The iPad lineup is wild. There are two “Pro” iPads, there is the Air from last year which is now technically slower than this new 2021 iPad Mini and all of those have the same basic design features, excellent performance, and USB-C support. The lone holdout on the Lightning port and Home button front is the $330 2021 iPad Cheap.
Federico Viticci is in my opinion the iPad expert, and his review is worth reading if you’re at all curious about this update to the iPad Mini:
The new iPad mini fulfills my longstanding dream of an iPad Pro/Air-like device in a diminutive form factor, providing a highly portable experience unlike anything else in Apple’s lineup.
The iPad mini was already in a class of its own; with this redesign, Apple has made the best small iPad I’ve ever tried – one that is a joy to use on a daily basis. Whether you’re looking for a companion device to your iPad Pro or a portable iPad to complement your Mac experience, this little iPad is worth the price of admission.
This is also probably the only review that discusses running emulators on the device as depicted in the screenshot above.
They’re all good tablets but after using a big 12.9” iPad Pro for months of “distance learning” my hands ache from the weight and as a writer, the only iPad I’ve ever loved writing on without some kind of hardware keyboard was the Mini. So, this new iPad Mini looks mighty tempting, if limited. The lower quality screen and lack of Apple’s “ProMotion” variable refresh rate support are the big compromises to me, as is the diminutive screen size even if it is a little taller in this year’s update.