Review and experience of iPad mini with Retina display

The first iPad mini was introduced in the fall of 2012 and became a very popular device. You can blame Apple for going after the market, but nobody will deny the success of the iPad mini. Millions of buyers made their choice in favor of iPad mini with their wallet, which only confirmed the correctness of the chosen Apple way.

In the fall of 2013, Apple updated its line of tablets, including the iPad mini. The compact tablet received updated iron and the long-awaited Retina-screen, the absence of which in the first generation of mini was holding back many from buying (including me). Now iPad mini with Retina screen is available on sale and I just could not help but buy it myself. Did my expectations for the iPad mini with the Retina screen come true and should you buy it yourself?

Model Selection

I already had experience of using the “big” iPad 2, but I was not satisfied with its size. It can not be said that the full-sized iPad is very cumbersome and heavy, but typing text in the landscape orientation of the screen was uncomfortable for me, and I had to carry around 700 grams in my bag with which I could not even fully work with the text in some the moment just got bored. And I sold the iPad 2.

Then I clearly understood that full-size tablets are not my format. The gadget that you constantly carry with you should be compact, light and easy to use. I perceive the full-sized iPad as a tablet for the house.

The first iPad mini I did not buy because of the lack of Retina-screen, and the hardware on it stood already at that time far from the freshest. So I waited until the iPad mini second generation, which from the point of view of iron and screen “me on paper” completely suited me.

I chose the iPad mini with a Retina display of the color Space Gray and a memory capacity of 16 GB without a cellular module. Still, while in the greater part of our country (including in my city) 4G still does not, I do not see much point in taking an iPad mini with a cellular module. And Wi-Fi points are now more than enough, and in extreme cases, as a router can act and the iPhone or even the Mac.

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Versions of 16 GB are more than enough for me, because on the iPad I do not have as many applications and games as on the iPhone, there is not a huge photo library, music and movies. If you want something to see or listen to, then I prefer to do it with the help of online services.

Purchase

Still, it’s good that Apple has taken up the Russian market closely. Now you do not need to wait for six months until new devices officially appear on sale. iPad mini Retina, for example, was available for ordering in the Apple Online Store on November 15, that is, just a few weeks after the start of sales in the West.

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Of course, to other stores iPad mini got later. I took my iPad mini Retina at the end of December and found it on the windows for an acceptable price (read – officially set) the price I could not. Well, that there are online stores, in one of which I ordered an iPad mini Retina for 16 GB for an acceptable 16 thousand rubles. After 3 days, the order has already arrived and I took away my long-awaited tablet.

Box and equipment

No revelations from the box and the configuration of the iPad mini Retina should not be expected. Standard box, standard equipment: the tablet itself, lightning-cable, Russian plug, documents and stickers. There is nothing else, including headphones.

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Case and screen

iPad mini Retina in terms of physical size and appearance remained almost the same as the original iPad mini. Rounded corners, a small frame around the screen, the screen diagonal – 7.9 inches. Only slightly increased the weight of the device. Keep the tablet in both hands is quite convenient, but when you work with it with one hand, it still feels that it is a bit heavy. I hope that in the future Apple will put on a “diet” its compact tablet, especially since its competitors weigh less.

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The location of the connectors and speakers on the case remains the same. The body itself is also made of aluminum, the front part is covered with glass.

iPad mini in color Space Gray looks great. After the “faceless” black color in previous models, “Space Gray” looks much more interesting. It is worth noting that the paint does not bite, as in the iPhone 5, for the time that I use the tablet, no problems have arisen. He still looks like new.

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The diagonal of the screen did not change – 7.9 inches, but the resolution grew to “retinovskih” 2048 × 1536 pixels. The pixel density is 326 dots per inch, just like in the iPhone, which is more than the iPad Air (264 ppi). It is necessary to recognize that the difference between Air and Mini on pixels you will not notice – they are not visible on both mini and Air. However, the iPad mini screen is worse than in the iPad Air due to the relatively paler color rendering, brightness and contrast. Speaking in general, the screen is quite good for itself, but there are not enough stars from the sky.

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Screen zalyapyvaetsya on hurray, you have to constantly wipe it from dust and fingerprints. But it’s hard to call a feature specifically iPad mini with Retina screen. This is the problem of most modern mobile devices.

Another point that catches your eye is that the screen is “deeply” drowned in the case. Apple did not use any special technologies (a screen without an air gap, for example) and the “depth” between the glass and the display itself is quite noticeable. This does not have a big effect in everyday use, but still I would like to have this moment corrected.

Iron filling and productivity

The new iPad mini has 1 GB of RAM and the newest A7 processor is the same as the iPhone 5s and iPad Air. However, unlike its older brother iPad Air, its clock frequency is 100 MHz less. When working with the iOS interface and most applications, there is no difference between the Mini and Air, but Apple would not be Apple if there were no difference between them at all. And she is.

In the GeekBench 3 test iPad mini gets about 2500 points, which is slightly lower than the iPad Air, but it’s not a matter of synthetic numbers. When working with resource-intensive games such as GTA: San Andreas, Real Racing 3, the frame rate unpleasantly sags, which was not previously observed. Apparently this is due to the fact that most applications are not optimized for the 64-bit architecture of the A7 processor. And maybe, played the fatal role of those same 100 MHz frequency?

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It’s worth noting that many applications on the iPad mini Retina work the same way or even worse (!) Than in the iPhone 5, on which the A6 processor is installed. Here, the high screen resolution and the unoptimized software (especially under the iPad) make themselves felt.

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iOS 7 on the iPad mini Retina with a 64-bit processor works … far from perfect. Animation often jerks, changing the screen orientation does not always happen smoothly. I hope that with the release of iOS 7.1 Apple will cover this shame, because to tolerate constant respring and hang-up, there is absolutely no desire. It’s not Android, it’s iOS, a system that made a name for itself, thanks to its stable work. And with this most stable work iOS 7 has big problems.

Camera

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The camera in the iPad mini Retina is, it is able to take pictures of very average quality, but for the tablet and this can be considered a good indicator. Video is recorded in good quality, slo-mo mode, as in the iPhone 5s, here, naturally, no.

Photo taken on the main camera. Quality - very average
Photo taken on the main camera. Quality – very average

But the front camera pleased me. In conditions of good illumination, the images are quite good (as far as they can be at all on the front camera). For selfshotov and video calls in Skype more than enough.

Vitality

Traditionally, Apple promises 10 hours of battery life for its tablets. With the iPad mini Retina in practice it turns out to be slightly less. With active use (browser (half an hour-hour per day), mail (hour per day), social network (hour per day), games (2-3 hours a day), video (half an hour per day), books (hour in day)) the tablet is enough for 1-1,5 days or 8-9 hours of continuous operation. If you moderate your fervor, you can achieve 2-2.5 days. Again, the usage patterns for all are different and these figures may vary depending on your preferences.

In any case, the iPad mini Retina remains a very durable device – you will not worry about the battery and all the time look at the battery indicator. You can charge the iPad mini and take it safely with you for the whole working day – you will definitely have enough batteries. From the network iPad mini Retina is charged about 4-5 hours. With my usage model, I charge it about 4 times a week – quite a good result.

How I use the iPad all this time

Reading articles from the web

iPad mini is an excellent gadget for reading. Books, articles from the Web, RSS – with all these tasks iPad mini Retina easily copes. Appendices for this in the App Store – a great variety. I’ll tell you what I’m using.

As an RSS reader I use Digg Reader. I used to prefer Feedly, but Digg seemed to me more convenient. Actually, its functionality is standard – you can subscribe to streams directly in the application, distribute subscriptions to folders, quickly share articles in social networks or postpone them “for later”. This is enough for me.

To keep track of news on topics that interest me, I use Zite. In contrast to the same Flipboard, it is much better guessing with my preferences, although, of course, loses in the design. You add once in Zite all the interesting topics to you and enjoy the promptly incoming news.

For deferred reading of articles I use Pocket. Still, nothing better for iOS has not yet been invented, despite the fact that Readability and Instapaper are also quite good services. But Pocket has 3 fatty pluses: it is supported by hundreds of applications, it is possible to “postpone” not only text articles, but also video, links. And the third, of course – tags. They help to distribute all articles into categories and maintain order in the repository.

Books and magazines

On the iPad, you can read e-books and magazines without any problems. Especially note that for the iPad there are many interactive magazines that are made specifically for the tablet. For example, I read the magazines Slon.ru and Esquire. Unlike paper versions, they have all sorts of interactive elements: graphics, animations, videos, and in some places even mini-games. This is if you do not turn everything upside down, but it definitely changes the experience of reading periodicals.

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iPad mini Retina is quite suitable for reading PDF-books and books. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the font size is quite optimal, so as not to screw up and zoom in.

But with ordinary electronic books, things are not so simple. I admit that buying an iPad mini Retina, I even thought that he could replace me with the Kindle. But this did not happen. E-ink remains for me the best screen format for reading large books. But then who likes that more.

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I can not help recalling the dimensions of the iPad mini Retina. On the one hand, the display diagonal is higher than on the Kindle, which means that more content is placed on the screen. But here this difference is not so critical.

But to keep the Kindle reader in one hand is much more convenient and it played a decisive role for me. Amazon was able to find the optimal ratio between the amount of text on the screen and the ease of use. Not surprisingly, because for the iPad mini – reading books is only one of the tasks, and for the Kindle – in fact the only one. But for small publications and the iPad mini Retina is quite suitable.

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As an e-book reader, I use Marvin. It has everything you need to read books in comfort.

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Working with text and notes

iPad mini Retina is well suited for recording short text notes and viewing documents. Do not forget that for the iPad there are many applications for handwritten notes, such as INKredible or Skitch, which can help you when writing ideas at a workshop or educational event.

To work with text, I use Pages, iAWriter, and SimpleNote. Despite the difference in functionality, the essence of using these programs on the iPad for me is absolutely the same – to write a short text. In order to fully work with the text on the iPad, I do not have enough nerves, as I’ll talk about just below 🙂

Fun time – time

I took the iPad mini Retina in many respects with the expectation that it would be my main gadget for games. At once I will say that I have not lost my choice, despite the problems with some games.

As I said, the same GTA: San Andreas on the iPad mini Retina behaves strangely: the frame rate is low, all unpleasantly slows down. At the same time, on the iPhone 5, the game I almost did not zapsiala.

But my favorite Modern Combat 4 behaves very well in 95% of cases. Even when you play on a network with a large number of players, MD4 almost does not brake, only occasionally there are small “lags”. At the same time, the tablet practically does not heat up.

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Simple games such as Flappy Bird, Dungeon Highway, Angry Birds iPad mini Retina “eats” with a bang, which, in general, is quite expected.

Hour – hour

I do not perceive tablets as devices for full-fledged work, but despite this it was still interesting to look at the iPad mini Retina in action. I work with texts a lot, I always look through e-mail, social networks, I work with the WordPress admin area.

The miracle did not happen – iPad mini Retina, in my opinion, is absolutely not suitable for permanent work. But in order to quickly write a post, to correct the text or to outline the plan of the post, it is quite suitable.

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First, there is a lack of a physical keyboard, with which it is much more convenient to type text. Secondly, there is no normal WordPress application for iOS, which will not confuse publishing time and accidentally post articles on the site (which has happened to me many times). And thirdly, iOS itself is simply not adapted for such things. On the MacBook, you can simultaneously write text and glance at its English original, in the iPad you always switch between applications, and this, again, is a discomfort.

This thought was told to everyone, no matter how lazy, it is trite and obvious, but it’s worth noting again: the iPad mini is the ideal device for consuming content, not for creating it. Although, if you really want to, you can dodge by buying an external keyboard. But the problem of software is not solved.

iPad mini is the ideal device for consuming content, not for creating it

On the iPad it is convenient to edit photos, create simple videos, write small texts, keep a personal diary. But to expect that the iPad will greatly help you in your work, it’s not worth it. Many people ask me – can I better buy an iPad instead of a laptop for work? No, not better. Each device is designed for its own purposes, so it’s better to take a closer look, for example, to a MacBook Air or another Apple laptop.

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Air or mini?

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Despite some difference in characteristics, the only significant difference between the Air and mini Retina is the size of the tablet. ATYou should clearly answer the question – what size is more preferable for you? Because there is practically no difference in the other features of the tablets. If you like full-size tablets – take iPad Air, if compact – iPad mini Retina. Our infographics will help you choose your choice.

conclusions

Despite all the drawbacks and shortcomings of the iPad mini Retina, I was more than satisfied with my purchase. iPad mini Retina is a nice and easy-to-use tablet, which in most cases copes with its tasks with a bang. Many disadvantages are associated with the unstable operation of iOS 7 itself, which will soon be corrected in the final version of iOS 7.1.

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The iPad still remains an excellent device for consuming content and not very suitable for its creation. But as I said above, he is able to solve simple work tasks.

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