Hands on: iPad mini 2 with Retina display review

Hands on: iPad mini 2 with Retina display review


  • Great screen
  • A7 chip


  • Higher price
  • Iterative evolution

A big step for Apple's next generation of mini tablet

The new iPad mini has arrived, bringing with it a host of key changes which could well keep it at the top of the tree in the world of smaller tablets, and the big and expected news is the inclusion of the much-desired Retina display.

A much-improved screen, a huge step up in processing power (hello A7, glad to see you could join us) and connectivity, and improvements to the camera make the iPad mini 2 with Retina a hugely improved tablet on the original.

And it needed to be; Apple's latest is going up against some heavy hitters in the shape of the Android-toting new Google Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HDX which are both cheaper and much improved.
When the original iPad mini poked its smaller and lighter head over Apple's parapet there was widespread surprise that it did not bring Apple's much-vaunted Retina display.
iPad mini 2 with Retina review
The company's bullish stance that the mini did not NEED the "resolutionary" feature brought inevitable cynicism from journalists (including us) who suggested that this argument would dissipate by the time the new iPad mini arrived.
But that did not stop the original wowing the critics, including TechRadar's own Gareth Beavis who awarded 4.5 stars in his iPad mini review and handed it the much-desired top spot in our Best Tablets in the World list.


Clearer than ever

Inevitably, Retina has indeed now made its way to the new iPad mini, and that makes perhaps the most obvious difference to the tablet.
Retina has always held the power to impress, making the likes of the iPhone 4 a fundamentally improved handset and the arrival of the technology for the updated iPad mini is a key moment for the device.
iPad mini 2 with Retina review
For photographers, aesthetes or merely those that like their display as crisp and clear as possible the arrival of retina is hugely important.
We already loved the iPad mini but it always seemed like it was in a holding pattern waiting for a better screen, and lo and behold the new iPad mini has become a truly beautiful device, still portable, still well proportioned but now boasting a screen that is fantastic.

And it genuinely is a fundamental change for this device. Our time with the iPad mini was enough to convince us that we were right to be upset at no Retina display on the original, because it's as stunning as expected on its successor.
iPad mini 2 review
You might imagine that the improved display comes at a cost, just as its big brother's move to Retina did, adding bulk and heft to incorporate the technology and battery that could deal with the "resolutionary" screen.

But in practical hands on terms the difference is negligible, and in our time with the new iPad mini we did not find the changes made it any less portable or uncomfortable to use.
It's also important to note that a fantastic high resolution screen is no longer the domain of just Apple.
iPad mini 2 review
The Android-toting Nexus 7 2013, for instance, has won huge praise for its 1920 x 1200 screen with a staggering 323 pixels per inch, so the iPad mini simply had to see an improvement in this iteration, and Apple has provided one.


There weren't a lot of differences to talk up with the iPad mini 2, with a 5MP iSight camera and backside illumination the big features once again.
For the larger iPad the use of the camera is pretty divisive - and we have to confess we're not the biggest fans of using a big tablet to capture moments despite it becoming a common sight.
iPad mini 2 with Retina review
On the new Apple mini this is obviously less of an issue although many will feel self conscious at using a tablet as a primary camera. The photos that we took in our time with the iPad mini were obviously in less than ideal conditions and yet were still pretty good.

This isn't going to (nor should it) replace your primary camera, but for every-day quick snaps it's a step up from the original iPad mini and perfectly acceptable. In our full review we'll be able to do better tests in a mix of conditions, but it's certainly an improvement.
While Apple hasn't fundamentally changed the design here, it's still a decent enough snapper, and if you're so inclined to take pictures with a tablet.
iPad mini 2 with Retina review

Faster, better, etc.

The addition of the improved screen obviously makes the better camera much more satisfying, mainly because you can really see the quality (or not) of your efforts.
The arrival of the A7 for the iPad mini was always likely and it should be made clear that the latest Apple chip's appearance in the second iteration of the smaller slate is a massive step up, as well as helping make that screen all the better.

The original iPad mini came with the A5 chip and 512 MB RAM found in the iPad 2 - which was effectively scaled down to become the new form factor, so it was always likely that Apple would seek to update its little slate to a level where it can compete with its peers.
iPad mini 2 review
The jump to an A7 chip makes the mini a seriously powerful device - a tablet that packs a real punch under its sleek hood - bringing 64-bit architecture and taking the iPad a step closer to the power of a laptop.
In real terms, the faster processor will make a big difference to the performance and battery life and for people upgrading from the original, it should be an immediate and visible boost to the way in which the mini handles.
In our time with the device it was blasting in and out of apps quickly and efficiently with no discernible problems and, thankfully, even the access to the App Store was speedy.

Early verdict

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About Doru Somcutean

Hello, my name is Somcutean Doru and I'm from Romania.

I really like to read reviews and see what's new about technology, on D-BLOG I share with you articles/reviews that I find interesting. I also write some reviews in romanian...

My second blog is D-NEWS , here are some movie reviews , my favorite songs or clips that I like...is more like a personal blog...so please don't get in because you'll get really bored.

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2 comentarii:

  1. Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
    thank you :)

  2. There are several accessories that Apple sells directly with the iPad that they want you to purchase ipad