iPad Mini 2021 and 9th-gen iPad, compared

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

1 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

The ninth-gen iPad (left) and iPad Mini 2021 (right) are now available. They’re Apple’s more affordable iPads. Which is for you? I reviewed both, so here’s a guided tour.

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

2 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

The 10.2-inch iPad is less expensive, and has a larger display. But it has an older design with an improved processor (A13), while the 8.3-inch Mini has an even faster processor (A15) a bigger display, a more iPad Pro or iPad Air-like design, and USB-C.

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

3 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

The iPad connects with keyboard cases and uses a first-gen Pencil. The Mini doesn’t have its own special keyboard case yet, but Pencil 2 snaps nicely onto its side.

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

4 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

5 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

The Mini I reviewed is purple, but it’s subtly purple. It comes in several colors. The new iPad just comes in space gray and silver.

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

6 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

The rear cameras, compared: The Mini’s is better and has a flash.

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

7 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

I don’t use rear cameras on iPads much. Both iPads have 12MP wide-angle front cameras with Center Stage, which zooms in on and follows your face in video chats. That’s a big plus.

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

8 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

The Mini (top) has USB-C, a standard charge port that’s helpful. The iPad still has Lightning, like always.

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

9 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

Comparing screen sizes while browsing. The Mini can feel small.

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

10 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

Games look good on the Mini, but the regular iPad feels more expansive.

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

11 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

Videos? Same thing, but the longer Mini screen and aspect ratio means less letterboxing.

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

12 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

I use the larger iPad like a laptop, but the Mini seems more suited to a reading, sketching and viewing role.

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

13 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

Bright daylight isn’t your friend with these displays, alas.

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

14 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

The iPad and Mini next to the iPhone 12 Pro. There’s a big screen size spectrum.

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

15 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

Mini (left), iPad 9th gen (middle), and last year’s iPad Air (right), which shares a lot of the new Mini’s looks. 

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

16 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

17 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

You can see the screen size differences here between the Mini (left), Air (middle), and 12.9-inch iPad Pro (right).

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

18 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

Rear camera comparison on the regular iPad (left), Mini (middle, which has a flash now) and iPad Pro (which has two cameras for extra wide angle, plus lidar).

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

19 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

The iPad Air (right) from last year has a larger screen, but costs more and has an older A14 processor, and lacks the Center Stage camera for zooming in. But it also supports keyboard cases like the Magic Keyboard, which the Mini doesn’t. On sale, it could be preferred for some.

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

20 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

The 12.9-inch Pro vs the Mini. The Pro nearly has double the Mini’s screen size.

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

21 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

Now, lots of iPad Mini photos. Sit back and browse.

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

22 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

23 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

24 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

Comparing the Mini to other portable devices it reminds me of: the Nintendo Switch, a Kindle Oasis, the Microsoft Surface Duo, a Samsung Galaxy S21.

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

25 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

Same shot with an iPhone 12 Pro.

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

26 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

27 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

28 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

29 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

30 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

31 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

32 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

33 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

There’s 5G, but the Mini doesn’t support mmWave, just Sub-6. That could mean slower speeds. And you have to pay $150 for the cellular modem, and data plans.

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

34 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

Popping the SIM card in…

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

35 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

Center Stage can be turned on and off in Control Center while you’re in an app that uses Center Stage. FYI.

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

36 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

The Mini’s longer screen means some apps have pillarboxing or black bars on the sides, just so you know.

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

37 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

38 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

39 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

40 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

41 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

42 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

43 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

44 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

45 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

46 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

47 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

48 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

49 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

50 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

A few comparison photos follow, showing the iPad Mini 2019 version with the 2021 version. You can see how the screen size gain does and doesn’t matter. depending on the apps you run.

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

51 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

52 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

53 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

54 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

55 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

Microsoft’s folding Surface Duo phone is nearly the same size. It makes me think…could the Mini eventually become Apple’s first folding device?

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

56 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

57 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

Switch vs Mini: with Apple Arcade, the iPad is a great game device. But it also costs more.

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

58 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

The ninth-gen iPad photos follow: it all looks the same as last year. Which is good because older cases still fit.

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

59 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

But that Pencil charging situation…

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

60 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

61 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

Pencil and the keyboard case cost extra.

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

62 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

There’s still a headphone jack! Thank God.

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

63 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

Typing outdoors. The basic iPad can still be a fair laptop stand-in in a pinch.

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad

64 of 64 Scott Stein/CNET

Although, I miss the Magic Keyboard. Logitech makes an even better keyboard case for typing, FYI.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.