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iPad mini 6 looks great but lacks one key feature to win me over

iPad mini 6
(Image credit: Apple)

The newly introduced iPad mini 6 is undoubtedly a powerful piece of tech, especially taking into account its cute and compact exterior. It's one of the latest additions to the iPad family that has gone through a whole redesign, resembling a shrunken down iPad Air 2020.

And while the sixth generation of Apple's compact iPad may have been the star of the show during Cupertino's "California Dreaming" event this past week, it still left me unconvinced and wishing for more during the aftermath. And that's because there's one missing feature that that's keeping me from jumping on the bandwagon and placing my iPad mini 6 pre-order

What's missing is support for the Magic Keyboard, and it's something that I can't ignore, especially after spending a whole month with my 4th gen iPad Air. Ever since I got my hands on the Magic Keyboard and started using it with my iPad Air, I can't imagine going back to using a keyboard-less tablet, be it small or large. It's been an immense help in terms of both productivity and convenience, allowing me to use my tablet to its full potential. 

Everything about the Magic Keyboard compliments my iPad in every way with its clicky keys, precise mousepad, seamless charging and sturdy build, all of which doubles as an iPad Folio case. Even if at first this accessory felt too pricey for its own good, I can confidently say that it was worth every penny in the long run. 

Don't get me wrong, I agree that the userbase for iPad mini 6 is different to that of the iPad Air 4, and its compact size makes it difficult for both first and third-party manufacturers to come up with a keyboard that feels natural. More often than not, smaller laptops end up with a keyboard that takes a while to get used to.

In the words of our editor Henry T. Casey: "Look at tiny laptops that jam their keys in too tightly," and I couldn't agree more. 

However, there's also a case to be made on how the iPad mini 6 compares to the iPad Air 2020. Overall, the two tablets seem quite similar, sharing features like the Touch ID sensor on the side button, all-screen Liquid Retina Display, flat-edged design and the USB-C connectivity. 

iPad Pro Magic Keyboard

(Image credit: Future)

So why would Apple borrow nearly everything from the iPad Air and deprive its new compact tablet of the one feature that so many users have come to love? Especially since the mini is $100 less expensive. Even if I hadn't bought the iPad Air previously, my choice would still be unchanged, and it's not because I'm not a fan of the mini tablet in general. I've been using my iPad mini 4 for years now and I've loved every second of it. And I distinctly remember browsing Amazon for hours on end in search of a perfect keyboard that could also act as a case for my tablet.

To me, the one upper hand that the iPad mini 6 has is its tiny size that comes with a slightly cheaper price tag. However, the iPad Air isn't exactly gigantic in any way. As someone who's constantly struggling to fit my tech in a purse, I've never had much trouble with the iPad Air. That said, I can also see how many would be tempted to snag Apple's cute tablet as soon as possible.

So my point is that support for the Magic Keyboard is desirable for me but not  required for all. It all depends on what you intend to use your iPad for, be it video editing, working, graphic design and etc. But for me, my Magic Keyboard is the kind of necessity that I refuse to give up. 

Denise Primbet

Denise is a news writer at Tom’s Guide covering all things tech, gaming software/hardware, streaming, and more. She regularly produces short-form news articles as well as long-form content, including reviews, buying guides, how-tos, and features. When she's not live-streaming horror games on Twitch, she can be found exploring East London while playing Pokemon Go. She’s also a part-time piano enthusiast and regularly experiments in the kitchen. You can reach her at denise.primbet@futurenet.com.

  • djonbellis
    Look at the size of the keyboard on the iPad Air 4 with its 9.74" height. Now imagine needing to shrink that down to fit the iPad Mini's 7.69" height. Those keys would be far too small to be usable by most. My Surface Pro keyboard is larger than the iPad Air one and still is smallish.
    Reply
  • DavidElliottLewis
    This complaint against the iPad Mini 6 is bogus at its core. This small form factor tablet is not intended to be a text entry device, at least not by typing on a tiny keyboard. If you want an all around, all purpose tablet, get a bigger one. The entire point of the iPad Mini 6th generation tablet is to have a stylish and highly portable media consumption or display device. If you must, however, enter text, you can always pair it with it with a folding Bluetooth keyboard or use voice to text input to write. There, problem solved.
    Reply