPad Mini looks today, it is also a bit of a middle ground between tablet and phone. It takes advantage of its screen size, but still feels more like a large mobile phone than it can challenge a computer and does not really give that one hundred percent tablet feel.

Questions and answers

How’s the sound?
There is no real depth or pressure in the sound from the speakers.

Is the Ipad Mini water resistant?
No, so be careful if you use it outdoors, or in the kitchen when cooking.

What can I do that I can not already do on my Iphone?
Above all, it is support for Apple Pencil and multitasking with several apps in a split screen that is offered, as well as the possibility to connect accessories via the USB-C connector. And bigger screen.

An alternative:

Something else
The clearest options are a large Iphone for even smoother format or a large Ipad so you can take advantage of the tablet’s unique features better.

Test image

The rear camera is simple and offers neither wide angle nor optical zoom.

Source: Mobil by www.mobil.se.

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