“The Retina iPad mini retains essentially the same design as its predecessor, with some slight changes to account for generational differences. The most noteworthy changes from an exterior standpoint are the addition of the space grey finish, which replaces the black version, and the addition of a tiny bit of size and weight to the original case specifications”, writes Darrell Etherington for TechCrunch.
“The original iPad mini set the bar for tablet design as far as I’m concerned, and the new version maintains that.”
“As with the iPad Air, the single best thing about the iPad Mini with Retina Display isn’t anything Apple crammed in the case,” says Harry McCracken on TIME. “It’s the third-party apps available from the App Store — more than 475,000 of them, covering every possible base. iOS still creams every other platform when it comes to tablet-app quality, quantity and breadth.
“For the most part, those apps run well on the iPad Mini with Retina’s screen, looking precisely like they do on the iPad Air, only smaller. That helps explain why the Mini isn’t more diminutive than it is: If it were a 7-incher, icons, buttons and other elements of existing apps would be too teensy for comfort. But at 7.9 inches, they’re still highly usable.”
“This year, the iPad mini with Retina display really is every inch an iPad," writes David Pierce on The Verge. "It’s no longer out of date, or worse in any way. It comes with the same A7 processor as the new iPad Air, the same storage and connectivity options, the same battery life, and — most importantly — a Retina display with the same resolution.
"For $399 with 16GB of storage, it’s everything the iPad Air can be — only smaller and $100 cheaper."
“There's no doubt this is the best small tablet on the market, and should budget not be a primary factor in a buying decision then it's the device to go for whether it's for screen quality, range of apps, battery life, physical design, bundled productivity software or because you've already bought into the Apple ecosystem” says Wired writer Nate Lanxton.
A better display, but not the best
As TabTimes noted earlier this week, the iPad mini's Retina display is a big improvement over the original iPad mini, but has actually been eclipsed by small tablet competitors. Anandtech agreed:
“The iPad mini with Retina Display has the same color gamut as the standard iPad mini, which is narrower than the iPad Air and less than the sRGB coverage we normally look for,” writes Lal Shimpi for AnandTech, critiquing the tablet’s good-but-not-great Retina Display.
“The biggest issue here is that there are other smaller tablets in this price range that do offer sRGB coverage (e.g. Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HDX 8.9).”
(For all things iPad, bookmark TabTimes.com/ipad)