When the iPad mini with Retina show launched alongside the iPad Air in 2013 the most important choice you needed to worry about was whether or not you wanted a 7.9-inch or a 9.7-inch display screen. The message from Apple was clear: you get the same power either means.
However quick-ahead to the winter of 2014 and the message has changed. Whereas the iPad Air 2 comes with a brand new display screen, a brand new processor, and a brand new slimmer chassis, the iPad mini three gets nothing of the kind. It is the identical as its predecessor (now renamed the iPad mini 2) with Apple’s TouchID fingerprint recognition know-how.
So it the iPad mini three nonetheless tablet or one which’s undermined by the mini 2?
If it ain’t broke why change it?
The 7.9-inch iPad mini is available in the identical chassis because the iPad mini 2 did final year. Don’t be concerned you are not lacking something, there may be zero change to the design except for the inclusion of a TouchID sensor and the power to have it in gold somewhat than simply house gray or silver.
As a standalone tablet expertise, we love the dimensions. It is small and compact, gives wonderful portability, and works properly if you’re frightened that the larger iPad Air 2 is, properly, too huge.
The iPad mini three measures 7.5mm thick – so not the extremely-thin 6.1mm of the Air 2 – and is 200 x 135mm face-on. With its smaller display screen and general size, it is also the lighter-weight model, at 331g for the Wi-Fi-only model and 341g for the Wi-Fi and Cellular version.
Given the selection of the iPad mini or the iPad Air over the past 12 months we have opted for the mini each time, though now over per week deep into utilizing the iPad Air 2, we have now to confess that we do favor the brand new larger and thinner device.
Screen and power deja vu
The display is the exact same in each iPad mini 2 and three models, delivering a 2048 x 1536 pixel decision at 326ppi. It nonetheless seems to be nice, but Apple hasn’t given the iPad mini three the new anti-reflective coating, or the brand new construct process to make the display screen punchier (and slimmer) because it has with the Air 2.
READ: Apple iPad mini 2 review
However the insides are totally different proper? Nope, Apple has achieved nothing to carry the iPad mini in step with the highest-spec iPad Air 2 or replace the processing energy from the 2013 mannequin. Which means you get the identical A7 processor and similar M7 motion co-processor, regardless of the Air 2 now sporting up to date versions of each: the A8X and M8.
With energy comparable to the iPhone 5S the iPad mini three will not be a lame horse by any means, but it surely’s not a thoroughbred in 2014. Purposes run simply positive, and there is sufficient oomph to edit photos and video in apps like iMovie – an app that comes included for free. We have been watching films, shopping and taking part in video games with no problems.
The mini three also delivers the identical digital camera capabilities back and front, and the identical battery life, not surprisingly. That is nonetheless an excellent efficiency, although, delivering round 10-hours of steady use with the display screen brightness set to half whereas using 4G on the go.
It actually is identical system simply with a brand new color and TouchID. It’s a unusual transfer given Apple has all the time given us a processing energy increase and one which now makes the iPad mini sit considerably awkwardly within the line-up and in opposition to the competitors. It’s the identical value as its predecessor was at launch – beginning at £319 – however because the iPad mini 2’s value is now £239 which means the inclusion of TouchID provides a £80 premium.
Touching moments with Touch ID
TouchID has its apparent advantages although. Reasonably than tapping in a code to achieve entry to your tablet you possibly can instead use a registered fingerprint.
We will not inform you what number of instances we have stared at our iPad mini 2, finger on the button, anticipating one thing to occur solely to grasp that it does not have TouchID like our iPhone. D’oh. With the iPad mini three that is an issue of the previous. The TouchID is identical as discovered in the iPhone 6 and the brand new tech mixed with tweaks in iOS 8 has meant it is extra responsive than when TouchID was first launched on the iPhone 5S.
READ: Apple iPhone 6 review
Nonetheless, if the iPad mini goes to be a household machine, one kicking round the lounge, then TouchID is not more likely to be so vital.
That stated it is possible for you to to make use of it to unlock sure recordsdata (with apps like Dropbox), or if you are within the USA, pay for issues on-line and in-app with Apple Pay (which can solely be arriving within the UK from subsequent yr). Oh and like the iPad Air 2 there is not any NFC assist included inside the iPad mini three so do not count on to have the ability to pay in shops both.
In case you’ve used TouchID earlier than then you definately’ll most likely agree that it is nice. We love the inclusion, asthe iPad mini to us has at all times been extra of a piece machine slightly than a household system, however we suspect many will not be capable of justify the £80 extra for the tech.
iOS 8.1 at launch
When the iPad mini three debuts it should include iOS 8.1 already put in. Apple’s iOS 8.1 provides plenty of new options above and past what was obtainable in iOS 7 together with cool new ones like Continuity which blurs the traces between sharing content material between your iPhone and Mac – if in case you have an Apple desktop of laptop computer.
READ: Apple iOS 8.1 overview: New powers to your outdated device
That mixed with enhancements with the Notification Centre, third get together keyboard help, and (finally) Homekit will all work to enhance the expertise. Likewise the seamlessness of sharing pictures between Apple units is a large plus, particularly for people who like to indicate off their efforts with others due to that sensible screen.
Which to buy?
There’s an argument for avoiding the upper prices related to essentially the most highly effective processors, as a result of not everybody will want a turbo-charged tablet. Nonetheless, worth-smart the iPad mini three does not profit from that idea, significantly because the 2013 iPad mini 2 is the extra inexpensive choice. With the iPad Air 2 beginning at £399, the iPad mini three simply finally ends up caught within the center.
Apple clearly needs you to plump for the higher, larger, and costlier Air 2 this time round. If you’re on the lookout for a strong market-main tablet then the iPad mini 3 is not the one to go for any extra. And with the Air 2’s discount in thickness in comparison with the unique Air we have already felt much more snug carrying that round.
Put merely the iPad mini three calls for an additional £80 for TouchID and the choice to decide on the gold color end. That is a major premium over the iPad mini 2, which is the higher purchase. In case you like the thought of the iPad mini’s sub-8-inch display dimension then final yr’s mannequin continues to be the one to go for.
By not updating the third-era iPad mini extra considerately, Apple has created a tool that’s neither high-of-the-tree when it comes to energy, nor does it provide sufficient of a pull towards the rising competitors. There’s some argument that the iPad mini line does not want to supply the highest-spec energy, however till its worth level aligns with that idea the mini three would not make a great deal of sense. TouchID can be a nicety for system entry, however till we see how Apple Pay takes off within the UK it is true worth is an unknown entity.
We are able to solely suppose that the iPad mini was so profitable that Apple realised it drove down the general value folks have been paying for an iPad, and subsequently hit the underside line within the firm’s accounts. By forcing you to decide on between energy or funds – newcomers and early adopters will go larger with the iPad Air 2, savvy funds patrons the iPad mini 2 – Apple has successfully raised the entry worth level for patrons as soon as once more.
Nevertheless, the iPad mini three remains to be an amazing machine constructed on the sturdy foundations of final year’s mannequin. However it’s not remoted in a vacuum and is the sufferer of its personal circumstance. The world continues to maneuver on, and for a lot of this specific iPad can be an anomaly that struggles to search out its place.