Before I go on with this review,I must admit that I had no intention in buying a iPad Mini( Retina Display). I've said this many times to various individuals, tablets are devices that you don't need to constantly upgrade to the latest and greatest in specs and features every year. For the most part,tablets do not function as a laptop or desktop,it just don't have the hardware to be called a portable workstation. Tablets have minimal uses which includes browsing the web,playing games,watch a movie or in some cases listen to music. Yes you can even take pics with a tablet though in my opinion it's rather awkward and download digital reading material. So with that said I purchased the iPad Mini because like a brain dead goofball I accidentally dropped my 2nd gen iPad onto the hard concrete floor,thus causing extreme damage to its display making it barely watchable.
Yes I could have probably gotten it fix at one of the Apple repair shops,but I didn't trust whether or not it would have been a costly option or if the tablet would have function the same. So still with clouded doubt on whether or not I should get the new iPad Mini or resort to getting my damaged iPad fix, I went to the Apple store just to do some browsing,I mean it was in my mind to buy a new tablet but I wanted to see the iPad Mini up close first hand. Once I held the 7-inch iPad Mini (Retina Display) in my hand I was convinced that I should get this tablet. So here we have it,the iPad Mini is in my possession and I have some things to say about this device,here's the review,lets get to it.
In my opinion aside from the design and which I will get to in a minute let me say this,it should be standard that all tablets take on a 7-inch form factor. A 7-inch tablet are just so easy to hold in the hands without feeling weighed down,ultra portable and surprisingly has a descent field of view when reading text and viewing video content. The iPad Mini is no exception,the tablet is very easy to hold in your hands surprisingly I'm blown away by how lite the tablet is.So lite it almost feels like the tablet is going to fly right out of my hands during a sudden burst of wind. Holding a 7-inch iPad Mini is far different from the 9.7-inch iPad where it takes two hands to handle the tablet which to me is a tedious task. Try holding a 9.7-inch tablet with one hand all while trying to access apps with one finger,not an easy task.
The overall build of the iPad Mini is exactly what I'm looking for in any mobile device,sleek,thin and very compact,that is the guidelines all mobile devices should follow.The iPad Mini fits very nicely in my backpack and most important,it doesn't compromise space in my bag whatsoever,which leaves more room to carry additional reading material and maybe another mobile device. The overall structure of the iPad Mini is very sturdy nice and solid,though it has a very thin build,I feel I can drop this tablet and it will still be operational, though I strongly recommend that you don't do that (Trust me I won't either).
The volume rocker and the power button is placed perfectly,that is if you're a right handed person,lefties might have somewhat of a disadvantage trying to access the volume rocker and power button with one hand while holding the tablet. The speaker placement it what it is with the iPad Mini,it's basically Apple signature placing the speakers on the bottom of the device. Though not a real big deal,most of my listening pleasure is down through headphones,but when using the speakers on the iPad Mini that is booming clear which you can say that about all Apple mobile devices. I would love to see the speakers placed on the top and bottom of the device,like what you see with the HTC One M8. You have to give a big thumbs up for the overall design of the iPad Mini.
About That Display
Yes,about that display though,now I can really get technical and pick and poke the display and use all types of measuring tools but since I like the iPad Min so much I won't get to technical because in my opinion the display spot on.There is one word that can describe the display on the iPad Mini and that's "Greatness". All the measuring tools in the world can't replace the naked eye,your eyes is the true measuring tool.
The iPad Mini has an amazing 2,088 x 1,526 pixel resolution, exactly the same pixel count that's on the much larger iPad Air. A true testament on how well constructed a display is on any mobile device is not through watching videos which is the obvious measure on how well constructed a display is,but its through reading text when enlarging the webpage. When you expand a webpage to enlarge text on the iPad Mini retina display, there is no visible pixels that standout out to the naked eye,none whatsoever,won't proof of this,just take a look at the image above this paragraph,can you tell which text is on the iPad Min retina display? The videos and pictures on the iPad Mini are just as amazing,very sharp images with deep blacks,sharp whites yet no over saturation of foggy contrast,something seen in less superior low to average pixel density.
The hardware in the iPad Mini parallels what's in the iPhone 5S and iPad Air,welcome to new generation of Apple mobile devices where you have a much faster 64-bit 1.3GHz dual-core processor,with an additional M7co-processor. To sum it all up in nutshell, have here is a miniature version of the iPad Air which I consider a big upgrade from the 2012 version iPad Mini which for me was a bit of disappointment because of it's less than impressive hardware. In fact the big selling point in getting this device was its hardware. When I was in the Apple store upon purchasing the iPad Mini, I did a quick comparison with the iPad Mini and the retina display version,it was no contest, I chose the retina display version based on how well the tablet perform (I will get to the performance a little ). It's very night and day,the iPad Mini Retina version runs more stable,apps pull up much faster and videos runs very smooth.
The iPad Mini uses the 4th generation LTE connection which is suppose to be much faster than the old 3G connection something I'm used to seeing on my 2nd gen iPad,it also has a much improved MIMO Wi-Fi antenna,absent is the new gen wireless standard the 802 11ac,for some crazy reason Apple chose to stick with the much slower and older 802.11a/b/g wireless standard. Its kind of weird,you have a LTE connection with a much older WiFi standard. Nevertheless I took the liberty in testing out connection speeds on both the LTE network and WiFi connection the numbers were pretty impressive WiFi,not so impressive with the data connection. On the Wi-Fi connection I pulled a 52.20 Mbps Download speed,a 28.56 Mbps upload speed the WiFi speeds is pretty impressive in itself,but that's probably due in part to the close proximity of the wireless router which was 10 feet in distance which added to the signal strength. On the LTE network the numbers goes as follows 11.38 download speed while pulling 8.79 Mbps upload. The numbers seem a bit unimpressive probably due in part to untimely spotty data connection that takes place in the area I reside in. If you care to know the iPad Mini doses comes with a 5.1 megapixel rear and 1.3 megapixel front facing camera,it does in fact take pretty decent pictures,records video very well. The camera specs is not as high-end like you'll see on mobile devices like the Samsung Galaxy Note 3,but its a camera nonetheless. I will always feel awkward taking pictures on tablet,in fact it looks awkward but since it is part of the hardware specs listed on the iPad Min, I felt the need to give you information about the iPad Min's camera.
One can't describe the outstanding performance with the iPad Mini without throwing out some benchmark numbers,those numbers will justify its deserved praises when it comes down to overall performance. I used both Geekbench and 3DMark to crunch some benchmark numbers and used the Nexus 7 in comparison because both 7-inch tablets have similar in hardware.To my surprise these numbers outclassed the Nexus 7 numbers by a wide margin in some test even though the Nexus 7 has a much faster processor with more cores (SnapDragon s4 Pro quad-core 1.5GHz) . In the Geek Bench test the iPad Mini scored a 1387 single core compared to Nexus 7 579 single core. In the multi core test,the iPad Mini once again won out with a 2510-Multi- core while the Nexus 7 scored a 1818-multi core in its test. In the 3D Mark test which is a benchmark tool that tests the tablets graphic chip,once again the iPad Mini bold very well with a 14867 score, a 19264 graphic score, 8264 in physics score, graphic test 1 posted a 103.5FPS,in graphic test 2 scored a 68.7 FPS.On the other hand,the Nexus 7 scored a 11003,a 6527 in its physics test.
Clearly the numbers show that the iPad Mini outperforms the Nexus 7 in all the benchmark scores, don't get me wrong,I still think the Nexus 7 is a pretty nifty tablet,lets just say the Mini and Nexus 7 have both set standards in what a 7-inch tablet should have in both features and hardware. The benchmark numbers mean nothing,its the actual overall experience of the iPad Mini from the user is what determines the tablets performance. Based on what I've seen so far from the Mini,it performs extremely well. No signs of any video lag when playing movies or streaming Netflix and You-tube,the application loads are very snappy and on point. So from a user perspective the iPad Mini is the best mobile device I've purchased to date,the benchmark numbers speak for itself.
If you been following my posts on this site or maybe ran into my text on social media,you know that my biggest beef with the iPhone 5 is its crappy battery,the short life battery power to me makes for a flawed device. Switching over to the iPad Mini things are a bit different, I was able to squeeze out two days of power on 80% battery power (it was 80% out the box) which is pretty impressive,but to be fair it was on minimal use at that time. Once I recharged the Mini to its full 100% capacity I started to spend more time with the device. Once I starting using the device more and all while putting it through series a of torture, I noticed a slight rapid drainage in power,which drew a red flag. Taken into account I was doing some heavy duty video viewing,gaming,net surfing and downloading digital reading material this will tax the battery a bit. Still in all I was able to squeeze out 18 hours of battery power on a single charge,not including idle down time (When the iPad Min is not being used).A true testament to the Mini's long lasting battery power is it's much larger 6472 mAh battery, which is much larger the Nexus 7 and the previous gens iPads.
All in all the battery life in the iPad Mini is pretty impressive considering the fact I threw everything I had at this device and was still able to go almost an entire day on one single charge. Let's hope Apple some how imports the same battery into its iPhone 6.
The iPad Mini for me is the best mobile device I've purchased thus far in terms of raw power with its hardware. What's not to like about the Mini,in my opinion its the best 7-inch tablet on the planet. The impressive design justifies the tablet's greatness. In spending much time with the device since I purchased it a couple of days ago,I did not experience any type of stability issues which to be honest you rarely get with Apple mobile devices and most importantly it has outstanding battery life.
My only critiquing rift with the iPad Mini is the price.There is no reason whatsoever why the iPad Mini Wi-Fi and LTE version should cost me $529 when the Nexus 7 with WiFi and LTE version cost almost a fraction of the price ($349 to be exact) and what makes it even more insane,both the Nexus 7 and iPad Mini have very similar specs. Apple for whatever reason seem to have no clear cut justification for its inflated prices for their devices,but I digress.
Anyway,the iPad Mini is a impressive device and for me just my opinion should be standard on how 7-inch tablets should be constructed. The iPad Mini,go buy it,you won't regret the investment.