In the current generation of products of the Apple range, we can say that we have seen an update of certain legendary products of the company. We started in late October with the MacBook Air and Mac mini, converted into a different concept than they had with their original releases. In all cases, the concept has matured and features of its older brothers have been added – making those mythical names of the brand now have more power and objectives thanks to the new technologies that they «inherit».
It is a completely successful proposal because we fill the gaps between generations – or even between devices of different families, such as iPhones with large screens and iPads, allowing the user to calibrate the uses of each one and choose what they need for your particular situation.
The surname mini is especially beloved in the Apple world. It was inaugurated by the iPod mini and was the beginning of an epic after the portable device for listening to the company’s music was tremendously popular: now it was time to have a good time with the technology and launch different proposals. That’s for me, the definition of mini and what characterizes the products that carry it. However, a particular device was missing that has noticed the changes in the rest of the Apple range, but that makes it more powerful than ever with this new philosophy after its surname.
-The surname «mini» means in this generation power Pro for devices that started with another concept-
Design doesn’t risk
This fifth generation iPad mini is very big in many ways, but there is a weak point where the brand has decided not to risk to maintain exactly the same format that we already know. The exterior design is practically identical to that of previous generations, even when compared to the original iPad mini that is already more than six years old.
In hand it continues to impress because it is tremendously thin (0.61 cm) and very light (308.2 gr the model that includes Wi-Fi + cell phone, the model only with Wi-Fi reaches up to 300.5 gr) giving the feeling that we hold a small notebook, thin and comfortable for hours of reading on the couch, the subway or wherever you take it with one hand.
However, during these six years, designs have evolved in a different direction: the reduction of frames. You don’t have to go to the extreme example of the iPhone XS or iPad Pro with Liquid Retina, even the previous generation iPad Pro managed to slim down the side frames to give a more up-to-date feel of the device – keeping of course the Touch ID.
The new iPad Air (2019) has also maintained design, but on this smaller device the large frames are more noticeable. Perhaps the biggest concession of this iPad mini is to maintain precisely the same design as six years ago – a reduction even if it would have been minimal left and right margins to the style of the 2017 iPad Pro would have felt great.
-A reduction of the edges – similar to how it happened on the iPad Pro (2017) – would have renewed the appearance of the design-
A screen at the height of a Pro
Where you have risked the brand is on the new screen of the iPad mini, keeping exactly 7.9 inches but with a resolution of 326 dots per inch (higher even than on the iPad Pro (2018) that has 264dpi). It also includes the construction of it with integral lamination, which basically consists of combining touch sensor and screen in a single layer to lighten the set and eliminate the loss of colors in sight.
This type of display also features anti-reflective film (we will be more comfortable to read) and has the P3 color space that is used in cinema – together with True Tone, the technology that by the luminosity sensors adjust the white balance of the screen to the light conditions of the room where we are. It is basically the same screen that has the current iPad Pro, except for ProMotion – it brings the refresh rate of the screen up to 120 Hz – which is only included in the Pro model.
In my tests, the increase in dots per inch and the exceptional features of the screen have convinced me to use it as a reading device in virtually any situation: the size and comfort of the same is a delight to review the Online media we follow, read magazines, comics or even books – which thanks to the True Tone screen become much more comfortable to read. It may not be the best device to read a book in full sun on the beach, but I do already see it as one of the best for other situations.
-This iPad mini is the reduced power container of the current iPad Pro on an ultralight iPad-An iPad mini with A12 Bionic chip, mini nothing
Apple wobbled between generations of iPad mini 2, 3 and 4. The second version had the same processor as the iPad Air of the time (an A7), managing to match it in power and be an attractive and powerful proposal in smaller size. However, with the iPad mini 3 it was quite chatty and kept the same processor. With the iPad mini 4 the processor was updated even though it was a version behind the Air. For this new iPad mini, Apple has not hesitated to incorporate the A12 Bionic chip, the current model that includes the current generation iPhones, and very close to the A12X Bionic of the iPad Pro.
The differences of the A12 Bionic processor and the A12X Bionic are basically the 6-core cores with which the first counts against the 8 cores of the second. This difference makes the A12 have 6.9 billion transistors versus the 10 billion of the A12X, which follows an absolutely incredible figure when compared to for example with a Snapdragon 853 that «only» has 3 billion.
Power for everything, including Apple Pencil
One of the great innovations is the compatibility with the first generation Apple Pencil: the excellent display with a lamination and the power of the hardware allow the experience of writing on an iPad mini with the Apple Pencil almost more surprising than with some big brother — by his size. This mini little larger than the height of Pencil himself, but it is comfortable to make hand annotations or draw with it.
The set here also has no compromises: it is Apple itself that assures us on its website that this «small» iPad mini will be compatible with professional applications like Photoshop CC – the full version for iPad that we saw – and hallucinated – in the October keynote. This is possible to hardware and to use Apple Pencil as a precision pointer, again making it clear that the surname «mini» comes to mean many things for the company but no case is a reduction in capabilities: rather, it is a smaller version «Pro.»
The A12 Bionic processor also brings us next-generation games – Apple compared it even to the power of the Xbox – in a minimal format with this iPad mini: for example, playing the latest bethesda hit, Blades. A fully 3D RPG game with graphics that have nothing to envy with desktop consoles, and that go even further in titles like Asphalt 9 with hyper-realistic scenarios or advanced physical effects.
-The A12 Bionic processor brings us state-of-the-art games and also professional applications like the new Photoshop CC, compatible on the Apple Pencil-
Small details of the update
This new iPad mini can be purchased in two models, 64GB and 256GB, has the same rear camera as the iPad Air (2019) and iPad Pro of the previous generation: 8 Mpx, with aperture of 2,4 – oriented for occasional photos but above all for the uses of augmented reality. Yes, upgrade the FaceTime camera to 7Mpx, like the rest of the range (current Pro and Air). Available colors are silver, space gray and gold.
At the connectivity level the Bluetooh is also upgraded to version 5.0, and we maintain the battery consumption that reaches up to 10 range – which is an improvement since the A12 Bionic chip and the best display consume more power. Here, Apple’s hardware + software integration and A12 subsystems that offload to the main processor of certain calculations, cause this power consumption to be contained.
Let’s also remember that this chip has 6 differentiated cores, divided into four cores dedicated exclusively to efficiency and two more to performance. They will always activate each other depending on the task we are doing, being completely transparent to the user, as in the rest of the range.
The sound has improved slightly compared to the iPad mini 4 – also here helped by the a12’s sound processing – in power and quality in treble and bass – although of course not with the same intensity of the four speakers of the iPad Pro. To edit your podcasts with GarageBand, or listen to music while on the road, it’s perfectly appropriate
A small Pro, a less-inch iPad Air
The stunning display and power in the small size that offers will make it attractive for any user who needs a small iPad for their day to day, without the need for larger canvases, with the best portability that any iPad can get. We’re talking about virtually the power of the current iPad Pro, contained in an ultra-light 7.9″ model. The input model with 64GB is more than useful for almost any task that we have to entrust to you, starting with 449 USD.
Do you hesitate between this model and the iPad Air? Basically, in hardware they are identical, they only differ in size. Therefore, at this point, the user’s decision should be: Do I need an iPad with this power but bigger, without reaching the Pro? For 100 euros more we have an iPad Air (2019) with the same features and functionalities. Perhaps we are among the most balanced range on Apple’s tablet since its launch in 2010, talking about options, power and functionality.
Of course the arrival of the new mini range is assuming a major change of concept to how we originally knew it: this iPad mini is another of the clear examples that how a catch-up can be powerful and homogeneous within the entire product range , certainly a symbol of maturity not only for the product, but also for the brand. A small, big, huge, iPad mini, which this time gets on the front line.