iPad and iPad Mini Review: Affordable and Portable

Apple introduced its latest iPad lineup — the 9th generation iPad and new iPad mini — at its annual Keynote event last week, packing powerful features into the lightweight mini and providing an affordable entry point for the iPad curious with the latest iteration.

The new iPad, while not receiving any major aesthetic updates, has been outfitted with Apple’s A13 Bionic chip, a 10.2-inch Retina LED display with the smart True Tone feature,  a 12MP Ultra Wide front camera with the delightful Center Stage feature, an 8MP back camera and twice the standard storage compared to the previous generation.

The device is available in two colors — space gray and silver — and comes in as the most affordable option in Apple’s current iPad lineup, starting at $329 USD. It does not support the latest and more ergonomic Apple Pencil nor the Magic Keyboard, which is a slight drawback, but it does support the new features of iPadOS 15, including the Multitasking menu, useful Shelf feature and redesigned keyboard shortcuts bar, among others.

The iPad mini, on the other hand, has received a beautiful redesign and loads powerful new features into a compact form, ideal for on-the-go working or travel. The device features an even larger all-screen 8.3 Liquid Retina display with narrower borders and rounded corners, and includes the Touch ID button built into the top lock screen button — a smart innovation that makes the device even more intuitive. The design is 6.3 mm thin and weighs just slightly more than the iPhone 13 Pro Max at about 293 grams. It comes in fun purple, pink, starlight and space gray finishes.

Most impressively, the iPad mini packs in Apple’s powerful A15 Bionic chip with 6-core CPU and 5-core GPU to significantly boost performance on even the most intensive tasks. It also offers up to 10 hours of battery life on a single charge — on par with the new iPad at a fraction of the size. The mini also supports the second-generation Apple Pencil for an enhanced workflow.

Cameras on the mini have also been updated — the 12MP back camera has an improved lens and sensor and can now shoot in 4K video, while the front camera offers 12MP with Center Stage. In addition, the device now supports USB-C connection, 5G cellular speeds, and the great features of iPadOS 15. Pricewise, it still remains on the affordable end of the iPad lineup, starting at $499 USD.

Both devices are available to order online and will be in stores beginning Friday, September 24.

Overall, both the new iPad and iPad mini have received thoughtful updates that support the great features of iPadOS 15. The iPad is a great option for the budget-conscious, while the iPad mini delivers a powerhouse of functionality in a delightful and accessible size.
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