Apple iPad mini with Retina display review
Apple has finally delivered on the Retina display-equipped iPad mini. (iPad mini 2 review) But for the millions that already have the iPad mini 1, the smallest tablet in Apple’s lineup, is it worth upgrading? Read our Apple iPad mini 2 with Retina display vs Apple iPad mini comparison review to find out.
iPad mini 2 with Retina display vs iPad mini 1 comparison review: Display
The most obvious difference is, of course, the display. The Retina mini absolutely clobbers the older version with screen quality - a welcome switch for those of us sick of noticing the pixels on the mini’s screen when going back and forth between the mini and an iPhone. The Retina display is, well, Retina, at 2048x1536 resolution with 326 pixels per inch - nearly double the old model’s.
If you're still wondering what a Retina display is, it’s an Apple-coined term for screen where the pixels are so closely packed that - in 'normal' use - the human eye can't pick out individual pixels. In effect the eye is fooled into thinking that whatever is on the screen is real. (For more information on the difference between Retina and non-Retina displays, see our article 'What is a Retina display, and are they worth the money?')
As a point of reference, the iPhone 5S boasts the same pixels per inch as the Retina mini, meaning you shouldn’t notice any real differences in resolution when switching back and forth between devices.
The screen’s still the same size on the Retina display as the old mini: 7.9 inches diagonally, plus the same fancy schmancy fingerprint-resistant coating.
The iPad mini 2 with Retina display has a sharper screen than the first iPad mini
iPad mini 2 with Retina display vs iPad mini 1 comparison review: Internals/components
Let’s talk shop. Not only will the Retina mini look better, it’s also going to run faster thanks to the A7 chip and 64-bit architecture and the M7 motion coprocessor. This is the same chip in the new iPad air and iPhone 5s.
Apple’s also added MIMO to the Retina model, which speeds up Wi-Fi connectivity thanks to multiple antennas in the device’s Wi-Fi architecture.
iPad mini 2 with Retina display vs iPad mini 1 comparison review: Weight and dimensions
With the new display, the Retina mini also gained some weight: the Retina Wi-Fi mini weighs a whole 23 grams more than the non-Retina counterpart. The Wi-Fi+Cellular version's weight gain is even greater: up to 341 grams from 312. Of course, this is lighter than the iPad Air, whose Wi-Fi-only model weighs 469 grams, but not by much.
In our hands on review, the weight difference wasn’t very noticeable, and the added heft is well worth the Retina display. Dimensionally, the only change is the Retina’s depth, which grew by .3mm. The gain seems negligible, but it could make original mini cases not fit perfectly.
iPad mini 2 with Retina display vs iPad mini 1 comparison review: Price
Another big sticking point is the price of the Retina display compared to the original mini. If the non-Retina mini serves as a lower-cost budget tablet, it’ll be hard to put the Retina mini in the same category, with the 16Gb Wi-Fi only model starting at £319 - compared to the £249 16GB original mini.
You can nab the 32GB model for £399, the 64GB for £479, and the 128GB for £559. In typical Apple fashion, the Wi-Fi + Cellular models run an additional £100, starting at £419.
iPad mini 2 with Retina display vs iPad mini 1 comparison review: Colour
Gone are the black and white colour schemes of the first-gen mini with white/silver and black/space grey, though those holding out for a golden tablet will have to wait a bit longer.
iPad mini 2 with Retina display vs iPad mini 1 comparison review: Video
The only change is the addition of three-time video zoom, but you’ve still got the same 1080p HD video recording, tap to focus, video stabilisation, face detection, and backside illumination. Storage: Though Apple’s pulled all but the 16Gb models, the storage capacity won’t serve a big point of comparison. But for those looking to upgrade, the mini with Retina is available in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB models. It seems Apple has pulled all but the 16GB offerings for the mini from its stores.
iPad mini 2 with Retina display vs iPad mini 1 comparison review: Things that haven’t changed
- Battery life. Up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video, or listening to music, according to Apple. Up to 9 if you’re using a mobile data network.
- Cameras. Maybe Apple’s taking a stance against the people using their tablets to take photos in public. Or probably not.
- Nano Sim
- Lightning connector
- Screen size
Apple also launched a new full-size iPad, the iPad Air. For more details:
Apple has finally delivered on the Retina display-equipped iPad mini. But for the millions that already have the smallest tablet in Apple’s lineup, is it worth upgrading? Read our Apple iPad mini with Retina display vs Apple iPad mini comparison review.