Apple's iPad lineup has a few recent additions: theand the new . Both are basically the same iPad in two different sizes, with slightly different prices. I've been using the updated Mini for a couple of weeks, and it's not always a perfect fit for my needs.
But the idea of a small iPad isn't crazy. Neither is choosing this iPad Mini in particular. In fact, it has some advantages you might want to consider. They've become even clearer after more time with the tablet. These are my favorite features.
It has a headphone jack!
Thewent to USB-C and ditched the 3.5mm headphone connection unless you use a dongle. It's a lot nicer to just have a jack onboard. I mostly use wireless headphones now, admittedly, but it's still helpful to have.
The cheapest ticket to an A12 processor.
Before the newest iPads, the least expensive A12-equipped iOS device was the $750. $400 for an iPad Mini is a nearly half-price way to go if you want performance.
It's definitely easy to carry
The Mini's tweener size feels more like a thin booklet than a mini-laptop, and is a lighter travel companion. It's easy to hold in one hand or slip in a jacket pocket. No, it's not as small as even a super-large phone, but it's a lot less baggage than larger iPads.
Get artistic with pencil support
Most artists will prefer a larger iPad screen size, for sure. But the A12 and Pencil combo mean it could function as a portable work device for artists. But only if you're fine with the 7.9-inch work area.
You can keep your old accessories
It's disappointing that the new Mini didn't try to reimagine the screen-to-body ratio or find a more organic way to fit a Pencil in. But since it's the same size as the iPad Mini 4, there are lots of old cases and accessories it can slot into. That could be helpful for budget shopping.
Wild card: Battery life?
In battery tests so far, the iPad Mini is doing surprisingly well. It's lasting significantly longer than 10 hours when playing back streaming video. But note that these are early returns and we'll have more details later.
You may not need an iPad Mini, but it's got a good handful of advantages in its corner, too.