Apple iPad mini 2 review: A tablet with compromises

Apple like any other device vendors has compromised several elements when it introduced iPad mini with retina display.

Comparing with iPad Air, Apple’s iPad mini that comes with a retina display is a major disappointment for Apple fans.

The big change that you’ll notice in this new tablet is the new Mini’s display. Apple has replaced last year’s relatively low resolution screen with Apple’s Retina high-resolution display. That’s why Apple is calling and positioning the new tablet as iPad mini with retina display.

There is no significant difference between ppi of both iPad mini ad iPhone 5s. In terms of pixel per inch the new Mini’s display is equal to that in the iPhone 5S and is superior to that in Apple’s full-sized iPad.

iPad Air is no match to iPad mini 2

iPad mini 2 did not get the attention from Apple as comparing with iPad Air. Apple fans can be happy since iPad Air has several new features though the device vendor used a number of cost effective products to produce the product which is positioning as a premium tablet.

Apple termed iPad Air, the latest generation of its tablet, as defining device that features stunning 9.7-inch Retina display in a new thinner and lighter design. In addition, iPad Air is 20 percent thinner and 28 percent lighter than the fourth generation iPad.

The narrower bezel enables Apple to create thin borders for iPad Air and giving more screen space to users. Fans will benefit from an immersive content.

Screen

Apple did not bring narrow borders to iPad mini 2.  It has 1.8-inch border. You may not find it attractive as the 9.7-inch iPad mini with Retina display has 7.9-inch screen.

Though we did not get a big screen, you can enjoy razor sharp text and detail in the thin and light design. But this is not the thinner and lighter tablet. Remember, iPad Air is 20 percent thinner and 28 percent lighter than the fourth generation iPad.

Apple said the new iPad mini with Retina display packs all the 3.1 million pixels (2048-by-1536 resolution) of iPad Air into its 7.9-inch Multi-Touch display, for a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch.

It is natural to says that the 7.9-inch Retina display of iPad mini 2 is 35 percent larger than screens on 7-inch tablets.

Like any other tablets from rivals, this small tablet delivers the full iPad experience, now with razor sharp Retina quality. Images are crisp, text is crystal clear, movies play at full 1080p HD-resolution and the 475,000 apps designed specifically for iPad work perfectly.

Processor

The earlier version of iPad mini had A5 chip. As expected, A7 chip is faster than A5 for editing videos or playing games with complex graphics.

The new iPad mini features A7 chip with 64-bit desktop-class architecture. Both iPad Air and iPad mini 2 ensure better speed if you are using Wi-Fi as they have a built-in Wi-Fi. iPad mini 2 features two antennas to support Multiple-In-Multiple-Out (MIMO) technology, bringing twice the Wi-Fi performance to the tablet at data rate up to 300 Mbps.

Apple says A7 chip in iPad mini with Retina display offers 64-bit desktop-class architecture, advanced graphics and improved image signal processing from previous generations. You will continue to enjoy the best images. These are not new with Apple iPad tablets.

In processing speed, iPad mini 2 scores better than iPad Air. Comparing with the previous version, iPad Air offers you almost 100 percent increase in the CPU and graphics performance.  On the other hand, iPad mini with retina display gives you up to four times the CPU and eight times the graphics performance.

The A7 chip’s 64-bit architecture and support for OpenGL ES version 3.0 unlocks game console-like visual effects. The new iPad(s) also feature the M7 motion coprocessor that gathers data from the accelerometer, gyroscope and compass to offload work from the A7 for improved power efficiency. And as always, this iPad doesn’t come with a memory-card slot.

Camera

iPad mini with Retina display has the next generation FaceTime HD camera with improved backside illumination sensors featuring larger pixels for better low-light performance. The iSight camera with 5MP sensor and advanced optics, combined with iOS 7 and the image signal processing of A7, further improves still image and video capture on iPad bringing faster auto-focus, up to three times video zoom, five times still zoom, better dynamic range and automatic image and video stabilization.

OS

The new iPads come with iOS 7, featuring a stunning new user interface, completely redesigned with an elegant color palette, distinct, functional layers and subtle motion that make it feel more alive. iOS 7 has hundreds of great new features, including Control Center, Notification Center, improved Multitasking, AirDrop, enhanced Photos, Safari, Siri and introduces iTunes Radio, a free Internet radio service based on the music you listen to on iTunes.

The new Mini looks and feels a lot like last year’s version. It has the same shape, height and width and the same size screen. It’s slightly thicker and heavier than last year’s model. The aluminium back of the black model is a bit lighter in color than last year.

DisplayMate, a consulting firm that evaluates the screens in various computing devices, says the range of colors the new iPad Mini can display is a fraction of the general color standard and significantly less than what can be displayed by the iPad Air or the Kindle Fire HDX.

There is not much difference between mini old and mini new version – you can find same cameras, and access to the same selection of apps.

Revised operating system iOS 7 is a value addition.

­­Baburajan K
editor@gizmolead.com