Apple iPad Air 5 (2022) vs Apple iPad Mini 6 (2021): Which mid-range tablet should you buy?

Apple iPad Air 5 (2022) vs Apple iPad Mini 6 (2021): Which mid-range tablet should you buy?

In our day and age, tablets are becoming an increasingly popular product. Whether you’re binging your favorite shows, playing games, or attending online classes — these devices provide a relatively large screen, portability, and versatility. Choosing which tablet to buy, though, can be a tough decision to make. If you’re having inner debates on whether you should buy the iPad Air 5 (2022) or buy the iPad Mini 6 (2021) instead, we’re here to help. This is the iPad Air 5 vs iPad Mini 6 — the battle between two solid, middle-range tablets from Apple. Whether you go for the former or the latter iPad, don’t forget to protect them with a case. It’s also a good idea to take a look at the best chargers available for them.

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iPad Air 2022

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Apple iPad Air 5 vs Apple iPad Mini 6: Specifications

Apple iPad Air 5 Apple iPad Mini 6
CPU Apple M1 chip Apple A15 Bionic chip
Body
  • 247.6 x 178.5 x 6.1 mm
  • 461 g (462 g for Cellular model)
  • 195.4 x 134.8 x 6.3 mm
  • 293 g (297 g for Cellular model)
Display
  • Liquid Retina display
  • 10.9-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit Multi-Touch display with IPS technology
  • 2360-by-1640-pixel resolution at 264 pixels per inch (ppi)
  • Wide color display (P3)
  • True Tone display
  • Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating
  • Fully laminated display
  • Antireflective coating
  • 1.8% reflectivity
  • 500 nits brightness
  • Supports Apple Pencil (2nd generation)
  • Liquid Retina display
  • 8.3-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit Multi-Touch display with IPS technology
  • 2266-by-1488-pixel resolution at 326 pixels per inch (ppi)
  • Wide color display (P3)
  • True Tone display
  • Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating
  • Fully laminated display
  • Antireflective coating
  • 1.8% reflectivity
  • 500 nits brightness
  • Supports Apple Pencil (2nd generation)
Cameras
  • 12MP Wide camera, ƒ/1.8 aperture
  • Digital zoom up to 5x
  • Five-element lens
  • Autofocus with Focus Pixels
  • Panorama (up to 63MP)
  • Smart HDR 3
  • Wide color capture for photos and Live Photos
  • Photo geotagging
  • Auto image stabilization
  • Burst mode
  • 12MP Wide camera, ƒ/1.8 aperture
  • Digital zoom up to 5x
  • Five-element lens
  • Quad-LED True Tone flash
  • Autofocus with Focus Pixels
  • Panorama (up to 63MP)
  • Smart HDR 3
  • Wide color capture for photos and Live Photos
  • Advanced red-eye correction
  • Photo geotagging
  • Auto image stabilization
  • Burst mode
Memory
  • 8GB RAM
  • 64GB/256GB SSD
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB/256GB SSD
Battery
  • Built‐in 28.6‐watt‐hour rechargeable lithium‑polymer battery
  • Up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi‐Fi or watching video
  • Built-in 19.3-watt-hour rechargeable lithium-polymer battery
  • Up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi‑Fi or watching video
Connectivity
  • 4G/5G on Cellular model
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • 4G/5G on Cellular model
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • Bluetooth 5.0
Security Touch ID Touch ID
OS iPadOS 15 iPadOS 15
Colors
  • Space Gray
  • Starlight
  • Pink
  • Purple
  • Blue
  • Space Gray
  • Pink
  • Purple
  • Starlight
Material Aluminum Aluminum
Price Starts at $599 Starts at $499

Build and Design

Build and design are two of the relatively essential aspects to look into when buying a new device. A delicate or ugly tablet wouldn’t be the most enjoyable to actively use. You have to go for a model that feels and looks right to you. Fortunately, both the iPad Air 5 and iPad Mini 6 look almost identical. The two of them follow Apple’s latest design language and are built from the same materials. So this round shouldn’t be affecting your final decision on which to buy.

iPad Air 2022 in blue

The only difference — apart from the size, obviously — is the camera LED on the iPad Mini. The iPad Air lacks one, but otherwise, they look identical. They both have edge-to-edge displays with thin bezels on the front, and clean aluminum back builds. It’s worth noting, though, that the iPad Air is available in one additional color — Blue. The four other colors are available on all models. As such, this round should be insignificant, unless you really want a camera LED or the Blue finish.

Display

For many people, the tablet’s display is one of the most important elements to consider when buying a new device. That’s because plenty of them use it for watching series, gaming, attending work meetings, and reading eBooks. So a mediocre screen can make the whole experience less immersive. Luckily, both iPads have solid edge-to-edge displays that won’t disappoint.

The iPad Air 5 has a 10.9-inch screen with a 264 pixel density. On the other hand, the iPad Mini 6 goes for an 8.3-inch one with a 326 pixel density. If the larger screen is the priority for you, then go for the Air. If you’d rather have the higher pixel density and sacrifice the screen real estate, then the Mini is what you’re looking for. Ultimately, their resolutions are 2360-by-1640 and 2266-by-1488 respectively, so you shouldn’t be facing any quality issues.

Performance

m1 chip overview

How well a tablet performs is particularly important for power users and multitaskers. You wouldn’t want your device to lag when you’re working on several tasks at once. The good news is that both of these iPads are powered by mighty processors. The iPad Air 5 goes for the Mac’s M1 chip, while the iPad Mini 6 utilizes the iPhone 13’s A15 Bionic chip. Obviously, the former outperforms the latter — that’s not to mention that the Air has double the RAM included in the Mini model.

A15 Bionic

Both of these iPads run iPadOS 15, which can be limiting — since it’s just an over-glamorized iOS. So despite the iPad Air packing the M1 SoC, it still doesn’t fully take advantage of its power due to software boundaries. Ultimately, both of these iPads are fluid, but the Air wins this round by far.

Cameras

AirPods Pro open case next to MacBook Air M1 and iPad Air 5

Most people nowadays depend on their smartphones to take photos on the go. However, some users still search for tablets with decent cameras for whatever reason. The main difference between the rear cameras on these two iPads is that the iPad Mini 6 includes an LED, while the iPad Air 5 lacks it. Otherwise, they both have a 12MP sensor with an aperture of ƒ/1.8.

When it comes to the front-facing cameras, both iPads seemingly have the exact same lens. It’s a 12MP Ultra-Wide camera with a 122º Field of View. This enables features like Center Stage on both the iPad Air 5 and iPad Mini 6. It’s also worth noting that these two models have a Touch ID sensor on the power button — not Face ID. They indeed share the same front design as the iPad Pro, but unlike the highest-end model, they lack the TrueDepth camera system.

Battery Life and Charging

If you tend to read, doodle, or work on the go, solid battery life on your tablet will likely be on your priority list. In this battle, there’s not much to compare. The two iPads have similar battery lives — according to Apple. Both should be able to handle up to 10 hours of web browsing on a single charge. So, basically, as long as you’re not using them for intensive tasks, they should be lasting you a full day without needing to stop for a charge.

iPad Air 2022 from the side

The iPad Air 5 and iPad Mini 6 both have USB Type-C ports for charging and data transfer. They come with a 1-meter USB Type-C to USB Type-C cable and a 20W USB Type-C charging brick. iPadOS is great at power efficiency, and both tablets have large batteries that match their respective sizes. As a result, battery life and charging shouldn’t be points you look into when considering buying either of these two iPads — as they’re almost identical.


Apple iPad Air 5 vs Apple iPad Mini 6: Which Apple tablet should you buy?

The iPad Air 5 (2022) and iPad Mini 6 (2021) are two middle-range tablets with very minor differences. To summarize, the Air model has a larger screen, is $100 more expensive in the US, packs the Macs’ M1 chip, includes double the RAM, lacks a camera LED, and is available in an extra color. It starts at $599, while the iPad Mini 6 goes for $499. Which makes more sense to you to buy depends on your personal budget, screen size standards, and performance needs and expectations. We’ve just broken down their specifications objectively to help you make a wiser decision.

    The new 5th-generation iPad Air is powered by the Apple M1 processor. It supports 5G for the first time, and it comes in an array of beautiful colors.
    The iPad Mini 6th Gen is the latest compact iPad from Apple. It is powered by the A15 Bionic chip and supports the Apple Pencil 2.

Which of the two Apple tablets will you be buying, and why? Let us know in the comments section below.

About author

Mahmoud Itani
Mahmoud Itani

Mahmoud is an Istanbul-based Beiruti who has always sought freedom through writing. His hobbies include keeping up with tech news, writing articles about Apple devices & services, crocheting, meditating, and composing poetry. You’ll likely find him jogging at a park, swimming in open water, brainstorming at a coffeehouse, or merely lost in nature. He can be reached on Twitter @Mahmoudzitani or via [email protected]

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