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Apple iPad mini 2 Review

By Kevin Thomas on 22nd January 2014


3G Total Score
Pros Cons
+ Stunning design - Expensive
+ Powerful  
+ Good battery life  

Verdict:

"The Apple iPad mini 2 is a superb tablet which rights the only real wrong of the original iPad mini. It’s a little pricey, but worth the money."

Apple iPad Mini with Retina Display Deals

Full Review and Specification for the Apple iPad mini 2

Apple iPad Mini with Retina display Montage

Apple found a lot of success with the original iPad mini. It delivered an Apple tablet experience in a smaller size and at a slightly more affordable price than the full fat iPad and people went mad for it. The only real problem it had was its screen which, frankly, wasn’t all that.

But Apple’s back with the iPad mini 2 (also known as the iPad mini with Retina display) now and as the name suggests the screen is no longer a problem. The question is, is a better screen and a boost in performance enough of an upgrade?

Design


The iPad mini 2 looks a lot like the original iPad mini, or for that matter like a smaller version of the iPad Air. Even though tablets can struggle to stand out this is unmistakably Apple. The front has the black or white borders around the screen along with the iconic home button at the bottom, while the back is wrapped in aluminium.

At 200 x 134.7 x 7.5mm and 331g it’s both very slim and quite light, which in turn makes it nice to look at and extremely portable.

Display

The screen was a low point for its predecessor but it’s one of many high points for the iPad mini 2. At 7.9 inches it’s one of the new breed of roughly 8 inch tablets, sitting between the 7 inch and 10 inch models that have been the norm so far.

It’s a good size, feeling bigger than just an oversized phone but not so large that it becomes awkward to use or carry. More importantly the quality of the screen is superb. It’s 1536 x 2048 and 324 pixels per inch, but as well as being high resolution it also has strong contrast, with dark blacks and pure whites, so images and videos really pop out.

Power and Performance

The Apple iPad 2 has an Apple A7 processor, just like the iPhone 5S. It’s only a 1.3 GHz dual-core but that didn’t slow the iPhone 5S down and it doesn’t slow this down either. The slate loads web pages in a flash, plays video smoothly and doesn’t show even a hint of slowdown when playing games. It’s only got 1GB of RAM but that seemingly isn’t holding it back much either.

There’s also a version of the tablet which comes with 3G and 4G LTE, which allows you to blast through web pages and streaming music and video even when on the move or outside.

Interface

The Apple iPad mini 2 launched with iOS 7 out of the box. It’s the biggest change iOS has ever seen and it’s proved quite divisive, but for our money it’s a substantial improvement over previous versions of iOS. It’s still as easy to navigate as ever but it’s got a fresh new look and a number of handy new features, such as ‘Control Centre’, which lets you access toggles for Wi-Fi. Airplane mode and more with just a swipe from the home screen.

And of course Siri is better than ever now with a new interface, faster responses and the ability to carry out extra tasks, such as playing your voicemail or adjusting the screen brightness.

All in all it’s a welcome update which makes the Apple iPad mini with Retina display a pleasure to navigate and use.

Onboard storage, Connectivity and Cameras

The iPad mini 2 comes with a choice of 16, 32, 64 or even 128GB of built in storage so there’s no need to run short, though there’s no micro SD card slot so make sure you buy a model with enough in.

It supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0, plus if you opt for a ‘Wi-Fi + Cellular’ model you’ll also get 3G and 4G LTE connectivity.

It even has a half decent camera by tablet standards, as there’s a 5 megapixel main snapper, which can take some reasonable shots, along with a 1.2 megapixel front facing camera for FaceTime. Plus it can shoot 1080p video at 30fps. It doesn’t come close to the quality of a standalone camera or even most smartphone cameras, but it’s above average by tablet standards.

Battery Life

The iPad mini 2 has impressive battery life, lasting for around 10 hours of active use. That’s not quite the best we’ve seen but it’s not far off and is good enough that you can consider it to be true all day battery life. So whether you’ve got a long haul flight or it’s just a rainy Sunday, the iPad mini with Retina display will keep you entertained throughout.

Verdict

The iPad mini 2 is a hugely impressive device with no real faults. Everything from the screen to the design to the battery life and sheer power of this thing is high end. With a starting price of £319 and going up to as much as £659 for a 128GB Wi-Fi + Cellular model it’s perhaps a little expensive for a mid-sized tablet, but then it wouldn’t be Apple if it wasn’t.

But really the price is all we can fault and even then it’s not that outrageous. The iPad mini 2 display really is the full package and it’s hard to imagine where Apple will go next with it.

Apple iPad Mini with Retina Display Deals

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Apple iPad mini 2 Review Scoring

  • Style and Handling
  • User Friendliness
  • Feature set
  • Performance
  • Battery
  • Overall Score

Apple iPad mini 2 Phone Specification

Dimensions : 200 x 134.7 x 7.5 mm

Weight: 331g

Screen size: 7.9 inch Retina display

Screen Resolution: 2048 * 1536

Pixels Per Inch 326

Processor: Apple A7 Processor (Dual-core 1.3 GHz)

Onboard Memory: 16/32/64 or 128GB

Camera :  5 mega-pixel, front-facing Facetime camera

Operating system: Apple iOS 7

Ultrafast / 3G / 4G LTE : Yes / Yes / Yes (Cellular models only)

Bluetooth / NFC : Yes / No

Colours : Space Grey & Silver

Launch Date:  November 2013

Price : From £319


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