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iPad mini review

The original iPad mini is excellent, apart from that screen

There are now over 700,000 apps on the Apple App Store, with nearly 200,000 available as dedicated for the iPad itself.

In terms of the dedicated Apps Apple is touting for the iPad, check out our new iPad 4 review for the more in-depth look at what can be achieved on the iPad mini.

However, it's worth taking note of the fact that the likes of iMovie aren't as impressive on the iPad mini, as the lower processor and the less-sharp screen mean that rendering movies takes a bit longer than we're used to nowadays.

Of course, if you've never really used a more powerful device then you won't feel the difference, but then again you probably won't be that bothered about iMovie or the speed of it and its app-brethren anyway.

Maps

You've probably heard about the Apple Maps fiasco with iOS 6, and it's the same situation with the iPad mini, with no general upgrades for the new tablet.

ipad mini review

It's a similar system as seen on the likes of the iPhone 5 – Flyover is an option for many cities, and the rest of the things you'd expect, like traffic info, are also present and correct.

It's not the end of the world missing out the functionality, but it's a big selling point of Apple's Maps, and it's a shame to not see it there.

We're not going to get into the accuracy of the app, as while it's still a long way off in terms of getting things in the right place (Luton still defaults to the small village in the south-west of England) things are improving day by day as faults are reported and updated.

There's no doubting that Google Maps (and Nokia Maps) are by far the superior options, Apple Maps at least looks impressive and will be getting better and better.

The navigation option is also good on the iPad mini, with the larger screen making it a very easy tool to use in the car. It's also impressive that it still works without a connection, as long as you've set the information before you leave, so you can even get away with doing things without the LTE version.

ipad mini review

However, given there's no GPS chip on offer in the Wi-Fi only version you'll have to be really happy with having some pretty sketchy directions read out to you on the way, although they do work on the lock screen as well, with the iPad mini coming out of sleep mode when you approach your next turning.

Overall, Apple has a long way to go in terms of putting the confidence back into its mapping function, but the app is far from horrendous aside from that.

Gallery

The gallery app on the iPad mini is as good as it's always been, with the smaller screen size making it very easy to manipulate images, such as being able to crop and enhance what's on offer.

We found the speed of doing this to be more than acceptable despite the lower-spec processor, with the smaller screen making cropping photos even easier than on the iPhone.

There are a number of other features, such as being able to geo-locate photos and see them on a map within the app being a really nice addition in terms of bringing your snaps to life. And as before the Twitter and Facebook integration is right there, so sharing photos is simple in the same way as on the internet.

Siri

Oh, hello Siri – what are you doing here? Surely given the iPad 2's processor, which is the same as in the iPad mini, can't handle Siri (according to Apple) then it shouldn't be on the new device, should it?

But, there it is, and nicely incorporated too, as the little pop-up window that gives access to the voice recognition is nicely unobtrusive. The accuracy is also much improved over the first iteration of the software, and the range of functionality also enhanced.

ipad mini review

With the ability to tell you if your football team is winning or losing, the weather in Paris or open an app on command, the iPad mini has the same implementation as the iPhone when it comes to Siri…and therefore as much use.

There's no way you'll ask it to book an appointment for you, because a) it doesn't always work, and you'll wish you had just typed it in and b) you're likely to be with someone, and the risk of failure and looking stupid in front of them is too high to try it.

The Google Now cards on Android Jelly Bean is much better when it comes to information, as being told what's going on with your team is much easier than having to ask for it. Both are different systems, but Siri is never going to gain mass appeal until it finally becomes almost unerringly accurate at recognising what you're saying.

We still like the little pop-up window, though.

Tech Specs

Product TypeTablet
Flash Memory Capacity16 GB
Processor ManufacturerApple
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeNo
GPSYes
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)
TouchscreenYes
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 Addresshttp://www.apple.com/uk
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