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iPad mini review

The original iPad mini is still good, apart from that screen

Apple led the way when it came to mobile browsers back in 2007, and five years later the same structure is still giving a decent mobile experiences on a multitude of screen sizes.

The iPad mini Safari browser is an excellent implementation, despite its age; while it lacks some of the impressive bells and whistles of its competitors, the simplicity of being able to scoot between web pages with ease is enough of a trade-off for many.

iPad mini review

The browser is fast enough too, although the A5 processor isn't able to match the speed of the bigger iPad Air 2 or mini 3 over the same Wi-Fi connection, which can render pages a few seconds faster in my tests.

It's no slouch, but in the pantheon of top-end devices (including the Google Nexus 7) can chuck the text and pictures we want to see together in a much more impressive time.

The display resolution isn't too bad for the browsing experience; with the low-res effort I was worried that zoomed-out text might look illegible until double-tapped or pinched to get closer. But it's good enough for those without eyesight problems to be able to see effectively.

As mentioned, the iPad mini browser is fairly feature-light, but what it does have is useful. For instance, sharing a web page, printing it out (as long as you have an AirPlay printer connected) and sending the link via mail, Twitter or Facebook is a simple as tapping the icon, and the integrated nature of the tablet means there's no confusion over what it's doing.

There's a great feature called iCloud Tabs, which shares any currently open browser tabs with all the other Macs or iDevices registered with your Apple ID.

So if you were reading on your iPad at home and then go out, you can jump straight to the pages you were looking at on your iPhone too.

Another great feature is the unified URL bar. There's no more separate search field: just type your search term into the address bar and hit Go to run a Google search for it.

Similarly, I loved the offline reading function. While, again, this isn't a new feature on a mobile device or an Apple product, the portability of the iPad mini puts it in a lovely spot between the iPhone (which can be too small for reading longer articles) and the larger iPad (which can be a hassle to get out on the train compared to the reduced size of the iPad mini) for reading things later when you don't have time now.

The list is easy to view when trying to find the article you want to read, and the icon to save for offline reading is again easy to hit (in the sharing section).

iPad mini review

The other feature, and one that's been around for a while, is the Reader option. Tagging a feature in the URL bar will give you a cut-down version of the article you're reading without all the unnecessary features that mobile advertising brings.

Again, the iPad mini is the best device for reading the articles you really care about on the go, and beats the budget tablet competition hands down in this area.

Apple should be commended here as well for sticking to its guns in the mobile video arena and eschewing Flash. While its reasoning for not including it previously in its web browser was suspect, the upshot is we now have a cleaner video format for mobile devices that isn't as convoluted to use.

The video experience isn't as good as it could be on the iPad mini because of the screen resolution, but for web video and clips it's excellent, and the speed of loading is more than acceptable. It means sites like the BBC's show nearly all their online content with ease, rather than presenting you with frustrating 'Flash is not supported on your device' messages that we used to experience.

Little irks me about the browser experience on the iPad mini apart from the slower speed, which isn't down to the software given that the £150-cheaper competition is able to provide a much speedier experience.

But when you're running on 4G LTE, even this doesn't niggle quite so much. Speeds sometimes actually run faster than over Wi-Fi (just by a few split seconds, mind) and for the most part pages load nice and fluidly, without much of the awkward shuffling of page furniture that often happens when browsing on tablets at slower speeds.

Overall the iPad mini web experience, while rather last-gen, is still one of the best around. It brings ease of use and acceptable speeds while providing an excellent wide screen size to actually see and read the things you want to, either on the sofa or on the go.

Tech Specs

Product TypeTablet
Flash Memory Capacity16 GB
Processor ManufacturerApple
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeNo
Backlight TechnologyLED
Product FamilyiPad mini
Front Camera/WebcamYes
Operating System PlatformiOS
ColourWhite, Silver
Operating SystemiOS 6
Brand NameApple
Form FactorSlate
Processor TypeA5
Screen Size20.1 cm (7.9")
Screen Resolution1024 x 768
Weight (Approximate)313 g
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyIn-plane Switching (IPS) Technology
WWAN SupportedYes
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Cellular Generation4G
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Height199.9 mm
Width134.6 mm
Depth7.1 mm
Screen ModeXGA
ManufacturerApple, Inc
Product ModelMD543NF/A
Product NameiPad mini MD543NF/A Tablet
Product LineiPad mini
Aspect Ratio4:3
Manufacturer Part NumberMD543NF/A
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

The whole package. In a smaller package.

A beautiful display, powerful A5 chip, FaceTime HD camera, iSight camera with 1080p HD video recording, ultrafast wireless, and over 275,000 apps ready to download from the App Store. iPad mini is an iPad in every way, shape, and slightly smaller form.

Package Contents
  • iPad mini MD543NF/A Tablet
  • Lightning to USB Cable
  • USB Power Adapter
Limited Warranty1 Year