iPad Mini 8.3" (6th gen) + Apple Pencil 2 | Long Term Review

I purchased my iPad mini (6th gen) seven months ago as my first iPad. Since purchasing it, I’ve been nothing but grateful both for the portability and use I get out of it. I wanted a compact device for sketching, note-taking and some light browsing within my budget limit. The iPad mini fit my criteria perfectly.

Graphics: Beautiful, crisp and vibrant screen.

Sound: The sound was always impressive, loud and clear for such a small tablet.

If you haven’t already,  you can watch my unboxing of the iPad mini 8.3" (6th gen).  It includes an unboxing of the Apple Pencil 2 as well as the accessories I use.

This is a long-term review so we’ll start with the beginning.

Glitches and Fixes

At the beginning, it froze after a whole day of use so it would need to be powered on and off to refresh the memory.  Current software updates fixed this.

Widgets were also glitchy and would reset every time the tablet was powered off. Software updates have also fixed this.

The iPad mini has an issue called ‘jelly screen’ which I personally never noticed, even after months of usage.

This post is not sponsored, but some of the product links here are affiliate links (at no cost to you)

Tools & Accessories

Screen Protector: Matte/paper-like. Not to be confused with the brand Paperlike. The brand I ended up going for was x and I’ve not needed to replace it yet. I wanted to block out reflections since I do a lot of recordings but I also wanted to maintain the vibrancy of the screen. There’s one thing you must be aware when going for a paper-like screen, there’s a loss in image quality as you get the texture of ‘grainy paper’. This doesn’t impact my drawings or activities but it’s important to know what you are signing up for.

After seven months of usage, I’ve not noticed any significant wear on the Apple Pencil and while I do use nibs, I still sketch without them.

Apple Pencil 2nd Gen: Palm rejection. Handwriting feels smooth but when it comes to predicting typing, it can be a challenge sometimes. This is perfect for sketching, handwritten notes, etc. although I mostly use it for typing out my notes with a custom font when it comes to work.

Sleeve cases for the Apple Pencil are optional but provide aesthetic value and practical uses such as the nibs/pencil tips that come with the carrot case. I use two cases.

Kitty Ears Case: Purely aesthetic

Carrot Case: Strong grip. Tons of Pencil nibs to choose from.

Smart Keyboard Case: Expensive. Cases were still sparse when I first got the mini and they’ve improved ever since. As one of my first cases (and newer at the time), it has quite the issues. The Apple Pencil 2nd gen (not to be confused with first gen) does not charge with it. It will hold the pencil but that’s it. My solution was to peel the case back at the top and leave the Apple Pencil charging overnight. A bit of a hassle but I got used to it. This is the perfect compact case when on the go, indispensable when traveling. After I got a second case, it easily became a favorite once again, especially when it comes to traveling!

ESR: This is my main case, featuring a trifold mode, correct cutouts, wake-up feature and an impressively strong magnet that both holds and charges the Apple Pencil 2nd gen. Very easy to install and budget friendly. This isn’t my preferred case for traveling because I tend to want to pack light and a full setup would require a keyboard and mouse in case I need to check up on work.

Apps I Use

ProCreate is where the magic happens and the culprit for making me fall in love with the iPad mini. This app features a range of creative tools for artists and users alike. A one-time payment is al that’s required.

Keynote: Free.  Excellent digital planner making tool.

GoodNotes: A one-time fee. I use GoodNotes for work, studying and digital planning.

Screenkit: This is how I customize my widgets.

iFont: One-time Payment. This is a super intuitive and powerful tool for creating your own fonts if you have terrible handwriting like me or wish to keep things neat or are simply creative!

Realistic Ways in Which I Use My IPad Mini in 2022

Outlined below are some realistic ways in which I use my iPad mini in my everyday life.

Right now (2022), I use my ipad mini for:

Work: Digital planning, texts, emails and calls.

Personal: Sketching, Mobile Games, YouTube, Xbox Cloud Game Pass, Designing my own fonts, practicing my handwriting, studying, etc.

I don't regret purchasing the iPad mini. The  portability was something I desperately needed without compromising productivity. Since I already own a powerful laptop and drawing tablet, the mini suited my needs perfectly.