Considering a new tablet, but looking for something small and ultra-portable for school, the car or travel? Apple launched the iPad Mini 5 about 4 years after the previous iteration, in March 2019. It’s got a couple key new features like Retina display and support for Apple Pencil. I had a chance to use the Apple iPad mini for several weeks and here’s what I found.
Apple iPad Mini 5 review
If you’re brand new to Apple tablets, be warned, I’m not getting too deep here into what the iPads can and can’t do and some of the specifics and specs. I’ll focus more on what sets this device apart from previous iPad Minis. Suffice to say the iPad lets you watch YouTube and Apple TV, you can use email, surf the web, download apps and shop, edit documents, get Apple instant messages, draw, paint or create, update your calendar, read daily news and magazines with Apple News, talk to Siri and lots more.
What’s new with Apple iPad mini 5?
The iPad mini 5 has some other new features that make it an upgrade to previous versions.
iPad Mini 5, compared to iPad Pro
Improved Retina display
Apple’s new iPad mini 5 has a vibrant, 2048 x 1536 7.9-inch Retina display that is definitely, sharp, clear, vibrant and detailed. The colours are natural, the text is sharp and overall it’s a joy to read on or watch.
True Tone screen
This new Mini has a display technology that uses Apple’s True Tone. This technology has sensors that measure the ambient light colour and brightness, and it will automatically adjust its display, based on your specific lighting conditions in order to make the screen look natural and easily readable.
I can say the screen is easy on the eyes, and nice to look at. And, as it should be, you won’t really notice the shifting; it just adapts to your environment.
Apple Pencil compatibility
Another new addition to the Apple iPad Mini is that it is now compatible with Apple’s first-generation Apple Pencil. You can use it to draw, tap or otherwise navigate the tablet with ease. Of course, the pencil is designed for folks working and playing on their iPads, and using apps like SketchBook, uMake and LightRoom will be a breeze with this handy tool.
I’m still wishy-washy on using a stylus with my tablet. I personally don’t like the way the pencil feels on the glass screen, but I definitely get how much more precision it gives you to operate.
3.5mm jack stays put
If you want to watch videos or listen to music old school, Apple has kept the 3.5mm jack despite all the talk about it becoming obsolete.
Speaking of design elements, the iPad mini retains its wide bezels, which is a bit of a surprise, given the way tablets are going these days. The tablet is a mere 6.1mm thick, though the top bezels are huge; very much the same design as the iPad Pro; the Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree here.
A12 Bionic chip
The iPad mini gets the Apple A12 Bionic chip, something which is being used for the latest Apple flagship phones like new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR. Apple says it will deliver “three times the performance and nine times faster graphics” than its predecessor”. As I haven’t tried a Mini before I can’t compare it, but I can say this tablet is blazingly fast.
If you’re one of those folks who wants to use a giant tablet to take your vacation snaps, I can’t. stop you, but yes, we are all looking at you funny when you do. But I digress.
The iPad mini 5 has a 7-megapixel front-facing camera with ƒ/2.2 aperture and a 8-megapixel rear camera with ƒ/2.4 aperture. This could come as a disappointment to some expecting Apple to take it up to the next level, especially after the great review from their iPhone cameras. Even so, if you want to take shots with your iPad Mini, the photos will look great.
I did take a few photos just to see how the camera looks and it’s quite good. I can see individual hairs on my little dog’s face and the colour is natural and realistic. Though I’d probably only use the camera on here as a last resort, it’s nice to see it has one and it’s top quality.
Now let’s talk security. Apple is considered one of the world’s most secure brands which. The addition of Touch ID, or to you and me the ‘fingerprint scanner’ takes security to the next level. Although there is no Face ID in the iPad mini yet, this is a step in the right direction and another wish now checked off the list of Apple fans.
For me the fingerprint scanner has always worked well and quickly, and it’s a joy to have it on the Mini 5.
Using Apple iPad mini 5
I love, love, love having a tablet on hand, particularly when I’m traveling. I use it at home to look up recipes, read the news over coffee in the morning, and look up things constantly. It’s also easier on the eyes for marathon online shopping sessions, thanks to its bigger screen. I also take it with me when travelling, since downloading a dozen magazines from Apple News is way easier than carrying that much paper. Plus with games, music and Apple TV on board, I’m endlessly entertained even during flight delays.
While I really do like doing all my reading on the iPad Pro, it’s considerably heavier than the Mini and there’s something to be said for this featherweight option, particularly when it’s in your carry-on or purse.
Overall review:Apple iPad mini 5
Overall, the Apple iPad mini 5 has everything a tablet should have, and at a much lower price point than the iPad Pros. Overall, I really like Apple tablets and find them to be fast, responsive, clear, easy to read, infinitely portable and great for travel, and really just a great extension of my iPhone. I can definitely recommend the Apple iPad mini 5 if you’re looking for a compact Apple tablet.
Apple iPad mini 5:Price point & choices
The 64GB version starting from $399US/$529CAD.
The 256GB version starting from $549US/$729CAD.
I'm a journalist, tech blogger, writer, TV producer, silversmith& jewelry designer, foodie and world traveler. I blog, write for publications, and supply freelance writing services to Calgary, and the world.