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Is the iPad mini 6 worth it?

iPad mini 6 and iphone 11 pro max
(Image credit: Future)

I love my new iPad mini 6. Not just because I got it for free, but because it satisfied my appetite for a portable big-screen device in the short time I’ve owned it.

Sure, my iPhone 12 Pro Max’s 6.7-inch screen is plenty large. Ever since I owned the iPhone 8 Plus, it’s been big screens for the best phones or bust. But now that I’ve kept my iPad mini and its 8.3-inch screen practically glued to my person for two weeks, I can’t help but wish it could replace my iPhone. 

Now I know the iPad mini’s screen is, well, miniature compared to the regular iPad or iPad Pro. I’ve never tried toting those tablets around every day. So when used in lieu of my iPhone on a commute or in a coffee shop, the iPad mini seems massive and more capable.

In a lot of ways, I can do the things I normally do on my iPhone with my iPad mini. I can stream shows, listen to podcasts, send iMessages, do my New York Times crossword, FaceTime my friends and more. That's why I’ve literally brought it with me every time I’ve left my dwelling since it first arrived. 

And since the iPad mini 6 is available in a Cellular model, with 5G connectivity, the tablet functions untethered from my iPhone. That means I could actually go out sans-iPhone and use my iPad instead. Yeah, I can’t add a phone number to a tablet the same way I could a Cellular-capable Apple Watch, but does that matter?

These days there are plenty of ways to call someone if I want to get in touch with. The best video chat apps often have voice-only calling options. Better yet, with my Apple Watch 6 with Cellular, I can make and answer phone calls using my number via Wi-Fi calling. 

What's stopping me from using iPad mini 6 as my phone?

I'm not deterred by workarounds I'd have to use for calling. Besides, I usually just text anyone I need to contact. The real reason I can't replace my iPhone 13 Pro Max (which I'm getting a few weeks due to a brutal delay) with my iPad mini 6 is the camera quality.

I take at least one hundred of photos and videos on my iPhone every week. I'm constantly capturing footage for TikTok (have you followed Tom’s Guide’s TikTok account?) and features like Cinematic Mode help elevate my content. If I only shot videos on an iPad, I'd feel like I'm missing out. 

@tomsguide

Start the week off with a little #unboxing #asmr 😌 #ipadmini6 #ipad #apple #tech #technology #fyp

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Plus, the iPad mini 6 lacks Macro mode, 3x optical zoom and an ultra-wide lens. The single 12MP cam is still good in a pinch, but it simply doesn't provide as many options as an iPhone's camera array.

So until Apple either makes a bigger iPhone or improves the iPad's camera features, you'll find me schlepping two devices around. It's not ideal, but I'll make do. A foldable iPhone could change things, however.

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is a senior writer at Tom’s Guide covering wearables, TVs and everything smart-home related. When she’s not in cyborg mode, you can find her on an exercise bike or channeling her inner celebrity chef. She and her robot army will rule the world one day, but until then, reach her at kate.kozuch@futurenet.com.