Unfortunately, battery life struggled with all of these activities. I managed to squeeze about five hours out of it, so almost a full working day. Apple states that it can surf the Internet or watch videos for up to 10 hours with the Wi-Fi model and nine hours with the 5G variant. But when I was streaming a Netflix show (with iMessage, Telegram, the Notes app, and Google Calendar in the background), it hit 1 percent at around the six-hour mark. Don’t expect it to last from 9 to 5 unless you use it lightly.
If there’s one thing that you take away from this review, it’s the accessories object. Without the Smart Folio (or a third-party equivalent) and the Second generation Apple Pencil, then streaming movies and shows is probably the most fun you will have with the Mini. If you tackle both, the Mini turns into a usable notebook, sketch pad, smart display, external monitor, television and e-book reader. If you’re brave enough, it can double as your primary iPhone too.
I still prefer to use these corresponding elements over the Mini. The tiny screen can feel cramped, especially when trying to use it for work. But if you not If you have an external monitor or notebook that you regularly use, or a sketch pad or reading board, it can be any of these.
All of this has its price. This iPad Mini is the most expensive model yet, at $ 499 for 64 gigs, but the Smart Folio and Pencil bring your total to a whopping $ 687 pre-tax. Do you need more storage? Your only option is 256GB for $ 649 for a total of $ 837, which is slightly more than the 128GB iPad Pro and almost the price of an M1 MacBook Air (2020). And that’s only for the Wi-Fi-only model.
This iPad Mini stole the thunder from the iPhone 13 this year. But if the long overdue redesign is toned down and the marketing language prevails, this slate is a fair one very small, more expensive screen at its core. It feels superfluous without accessories. This is especially true if you spend most of your time in a room where you have access to a laptop, monitor, TV, and lots of notebook paper.
The Mini feels like it was built for the post-pandemic era, which is not quite there yet. If you read or play games often on the train or in the cafe, this is great! But I still spend most of my time indoors, and it’s hard to justify such a high price tag for a screen when I already have so many around me.
I’m waiting for Apple’s tiny, cute, powerful tablet to become more affordable one day. Until then, I’ll stick with my pen and paper, the cheap e-reader and the flat-screen TV, all of which are always within reach.