iPad mini: here’s why it’s Apple’s best tablet in 2024

Over the past few years, I’ve tried in vain to find use cases for iPads. In 2021, I replaced my old iPad with the iPad Air 4 in hopes of integrating it into my workflow. But that didn’t happen. And since I’m always working on the go, I left my iPad Air in a drawer for most of its life. I don’t even remember the last time I felt the need to use it.

But I knew I needed a smaller tablet for watching various media and reading while traveling. That’s why I switched to the iPad mini after my last trip to CES, and it’s now part of my daily life. Unlike the fancier and more expensive iPad, the mini version works for me because this tablet isn’t trying to replace the MacBook, but rather is an extension of my smartphone and laptop.

In 2024, when Apple is expected to unveil its new generation of iPad Pro and Air, here’s why I remain loyal to the iPad mini, smaller but still just as powerful.

What works with iPad mini

Holding the iPad Mini to read an article.

Prakhar Khanna/ZDNET

I use the iPad for browsing, reading, and watching videos, and in that order of priority. When I first tried the iPad mini, I didn’t expect to prefer it to my iPad Air or the foldable smartphones tested at the time.

iPad mini is the perfect amalgamation of form and function. Unlike the Air model, it’s extremely comfortable to hold for long periods of time and doesn’t strain my wrist. I can go into the depths of Wikipedia at 2 a.m. without feeling the need to put it down. I’m a fan of the paperback format; it is thin, small and less bulky than all the other models in Apple’s range.

iPad mini is a great travel companion, thanks to its small, ultraportable size that makes it easier to fit in a backpack than any other tablet. I’ve never taken my iPad or iPad Air while traveling, but I don’t regret having the iPad mini in my bag, whether for relaxation during business trips or for entertainment during vacations.

It doesn’t take up too much space and allows me to have an additional device to enjoy various media, so that my smartphone still has sufficient battery when landing after a flight.

iPad Air 4 and iPad mini 6, side by side. Prakhar Khanna/ZDNET

The 8.3-inch screen is just the right size between my smartphone and my laptop. I don’t feel cramped with the screen and it fits easily on an airplane folding table. Additionally, the small size of the device does not compromise its performance. Multitasking and split view modes are still just as fast, and accessing Quick Notes with a swipe of a finger is more useful on this model than on larger iPads. I typed up articles on my iPad mini, synced the notes to iCloud, and then filed them later from my MacBook Air.

The iPad Mini also has good battery life and an even better standby battery. As with my iPad Air, I can take it back after two days and see only a minimal drop in power. I sometimes didn’t have to reconnect it to a charger during business trips lasting one or two days.

Another benefit of the Mini is its support for the 2nd generation Apple Pencil, which means you can achieve a level of precision and accuracy when editing photos in apps like Lightroom, as on the more expensive iPad Pro.

What I would like to see in the next model

iPad Mini in horizontal orientation.

Prakhar Khanna/ZDNET

That said, the sixth generation iPad Mini still has a major design flaw: the unnatural location of the volume buttons. Even after having it for a little over a month, I haven’t gotten used to their position in the upper left corner. This is not ideal in any orientation, portrait or landscape.

When watching videos, I find myself looking towards the top edge (like on any tablet or smartphone), but realize it’s on the bottom left. Repositioning these buttons on the right side would improve the experience, but it is a challenge because this is precisely where the Apple Pencil connects.

Second, a base storage of 64 GB is not enough in 2024. If you download movies and TV shows for traveling or edit a large amount of photos, which I do frequently, you shouldn’t have to spend €200 more for the next level of storage. I hope Apple doubles the base storage to 128GB or at least introduces this storage variant with the next iPad Mini.

While the company is rumored to refresh the iPad Air and iPad Pro lineup by April, the next iPad mini is expected to release later this year, although it will be an “update”. iterative day” rather than a complete overhaul. I’d be fine with that, provided Apple fixes the two minor but notable flaws in the current model.

Source: “ZDNet.com”

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