Introduction


When the iPad mini was introduced last year, consumers were excited to finally see a miniaturized version of Apple’s full-sized tablet. Like seriously, it was a logical offering, which also helped to compete almost on the same scale as some of those cheap tablets. The iPad mini just had one glaring omission – it lacked Apple’s fancy termed Retina Display.

Well folks, Apple made sure to remedy that with this year’s model, the aptly named Apple iPad mini with Retina Display. Armed with that higher resolution display that we desperately sought out last year, it’s also blessed with the usual assortment of upgrades. However, at $399 for the base model, it’s significantly higher in price point than its predecessor – making it less competitive against those cheap tablets it was initially sought out to compete against. Still, it’s an offering that consumers will no doubt ponder over this upcoming holiday season, so let’s get cracking on whether the pricing is justified.

The package contains:

  • Lightning USB cable
  • Wall charger
  • Documentation
  • Apple decals

Design


No surprised here people! This 2nd generation iPad mini recycles the design of its predecessor. It’s not a bad thing, nor a new tactic, so we’re not terribly disappointed. And why’s that? Well, it’s mainly because it continues to be one of the more premium constructed tablets in the space – more so when it’s compared to those plastic bodied tablets. Donning the same fantastic brushed aluminum casing from before, which gives the tablet its sturdiness and clean looks, we’re once again given the same space grey and silver color options.

With its streamlined profile (0.3-inches), lightweight feel (341 gr), and curved beveled edges, it feels pleasant to hold in the hand along one of its side. Meanwhile, when attempting to grasp it entirely with our hand, its wide length makes it rather difficult to firmly hold – causing those with smaller hands to do more stretching. Overall, the design isn’t new, but we’re humbled to know that its construction continues to be rarely matched by the competition.

As much as we would’ve like to see a biometric Touch ID finger print sensor on this, that’s not the case here, as it’s nothing more than that iconic home button below its display. On the opposite side above the display, we have its light sensor and front-facing 1.2-megapixel camera.

Seeing that its design is unchanged, everything we found around its trim from before makes the same appearance here – and in the same locations too. That includes its separated volume controls, mute switch, 3.5mm headset jack, mics, dual-speakers, and Lightning docking port. With the latter, in addition to providing data and power connectivity, the Lightning docking port also allows for video out functionality, but it requires an optional adapter.

Around the rear, it’s sporting a 5-megapixel iSight camera, which features an f2.4 aperture lens, backside illuminated sensor, digital image stabilization, and 1080p video recording. It seems like the camera gear is unchanged from last year’s model, but we’ll talk more about its quality later on.


Display


Naturally, the highlight of this 2nd generation model is the inclusion of a Retina Display – the one distinct feature that many people yearned for with the original model. Well, it’s finally here, and boy is it a refreshing thing to find. No longer must we agonize over pixelization, just because its 7.9-inch 2048 x 1536 IPS LCD Retina Display is glorious for its sharp visuals and strong details. Essentially, fine details exude plenty of clarity for our eyes to comfortably distinguish from a normal viewing distance.

Being the IPS LCD variety, there are several elements that help to make it an appealing display. For starters, its wide viewing angles and potent brightness output help to give it superior outdoor visibility – so there are no issues in regards to it washing out or softening visibility. However, we do notice that its color reproduction isn’t as vibrant and accurate when compared to the iPad Air’s display, so it comes off more as subdued, although still pretty correct.

When you’re a premium tablet, there’s this minimum expectation that it needs to uphold. Thankfully, this year’s iPad mini fits the bill more, as it’s now fitted with a high resolution Retina Display. We’re stoked that it’s finally here, but in the greater scheme of things, we wouldn’t say that it’s something ground breaking that makes it more prized over other offerings.


FEATURED VIDEO

33 Comments

3. tiara6918

Posts: 2263; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

Did it got an 8.5 just because of the price?

4. _Bone_

Posts: 2155; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

If only it was $100 cheaper. The Nexus 7013 would still be a nice alternative, but I'd consider the Mini due to that fast chip and tablet apps.

22. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Price and the fact that the 9.7 inch ipad is no longer an HTC or Nokia 920 level of a brick compared to its competitors.

29. rf40928

Posts: 10; Member since: Aug 20, 2013

Yeah that's pretty retarded. NO PRODUCT should be down rated on price. BMW's and Mercedes don't get down rated.. and BMW's and Mercedes "don't even have as good of a warranty" as half the cheap Asian cars out there and yet where are all those low BMW ratings? Of course BMW only has around 2% of the market and you don't see them worrying what anyone says. I have 1 iPad and two Galaxy tabs for the kids. I can honestly say the selection for the iPad is much greater then what Android offers for tablet exclusive content in Play versus Apple App Store. (They offer much less then Android phones as most Android apps AREN'T tablet optimized and this get stretched out and look horrible - sometimes they crash often )

5. criticism

Posts: 46; Member since: Sep 12, 2013

Not a perfect screen, too pricey, not extraordinary battery! You may choose it if you really believe that android apps are not as satisfying as that of iOS!

19. Pedro0x

Posts: 271; Member since: Oct 19, 2012

The best build quality on the market, better tablet apps, better battery life on playing games and watching movie but worse battery life on web browsing than nexus 7, much better graphics performance, newer architecture, the best SoC on the market right now, oh and one more ppi than nexus 7 :). You have to pay for quality. That is the way it has always been. If you compare nexus 7 vs ipad mini 2 you will get a much premium feeling out of ipad mini and isn´t that what matters to a customer, I was only comparing the hardware of these two machines, if you compare the software, that is where Android taked lead in features meanwhile IOS takes the lead in the apps department.

23. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Except the lowly Nexus 7 wins in the important areas in this category. Portability and screen. That is just not excusable for a high end tablet to have a worse screen than a low end one.

30. rf40928

Posts: 10; Member since: Aug 20, 2013

The biggest REAL issue isn't hardware. Google Play seriously lacks compared to Apple when it comes to tablet optimized programs. Android is close to Apple in the smartphone apps offerings, but no where close in tablets. You can compare hardware all day long, but a tablet is only useful if it has great software that runs bug free. Some of the android stuff runs great ( or not so great ) depending on your device and which version of android you run.

24. wildfiregt

Posts: 179; Member since: Jun 10, 2013

Forget about "build quality" , if you drop is cracks. Did you think that Nexus 7 doesn't have advantagees or something ?

6. LiyanaBG

Posts: 381; Member since: Nov 07, 2013

8.5 score is too much this ipad doesn't deserve more than 7.5 for a score.

26. Bioload25

Posts: 213; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

I think it deserves a 9 , and im an android fan It has a very good processor, a pretty good software (although it has its bugs and instabilities), a good screen with high pixel density (for a tablet at least),and a solid build quality.... I dont see why its a bad tablet

31. rf40928

Posts: 10; Member since: Aug 20, 2013

Considering the ipad mini 2 ( retina ) has a more powerful processor then any Android tablet out there overall and much much more Tablet optimized software then what Android has for Android tablets I'd say you have no clue. I own 2 Galaxy Tab 3's and 1 iPad. If you want a real unbiased review go to anandtech.com and read the iPad Air review and IPad mini Retina. Both have the same 64bit SOC and kill the Nexus in performance. The fact they also have better apps is what matters as much.

7. chaosnightmare

Posts: 182; Member since: May 20, 2010

A 4:3 display is awkward for 2013

20. Pedro0x

Posts: 271; Member since: Oct 19, 2012

Much better suited for internet browsing and reading.

21. JulianGT

Posts: 89; Member since: Oct 15, 2012

but not for movies

32. Jillxz

Posts: 149; Member since: Jun 04, 2012

That's just your opinion , it isn't fact.

10. androiphone20

Posts: 1654; Member since: Jul 10, 2013

This time it's harder to choose between the Air or the mini. BEST TAB EVER

13. darkkjedii

Posts: 31323; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Agreed.

11. YuLeven

Posts: 50; Member since: May 14, 2013

Great tablet for media consumption, mostly browsing, as the 4:3 turns to be a bit awkward in videos. I'd rather stick with something more productivity oriented. This tablet does has thousands of apps, bust in most cases you can just replace than with the site version. Sometimes it does actually better using the site. And well, real, split screen multitasking is absurdly more useful than tens of thousands of apps of which I would actually end using just 10.

12. jibraihimi

Posts: 815; Member since: Nov 29, 2011

Am I dreaming, or did I just saw 8.5 on phonearena, for apple product in reality......?????

14. darkkjedii

Posts: 31323; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Enjoying the heck outta mine.

15. darkkjedii

Posts: 31323; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Apple shoulda left the price point the same though.

16. androiphone20

Posts: 1654; Member since: Jul 10, 2013

IPADS FOR CHRISTMAS

17. Smokin

Posts: 120; Member since: Oct 10, 2013

Oh geez i'm still picking between this, note14, 2520, Air or the nexus 7 13. Looks like i'm getting this mini and Note 2014. My bonus is very very enough to buy these LOL

18. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Why would you buy both a mini 2 and note 10.1 2014 at the same time. Both size are quite close. May i suggest you wait for the Samsung Note 12.2 and a iPad mimi2? 12.2 should be first quarter next year. Personally i would be getting the Note 10.1 2014 LTE edition this Dec. One tablet to replace my Samsung Galaxy 7.7 pass to mom for her Bible study.

25. Smokin

Posts: 120; Member since: Oct 10, 2013

i want to buy two because i want to have the best of both. since my sister also live with me i can lend her the note for her school art. but yea note 12.2 will be fine.

27. zhangyamysaga

Posts: 6; Member since: Aug 20, 2013

Tell you a good news. In order to celebrate new B2C site.You only register an account on Funbookes can get a free gift that price is $10 .

33. juliaann

Posts: 10; Member since: Dec 04, 2013

jelly

34. Abhisek

Posts: 24; Member since: Aug 18, 2014

It's best size of a tablet, nice design to hold in one hand and good to play games. Also reading books and surfing web is best in iPad mini size tablet, specially in retina display. Now they are affordable, so I bought one mainly for reading purpose. Best thing is that AppStore have so many iPad optimized apps for everyone and for every field (like so many iPad optimized medical apps), so this makes different. I using 4-5 hours daily and charges once in 3 day, battery life 11-12 hours.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

iPad mini 2
  • Display 7.9" 2048 x 1536 pixels
  • Camera 5 MP / 1.2 MP front
  • Processor Apple A7, Dual-core, 1300 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 6471 mAh

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.