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iPad mini 2 with Retina display review

A great tablet that still costs a little too much

Our Verdict

The iPad mini 2 is flawless in so many ways. From a rich app catalog to the best design on the market, the mini 2's only real downfall is its price. If your pockets are deep you'll simply love it.

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 2048 x 1536
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 5 Megapixel

View full specification

For

  • Amazing screen
  • Cutting edge CPU
  • Brilliant design

Against

  • Similar-spec rivals are much cheaper
  • 16GB too low storage
Scores in depth
iPad Mini 2 review

iPad Mini 2 review

iPad Mini 2 review

iPad Mini 2 review

iPad Mini 2 review

The new iPad mini 2 (or iPad mini with Retina display, if you want to give it Apple's elongated title) is the next step in the smaller tablet wars - and with Google and Amazon stepping up their respective games, the Cupertino brand needed something that hit back with strength.

However, even with that landscape, we were still surprised when Apple announced the iPad mini 2 on stage, coming with things like the A7 chip under the hood and a 128GB iteration to satisfy those that crave a lot of HD action.

On top of that, there's the much-needed Retina screen (as the name might have told you) and an improvement in battery size to help power those pixels more effectively.

However, there's the big issue of price, which Apple has had to balance carefully over recent years. No matter how much you like the look of the iPad mini 2, you have to factor in that it will set you back nearly £320 (US$399, AU$479) for the lowest-spec 16GB model with Wi-Fi connectivity only.

Consider the rivals, and you'll see that Apple has a real fight on its hands. Google's 7-inch Nexus 7 is £199 (US$229, AU$299) at the same spec, and Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX starts at the same level (although you'll need to put up with the ads to get it at that price).

iPad Mini 2 review

Even LG's G Pad 8.3 is only £199 (around US$250, AU$399) for the 16GB model, and that lets you supplement the meager innards with a microSD card.

Given Apple's decision to allow users to download the iWork catalog for free, as well as Garageband, iPhoto and iMovie, you'll really be looking at buying the 32GB tablet option at a minimum.

It's here that you have to wonder at Apple's pricing strategy. The doubling of the internal storage is something that apparently costs twice as much to achieve, compared to Google, and even less for Amazon.

iPad Mini 2 review

That said, the iPad mini 2 does still feel like decent value for money given it's not a loss leader over Google and Amazon, and not just because of the tired "Well, it's an Apple device and therefore spending more should be expected" excuse.

We've never bought into that, and never will. Apple makes well-designed and premium products, but as the extra cost for larger capacities illustrates, it's not always justified.

But while in the phone market we can't understand why an iPhone 5S costs so much more than an HTC One or a Galaxy S4, in the tablet space Apple has a justified lead.

iPad Mini 2 review

The iPad mini 2 is an excellent device. There's no other way to look at it. We were pretty impressed with the original mini a year ago, but bemoaned the low-res screen and under-powered chipset powering things along.

So we fully expected the iPad mini 2 to be another sidekick to a bigger brother, and with the iPad Air showing itself to be the best tablet on the market, we fully thought we'd be getting a smaller iPad with a Retina screen and an A6 chip - so the decision to make the tablet 64-bit enabled with the latest A7 CPU is a really great thing to see.

It takes an already well made device and adds in so much more: the aluminum finish no longer feels like a deflection from the fact the iPad mini doesn't have the engine to compete with its Snapdragon-powered rivals.

iPad Mini 2 review

Check out the benchmark speeds later and you'll see just how much better the CPU is for day-to-day tasks and, coupled with the rich app ecosystem and improved operating system, you'll see how Apple justifies charging the premium price.

M7 Chip

The addition of the M7 chip in the iPad mini 2 seems on the surface to be a little redundant, given you won't be doing much in the way of exercise with the mini strapped to your arm.

However, there are journal-style apps coming out that will use information on where you've been and the weather at the time - tiny tasks that don't need the help of the larger chip.

Tech Specs

Product TypeTablet
Flash Memory Capacity128 GB
Processor ManufacturerApple
Graphics Controller ManufacturerImagination Technologies
Graphics Controller ModelPowerVR G6430
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeNo
Maximum Battery Run Time10 Hour
GPSYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyUMTS, HSPA, HSPA+, DC-HSDPA, CDMA2000 1xEV-DO Rev A, EDGE
Product FamilyiPad mini
Cellular Network SupportedGSM, CDMA2000
Front Camera/WebcamYes
Operating System PlatformiOS
ColourSilver
Operating SystemiOS 7
Brand NameApple
Form FactorSlate
Processor Speed1.30 GHz
Processor TypeA7
Screen Size20.1 cm (7.9")
Screen Resolution2048 x 1536
Weight (Approximate)340.2 g
Cache4 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
TouchscreenYes
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyIn-plane Switching (IPS) Technology, Retina Display
WWAN SupportedYes
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Cellular Generation3G
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Height199.9 mm
Width134.6 mm
Depth7.4 mm
Screen ModeQXGA
ManufacturerApple, Inc
Product ModelME840B/A
Product NameiPad mini with Retina Display
Product LineiPad mini
Aspect Ratio4:3
Manufacturer Part NumberME840B/A
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.apple.com/uk
Marketing InformationWe've expanded the definition of mini.

iPad mini was designed to give you nothing less than the full iPad experience. So when we thought about which enhancements to bring to the new iPad mini, there was only one answer:all of them. We packed a Retina display, the A7 chip, the M7 coprocessor, advanced wireless, and more into its small form. It has a huge amount of power and capability, but it's still nice and mini.

Package Contents
  • iPad mini with Retina Display
  • Lightning to USB Cable
  • 10W USB Power Adapter
  • Limited Warranty1 Year