iPad mini review roundup: Amazing build quality, impressive battery life, high price

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
The first iPad mini reviews hit the web on Tuesday, and as expected, many award high marks for the tablet's build quality and components, but warn the price and lower resolution screen may be deal-breakers for some.

The Wall Street Journal

I?ve been testing the iPad Mini for several days and found it does exactly what it promises: It brings the iPad experience to a smaller device. Every app that ran on my larger iPad ran perfectly on the Mini. I was able to use it one-handed and hold it for long periods of time without tiring. My only complaints were that it?s a tad too wide to fit in most of my pockets, and the screen resolution is a big step backwards from the Retina display on the current large iPad.

Engadget

No, this isn't Retina, but maintaining the same resolution as a 10-inch display shrunken down to 7.9 means a necessary boost in pixel density: 163ppi. That's a nice increase over the iPad 2's 132ppi, but it still falls short of the 264ppi of the fourth-generation iPad -- not to mention, the iPhone 5's 326dpi.

This isn't just a shrunken-down iPad. This is, in many ways, Apple's best tablet yet, an incredibly thin, remarkably light, obviously well-constructed device that offers phenomenal battery life.
iPad mini

The Verge

Minor quibbles aside, the iPad mini stands head and shoulders above the competition in terms of design, the caliber of its components, and the solidness of how it's been built. But it also has another quality, one that's nearly as important: the device has personality.

The Loop

I am a firm believer in ?you get what you pay for.? The iPad mini is a perfect example of that. If you want to save $50 and buy a cheap-ass tablet, go ahead. If you want quality the iPad mini will be waiting for you when you come to your senses.
Preorders for Apple's iPad mini sold out less than three days after going live last week, however consumers eager to purchase the new device will have a shot at picking one up at a brick-and-mortar Apple Store on Friday.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 130
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,331member


    I don't understand the 'too expensive' comments. Compared to the rest of Apple's iPad lineup, it isn't. It's better in every single way than the ipad 2 that retails for $399, and $70 cheaper. It's built extremely well, has a better screen, better cameras, new dock connector, smaller, lighter, more portable, etc. Apple never had the intention to compete in the price gutter against $200 tablets. This is an extremely useable, well built, high quality device that has access to the best tablet ecosystem on the planet. But now, you can get into that for $329 instead of $499 which is pretty huge. No other 7-8 inch tablet is in the same league. You get what you pay for, and I think for most people this is the best value proposition for any Apple product to date. 


     


     


     


    Quote:


    Minor quibbles aside, the iPad mini stands head and shoulders above the competition in terms of design, the caliber of its components, and the solidness of how it's been built. But it also has another quality, one that's nearly as important: the device has personality. I've started to think of it as a constant companion — small enough to throw in a bag or carry around the house. There's something endearing about the mini that makes you want to keep it on-hand and use it often. It's a feeling the larger iPad never elicited in me.



     


     


     


    Quote:


    Moments after I held the iPad mini at Apple's event in San Jose, I hurriedly wrote that it made other tablets in this class feel like toys. Perhaps I was a bit hard on the competition in the heat of the moment, but I will say that there isn't a single product in the 7-inch tablet market that comes close to the look, feel, or build quality of the new iPad. It is absolutely gorgeous to see, and in your hand has the reassuring solidness of a product that's built to last.


    If the iPhone 5 is reminiscent of jewelry, the iPad mini is like a solidly made watch.


    In fact, the iPhone 5 and the mini have a lot in common. They both share a metal housing (in silver or black) that's lean and smooth, with that reflective, chamfered edge that runs around the border of the display. The iPad mini's paint job is similar to the iPhone's, but smoother, and on the black version I tested has a glint of blue and purple to it in certain light. It looks dangerous, and it feels great.



  • Reply 2 of 130
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    slurpy wrote: »
    I don't understand the 'too expensive' comments. Compared to the rest of Apple's iPad lineup, it isn't. It's better in every single way than the ipad 2 that retails for $399, and $70 cheaper. It's built extremely well, has a better screen, better cameras, new dock connector, smaller, lighter, more portable, etc. Apple never had the intention to compete in the price gutter against $200 tablets. This is an extremely useable, well built, high quality device that has access to the best tablet ecosystem on the planet. But now, you can get into that for $329 instead of $499 which is pretty huge. No other 7-8 inch tablet is in the same league. You get what you pay for, and I think for most people this is the best value proposition for any Apple product to date. 

    And compared to other tablets it's only about 20% more expensive for about 40% more display area and a magnitudes better ecosystem, fit and finish.

    I agree with the comments from Loop Insight, "If you want to save $50 and buy a cheap-ass tablet, go ahead. If you want quality the iPad mini will be waiting for you when you come to your senses." and The Verge, "The iPad mini hasn't wrapped up the 'cheapest tablet' market by any stretch of the imagination. But the 'best small tablet' market? Consider it captured."
  • Reply 3 of 130
    daharderdaharder Posts: 1,580member
    Nice tablet, but...

    The A5 is now 3 generations behind other iPads, the iOS UI is more than dated at this point, the display is not even close to the resolution/quality of other 7 to 8 inch tablet devices (or even most modern smartphones) and the price is 'a bit much' for anything but the base model, especially the US $130.00 additional just for GPS/Cellular radios.

    When it comes down to it, the iPad Mini is just another variation on the same 5 year-old iOS theme, which for many will be enough, but it does beg the question: Is Apple Just Running Out of New Ideas?
  • Reply 4 of 130


    Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post

    The A5 is now 3 generations behind other iPads


     


    One.


     



    …the iOS UI is more than dated at this point…


     


    Only to trolls. And why should Apple care what they think?

  • Reply 5 of 130
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member


    The Verge gave it a 9. And the butthurt Fandroids are out in droves, whining and crying in the comments like the morons and ignoramuses that they are.image


     


    The reviews are all pretty much saying that it's a great tablet! You get what you pay for. This is going to sell like hotcakes! If for whatever reason, you believe that it's too expensive for you, then just go and buy something else, problem solved! This was never meant to be a "cheap" iPad, it's merely a smaller iPad. Apple should never cater to the "el-cheapo" crowd, as that is a terrible business model. Apple should just continue to concentrate on making great products.

  • Reply 6 of 130
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member


    From Engadget:


     


     









    "In our standard battery run-down test, which entails looping a video with WiFi enabled and a fixed display brightness, the iPad mini managed an astounding 12 hours and 43 minutes."


     


    Not bad. image


  • Reply 7 of 130

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


     


    One.


     


     


    Only to trolls. And why should Apple care what they think?



     


    Two. A5-->A5X-->A6

  • Reply 8 of 130
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,331member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post



    Nice tablet, but...

    The A5 is now 3 generations behind other iPads, the iOS UI is more than dated at this point, the display is not even close to the resolution/quality of other 7 to 8 inch tablet devices (or even most modern smartphones) and the price is 'a bit much' for anything but the base model, especially the US $130.00 additional just for GPS/Cellular radios.

    When it comes down to it, the iPad Mini is just another variation on the same 5 year-old iOS theme, which for many will be enough, but it does beg the question: Is Apple Just Running Out of New Ideas?


     


    You're right, Apple should have made this have a circular screen and put a completely different, incompatible OS on it to prove to us that it still has 'new ideas'. 3 generations behind? Try one. Oh what the hell, why not 6? Since you're pulling random numbers straight out of your ass. The A5X doesnt count as a generation, the 'X' solely signifies a better gpu to drive the higher resolution display. The CPU is identical and in the same generation. Otherwise we would have gotten an 'A5X' iPhone.  


     


    I was gonna ask if you ever get tired of trolling, but the answer is crystal clear by now. Every post of your is so fucking predictable, and you choose to waste your life talking about a company that you believe is creatively bankrupt. Keep crying bitter tears watching this get extremely positive reviews everywhere, from people who have actually used it. 

  • Reply 9 of 130


    Originally Posted by Napoleon_PhoneApart View Post

    Two. A5-->A5X-->A6


     


    One. A5 and A5X are the same processor. A6 and A6X are the same processor. Different GPU.


     


    I can't go buy a new graphics card for my 2009 Mac Pro, pop it in, and say I'm now only "one processor generation" behind. 


     


    Wait, bad example. I AM only one processor generation behind… image But you get what I mean by this.

  • Reply 10 of 130


    I must start off by saying I ordered one the minute the pre-orders opened. I also did the same for the iphone 5.


     


    That said, I am not worried about the A5 chip as without the retina display it should be more than adequate.


     


    In general, I do question whether Apple is still innovating especially in the OS area. Yes, iOS is the best thing out there by far, but I would like to see some enhancements after 6 years of the same basic look and function.  Yes, there are more apps, but the interface and appearance remain the same. I hope at some point they will devote some effort to bringing out new functionality in the OS.

  • Reply 11 of 130
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Napoleon_PhoneApart View Post


     


    Two. A5-->A5X-->A6



     


    It depends how you look at things.


     


    There is only one iPad model that is more powerful than the iPad Mini in raw CPU power, and that is the iPad 4.


     


    The iPad Mini is no less powerful in raw CPU power than the iPad 2 or the iPad 3. I'm assuming that the iPad Mini A5 runs at the same clock rate as the iPad 2 and iPad 3. The iPad 3 just has the bumped up GPU, to deal with the retina display, which is why Apple gave it the A5X.

  • Reply 12 of 130
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,545member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Napoleon_PhoneApart View Post


     


    Two. A5-->A5X-->A6



     


    Wrong.  A5X is not a different generation.  It is a variation of the A5 that has extra GPU cores.


     


    Just as the A6X is an A6 with extra GPU cores.

  • Reply 13 of 130
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,331member


    Also, Engadget says they love the price, go figure. 


     


    Also hilarious how literally half the Engadget comments are being deleted by the editors, just shows you how bad and horrific the trolling is going there. The worst thing is that the foaming at the mouth morons still haven't figured out it's 'u guyz r so biased' not 'u guyz are so bias'. Not that fucking difficult. 

  • Reply 14 of 130
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,545member


    Most of the whiners think that "Spec lists" prove things are better, and that only flashy, new, and generally useless features mean someone is innovating.  They fail to recognize that what Apple does is not focus on features, but on user experience.  Apple works on improving the complete user experience, hardware, software, and eco system.  Changes come because they improve the user experience, and not for the sake of changes.  Part of that is keeping the rate of change to the "familiar", as long as the "familiar" works for the user experience, to a slow rate.  So that things slowly change over time, and not jarringly from one version to the next.


     


    Most of the innovation in this years generations of things was in Hardware.  Kick-ass new CPUs, ultra thin and light products (making fast, light and thin products is extremely hard), and better energy management and better screens and cameras.   The whiners don't get it, and never will.  That's OK, Apple is not making their products anyway.


     


    (Any company can make a wicked fast product using brute force, which is what almost all the Android and PC makers out there do, whereas Apple improves their technology, to improve the user experience through better hardware, and miniaturizes that wicked fast product into something much better.  That is expensive and hard to do, but Apple does it because it makes the user experience much better.   Compare any PC to its comparable Apple product [not including Mac Pro, which has different metrics and goals].  The Apple product usually will be smaller, more power efficient for the equivalent level of PC.  Same with phones.  Compare the iPhone to the equivalent competitive phone.  The Apple phone will usually be lighter, and/or thinner -- handier -- because they are not just shifting parts in a du jour phone of the day every 3-6 months, but they are pushing the technology to make the device better by being handier through being lighter/thinner, etc.)


     


    Android phones and tablets are big and bulky in comparison, because they have to use a higher clocked CPU/more cores to match the iOS device level of performance, which requires bigger batteries to drive the device for the same battery life, etc.


     


    -

  • Reply 15 of 130

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    And compared to other tablets it's only about 20% more expensive for about 40% more display area and a magnitudes better ecosystem, fit and finish.

    I agree with the comments from Loop Insight, "If you want to save $50 and buy a cheap-ass tablet, go ahead. If you want quality the iPad mini will be waiting for you when you come to your senses." and The Verge, "The iPad mini hasn't wrapped up the 'cheapest tablet' market by any stretch of the imagination. But the 'best small tablet' market? Consider it captured."


    I think the problem some are having is they feel the iPad Mini is nothing more than a smaller version of the iPad 2 . That it's outdated and too overpriced. The iPad 4 update may not have helped that perception because now some look at the A5 as two generations old. Kind of like Apple took sloppy seconds and created the Mini.


     


    While I disagree I can see how some would look at it that way. The two things I hear people bitch about is the A5 chip and the lack of retina diplay. It's easy to tell if the price point is on target, if it continues the sell after the initial push than the price point is fine. Honestly I can't wait to check one out.


     


    I will say that I have a gut feeling that the first upgrade to the Mini will be a big jump in performace. Apple is really keeping their foot on the gas when it comes to iPad performance bumps.

  • Reply 16 of 130
    jmc54jmc54 Posts: 207member


    If you want cheap build quality and inferior components, stick with any android device out there. Quality costs more than crap. Always has, always will.


     

  • Reply 17 of 130
    daharderdaharder Posts: 1,580member
    One.

    FACT: The A5 IS Three SoC Generations Behind the latest Apple SoC.

    A5 - As used in the iPad Mini

    A5X - As used in the 'new' iPad 3rd Generation

    A6 - As used in the iPhone 5/6th Generation

    A6X - As used in the 'new' iPad/4th Generation
  • Reply 18 of 130


    Keep the iPad mini for yourself or your teenager kids, and give the Nexus 7 to your 4-7 year old kids playing video game.  The Nexus 7 may increase the Android base as the bragging rights, but not increase the search that makes Google more money. 

  • Reply 19 of 130
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Two. A5-->A5X-->A6

    No. A6 is only in the iPhone 5 and the X is the quad-core CPU and bandwidth that is required for quadrupling of the pixels that needed to be pushed to the Retina display. That is clearly not feasible in a tablet whose goal is to be extremely lightweight. The only thing that is relevant is that the iPad mini is using the A5. It's the first processor for this line of the iPad mini family. Next year, who knows, but my guess is it will graduate to the A6 — not A6X — as the 10" iPad moves to the A7(X) with the Rogue 6 GPU, which will then come to the 8" iPad in 2014 when it's ready for the 326 PPI 2048x1536 display. You can't look at one spec and then ignore the rest or you end up with the wake of failed of devices that Apple has destroyed destroyed themselves over the years.
  • Reply 20 of 130

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Captain J View Post


    I must start off by saying I ordered one the minute the pre-orders opened. I also did the same for the iphone 5.


     


    That said, I am not worried about the A5 chip as without the retina display it should be more than adequate.


     


    In general, I do question whether Apple is still innovating especially in the OS area. Yes, iOS is the best thing out there by far, but I would like to see some enhancements after 6 years of the same basic look and function.  Yes, there are more apps, but the interface and appearance remain the same. I hope at some point they will devote some effort to bringing out new functionality in the OS.



    Your statement on innovation begs the question. What innovations in iOS should Apple develop? Further, yes the interface and appearance remain the same, but what should it be changed to and why? 


     


    Change for change sake does not seem to be a good idea. But, we may be seeing some changes now that Forstall will be leaving. One of the rumors is that Forstall was forcing useless design changes on the iOS group and neglecting functional improvements, which Jon Ive wanted. Now that Ive is in control, we may be seeing functionality improvements and simplifications on the design/image side. So, your desire for improvements may be forthcoming.

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