If you know me and my work, you know that I write a lot about Android smartphones. I’ve been criticizing devices for years. In particular, I’ve loved and reviewed the HTC U12+, Huawei P30 Pro, Pixel 4 XL, and most recently, the S23 Ultra.
While all of these devices hold a special place in my heart for one reason or another, I’ve slowly grown attached to Apple’s iPhone over the past few years, and more recently to the iPhone 14 Pro. However, the Cupertino, California-based tech giant has yet to release a foldable device, which is a shame because I love big screens (and I can’t lie).
Devices like the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Fold 4 have been my favorite smartphones in recent years. A 7.6-inch screen that folds is a dream, but since Apple’s ecosystem has captured my soul, I’m stuck with the iPhone 14 Pro’s 6.7-inch screen. Don’t get me wrong, the screen is undeniably solid, but I spend a lot of time reading and viewing content on my smartphone, so a larger screen works better for me.
This is where Apple’s 6th generation iPad mini comes in.
Let’s start with a short story.
A few months ago, Cell syrupof Brad Bennett and I was going to New York for an event. At the airport, I start writing an article on my phone, and Brad pulls out a small tablet with a gorgeous 8.3-inch screen and starts working on it. It was love at first sight. I immediately asked him about the device, which he explained was the latest iPad mini he reviewed Cell syrup still in 2021. I have a deep knowledge of Android devices, but I’m still finding my footing in the Apple world, which is why this device completely flew under my radar.
Of course I had to get the iPad mini for myself and try it out. I’ve now spent a few months with Apple’s 2021 iPad mini so far, and it’s one of my favorite devices I’ve ever used.
The perfect little tablet
Apple’s iPad mini has an 8.3-inch 60Hz LCD display with a resolution of 1488 x 2268 pixels, and while these aren’t the best display specs, they’re good enough for gaming, streaming and reading.
While it won’t be for everyone, and even for all my pants, due to its overall dimensions (195.4 x 134.8 x 6.3mm), the tablet fits comfortably in a jeans pocket. I find this incredibly helpful. It’s still not another device I have to keep in my bag when traveling. I can quickly put it in my pocket and I’m out. I realized how pocketable the iPad mini is so useful on the subway, streetcar, Uber, or on a flight.
I also have a larger 10.2-inch 2021 iPad, but in terms of pure utility, I definitely prefer the iPad mini.
Larger tablets defeat the purpose of portability. While they’re still lighter than a laptop, they take up the same amount of space, so when I’m in a situation where I could bring my larger iPad, I’d bring my laptop instead. The iPad mini, on the other hand, is not a MacBook replacement. Still, the portability makes it much easier to bring in my pocket, or when it doesn’t fit, I tuck it into my jacket, side bags, or practically anything else. Plus, if I plan to use it for work, I can take a wireless keyboard with me.
Not a phone replacement
I’m not saying you should buy an iPad mini instead of a smartphone, because you shouldn’t. The tablet is small, but not that small. But the iPad mini is my favorite smartphone companion. I usually carry around my iPad when I’m at home in case I have to make a phone call or send a lot of texts, or I carry both devices, one for texting and one for reading or playing games.
That’s not to say you can’t also send messages on the iPad or make phone calls via FaceTime, but the big screen is a bit awkward for texting or calling (thankfully, I don’t make video calls often). It’s worth noting that you may have no problem texting with an iPad mini, as Brad Bennett has no problem texting on a tablet.
Even though the iPad can use cell service, I still wouldn’t trade my phone for a small tablet. The iPad mini, however, is the perfect sized tablet and the device to buy before Apple releases a foldable iPhone.
I also love that it is so versatile. I can play games, read, watch content and do everything an iPhone can do. This is why I prefer an iPad over something like an e-reader.
The best small tablet
You still have the benefits of iMessage, FaceTime and other iPhone features, as well as the ability to watch content from apps like Netflix and Crave and read through Kobo, Play Books, Apple Books and other apps. I like to play games like Pokémon Unite because of the larger screen of the tablet, which is still not very large.
The 64GB iPad mini costs $679, which is much more affordable than other comparable devices, including larger tablets, laptops, smartphones, and foldables.
One day, if Apple makes a foldable device, it might replace the iPad mini, but until then, this is the tablet for me.
Photo by Brad Bennett
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