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The iPad mini 6 is the cheapest way to purchase Apple's best A15 Bionic SoC

You do not need to spend US$999 for Apple's best A15 Bionic SoC. (Image source: Apple)
You do not need to spend US$999 for Apple's best A15 Bionic SoC. (Image source: Apple)
It turns out that not all A15 Bionic chipsets are created equal. For some reason, Apple includes a weaker A15 Bionic in the iPhone 13 mini and the iPhone 13 than the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max. Even the US$499 iPad mini 6 contains Apple's best A15 Bionic SoC, though.

The dust has settled on yesterday's Apple event, with the company revealing five devices that use its A15 Bionic chipset. The devices in question are the iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max and the iPad mini 6, a surprise attendee at the event. Apple also revealed the Watch Series 7, as we have covered separately.

While the iPhone 13 series and the iPad mini 6 all have A15 Bionic SoCs, Apple has actually created two versions. Both have 6-core CPUs split between 2 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores, so CPU performance should be comparable across all A15 Bionic-powered devices. All A15 Bionic chipsets have a 16-core Neural Engine, too. However, it has confirmed that the lesser version has a 4-core GPU, one fewer than the other A15 Bionic has.

Unfortunately, Apple has not detailed what performance differences we should expect in games between the two A15 Bionics. Incidentally, Apple sells two versions of the M1, although only for the MacBook Air. In our tests, the version with 8 GPU cores delivered between 10% and 23% better performance than the 7-core equivalent, albeit at a US$250 surcharge.

The same is not true with the two versions of A15 Bionic, though. Instead, Apple sells the top-tier A15 Bionic in the iPad mini 6 for US$499, starting with 64 GB of storage and no LTE modem. Still, the 256 GB and LTE model is the same price as the 256 GB iPhone 13 mini, which has the lesser A15 Bionic. The most expensive iPad mini 6 is US$100 cheaper than a 256 GB iPhone 13, too.

Similarly, the entry-level iPad mini 6 is US$500 cheaper than the equivalent iPhone 13 Pro. In other words, you could buy two iPad mini 6 tablets for the price of an iPhone 13 Pro and have US$1 leftover. Ultimately, the iPad mini 6 may be more expensive than the larger iPad 9, but it is the cheapest way to purchase the top-tier version of the A15 Bionic.

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Alex Alderson
Alex Alderson - Senior Tech Writer - 5669 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2018
Prior to writing and translating for Notebookcheck, I worked for various companies including Apple and Neowin. I have a BA in International History and Politics from the University of Leeds, which I have since converted to a Law Degree. Happy to chat on Twitter or Notebookchat.
contact me via: @aldersonaj
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 09 > The iPad mini 6 is the cheapest way to purchase Apple's best A15 Bionic SoC
Alex Alderson, 2021-09-15 (Update: 2021-09-15)