iPhone Life magazine

Review Roundup: Retina iPad Mini

As with the iPad Air, the early reviews of the new iPad mini with Retina display are stellar. Overall, the consensus is that the new iPad icontinues to lead the other smaller screen tablets. 

Associated Press: The $399 price of the iPad mini might too pricey for those on a budget, says the Associated Press, and in that instance recommends one of the other tablets or the first-generation mini. "But if you're looking for a top-notch experience, you can't go wrong with the new Mini, even with the higher price tag."

The Verge: Last year's iPad mini was clearly a lesser tablet than the full-sized iPad, with a lower resolution display and slower processor. But, says The Verge, all that has changed with the retina iPad mini. "For $399 with 16GB of storage, it’s everything the iPad Air can be — only smaller and $100 cheaper." Same speedy processor, same retina display.

Macworld: Macworld emphasizes how superior this iteration of the mini is compared to the first-generation model. "The original iPad mini won people’s hearts despite the deficiencies of its processor and screen; the Retina iPad mini has left all of those deficiencies behind. It’s small and light and five times as fast as the old mini, but with 10 hours of battery life."

Engadget: The new mini has finally reached its full potential and is a top-tier product, says Engadget. "Because it now offers a Retina display, fast connectivity, and a powerful processor, the mini now shares top-tier product status with the iPad Air." It's as good as the Air, the review says, just smaller.

CNET: CNET says the new mini is the "the best small tablet yet," and they conclude that it's "Best in class" and award it Editors Choice. The review acknowledges there are other worthy, less-expensive tablets, but says the mini is the top choice. "But, if you want a small tablet with no limitations, that can run the best gamut of high-end apps, display productivity-type applications in a larger amount of screen space, and play games amazingly, the iPad Mini with Retina Display is hands-down the way to go."

PCMag.com: Although the mini doesn't quite earn their Editors Choice, it gets 4.5 stars and lots of praise from PCMag.com. "Like the Air, this is one of the slimmest and best-built tablets you'll find anywhere. It's an absolute pleasure to use." Why not Editors Choice? Because there are other great small tablets available at a lower price, making the iPad mini "less of a must-buy and more of a luxury purchase."

The Loop: The display comes in for high praise in a review by The Loop. "It should come as no surprise that the Retina display is absolutely gorgeous. Just looking at the two iPad minis side-by-side, you can see the difference." Not only do the images look better, the review says, but also text is easier to read. The only complaint about this tablet: no Touch ID.

AppleInsider: Yet one more review acknowledges the tough competition among smaller-screen tablets and says the mini isn't the obvious choice in the same way the iPad Air is, giving it a score of 4.5 on a scale of 5. But still, the review calls it best-in-class. "That said, Apple's iPad mini with Retina display remains an easy recommendation. It features best-in-class software and hardware, and is backed by the strongest mobile ecosystem available."

Wired: Wired gives the mini a score of 9 out of 10 and sums it up this way: "Nearly flawless; buy it now." Like one other review, it says the device can get a little warm when playing processor-intensive games. But overall, they love it: "The iPad mini is exactly the type of product we expect from Apple. Stunning good looks, a display so high resolution it’d take a magnifying glass to pick out the pixels, and unparalleled performance."

Summary

Most of the reviews point out that it's pretty much identical to the iPad Air, except for being smaller and cheaper. They typically say there's tougher competition for the mini than the iPad Air, but say that if you're willing to spend the extra money, the iPad mini with Retina display is the way to go.

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Jim Karpen's picture

Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.