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iPad Mini 6 vs iPad Mini 5: Which One Should You Buy?

With its most recent release, Apple completely redesigned the iPad mini. But what are the key differences between the new iPad mini and the previous model?

The updated iPad mini is essentially a new device, but in addition to numerous improvements, it is significantly more expensive.

You used to choose the iPad mini because you wanted a smaller device. And you wanted it so badly that you were willing to pay around $70 more than the regular iPad’s price of $399.

Following the release of the iPad Mini 6, size is no longer the only reason to purchase. Instead, the little iPad mini that could now has a larger and better screen than ever before, as well as a faster processor than the iPad Air 4.

At its September event, Apple finally released a long-awaited upgrade to the iPad mini. The latest model is the sixth generation of Apple’s smallest tablet, and it includes a complete redesign, Touch ID, and other features for the first time since it was introduced in 2012.

Add in the fact that it has USB-C and can support 5G, that all of the cameras have been significantly improved, and the new iPad mini 6 is a powerful device. It may be the only device you require, but its power and flexibility come at a cost.

The new iPad mini now has a starting price of $499 for the Wi-Fi-only model. If you require all of the new features, the $100 increase is well worth it — but it does not include everything.

You can also get 5G connectivity for as little as $649. That’s $150 more than the previous iPad mini 5 models, where adding cellular costs $130 more.

You can choose whether or not to have 5G, but you must do so at the time of purchase. Otherwise, you are paying for all of the additional features and improvements, whether you use them or not.

When the new iPad mini 5 was announced, Apple stopped selling it, but there are still stocks available from other resellers such as Amazon. If the size of the iPad mini is what draws you in, look into the specific differences between the models to determine which is the better buy for your needs.

If you’re wondering what’s new with the latest iPad mini and whether it’s worth upgrading from the previous generation, we’ve broken down the key differences between the iPad mini 5 (2019) and the iPad mini 6 (2021) below.

iPad mini 6 vs iPad mini 5 – Specifications

Not only has the casing been updated, but Apple has also paid close attention to how the new mini works. Here are the main features you should consider.

iPad mini 6 iPad mini 5
Price (starting) $499 $399
Dimensions (inches) 7.69 x 5.3 x 0.25 8.0 x 5.3 x 0.24
Weight (pounds) Wi-Fi only 0.65 0.66
Processor A15 Bionic A12 Bionic
Storage 64GB, 256GB 64GB, 256GB
Display Type 8.3-inch Liquid Retina with True Tone, 500 nits brightness 7.9-inch Retina with True Tone, 500 nits brightness
Resolution 2266 x 1488 at 326ppi 2048 x 1536 at 326 PPI
Connectivity 5G (sub-6 GHz), Gigabit LTE, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5 4G LTE, Gigabit LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0
Battery Up to 10 hours Up to 10 hours
Rear camera 12MP Wide, f/1.8 aperture, 5x digital zoom, Smart HDR for photos, Quad-LED True Tone flash 8MP Wide, f/2.4 aperture, 5x digital zoom, Auto HDR for photos
Rear camera video 4K at 24fps, 25fps, 30fps, 60fps, or 1080p HD at 25fps, 30fps, 60fps; 3x zoom; Slow-Mo 1080p at 120fps or 240fps; extended dynamic range for video up to 30 fps 1080p HD at 30fps, 3x zoom; slow-mo 720p at 120fps
Front Camera 12MP Ultra Wide, f/2.4 aperture, Retina Flash, Smart HRD 3 for photos FaceTime HD, 7MP photos, f/2.2 aperture, Retina Flash, Auto HDR for photos
Front camera video 1080p HD video at 25, 30, or 60 fps 1080p HD video
Center Stage Yes No
Connector USB-C Lightning
Apple Pencil support Second generation First generation
Audio Two-speaker audio landscape mode Two speaker audio
Touch ID In the top sleep/wake button In-Home button
Colors Space Gray, Pink, Purple, Starlight Space Gray, Silver, and Gold

iPad mini 6 vs iPad mini 5 – Design and Build Quality

The new tablet has a flat-panel back and sides made entirely of recycled aluminum. The updated design fits in perfectly with its bigger brothers, the iPad Air and iPad Pro, which all have similar designs now.

The new iPad mini (2021) is the first time Apple has given its tiny tablet a complete redesign since the line’s inception. The two devices can now be distinguished by placing them side by side.

The older model has the same 203.2mm x 134.8mm x 6.1mm chassis as the newer model, with a Touch ID-enabled Home button at the bottom and a single FaceTime camera at the top. The large bezels that frame the 7.9-inch display surround these. When you flip it over, you’ll notice gently curved edges, the Apple logo in the center, and a single camera lens in the upper left corner. If you’ve ever seen an iPad mini before, it will look exactly like this.

Apple was able to increase the diagonal screen size from 7.9 inches to 8.3 inches by removing the Home button and using slimmer bezels. It’s not even a half-inch difference, but it’s noticeable and a significant improvement.

Apple has significantly updated the device for 2021. The Home button on the front panel has been removed, and Touch ID has been relocated to the power button on the top edge. This is joined by the volume controls to make room for the magnetic charging area on the right flank, which can accommodate the Apple Pencil (2nd Gen). This is an improvement over the iPad mini’s first-generation Apple Pencil support (2019).

The gentle curves on the chassis have given way to the squarer edges seen on the iPhone 13, iPad Pro, and iPad Air. Everything is reminiscent of the iPhone 4/5 era while remaining thoroughly modern.

The thick bezel has been replaced by a smaller, more uniformed bezel, which looks far superior. The Home button has also been removed, and Touch ID has been relocated to the Top button, as seen on the iPad Air last year.

The new model’s bezels have also been reduced in size while still allowing you to hold the device without triggering commands on the display. With the removal of the Home button, the interface is now gesture-based, as seen on the iPad Pro and iPad Air (2020) models.

The absence of a headphone jack and a lightning port is another feature of the iPad mini (2021). The former is in line with Apple’s obsession with eliminating wired headphones, while the latter is to make room for a USB-C charging port, bringing it back into line with the iPad Pro and iPad Air.

Both models have twin speakers, but the newer model has what Apple calls Landscape mode, which is supposed to simulate a stereo effect.

The larger 8.3-inch display at the heart of the new iPad mini marks an increase in size from the 7.9-inch screen that has come with all mini devices since the first one appeared in 2012. Apple was able to fit this larger panel into a smaller device by removing the Home button, with the iPad mini (2021) measuring 195.4mm x 134.8mm x 6.3mm, making it shorter but marginally thicker than its predecessor. Weight has also been reduced from the previous 300.5g to 293g (on the Wi-Fi-only models).

iPad mini 6 vs iPad mini 5 – Displays

It also helps that the screen is now Liquid Retina. While it is an improvement over the previous model’s regular Retina display, it still uses LCD rather than OLED.

While both devices have fully laminated IPS panels with 326ppi, True Tone, P3 Wide color display, 500 nits maximum brightness, and an anti-reflective coating, the obvious difference is that the new mini has a larger screen.

The 8.3-inch panel is sufficiently larger than the 7.9-inch version to feel more spacious, without sacrificing any of the mini’s practicality or pocketability. Otherwise, there isn’t much to distinguish them. Both devices maintain 60Hz refresh rates, while the larger panel in the new mini provides a resolution of 2266 x 1488 rather than the old mini’s 2048 x 1536. Oh, and the iPad mini (2021) has a Liquid Retina display instead of the standard Retina display found on the iPad mini (2019), so…that. there’s Unfortunately, the name ‘Liquid’ does not indicate a difference in screen quality.

iPad mini 6 vs iPad mini 5 – Performance

In terms of processing power, the new mini outperforms its predecessor. The 2019 iPad mini was already a punchy device thanks to Apple’s A12 Bionic chip, but this is knocked into the proverbial cocked hat by the A15 Bionic found in the 2021 model. This is the same processor found in the iPhone 13 series, including the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max, and it is the first time this new chip has appeared in an iPad.

An iPad should not only look nice, but it should also perform well. Having said that, the previous iPad mini was no slouch. It featured Apple’s A12 chip (also found in the iPhone XS) and performed admirably with the most recent games and creativity apps.

The iPad mini 6 is powered by the brand-new A15 Bionic chip, which is also found in the new iPhone 13 lineup. After the M1-powered iPad Pro models, this makes the iPad mini 6 Apple’s most powerful tablet. The latest mini tablet has a six-core CPU and a five-core GPU, so it should be fine for graphics-heavy games and apps.

Apple claims that the new processor configuration is more efficient, promising “all-day battery life” (as always). Although no detailed cell capacity figures have been released, Apple’s website quotes “up to 10 hours of Wi-Fi web browsing,” as it did with the iPad mini 5.

The latest iPad mini also includes stereo speakers, as opposed to the mini 5’s single-sided audio, which should provide a better audio experience when watching movies and videos.

iPad mini 6 vs iPad mini 5 – Colors, Storage Options, and Prices

The iPad mini 6 is available in four colors: Space Gray, Pink, Purple, and Starlight. The new colors are more appealing and diverse than the previous generation.

Unfortunately, storage has not changed, with both the iPad mini (2021) and iPad mini (2019) offering 64GB or 256GB configurations.

The latest iPad mini is also more expensive than the iPad mini 5. The iPad mini 6 starts at $499 for the entry-level 64GB Wi-Fi-only model, compared to $399 for the same specs on the iPad mini 5.

There is no 128GB model available. If you want more storage, you’ll have to go with the 256GB Wi-Fi iPad mini 6, which costs $649.

If you want the cellular version, you’ll have to pay even more.

iPad mini 6 vs iPad mini 5 – Cameras

Taking photos and videos on an iPad mini rather than an iPhone is still less convenient, and perhaps less socially acceptable. It is, however, much easier on an iPad mini 6 than on a 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

The minis don’t have multi-camera arrays, as those are reserved for the iPad Pro line, but the new mini does have some upgraded optics. For photos, the iPad mini (2019) has an f/2.4 8MP Wide camera with Auto HDR, whereas the iPad mini (2021) has a faster f/1.8 12MP Wide camera with Smart HDR 3. This means that the newer version should produce better images with brighter and more detailed colors.

The video quality has also improved, with the iPad mini (2021) capable of 4K at 60 frames per second, while the older model is limited to 1080p at 30 frames per second. There is also increased dynamic range when recording at up to 30fps and a maximum of 240fps when using Slo-mo (the old mini can only record at 30fps) (120fps).

The iPad mini (2019) is adequate as a basic camera, but for more refined results, particularly in video, the iPad mini (2021) is the clear winner.

Tablet cameras aren’t as common as cellphone cameras, but they can be useful for quick snapshots or document scanning. Similarly, in a Zoom-dominated world, the front-facing lens will always be useful for video calls.

The front camera has also received some attention, with the FaceTime unit on 2019 mini being replaced by an f/2.4 Ultra Wide 12MP module with a 2x zoom-out feature in the mini 2021, which means it can offer Apple’s new Centre Stage technology, which keeps you in the center of the screen even when you move around on video calls. It’s a subtle but welcome addition, especially in this day and age of constant video conferencing.

iPad mini 6 vs iPad mini 5 – Software

The lack of a Home button on the iPad mini (2021) indicates that the interface differs from the classic version found on the iPad mini (2019). Swiping is the new Home button, and gestures are the order of the day.

Both devices run iPadOS 15, with the older device still capable of using the majority of the features available, though Centre Stage is a hardware-restricted omission. Apple has a track record of keeping its devices updated, so we believe the iPad mini (2019) will receive a few more updates.

Of course, if you want the most future-proof product that is also optimized for newer software, the iPad mini (2021) is the one to get. Check out our iPadOS 15 guides to see what both can do.

iPad mini 6 vs iPad mini 5 – Connectivity

With the 2021 iPad mini, Apple has made a number of changes to the connectivity. First and foremost, the headphone jack, which has been removed from nearly every other Apple device, has been removed from the iPad mini 6. The jack is still present on the iPad mini 5.

The iPad mini 6 uses USB-C, which may be a significant improvement depending on the work you do. This means it can connect to more devices directly, such as cameras.

The charging connector on the iPad mini 6 has also changed from Lightning to USB-C. That means you won’t need any more proprietary Lightning adaptors to connect to a plethora of accessories. You can also use any USB-C charger to charge your iPad mini 6, which is a more convenient option than before. Similarly, if you’re a photographer, a USB-C connector allows you to easily transfer photos from your camera to your tablet. The options are limitless.

The iPad mini (2021) features not only the most recent Wi-Fi 6 speeds, but if you choose the LTE version, you’ll also be able to use 5G networks, neither of which are available on the iPad mini (2019).

The iPad mini 6 cellular version is also faster than the previous generation. The latest mini includes 5G connectivity, which is an improvement over the LTE connectivity found on the iPad mini 5. Although 5G is only available in a few countries around the world, users who have access to it will find it useful.

As with the iPad Pro and iPad Air, the iPad mini 6 supports the second-generation Apple Pencil, which magnetically connects to the side of the tablet. This is also how the Apple Pencil is paired and charged. The iPad mini 5 could only charge the first-generation Apple Pencil via a Lightning connector.

iPad mini 6 vs iPad mini 5 – Should you upgrade?

If you wanted a smaller iPad, we always liked the iPad mini (2019) because it provided excellent performance and value for money. It’s still a fantastic product, but the new design and enhanced capabilities of the iPad mini (2021) represent a significant advancement for the format.

The differences between the iPad mini 5 and iPad mini 6 were minor compared to the differences between the original iPad mini and the second generation model. However, assuming you’ll use the new features, the iPad mini 6 is worth upgrading to from the previous model.

Whatever you use the iPad mini for, you will undoubtedly benefit from the improved and larger display. However, you may not be concerned with faster USB-C data transfers.

If you’re a new user debating whether to get the older iPad mini 5, the price increase is currently exacerbated. For the time being, that will only be available through third-party resellers, who will typically charge less than Apple.

If you already own an iPad mini 5 and prefer this model for the convenience of its smaller size, stick with it.

The decision to upgrade or not depends on what you’re looking for. If you want to save money, need a dependable yet affordable tablet, and don’t require top performance or the most recent appearance, the iPad mini 5 is a good choice.

However, if you upgrade to the iPad Mini 6, you will have an incredibly capable device in a small package.

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Best Top Reviews Online was established in 2018 to provide our readers with detailed, truthful, and impartial advice on what to buy. We now have millions of monthly users from all over the world and annually evaluate over a thousand products.

The above article was written by the BestTopReviewsOnline team, which consists of some of the most knowledgeable technical experts in the United States. Our team consists of highly regarded writers with vast experience in smartphones, computer components, technology apps, security, and photography, among other fields.

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