First Look: Apple's iPad mini with Retina display

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2015
Apple surprised on Tuesday when it launched online and in-store sales of the iPad mini with Retina display, and now AppleInsider has a first look at the hotly anticipated device.

Retina iPad mini


While Apple's second-generation iPad mini shares an overall design and form-factor identical to its predecessor, the inclusion of a Retina quality display requires larger battery cells to maintain reasonable operating times. This makes the Retina iPad mini 0.01 inches (0.3 millimeters) thicker and 0.05 pounds (23 grams) heavier.

Retina iPad mini


The added heft is unnoticeable, however, with only a careful side-by-side inspection revealing the minute changes.

Retina iPad mini
Retina iPad mini (top) is a tad thicker than the first-gen tablet.


What is readily apparent, even without a comparison to the older first-generation tablet, is the screen's incredibly high resolution. For the Retina iPad mini, Apple shoehorned a 7.9-inch IPS panel with 2,048-by-1,536 pixel resolution into the thin chassis. The specification is the same as the iPad Air, but the mini's smaller display equates to a pixel density of 326 ppi, much higher than the Air's 264 ppi.

Retina iPad mini
The second-gen iPad mini's Retina display (left) is noticeably sharper than last year's model.


By comparison, the first-gen mini managed half as many pixels with a density of 163 ppi. As seen above, the difference is huge.

For the first time ever, Apple is using the same A-series processor in the Retina mini as it does for the larger 9.7-inch tablet, as well as the substantially smaller iPhone 5s. The A7 system on a chip boasts a 64-bit architecture and has proved powerful enough to competently handle demanding tasks on the iPad Air.

Retina iPad mini


The new silicon's power-efficient design should yield good battery life, though a more thorough test is needed to determine the exact gains.

Retina iPad mini
Retina iPad mini (left) compared to its predecessor.


Prices for Apple's new iPad mini with Retina display start at $399 for a 16GB Wi-Fi model, $499 for 32GB, $599 for 64GB and $699 for the new 128GB option. Wi-Fi + Cellular versions start at $529 for 16GB, then move up in $100 increments, topping out at $829 for 128GB of storage.

AppleInsider will be publishing a review of the new iPad mini in the coming days, but those looking to get their hands on one immediately can trade in their old iPad and iPad mini now to lock in high cash values.

Retina iPad mini


Retina iPad mini
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 51
    jessijessi Posts: 302member
    Looks damn good to me. I know what I'm getting for christmas!

    Thanks Apple!
  • Reply 2 of 51

    What a marvel of engineering and design! 

     

    My goal is only to have an Rmini, 5s, iCloud and an ATV (+ one flat screen TV) as the only tech in my life! :)

  • Reply 3 of 51
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Jessi View Post



    Looks damn good to me. I know what I'm getting for christmas!



    Thanks Apple!

    Positive statement! :)

     

    Thanks, also, Apple! :)

  • Reply 4 of 51
    High trade in value? I sold my mini on fee bay and after all their fees netted $215. Bah
  • Reply 5 of 51
    Bought an air instead. Loving the bigger screen but miss the smaller size.
  • Reply 6 of 51
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member

    Sigh.

     

    Maybe at some point for portability but for the moment I'll settle for my iPad Air which is a huge jump in performance and portability over my previous iPad 3 and absent an in person check the smaller overall size of the Air looks to push it a lot towards the "mini" side of things in terms of bulk.

  • Reply 7 of 51
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    So the AP published a review of the mini. In the first paragraph they say only Apple could get away with a price increase. Hmmm...I could have sworn the 2nd gen Nexus 7 also went up in price. Am I wrong about that? Anyway the conclusion of their review is if you don't need the very best get a Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire, but if you can afford the retina mini go for it.
  • Reply 8 of 51
    I'm splurging on the 128 gig retina mini for christmas. Hell the f**** yeah!!!!!!
  • Reply 9 of 51
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by maccherry View Post



    I'm splurging on the 128 gig retina mini for christmas. Hell the f**** yeah!!!!!!

    Great choice! What with the same pixel total as the iPad Air I figure that's the way to go. And that's the total I went for with my Air choice….  take full advantage of all those display pixels….

     

    On a related note: is there a setting for how photo's are loaded into the pads like with music? I shoot some rather large files off my Nikon D800 and it would be fun to have all 32 mega-pixels to play with on my pad.

  • Reply 10 of 51
    Retina iPad mini
    The second-gen iPad mini's Retina display (left) is noticeably sharper than last year's model.


    Has anyone come across a similar comparison photo between the Air's screen density and the Retina Mini yet? I tried holding my 5S against the Air in the Apple store, but it didn't sit with me as a comparable test.

    Still trying to decide which one I want to replace my first gen Mini... I'm leaning towards the Air for ease of typing, but the lower pixel density makes me want to have a closer look first!

    Great site BTW.
  • Reply 11 of 51
    virtuavirtua Posts: 206member
    Reading this on my new retina ipad mini :)
  • Reply 12 of 51
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    virtua wrote: »
    Reading this on my new retina ipad mini :)
    How is it?
  • Reply 13 of 51
    virtuavirtua Posts: 206member
    The screen is really sharp and bright. It's noticeably fast too - I was playing with the first mini in the store which is a bit laggy with opening things like garage band - this isn't.

    Looks wise, I got space grey and it's nice...went straight into a smart case though :). The smart cases are much better than the old ipad ones and the cover sticks magnetically shut - no flopping around.
  • Reply 14 of 51
    Most of the comments I read about the Retina iPad Mini on other sites is how someone can get a Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire for half the price that's just as good. WTF?!! I'm pretty certain that most consumers must feel this way but certainly not everyone. The day I look at a Porsche Boxster and say to myself I can get a Toyota Matrix for one-third the price that's just as good, I'm thinking of shooting myself. Why does the price come up every time they make some product comparison? Consumers usually get what they pay for. A Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire is nothing like this Retina iPad Mini because they're on a completely different platform and this Apple-branded product will hold it's value far longer than any Android product. Anyway, consumers should buy what they can afford and if they can't afford to buy Apple products then that's their loss. That Retina iPad Mini looks to be a fine model of advanced engineering.
  • Reply 15 of 51
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member

    Has anyone come across a similar comparison photo between the Air's screen density and the Retina Mini yet? I tried holding my 5S against the Air in the Apple store, but it didn't sit with me as a comparable test.

    Still trying to decide which one I want to replace my first gen Mini... I'm leaning towards the Air for ease of typing, but the lower pixel density makes me want to have a closer look first!

    Great site BTW.

    The mini is easier to type on than the air in portrait mode. The iPads are really slow compared to a keyboard or even iPhone. So if you type a lot- a keyboard is almost a necessity.

    I have both the air and original mini (new mini coming in tomorrow). Can't go wrong either way.
  • Reply 16 of 51
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post



    The day I look at a Porsche Boxster and say to myself I can get a Toyota Matrix for one-third the price that's just as good, I'm thinking of shooting myself.

    How about three Toyota 86's for the price of a Boxster?

     

  • Reply 17 of 51
    Good to know... Looking to having play with both this weekend. Thanks for the help, Andysol
  • Reply 18 of 51
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,152member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by StageofHistory View Post



    Still trying to decide which one I want to replace my first gen Mini... I'm leaning towards the Air for ease of typing, but the lower pixel density makes me want to have a closer look first!

     

     

    I just bought the iPad Air over the weekend.  I was torn between the retina Mini and the Air.  In the end, I chose the Air because I do more reading (it stores all my technical manuals) and while both models have the same resolution, the slightly larger text (albeit lower ppi) was the better match for my eyes which are beginning to show their age. :)



    I think the lower pixel density of the Air compared to the rMini is irrelevant when considering the quality of both displays.  I can't distinguish the PPI difference between the two models.  I'm sure others can if they put it under a magnifying glass, but even the PPI resolution of the Air makes the mini's an almost overkill.



    Keeping them both the same resolution though was smart planning on Apple's part.  It certainly makes for easier app development instead of having to create yet another format size to develop for.

  • Reply 19 of 51
    Author, take a decent picture of the old mini. Mine is *much* sharper than your picture suggests.
  • Reply 20 of 51
    focherfocher Posts: 620member
    If 264 ppi is retina, than doesn't it mean 326 ppi is overkill because the human eye can't distinguish? I still get the merits of having a consistent resolution.
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