iPad mini 6 review: One year later, still a great reader and streamer

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in iPad
After over a year with the iPad mini 6, we're still glad Apple breathed new life into it with an iPad Pro-like design.

iPad mini 6
iPad mini 6


The iPad mini had a troubled upbringing, rarely able to find its footing between the largest screen of an iPhone, like the iPhone 6 Plus, and the lowest-priced iPad.

It has always had its fans -- but hardly a vast audience throughout the years. This was partly because the iPad mini would often go long stretches without updates, making it hard for enthusiasts to choose a sometimes wierdly-placed product, living in limbo between generations.

Thankfully, in September 2021, the iPad mini 6 was released and entered its modern era. After a year, it's been exactly the product it's always meant to be: a versatile media consumption device that can handle a dash of productivity if needed.

Daily use

The reason we were so excited to get our hands on the new iPad mini when it was first released was because it looked like it would be an excellent e-reader, TV, and notepad -- all in one.

Largely those assumptions have been born out over the last year plus a bit. We use it regularly as an e-book reader and to browse Apple News while sipping our morning coffee.

Kindle book on iPad mini
Kindle book on iPad mini


With support for the Apple Pencil 2, the compact iPad mini 6 looked like a perfect digital notepad. That never quite panned out here for us, but it's fully capable for the people who are handwriting notes and need that functionality.

Our primary use of the iPad mini 6, however, has been as a compact screen for streaming content. And because of this, the tiny tablet really did come along at a perfect time.

Stage Manager is making larger iPads more powerful and laptop-like while the M2 MacBook Air is making desktop computing thinner and lighter than ever.

We've been finding it hard to justify carrying around both an 11-inch or larger iPad and MacBook Air when they now overlap in performance and functionality more than ever before.

We often find it much more convenient to carry the iPad mini 6 and either a laptop or a larger iPad.

In this context, the iPad mini 6 is an unapologetic media consumption device. It works perfectly on an airplane tray table, being held in bed, or propped up on a desk. It's a perfect second screen for single tasks.

The iPad mini can be used for productivity and work in a pinch, sure, but it excels at streaming Netflix or playing casual Apple Arcade games. It fits in most bags and even large pockets, making it easy to carry everywhere.

The iPad mini 6 is still a good buy

Don't worry if you're late to the mini party, coming in fresh to the smallest iPad. This model is absolutely (still) worth buying.

Slow Horses on iPad mini
Slow Horses on iPad mini


The iPad mini 6 has an A15 Bionic chip inside, which should keep it relevant for several more years. (The 2022 10.9-inch iPad uses an A14 Bionic chip, for what it's worth.)

Our biggest gripe with the device is probably the screen. It has been the source of the most contention since the product was released.

If you look closely, there are times you might notice a wobbly, jelly-like effect while scrolling a webpage or other information. It's unfortunate, of course, but we don't think it's defective.

We think the screen tech is currently good enough. The specs are reasonable on paper.
  • 2,266 x 1,488 resolution (326 pixels per inch)

  • Wide color display (P3)

  • Fully laminated display

  • True Tone display

  • Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating

  • Antireflective coating
It could be better though, which is why it's our biggest wishlist item.

iPad mini 7 wishlist

The most obvious way the product could improve next time around is to include a better screen. We would love OLED or Mini LED to make it an even better video-watching device, but we would also settle for ProMotion and a little higher brightness level beyond the current 500 nits.

A higher refresh rate could help with any noticeable jelly scrolling issues, but it would also simply make all interactions with the Apple tablet more fluid and smooth.

The addition of Face ID would be wonderful, just like it would be on other non-Pro iPads. And although it's probably less of a concern on this device, a landscape-front-facing camera would be a nice touch.

We doubt we'll see waterproofing or even a mini Magic Keyboard, but throw those items in as things we would like to see.

Most likely, what we'll get in the next version is a processor bump and new color choices. The current iPad mini 6 is really good.

iPad mini Pros

  • Compact and easy to travel with

  • Pencil 2 support

  • USB-C port for charging and accessories

iPad mini Cons

  • Occasional visible scrolling effect

  • Default font and scaling can feel pretty small to some people

Rating: 4 out of 5

As capable as it was a year ago, the iPad mini 6 is still the Apple tablet to get if you want to read or watch content on the go.

Where to buy the iPad mini 6

Apple's iPad mini 6 is regularly on sale, sometimes dipping to as low as $399. To compare prices and view the latest offers, head over to our iPad mini 6 Price Guide. Or jump to iPad deals on the sixth-generation iPad mini at these Apple resellers: Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    edredr Posts: 7member
    Absolutely. The best iPad for most people for most casual tasks. It's now by far my most used iPad - the larger ones sit in a drawer most of the time. It's a big enough screen for watching casual videos, the audio is loud enough and stereo, it's great for video chats, for reading books, for looking up online info, it's light enough to hold in one hand, it's great for use when sitting, standing or lying down. An absolute winner, just really really wish Apple would have put face id on it so it would be consistent in usage with all my other devices, and wish some app developers like Tweetbot would provide larger font options (some apps even at max font settings have too-small fonts on the iPad mini).
    edited December 2022 watto_cobratwokatmew
  • Reply 2 of 7
    JP234JP234 Posts: 789member
    I had an iPad Mini (and two iPad/iPad Air), a Kindle Fire and a Kindly Paperwhite.

    The only thing I use the full size iPads for is watching what I want on vacation (lousy year 2000 dumb TV's in every hotel). I haven't used the Kindle Fire for about 5 years. I haven't used the iPad Mini for about as long. When I read, it's on the Paperwhite because its display looks more like a book, and isn't backlit, so I can fall asleep at night. When I surf or write, it's on the MacBook Air, because of the keys.

    I have no use for the Mini or the Fire. Others may, certainly.
  • Reply 3 of 7
    edr said:
    Absolutely. The best iPad for most people for most casual tasks. It's now by far my most used iPad - the larger ones sit in a drawer most of the time. It's a big enough screen for watching casual videos, the audio is loud enough and stereo, it's great for video chats, for reading books, for looking up online info, it's light enough to hold in one hand, it's great for use when sitting, standing or lying down. An absolute winner, just really really wish Apple would have put face id on it so it would be consistent in usage with all my other devices, and wish some app developers like Tweetbot would provide larger font options (some apps even at max font settings have too-small fonts on the iPad mini).
    Ditto, Ditto, Ditto. No scrolling page effects here. After recent cataract surgery enjoying the mini even more. I work on spreadsheets and keynote presentations, utilizing split screen all the time. Apple  Pencil attached magnetically is magnificent. USB- C charging so fast. Use it in conjunction with iPad Pro 12.9”.  Looking forward to an upgrade hopefully with Face ID. A marvelous device.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 7
    As an owner of the iPad Mini 6 since it dropped in 2021, my only disagreement with this positive review is the negative slant in commentary about the screen. Someone unfamiliar with the current Mini could easily be left with the impression that there's something truly wrong or problematic with the screen and that's simply not the case. "Jelly-gate" has only been "the source of the most contention" in the echo chamber of Apple online criticism. In actual use, jelly scrolling only happens in fairly specific situations and, even then, you have to look carefully to spot it. it's an artifact of screen refresh that has been seen in other IPS screens and it is not a defective screen. I'd urge any prospective Mini buyer who feels concerned about this to go look at the Mini in an Apple Store... it's a non-issue.

    And sure, an OLED or a mini-LED screen would be fabulous in a Mini. But you know who else would like a screen like that? Buyers of the just released Oct 2022 iPad Pro 11". Considering that this screen tech hasn't yet made it to THAT model, it may be a while before it trickles down to the Mini. In the meantime, the Mini's screen tech is fully on par in specs with its more expensive sibling, the iPad Air, and the Mini screen has the highest resolution of any other iPad model, including the Pros: 326 dpi vs 264 dpi. 

     
    watto_cobratwokatmew
  • Reply 5 of 7
    rnb2rnb2 Posts: 56member
    I owned the iPad mini 6 for about a year, and agree with just about everything in this piece, except for the criticism of the lack of FaceID. I ended up selling my mini to a friend when I finally came to the conclusion that, for a certain subset of my reading, I really need a larger screen, much as I would miss the hand-holdability of the mini. In the process of trying to find the best fit for my needs, I tried a 2018 11" iPad Pro, a 2020 iPad Air, and a 2022 M1 iPad Air (my final pick), and to my great surprise, I found that FaceID was actually more of an irritant than a benefit on a hand-held iPad, and it's related to a change that Apple made when they first moved TouchID to the top/power button.

    When TouchID was in the Home Button, you could rest your finger on the button to unlock the iPad, then press the button to "open" the iPad and go to the Home Screen. FaceID only takes care of the first step of that process - unlocking the iPad - but you still have to swipe up on the screen (or press a key on an attached keyboard) to get to the Home Screen. With TouchID in the power button, Apple had to get rid of the second step, as pressing the power button would turn off the screen, and it would be very awkward to do TouchID at the top of the device, then swipe up from the bottom of the device to get to the Home Screen. Instead, power button TouchID goes straight to the Home Screen - I honestly find it faster and more convenient than FaceID because it doesn't require the second step. For an iPad that's used primarily with a Magic Keyboard, FaceID is probably the better option, as hitting a key takes the place of the swipe gesture, but for an iPad that is used primarily as a tablet, I prefer power button TouchID (unless Apple changes FaceID to get rid of the second step).
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 7
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,647member
    I find the iPad mini 6 less comfortable to hold than earlier minis. I don’t know why, but the gutters on the home screen (open areas around icon/widget grid) seem disproportionately wide compared to other iPads. Once you’re in an app this does not matter at all, but it jumps out at me every time I see it, like why are all of the icons are scrunched up in the middle of the screen with unnecessarily large gaps surrounding them? 

    I don’t notice any display scrolling artifacts at all. I assume they are present but not at a level that draws my attention to them like the vast population of similarly implemented touch panels. This may be usage dependent. I don’t try to read while scrolling. I scroll, stop, and then read the static content within my field of view - and repeat until I’ve finished reading/viewing the content. I suppose if you read while slowly scrolling you may be distracted by the dynamic screen updating process. After a couple of retinal/macula related surgeries my eyes just aren’t up to the challenges of reading small text while it’s scrolling. Even if the iPad mini screen was exhibiting a peanut butter and jelly scrolling effect it probably wouldn’t bother me.
    edited December 2022 watto_cobratwokatmew
  • Reply 7 of 7
    fred1fred1 Posts: 1,041member
    The Mini is by far my favorite Apple product and since I got my 6 over a year ago (after having a 2 and a 4) it’s worked perfectly. No jelly (and no jams either!). 
    watto_cobratwokatmewiOS_Guy80
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