Apple iPad mini specs review
Let us see if Apple's not-that-miniature iPad has enough potential, both hardware- and software-wise, in order to compete with the mighty 7-inchers out there!
Well, what can we say - Apple has done it again! The iPad mini is an incredibly beautiful tablet, not only because of its clean and stylish appearance, but also thanks to the high-quality materials and great attention to details that's can easily be observed from every angle that you look at it. The iPad mini is not just a shrunken down iPad, though, the left and right bezel has been narrowed to make the device easier to hold with one hand only. This has also given the iPad mini a more elegant and sophisticated look compared to what it would be if all sides of the bezel were equally wide.
Still, since the iPad mini's screen measures 7.9 inches, and the aspect ratio of the screen is 3:4, holding the iPad mini with one hand only will not be as easy as it is with 7-inch devices like the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD. However, thanks to a cool trick that Apple has utilized, you'll still be able to hold it naturally as if you're holding a book, with a thumb against the front bezel/screen, and in case your thumb actually presses the display, it won't be recognized as a press. This is very cool, since we can imagine that the thin bezel of the iPad mini will often cause us to accidentally tap the screen.
With that said, the iPad mini should feel very comfortable in the hand, as it is thinner and lighter than any of its competitors, which is extremely important when we talk about tablets.
The 7.9" display of the iPad mini will have a resolution of 768 x 1024 pixels - the same as that of the original iPad and the iPad 2. What this allows is for all 275,000 tablet-optimized apps in the App Store to run flawlessly on the smaller screen of the iPad mini. Due to the smaller, 7.9" screen, the iPad mini will sport a slightly better pixel density at 162 ppi. However, this is still a bit low for today's standards. For example, the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD both have a pixel density of 216 ppi, making their displays crisper than that of the mini. This makes us think that Apple will be looking to bump the resolution significantly next year, just they way it did with the big iPad, making a Retina Display out of its screen. Until then, however, users will have to put up with a somewhat coarse UI appearance. Obviously, the first big compromise with the hardware of the device is found right here, with the screen resolution. Had Apple equipped the first-generation mini with a Retina Display, it would really mean that the iPad mini is "every inch an iPad", as Apple puts it, but then again, that would have made the low price close to impossible.
Aside from that, the panel uses IPS LCD technology, which means that we can expect some vibrant and true-to-life colors out of it.
Processor and Memory
And just like that, we arrive at the second hardware compromise that we've found in the iPad mini - the processor. Once again, we see the 4th gen iPad being positioned as the premier device with a powerful A6X processor, while the iPad mini is left with the SoC of the iPad 2 - the A5. Now, while this might translate into some slight hints of lag in the most complex and heavy apps/games, we don't really think that it will have any significant effect on the system's performance as a whole. After all, the A5 does a pretty good job in the iPad 2, and having in mind that the screen resolution of the iPad mini is not that high, we do expect it to behave rather responsively. However, it's one more area where the iPad mini will have to do with last year's tech, and we certainly hope that this won't lead to software incompatibility issues with upcoming apps or software updates by Apple.
The amount of RAM found on the iPad mini is also smaller than what we have on the 3rd and 4th gen iPads. While the big guys are generously treated to 1 GB RAM, the iPad mini is again stuck in iPad 2 world with 512 RAM, which makes sense to an extend, seeing that the apps made for the lower resolution may not require that much RAM. All in all, we're sure that Apple has tested the mini properly to ensure that it'll present customers with the smooth and responsive software experience that's so typical of its products.
When it comes to internal storage, the situation is pretty much the same as with the big iPads. There are 16, 32 and 64 GB variants, and of course, none of them offers expandable storage via microSD.
In typical Apple fashion, not much is currently known about the characteristics of the battery inside the iPad mini. The company does say that it'll allow for roughly 10-hour usage time, which should consist of various unknown activities. All in all, Apple promises that the battery life of the iPad mini will be similar to that of the big iPad, which is still a very neat achievement.
The iPad mini has a 5 MP rear camera and a 1.2 MP front-facing one. The main one proudly wears the iSight branding, which hints that its photos might be similar to those of the iPhone 4 or 4S, though we'd like to test the device ourselves before we can say for sure.
Meanwhile, the 1.2 MP front-facing one should be good enough for HD video calls via FaceTime or some other service.
The iPad mini should also be able to capture some good-looking 1080p HD video. According to its official specs, 1080p video should be recorded at a smooth 30 fps, so the only thing left to worry about here is the quality of the sensor that they have used.
There seem to be no differentiating factors when it comes to the software of the iPad mini, but then again, does it need any? Naturally, the iPad mini will come with the latest version of iOS 6, and thanks to its 3:4 screen aspect ratio, it will be able to run every application available on the App Store, including the 275,000 ones designed specifically for the iPad. What this means is that right out of the gate, the iPad mini will have access to a vast catalog of rich and powerful applications enabling the user to do tons of stuff on their iPad mini, and with a beautiful and fun to use interface at that.
Once again, Apple stays true to its tradition of beginning to sell a device right after it has announced it, in contrast to most other manufacturers out there. In the case of the iPad mini, the tablet will be available for pre-order starting October 26 (this Friday), and the units will ship on November 2 (next Friday). Or at least, that's when they'll start shipping, as limited initial stock supplies aren't out of the question.
In the end, the iPad mini will undoubtedly be a remarkable small tablet that has many ways of trumping its competition. Meanwhile, though, it may not be as attractive to the specs-hungry users out there, but then again, this isn't the typical audience that Apple's after. It's still too early to say if the device will be hot enough to generate long lines in front of Apple stores on launch day, but it's now pretty much certain that it'll be yet another winner for Apple.
1. twashington4 (Posts: 81; Member since: 24 May 2010)
This is a nice size for a tablet, but you just know you're going to get screwed next year when they put a Retina display in this thing. I say just wait...if your current full size IPad isn't weighing you down too much then there is no need to jump the gun on this one.
12. The.Dark.Knight.Rises (banned) (Posts: 72; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)
The reason it has an A5 is because ios doesn't need more. Am telling you from experience. My ipad 3 uses a simple A5 CPU and an extremely powerful GPU but it has never lagged and has always been very fast. Even the gpu of A5 which is an old chip is faster than tegra 3 (according to benchmarks). Ipad mini is apple first try but that doesn't mean it sucks. It's design is excellent and premium in comparison with nexus 7 that's looks really ugly.
14. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5465; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)
"The reason it has an A5 is because ios doesn't need more."
A6 and 1 GB of RAM in iPhone 5 is just a overdo?
17. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5465; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)
But then A4 in iPhone 4 with 512 MB of RAM is also overdo because iPhone 3GS had only 256 MB of RAM, right?
Hmm, why Apple is increasing performance if iOS does not require it?
21. The.Dark.Knight.Rises (banned) (Posts: 72; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)
I meant it will be very fast and responsive even with an A5.
23. taz89 (Posts: 2014; Member since: 03 May 2011)
ios may not need it but am sure all those heavy and graphic intenisve apps will do
27. The.Dark.Knight.Rises (banned) (Posts: 72; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)
And they're gonna run beautifully on this mini ipad.
34. pikapowerize (banned) (Posts: 1869; Member since: 03 May 2012)
true... so true... im pretty sure apple will announce iPad mini 2 with Retina display next year! with same price... $349...but i wish apple just cut it down to $299 to make it appealing...
2. prd2bsrb (Posts: 11; Member since: 01 Oct 2012)
Basically it's an iPad 2 with a smaller screen and a bigger price tag. Hmmmm, interesting.
8. pandaonmars (Posts: 4; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)
Bigger price tag? I think you'd better should've done some research before writing such comments. It's $70 cheaper than the iPad2.
30. sithvenger (banned) (Posts: 371; Member since: 25 Aug 2012)
No basically it's an iPad min, with a smaller price tag. Hmmmmmm
3. Bluesky02 (Posts: 1439; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)
Love the iPad mini design and dimension. I will buy a windows 8 tablet with ipad mini copy design.
4. tiara6918 (Posts: 1342; Member since: 26 Apr 2012)
iPad mini could have been a bit more interesting if apple decided to go with a full hd retina display.
10. pandaonmars (Posts: 4; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)
But it would have been a huge problem for the developers once again.
5. CX3NT3_713 (Posts: 1668; Member since: 18 Apr 2011)
I went on and bought a refurbished ipad 3, price was cheap :-).. oh its for my kids ..I like android. !,, and as mentioned, wait for the ipad mini with retina display, , IMO
31. sithvenger (banned) (Posts: 371; Member since: 25 Aug 2012)
Yeah rite lol. U know that iPad 3's for u.
32. CX3NT3_713 (Posts: 1668; Member since: 18 Apr 2011)
Hahaa,,, ehh,, I might pick it up, every now and then,,, ;-) lol
6. prms111 (Posts: 10; Member since: 06 Oct 2012)
common PA have some decency......it is not necessary to support even the bad aspects of isheep
7. Techsplash (Posts: 41; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)
I think that these features are enough for the first generation ipad mini.
19. PhoneG33k (Posts: 6; Member since: 18 Jul 2012)
Typical Apple, lets start with tech from 2 years ago and work our way to today. People will line up and buy it and apple knows it, so why from a business aspect would you expect anything less. Give me one good reason why Apple would come out with guns blazing and actually give you this years tech this year. I mean come on, with todays tech we have achieved the ability to milk sheep, Cows are so 2006.
9. PhoneCritic (Posts: 355; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)
"In the end, the iPad mini will undoubtedly be a remarkable small tablet that has many ways of trumping its competition."
Really Ray? How could you make such a statement -as it's screen is not on par with any of the other tablets, it memory is half , it's. Size makes it very difficult to hold in one hand comfortably and the crowning difference is that it's price is way beyond that of others in its market group. All which you pointed out in your article in your own words. So I find your last statement very contracting. What ways if your artical just gave all its short comings? Don't understand.
22. Fallout09 (Posts: 413; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
Did you really expect Ray to say anything bad about an Apple product?
11. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5465; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)
I want to see tear down of iPad 4 and iPad mini, interesting if internal parts are still based on hot glue like in New iPad (a.k.a. iPad 3).
13. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5465; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)
The way iPad 3 was assembled makes replacement of battery or any other fixing works to an horror.
16. someones4 (Posts: 618; Member since: 16 Sep 2012)
A wonderful downgrade. Apple will provide 'just enough' for its consumers. never more.
that profit margin must never be compromised
20. quakan (Posts: 1156; Member since: 02 Mar 2011)
Apple is looking to monopolize the tablet market.
24. prms111 (Posts: 10; Member since: 06 Oct 2012)
Is there anyone who can see how PA supports apple...............common guys i'm not talking as anti-apple guy but one sided policy of PA is crystal clearrr
26. omarr (banned) (Posts: 149; Member since: 15 Sep 2012)
I think it is better for me to wait for next iPad mini ( more likely to be with retina display and faster processor )
28. RushFan2112 (Posts: 14; Member since: 16 Jun 2011)
You forgot one GLARING difference. The WiFi version does not have GPS.
33. simonfrady (Posts: 25; Member since: 26 Dec 2011)
i prefer for the next iPad Mini 2 , spec using retina display..
35. tusshharish (Posts: 341; Member since: 23 Oct 2012)
cant they launch iphone 6.....................