Just when we thought the iPad Mini was dead, Apple has revived it after four years. The series has always been popular among professionals and other users due to its compact size, but the latest version does not feature any change in design. The 2019 edition comes with a 7.9-inch display with thick bezels and a circular home button below the screen. Being addicted to a 6.5-inch smartphone, I was not too impressed with the design, but its performance was flawless.
First, there are several incremental updates. The Retina Display is brighter than before and supports wide colour gamut and True Tone feature (it adjusts the colour temperature with that of your surroundings), resulting in sharp, vibrant colours. Better still, it is the first iPad Mini to support Apple Pencil (first generation), but this has to be purchased separately. This can change the way you work, and I was able to use it to sign documents, take handwritten notes, experiment with my designing skills, and mark up images and PDFs. Scrolling is smooth, but it does not have iPad Pro's 120Hz ProMotion technology. The Mini sports a Touch ID button and retains the 8 MP camera, Lightning port and the headphone jack.
It runs iOS 12 out of the box and offers a neat user interface. There is a dock at the bottom of the screen for parking apps, and it can be accessed across home pages or even when an app is in use. Swiping down from the top right shows notifications and doing the same from the top left opens the control centre. Swipe up from the bottom and hold to see what apps are currently running. Multitasking was smooth in spite of the small screen. I was able to run two apps side by side and could adjust the screen assigned to each.
A book reader, a gaming device, an entertainment hub, a sketching and editing tool - you think it and the Mini offers it. Setting it up and downloading apps were quick and hassle-free, and most of them worked without crashing. This version is powered by the A12 Bionic chip with Neural Engine, handles AR apps like JigSpace and more apps for heavy-duty image and video editing. The tablet did not heat up or slow down even after long sessions and lasted close to eight hours on a single charge. Given the build quality, functionality and battery power, the iPad Mini is the undisputed king in the under-8 inch tablet category. Android tablets in this segment are sub-powered and their app ecosystem is not as evolved as Apple's App Store.