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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

When reviewing the iPad mini 2, we've compared it to the previous version of the smaller tablet - both with and without iOS 7. The jump in the OS is marked, but even without that, all owners of the original mini will feel a pang of envy when you hand them the newer one.

With the screen turned off, there's very little difference between the two versions - the options of Space Gray and Silver are different to the black and silver versions from 2012, and there's a slight increase in the weight from 312g to 331g.

But in the hand there's nothing to choose between them - which is fine, as the design last year was the saving grace of an otherwise low-powered, but cheaper, tablet.

iPad Mini 2 review

What we've seen is the iPad mini design being taken on by the iPad Air, and now back again on the smaller sequel, and it really works.

Apple is still maintaining that users will be able to hold it one-handed, and while this is uncomfortable when done for long periods, we did find that on occasion for browsing the internet we were able to work with a single palm.

The aluminum-clad design feels hugely premium. If you've walked into an Apple store thinking that the mini 2 is too expensive compared to the Nexus 7, then the second it's thrust into your palms you'll realize that there's no comparison between the two when it comes to build quality.

iPad Mini 2 review

While the new Nexus 7 is a much-improved design from Asus , it's still a rubberized device that relies on plastic to make it feel robust and a little lighter.

The iPad mini 2 has the same effect, but it's hugely more impressive. It's not £160 (US$170, AU$180) better, which is something of an issue for those torn between the two tablets, and any Nexus 7 fan would have a very valid reason for purchasing the Google tablet.

iPad Mini 2 review

But looking simply at Apple's design, and it's easily the best on the market. The smooth covering, machined speaker holes and gently curved edges all combine very well to give a really secure feeling, that this is the device that it was worth forking out a little more.

Even down to the solid click of the sound toggle, or the long travel of the power, home and volume buttons, the whole thing makes you feel like it's robust and won't crack on you a year or so down the line.

There's no TouchID on offer here, and we're torn over whether this is a big miss. We use it all the time on the iPhone 5S and now the iPhone 6, but that's only because it's there. It marginally makes using the phone easier, which is nice.

iPad Mini 2 review

It's missing more on the iPad mini 2 for a couple of reasons. Firstly, you're more inclined to pick this tablet up like a phone, meaning your natural impulse is to hold the power button.

Secondly, tapping out a passcode on this screen is harder as your thumb isn't as well placed, meaning most will avoid iPad security altogether.

Given the 64-bit architecture is there for the encryption, it seems odd that Apple has left this out for the mini 2 and the Air – and it's not like its omission is enough to upgrade to next year when the sequels appear.

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