With its $479 price tag, the iPad mini with Retina display is the most expensive compact tablet going around. But what’s impressive about this 7.9-inch model is how it performs.
Apple’s display processing continues to be as buttery smooth as your grandmother’s shortbread and despite Google’s own similarly-focussed ‘Project Butter’, the iPad still looks fractionally smoother.
Despite that smooth appearance though, the Apple A7 processor (which is also found in the iPad Air) was outgunned by Gigabyte’s Nvidia Tegra 4 chip on 3Dmark IceStorm Unlimited by a bit over 10%, which was a surprise.
Apple’s combination of new 64-bit iOS 7 and only 1GB of RAM is a concern here, too, and we’d like to see Apple up this to 2GB as soon as possible, even if it meant an extra $20 on the price.
A winning combination
Still, the iPad mini wins when you combine speed, screen resolution, battery life and weight.
The battery life of 10hrs 15mins from a tiny 23-watt-hour battery is quite remarkable, particularly given the performance the A7 is capable of.
Throw in the low 330-gram weight for the Wi-Fi only version and this is a potent mix. Packing 2048×1536-pixels into a 7.9-inch I-PS panel means colours aren’t just great, you can forget spotting any pixels – few can match the pixel density here. Plus, you also still get HDMI output via the optional Lightning Digital AV Adapter.
But the key to the iPad mini with Retina Display is that A7 processor – it’s able to deliver performance and battery life that’s still hard to beat.
Verdict: It has the same RAM issue as the iPad Air, but it’s still a stand-out tablet.
Price: From $479