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(Pocket-lint) - Apple announced the next generation of iPad mini at an event on 14 September. The latest model is the sixth generation of the smallest tablet in Apple's portfolio and for the first time since it was introduced in 2012, it comes with a complete redesign. 

Want to know how the iPad mini (6th generation) compares to the iPad mini (5th generation), which you should buy or whether you should upgrade? We have you covered. Here are the differences between the iPad mini 6 (2021) and the iPad mini 5 (2019). 

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Design

  • Apple iPad mini (6th gen): 195.4 x 134.8 x 6.3mm, 293g
  • Apple iPad mini (5th gen): 203.2 x 134.8 x 6.1mm, 301g

The Apple iPad mini (6th generation) takes its design cues from the iPad Air (2020) and it's lovely. It features flat edges, uniformed bezels and it moves the Touch ID fingerprint sensor to the power button at the top of the device.

The iPad mini (5th generation) has much larger bezels around its display and Touch ID at the bottom of the screen, making the design a little more dated than the latest model, as you would expect. 

Both iPad mini models have aluminium builds, and there are various colour options. The iPad mini (5th generation) comes in Silver, Space Grey and Gold, while the iPad mini (6th generation) comes in Space Grey, Pink, Purple and Starlight.

The iPad mini (6th generation) is smaller and lighter than the iPad mini (5th generation) however, despite offering a larger display.

Display

  • iPad mini (6th gen): 8.3-inch Liquid Retina, 2266 x 1488 pixels, 326ppi
  • iPad mini (5th gen): 7.9-inch Retina, 2048 x 1536 pixels, 326ppii

The Apple iPad mini (6th generation) has a 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display, that has a 2266 x 1488 pixel resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 326ppi. 

The iPad mini (5th generation) has a smaller 7.9-inch Retina display, with a 2048 x 1536 resolution, which works out as the same 326ppi pixel density.

Both models have a maximum brightness of 500nits, a fingerprint-resistant coating, are fully laminated and feature Apple's True Tone technology. They also offer a P3 wide colour gamut. Overall, they both deliver a crisp display with rich and vibrant colours, but the slightly larger display on the iPad mini 6 makes a good difference.

Cameras

  • iPad mini (6th gen): 12MP rear, 12MP front, Center Stage
  • iPad mini (5th gen): 8MP rear, 7MP front

The Apple iPad mini (6th generation) has a 12-megapixel wide camera on the rear with an f/1.8 aperture, a Quad-LED flash and Smart HDR 3. It offers 4K video recording up to 60fps and extended dynamic range for video up to 30fps.

On the front, the iPad mini (2021) has a 12-megapixel ultra wide camera with an f/2.4 aperture. It supports 1080p video recording up to 60fps and it has the iPad Pro's Center Stage feature, which follows you around the room when on a video call and is a great feature.

The iPad mini (5th generation) meanwhile, has an 8-megapixel wide camera with an f/2.4 aperture and Auto HDR. There is no 4K video recording capability but it offers 1080p at 30fps. 

The front camera is a 7-megapixel front camera with a f/2.2 aperture. It offers a Retina flash, Auto HDR for photos, and 1080p video recording but there are no extra features like Center Stage.

Hardware

  • iPad mini (6th gen): A15 Bionic, 64GB/256GB, 5G, USB Type-C
  • iPad mini (5th gen): A12 Bionic, 64GB/256GB, 4G, Lightning

The iPad mini (6th generation) runs on the A15 Bionic chip with Neural Engine and it comes in 64GB and 256GB storage options, both of which come in Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi and Cellular models, with the cellular models offering 5G connectivity.

The latest model is compatible with the 2nd generation of Apple Pencil and it offers up to 10 hours of battery life, charged via USB Type-C.

The iPad mini (5th generation) runs on the A12 Bionic chip with Neural Engine and it too comes in 64GB and 256GB storage options, both of which again come in W-Fi only and Wi-Fi and Cellular models. The cellular models support 4G connectivity only though. 

The 2019 model is also only compatible with the first generation of Apple Pencil, and while it offers the same 10 hour battery life, it is charged via Lightning.

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Conclusion

The biggest difference between the newest iPad mini and the iPad mini (5th generation) is its redesign. The latest model completely refreshes the line and pulls the iPad mini in line with other Apple products, like the iPhone 13 models and the iPad Air (2020), with some features also borrowed from the iPad Pro too.

Aside from the design changes, the iPad mini (6th generation) also comes with a faster chip, 5G connectivity, compatibility with the second generation Apple Pencil, USB Type-C for charging and camera upgrades.

If you need to save a bit of cash and aren't too fussed about the latest design and features, you may be able to find the iPad mini (5th generation) cheaper, but if you have the budget, the iPad mini (6th generation) wins hands down.

Writing by Britta O'Boyle. Originally published on 16 September 2021.