The iPad mini continues to be that mid-range Apple tablet ideal for the public looking for a compact device for consuming multimedia content, social networks, games and even doing professional or student tasks. Its last two exponents, iPad mini 5 of 2019 and iPad mini 6 of 2021 are clear references of this. But how are they alike and how are they different? We will tell you!
- Specifications comparison table
- Design-level changes
- Performance and software differences
- Other important features
- Final conclusions and purchase decision
Specifications comparison table
Bringing the technical specifications to a real environment is essential to know how these iPads are. And on this we are going to focus this comparison, analyzing the most relevant of them in daily and daily use. Now, we must start at the beginning and tell you what are those characteristics that we will later analyze in practice and this comparative table works very well for this.
|Characteristics||iPad mini (5th gen. – 2019)||iPad mini (6th gen. – 2021)|
|Dimensions||-Height: 20.32 cm
-Width: 13.48 cm
-Thickness: 0.61 cm
|-Height: 19.54 cm
-Width: 13.48 cm
-Thickness: 0.63 cm
|Weight||-WiFi version: 300.5 grams
-WiFi + Cellular version: 308.2 grams
|-WiFi version: 293 grams
-WiFi + Cellular version: 297 grams
|Screen||7.9-inch Retina (LCD-IPS)||8.3-inch Liquid Retina (LCD-IPS)|
|Resolution||2,049 x 1,536 at 326 pixels per inch||2,226 x 1,488 at 326 pixels per inch|
|Brightness||Up to 500 nits (typical)||Up to 500 nits (typical)|
|Speakers||Two loudspeakers||Dual speaker for horizontal optimized sound|
|Processor||A12 Bionic||A15 Bionic|
|Storage capacity||-64 GB
|RAM||3 GB *||4GB*|
|Frontal camera||7MP wide angle with f / 2.2 aperture||12MP ultra-wide angle with f / 2.4 aperture|
|Rear cameras||8MP wide angle with f / 2.4 aperture||12MP wide angle with f / 1.8 aperture|
|Biometric systems||Touch ID on Home button||Touch ID on lock button|
|SIM card||NanoSIM and eSIM in WiFi + Cellular versions||NanoSIM and eSIM in WiFi + Cellular versions|
|Connectivity in all versions||Wi-Fi (802.11a / b / g / n / ac) at 2.4 and 5 GHz with simultaneous dual band and speeds of up to 866 Mb / s
|-WiFi 6 (802.11 a / b / g / n / ac / ax) at 2.4 and 5 GHz with speeds of up to 1.2 Gb per second
|Connectivity in WiFi + Cellular versions||-GSM / EDGE
-UMTS / HSPA / HSPA + / DC ‑ HSDPA
-LTE Gigabit up to 28 bands
|-5G (sub-6 GHz)
-GSM / EDGE
-UMTS / HSPA / HSPA + / DC ‑ HSDPA
-LTE Gigabit up to 30 bands
|Official accessory compatibility||-Apple Pencil (1st gen.)
-Smart Cover Cases
|-Apple Pencil (2nd gen.)
-Smart Cover Cases
* The RAM data is not officially provided by Apple, although it has been certified based on various tests carried out by specialized tools.
Just at a glance, and for this the photos that you have already seen on the cover and previous section are worth it, it is already possible to see that they are two aesthetically different iPads. Unlike other generations, these two have different design lines that we analyze in parts in the following sections.
Form factor and colors
The fifth generation iPad mini starts with a classic design characterized by the presence of the Home button and a main screen, but with pronounced bezels. On its sides we find a curvature that goes towards its flat back, which is what Apple has traditionally always maintained in its tablets until recently.
For its part, the sixth-generation iPad mini is already a standard bearer of the brand’s modern tablet design. It eliminates the classic central button and instead expands the screen, making it much more of the protagonist with bezels that, despite being present, are considerably smaller than the previous one. All this with flat finishes for the sides that only look curved when reaching the corners.
Regarding the color palette , we find a more sober style in the 2019 iPad mini, which features the classic silver, space gray and gold colors. The latter is especially striking because it tends more to look pink. For the ‘mini’ of 2021 we already find new options with a star white that could perfectly have been called broken white, which is accompanied by the classic space gray with striking colors such as purple or an authentic pink that already leaves completely the golden tints.
Is the change in size noticeable?
Removing only 2 millimeters more thick and that the screen has grown the iPad mini 6, something that we will tell you in more detail in the next section, in all other aspects the iPad mini 5 is larger . Taking as a context that despite this it is an iPad that is still very comfortable and manageable, there is no doubt that in the end the new generation feels more compact and comfortable.
As for weight , tell you that the decrease in this sense is also noticeable. It is not something exaggerated, but it is noticeable and more when you have one in each hand. And it is precisely the iPad mini 6 that fits in the palm of your hand . Be careful, this does not mean that it is comfortable to use with one, since it is also complicated, but it is striking as in a way it is a device that can even be considered an “iPhone Max Max”.
The convenience of using them anywhere is present in both. Either to use it at home holding it with the hand, on a support, on the knees, on the table, on the bed, sofa … Any of them are also more than valid to move with it in public transport, being excellent travel companions for read, check the mail or go watching a series or movie.
More screen in less space
Here we come to one of the most interesting differences. While the iPad mini 5 has a 7.9-inch panel, the sixth-generation comes at 8.3. Of course, it is worth mentioning the false feeling that the ‘mini’ 6 has a smaller screen due to the fact that the iPad itself is smaller.
At the quality level we would have loved to have an OLED panel in the iPad mini 6, but it is still an IPS panel with technology similar to the iPad mini 5. Now, they do not look the same . It is not that it is an exaggerated change, but the iPad mini 6 has better qualities such as a higher resolution and color palette that makes viewing content such as photos or videos more enjoyable.
Where both leave something to be desired in is brilliance , at least in certain contexts. In normal indoor situations there is usually no problem, but outdoors they both suffer with a maximum brightness of 500 nits which is insufficient when there is a lot of sunlight shining on it. It is true that they are complex situations for any screen, but in these it seems especially complicated.
Performance and software differences
At the hardware level there are different aspects of these teams that, without a doubt, can determine the choice between one or the other. Aspects such as their performance, the software they carry or their autonomy.
Much change from A12 to A15?
Obviously there is a considerable jump between both devices. It must be said that the iPad mini 5 performs very well in many aspects, that there is no slowness when opening apps or executing actions. However, the iPad mini 6, with its A15 chip, experiences a higher speed in everything and especially when executing heavier processes such as image or video rendering.
Now, is this difference really so vital? At the end of the day there are certain peculiarities in the approach of these iPad , really intended for an audience that, even if it is demanding, probably does not use it as a work tool. Perhaps yes in a creative aspect such as drawing or taking notes and using it as a digital notebook, but not so much that the requirement can leave the performance of the processor short.
That is why in the end they both more than fulfill their purpose and although it is evident that the ‘6’ will perform better in everything, the difference with the previous one is not so much as to put it aside. And it is that, like everything in the end, it will depend on the compendium of functions that both have what determines if one or the other is a better choice.
About iPadOS Features
As a general rule, any device capable of updating to a certain version of the system is capable of executing the same actions. And although from time to time there are certain peculiarities that make some news exclusive to some, fundamentally for hardware reasons, it is not the case of these. To this day, both mount the same version of iPadOS with identical functionalities.
In fact, it is expected that the two will continue to update for several more years , thus guaranteeing that they have 5-6 years of updates at least since their launch. And while it is true that it will be necessary to see if in the future there is any new iPadOS that is implemented in the ‘mini 6’ and not in the ‘mini 5’, it seems unlikely that it will be something highly outstanding.
Autonomy, how long does the battery last?
In the technical specifications of each we can see that Apple indicates a range of up to 10 hours for both. Now, in a certain use and in an uninterrupted way. Put into practice we find that it can even last more than a day if it is not used excessively, taking into account that it is not being used permanently. If so, yes, those 10 hours would be fulfilled.
Now, despite dressing in the same way in this section, in practice we must recognize that the iPad mini 6 is a bit below , probably because it has a larger screen. However, it is not a really remarkable difference with respect to the other. Therefore, without this being the aspect in which these iPads shine the most, we can say that they comply with it with a note.
The iPad mini 6 has 5G, is it worth it?
This section is only worth considering if you are going to acquire an LTE version , which Apple baptizes as WiFi + Cellular and which allows you to contract a mobile data rate on the device. In case you are going to purchase a WiFi version, this is ultimately irrelevant.
At this point, you should know that the iPad mini 6 is compatible with 5G networks, and although it is true that it is something to take into account because it is more advanced than the 4G that the previous one has, in the end it is almost irrelevant in practice . Why? Well, basically due to the lack of infrastructures that allow this connection, with very limited speeds except for certain areas of large cities.
Other important features
Cameras, accessories and price. These are three sections that are also important when evaluating the purchase or the jump from one iPad to another, so we will tell you more about it in these next sections.
Cameras and their usefulness
|specs||iPad mini (5th gen.-2019)||iPad mini (6th gen-2021)|
|Front lens type||7MP wide-angle lens with f / 2.2 aperture||12MP ultra-wide-angle lens with f / 2.4 aperture|
|Photos front camera||-Flash with the screen (Retina Flash)
|-Zoom zoom: x2 (optical)
-Flash with the screen (Retina Flash)
|Front camera videos||-Recording in 1080p (Full HD)
-Stabilization with cinema quality
|-Recording in 1,080p (Full HD) at 25, 30 or 60 frames per second
-Expanded dynamic range of up to 30 frames per second
-Stabilization with cinema quality
|Rear lens type||8MP wide-angle lens with f / 2.4 aperture||12MP wide-angle lens with f / 1.8 aperture|
|Photos rear camera||– Zoom in: x5 (digital)
|– Zoom in: x5 (digital)
-Flash True Tone
|Rear camera video||-Recording in 1,080p (Full HD) at 30 frames per second
-Slow motion in 720p (HD) at 120 frames per second
-Time-Lapse with stabilization
-Zoom x3 (digital)
|-Recording in 4K (Ultra HD) at 24, 25, 30 or 60 frames per second
-Recording in 1,080p (Full HD) at 25, 30 or 60 frames per second
-Expanded dynamic range up to 30 frames per second
-Slow motion at 1080p at 120 or 240 frames per second
-Time-Lapse with stabilization
-Zoom x3 (digital)
It is indisputable that, even being the ‘mini’, it does not make much sense to buy an iPad to take photos because in addition to being tedious in terms of size, they are not the best specifications in this regard. However, they can be useful for video calls .
It is precisely in this area that highlights a functionality that has 6 and not 5. We refer to Centered Framing, a function that is achieved thanks to the ultra-wide angle lens on the front and that makes you always stay in the center of the screen even though you move. It kind of gives the feeling that the camera is rotating automatically, but it really is an optical effect that is achieved via software.
Now, if you do not plan to make many video calls or this is an aspect that you do not give too much importance, it does not seem that the differences between one and the other iPad are decisive either. Yes, the iPad mini 6 is more complete in it, but in the end it is still one of the most irrelevant characteristics in the actual use of the device.
If something to highlight negatively of these iPad is that there are no official Apple keyboards for them . Yes, for example the individual Magic Keyboard, but not the one with a trackpad and serves as an iPad case, and not the Smart Keyboard either. It is not that it is not something extremely prominent either because in the end none of them is designed to work and there are always other alternatives, but it would have been nice if Apple gave an option.
Now, both are compatible with all kinds of Bluetooth accessories like other keyboards and mice, as well as headphones. However, it is the iPad mini 6 that takes the cake, since thanks to its USB-C port it improves connectivity with cable devices, including external storage drives.
Although if there is an accessory that stands out above the rest, it is the Apple Pencil . The iPad mini 5 is compatible with the first generation Apple stylus, while the mini 6 is already compatible with the Apple Pencil 2, a better pencil with which to obtain extra functions with two touches or have a magnetic refill on the side of the own device.
Prices, can you still buy the iPad mini 5?
The first thing you should know, and thus we already answer that question, is that Apple has discontinued the fifth generation iPad mini. However, it is possible to find it in some stores such as Amazon at prices around 400 euros in its 64 GB WiFi version.
The iPad mini 6 for its part, although it can also be lowered at times in stores such as the aforementioned Amazon, it offers prices that start from 549 euros . All this, of course, is increasing based on whether a 256 GB capacity is added or the LTE version is acquired.
Final conclusions and purchase decision
At this point, it is time to conclude based on what has been seen above. Regarding whether it is worth going from 5 to 6 , tell you that it depends. If you are having a good experience with your iPad mini 5, it works well and you do not need the functions that the 6 offers, you do not have to change. Although if you have that whim to buy it and you can afford it, you are going to enjoy it a lot. And it goes without saying if in your case the iPad mini 5 is already short.
If you do not have any , you should see that a priori there is a 150 euros difference that you should assess whether or not they are enough in your case. For these purposes, we understand that the purchase of the 6 is the most intelligent, taking you a device to the last with many years of life ahead. Although we should not underestimate a good offer for the ‘mini 5’ if it arises.