Apple iPad mini with Retina Display Review

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Introduction and Specifications

Thanks to the discourse that was exposed during Samsung and Apple’s legal spat in California, e-mail records revealed that Eddy Cue (senior vice president of Internet Software and Services at Apple) was pushing for a 7” iPad in 2011. Reportedly, Steve Jobs was very much against the 7” form factor, asserting that the 9.7” display on the original iPad was the absolute ideal size for a tablet. Eventually, Apple caved to the demands of the market, and perhaps demands from within its own mothership, as it revealed the iPad mini. In typical Apple fashion, the original mini was priced higher than other 7” slates in the market, with the company all but conceding the sub-$300 tablet market, while plenty of others fought it out at the bottom end of the price scale.

A year later, the next iteration of the iPad mini has been unwrapped, but it’s not your average revamp. Apple claimed that the first iPad mini was “every inch an iPad,” but many argued that the lackluster specifications, omission of a Retina display, and the lofty price tag left a lot to be desired. The iPad mini with Retina display, however, makes good on that claim in many ways. Apple could have easily shoved an aging A6 processor into the new mini, but instead, the specifications closely rival those found in the full-sized iPad Air (our review here).

In fact, let’s take a look at what exactly you’ll find under the hood:

Apple iPad mini with Retina display (second generation) Specifications
Specifications & Features
  • Apple iOS 7
  • 1.3-1.4GHz dual-core A7 processor (64-bit); M7 motion coprocessor
  • PowerVR G6430 quad-core graphics
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 16GB/32GB/64GB/128GB storage
  • Optional 4G LTE radio
  • Dual-band 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi; MIMO
  • Front FaceTime (VGA) and rear (5MP) iSight cameras
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 7.9-Inch 2048x1536 Retina display (IPS)
  • Capacitive Multi-Touch
  • Non-replaceable 23.8W-hour Lithium-Polymer battery
  • Up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi-, watching video, or listening to music; Up to 9 hours using cellular data network
  • Charging via power adapter or USB to computer system
  • 3.5mm audio jack; dual microphones
  • Three-axis gyro; accelerometer; ambient light sensor
  • Digital Compass
  • Access to Apple App Store

  • 7.87 (H) x 5.3 (W) x 0.29 (D) inches
  • 0.73 pounds (Wi-Fi); 0.75 pounds (Wi-Fi + 4G LTE)
  • MSRP $399 - 16GB WiFi

That’s a blockbuster array of internals for a 7” slate, but of course, it comes at a price. The iPad mini with Retina display actually went up compared to the base MSRP of the initial mini (from $329 on the original to $399 for the Retina-equipped newcomer). That’s a significant price premium in a tablet sector that’s racing quickly to the bottom in terms of price; and we’ve already seen a number of very impressive 7” Android slates hit the market this year for far less. Is the ability to tap into the thriving iOS ecosystem, coupled with a 64-bit processor and a pixel-packed display, enough to justify the price tag? Find out in the pages ahead.

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