I’m a glutton for punishment.

Not content with giving into the many requests to finally shut up about the lack of Final Cut Pro on the iPad and actually give DaVinci Resolve a go instead, I’ve decided to undertake two entire days away from the studio with only my iPad mini for company.

In a couple of weeks, I’m heading to Belgium for an exciting collaboration with another tech YouTuber (I’ll give you one guess who that might be) and I’ve decided to use the trip as an excuse to see what the iPad mini can really do.

Anyone who has followed me for any amount of time will know that I have an unhealthy obsession with Apple’s tiniest tablet. It’s my default digital note-taker and fills the role of content consumption device more than any other iPad I own (and I own a lot of iPads).

I’ve also lavished praise on accessories like the NuPhy Air60 portable mechanical keyboard and its brilliant folio case for their ability to make the iPad mini a genuine productivity machine.

But let me be absolutely straight with you: I’ve never fully explored what that little setup can do.

So, I’m going to.

And I’m a bit scared.

Why am I doing this?

I nearly wrote ‘I don’t know’ as the first paragraph here, but, on reflection, I know exactly why I’m doing this.

Each year, we tech reviewers and commentators are treated to periods of silence from brands. They hunker down, get to work and prepare both their product lines and the corresponding marketing campaigns for the eventual launches.

I’m sure the combination of blood, sweat, and tears that takes place behind the scenes during this period is exhilarating. I have no doubt that there are countless late nights, boardroom arguments, high-fives, and breakthrough discoveries. I bet the odd celebratory team night out is held, too.

But for people like me, it’s akin to everyone you find interesting leaving the party. As I type, I’m effectively standing here nursing a rapidly warming pint of nondescript lager, fending off conversation starters from brands peddling ‘ai’ neck fans.

So, we have to get inventive. We revisit old flames (products that have previously proven popular with our audiences). We compile best-of accessory listicles. We deliver opinion pieces with zero b-roll and constant references to “this video is going to be a bit different”.

We scrape the barrel a bit. I freely admit.

Despite this, I think I’m onto something with this iPad mini experiment.

The tasks for iPad mini

When I head to Brussels, the tasks I’ll be undertaking are a mixture of mundane and creative.

There’s the obvious stuff. I can’t – and don’t want to – escape my email inbox while travelling, and Slack has rapidly turned into a vital communication tool for the growing Mark Ellis Reviews team.

As you’d guess, I’ll be writing a fair bit during my time in Brussels, which will be made all the easier with the aforementioned NuPhy keyboard. That accessory (combined with the MX Master 3 which will probably be the mouse of choice) will also see me through the various social media writing and scheduling tasks in which I’ll indulge.

Thankfully I won’t have any video editing to do while I’m there (come on – I’m not that brave), but I will be shooting the corresponding video for my iPad mini-only adventure. And, yes, I’ll be using the iPad mini’s camera and mic for that job.

The biggest task by far will relate to my time spent at my fellow YouTuber’s (it’s Patrick Rambles, if you hadn’t guessed) studio. While there, I’ll be interviewing Mr. Rambles for my Solo Club podcast. I could, of course, chicken out at this point and just take my MacBook Pro – but that would be cheating. So, the duty of recording two high-quality mics via an audio interface will fall on the iPad mini.

This brings me to the next section of this blog post.

My raging fears of going iPad mini-only

There are a lot of things that scare me about this iPad mini-only trip.

There’s the obvious stuff. As much as I love the iPad mini, it does have a tiny display. Will those 8.3 inches of screen estate be enough for my daily tasks? I suspect they won’t prove a problem for writing, but I may have to get used to single-window multitasking far more than I do normally.

The battery worries me, too. Like all iPads, the iPad mini is comfortably an all-day device and has brilliant stand-by stamina. But that’s if you use it like an iPad – I have no idea what it’ll be like if I use it as a laptop replacement and vlogging camera all day.

Linked to the battery concerns is the audio recording job. The task alone frightens the life out of me (having to stop a guest mid-flow is a horrible experience, trust me) but there’s no escaping the fact that the iPad mini only has one USB-C port – which is also the only charging option. Do I risk it and see how well the battery copes with powering both the iPad and an audio interface? Or will I need to get involved in some dongle trickery to feed power into the iPad at the same time?

Lastly, there’s the quality of the video and mic for the YouTube video I’ll be shooting. I’ve had to remind myself of the current iPad mini’s camera specs, and while the main camera is capable of shooting 4K, the selfie cam (which I’ll rely on for a-roll) tops out at 1080p.

I guess it’s the story that matters on YouTube, right?

Stay tuned…

If you want to see the result of this iPad mini-only test, I’ll be publishing the video on my YouTube channel, so make sure you’re subscribed and that the bell is active to avoid missing it.

I’m curious, though – have you tried an iPad mini-only lifestyle for any amount of time? If so, how was it for you?

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