Apple iPad mini (Wi-Fi)

9.0
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Reviewed by whiteshirtonly (Currently owns)

SOFTWARE: I give iOS 7.5 and the various third party apps 9. I have no doubt that Apple will update iOS to be more powerful. It's already very stable and reliable. Only some functions need to be added, as the competition is stiffer with Windows and Android. It isn't the fastest iPad with its A5 chip, but the software optimization let the device manage the apps pretty well. A well-known architecture like the A5 allows miniaturization and low voltage consumption. That's the trade off to get the desired form factor. The ecosystem of apps gives possibilities and power to the iPad. There is no way to worry about having an app for a certain task or hobby. I find using in portrait mode optimal for tactile keyboard input. Faster than any tactile device I uses, from 3.5" to 10". The size also looks perfect for gaming.

HARDWARE: the iPad mini is already one of the most beautiful Apple designs. It's incredibly light. 308 grams for a full computer solution. As a minimalist, I couldn't be more happy. The screen is good enough. It is true that it is not a retina display... yet. But the resolution is far enough for the size of the screen. As usual, the quality of the panel is in the average of the Apple offering, ie. excellent. If the iPad mini is your sole device, you won't be disturb be the resolution. The eyes will adapt accordingly. However if you plan to use the iPad mini along with an iPad retina 10", then I believe that the eyes will be tired to adapt the resolution each time you switch. In that regard, be careful. Be also aware that the mini does not have any port other than the proprietary one, called lightening connector. The idea of the iOS products is that the only connection that you need is an "air" connexion, wifi, LTE. Everything else is managed by the apps. You can charge the device on plug or on USB. Battery life is stellar, count a full day of use (9 to 11 hours).

As an ultra mobile user, I felt in love with the form factor of the iPad mini. I have been using the ipad 2, iPad 3 and the Microsoft Surface. Both products have been incredible so far, with their own strengths and weaknesses. But the mini is almost an new category by its size and weight. It has no competition for now. The trade-off is not having the last powerful chip and the last resolution; I would add relying on the Apple ecosystem only, that some people dislike, but so far now, you can use a lot of third party services instead of iTunes for the music (Spotify, XBox music, ...) or iCloud for the mail+calendar (famous platforms gmail, hotmail, yahoo, ...). Along with the efficient Apple marketing, love it or hate it, the mini will become quickly another iconic product.

The Breakdown

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  • Design 10
  • Display 8
  • Camera(s) 8
  • Speakers 8
  • Performance 8
  • Software 9
  • Battery life 10
  • Ecosystem 9
  • Dock 7
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