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iPad mini review

The original iPad mini is excellent, apart from that screen

Apple devices have historically had issues with battery life, but in recent years the iRange has been stepped up in terms of power performance, and the iPad mini is following in that trend.

The battery life was a hot topic at launch, as many suspected that the lack of a high resolution screen was to help manage the power consumption as much as give Apple the specs for the iPad mini 2 next year. In practice this seems to have worked, as the battery life is pretty darn low.

iPad mini review

We tested two usage scenarios: one with full brightness, high power apps running constantly and movies being played over and over, with downloads running in the background. In this case the iPad mini managed to last nearly six hours, which was more than acceptable in our eyes.

In low power mode it was a whole different case. Powering the display right down to the minimum brightness, keeping it turned off and locked and jumping onto Airplane mode from time to time led to an astonishingly low battery consumption, with the unit lasting well over two days with 50% still remaining (on the Wi-Fi only version).

Given that the device will mostly be in the bag or pocket (at a stretch) we can see you'll only need to keep the charger handy every two or three days to keep things juiced - barring a marathon gaming session or email reply storm.

ipad mini review

In short, the battery life won't ever give you any nasty surprises on the Wi-Fi version - while we haven't tested the LTE option as yet in our time with other iPads rocking the cellular signal there wasn't a huge amount of power consumption difference, so we're pretty hopeful the same will be true of the smaller-screened iPad mini.

Connectivity

ipad mini review

The iPad mini's two specifications, 3G and Wi-Fi only, and they differ quite a lot in terms of what's on board. The latter is pretty sparse, with only dual-channel Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 on board. We say 'only', but in truth that's quite a decent option for the things you'll want to do with it.

The former has everything under the sun: most LTE bands, DC-HSPA for sub 4G speeds that still impress, GPS and GLONASS for on the go mapping (providing you get the courage to do use such a function with Apple Maps).

The Bluetooth 4.0 integration is one that's impressed us over time, as it means low power sensors (such as those in healthcare or fitness) can be used with the more portable tablet, which will be great news for doctors who can't convince their patients to buy an iPhone or lug around a larger tablet.

There are other devices that have the same functionality, of course, but Apple always likes to put in the minimum amount of technology when designing devices, so this shows it really believes in the technology.

Benchmarks

ipad mini review

The GeekBench score is what we usually use to tell if any new Apple product is up to much, and you'll be glad to know that it's… exactly as powerful as the iPad 2 and the iPad 3.

The latter isn't really a fair test as it's got a much improved GPU running the show to help power all those pixels, but it shows that in terms of CPU grunt there's not a lot to worry about here.

However, it is under half as powerful as the new iPad 4, which is able to ripple through web pages and apps in a much shorter time… Apple always gives you something to update to, right?

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