Not too long after the Launchpad S release, which was a long due replacement of the original version, Novation released the Launchpad Mini along with the Launchkey Mini and Launch Control. It’s an even smaller version of the successful 64-pad grid controller. Does it make the ‘S’ obsolete or does the Launchpad Mini occupy its own space in the Novation product line? Now that we’re able to catch our breath after the storm of releases let’s check it out.
Where I found the Launchpad S heavier than I expected, the Launchpad Mini is indeed the lightweight controller it claims to be. It’s also a good amount smaller, thinner and sports a minimalistic approach in the layout on top losing the Ableton logo among other things.
You might think that the smaller footprint would decrease the sturdiness, but I’m surprised that the Mini still feels very solid when placed on a desk.
Launchpad Mini VS Launchpad S
The Mini connects to your devices through a mini-USB port VS a regular USB on the Launchpad S, I prefer the latter when it comes to durability, but in most case you won’t notice a difference.
It also seems the buttons on the Mini are less ‘clicky’ than the Launchpad S buttons which is great if you’re more a performer than a ‘launcher’. Then again, keep in mind that the smaller footprint does make it more difficult finger-drumming around the 64 pads.
For the rest, the functionality is exactly the same on both devices. The choice you’ll have to make is a matter of hardware preference and budget.
It’s clear that this controller was designed with the iPad in mind, offering bus-powered compatibility with the evolving Launchpad app, allowing you to jam your loops from a tiny package.
Furthermore, the Launchpad remains one of the better supported controllers in software DAW’s. Next to the Ableton integration, FL Studio 11 also does a good job of working with the Launchpad Mini in its Performance Mode.
Just think of a creative way to use the Launchpad in your favourite DAW and you’ll have a good chance someone from the Launchpad user base has created a template for it.
What more can you say about the Launchpad Mini?
If you have small fingers like me, or when you’re keen on keeping it as portable as possible, the Launchpad S is no competition for the Mini, the latter being 2/3 the price of its bigger brother.
It’s definitely the best clip launcher you can find for under $100 right now and with all the templates flowing around the Launchpad Mini seems like the modern day Monome.