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iPad mini review

The original iPad mini is still good, apart from that screen

There are now over a million apps on the Apple App Store, with nearly half that number available that are dedicated to the iPad itself.

However, it's worth taking note of the fact that the likes of iMovie aren't as impressive on the iPad mini, as the lower spec processor and the less-sharp screen mean that rendering movies takes a bit longer than we're used to nowadays.

Of course, if you've never really used a more powerful device then you won't feel the difference, but then you probably wouldn't be that bothered about iMovie or its speed or its app-brethren anyway.


You've probably heard about the Apple Maps fiasco with iOS 6. With iOS 7, Apple has made some significant upgrades to its own Mapping system, making it much more accurate and reliable than it was at launch.

iPad Mini review

It's a similar system as that seen on the iPhone 5S. Flyover is an option for many cities, and the rest of the things you'd expect, such as traffic information, are also present and correct.

We're not going to get into the accuracy of the app – it's still a long way off in terms of getting things in the right place and shops aren't listed where they are on rival services – but things are improving every day as faults are reported and updated.

Google Maps (and Nokia Maps) are arguably superior options, but Apple Maps at least looks impressive and continues to get better and better.

The navigation option is also good on the iPad mini, with the larger screen making it a very easy tool to use in the car. It's also impressive that it still works without a connection (as long as you've set the information before you leave) so you can even get away with doing things without the LTE version.

iPad Mini review

However, given there's no GPS chip on offer in the Wi-Fi only version you'll have to be really happy with having some pretty sketchy directions read out to you on the way, although they do work on the lock screen as well, with the iPad mini coming out of sleep mode when you approach your next turning.

But on LTE, the mini becomes a truly trusty navigator for when you're lost around the city.

Offering more clarity than your phone thanks to the bigger screen, it's still compact enough to slip into a coat pocket and whip out when you need to check you haven't strayed too far from your path, something that the iPad 'large' doesn't quite do so well.

Overall, Apple has some way to go in terms of putting the confidence back into its mapping function, but the app is far from horrendous aside from that.


The gallery app on the iPad mini is as good as it's always been, with the smaller screen size making it very easy to manipulate images, such as being able to crop and enhance what's on offer.

I found the speed of doing this to be more than acceptable despite the lower-spec processor, with the smaller screen making cropping photos even easier than on the iPhone. You get red-eye reduction, a selection of filters and an auto-enhance tool to help you improve your snaps.

iPad mini review

There are a number of other features, such as being able to geo-locate photos and see them on a map within the app. It really brings your snaps to life.

And as before, the Twitter and Facebook integration is right there, so sharing photos is as simple as if you were doing it on a website.

Photos can be viewed as grouped by year, location or Collection, and there's a nifty zoom feature where if you hold your finger on a group of small thumbnail images you can see a quick preview of each one and slide around to locate a picture easily.


Oh, hello Siri – what are you doing here? Given the iPad 2's processor is the same as in the iPad mini, surely it can't handle Siri? So however did it find its way onto this device? (Yes, I'm looking at you, Apple.)

But, there it is, and nicely incorporated too. The little pop-up window that gives access to the voice recognition is nicely unobtrusive. The accuracy is much improved over the first iteration of the software, and the range of functionality also enhanced.

iPad mini review

With its ability to tell you how your football team is doing, what the weather's like in Paris and to open an app on command, the iPad mini has the same implementation as the iPhone when it comes to Siri…and therefore as much use.

There's no way you'll ask it to book an appointment for you, because a) it doesn't always work, and you'll wish you had just typed it in, and b) you're likely to be with someone, and the risk of failure and looking stupid in front of them is too high to try it.

The Google Now cards on Android are much better when it comes to information, as being told what's going on with your team is easier than having to ask for it. Both are different systems, but Siri is never going to gain mass appeal until it finally becomes almost unerringly accurate at recognising what you're saying.

I still like the little pop-up window, though, and you can now hold down the home button for as long as you need to speak to Siri which makes the process a little easier.


The camera on the iPad mini is a fairly standard affair, coming in with a 5MP camera sensor on the rear of the device.

It's not the strongest camera on a tablet by a long way, but does come with some features to help bolster its performance, such as backside illumination to improve the light sensitivity of the sensor and the same five-piece lens that helps filter the light more efficiently.

But in practice, well, you've guessed it: it's an average camera on a tablet, and people shouldn't really be using such a device for photography unless it's an absolute emergency. Simple as that.

There's an HDR mode, which is often necessary to help enhance the quality of your snaps on the go – and you can take pictures in the standard widescreen format or choose a 'square' option.

There's no flash here, so while the low light sensitivity is improved, it's a long way from usable in the real world. The same autofocus elements are in place though, so face detection and focus/exposure locks are available (the latter by long-pressing the portion of the picture you want in focus and brightest).

The front-facing camera is actually a little more usable, as the 1.2MP sensor helps take some above-average profile pictures, if that's what you're into. It's obviously better for FaceTime frippery, but it's a surprisingly high-spec sensor in a budget Apple tablet.


The video capabilities of the iPad mini rate alongside the camera in impressiveness. While it can take 1080p video and stabilise it as you go, the lack of video light makes it a little hard to use in many situations.

You can at least focus the scene during the video shooting, which helps improve snaps in a constantly moving scene… but that's about the most impressive thing we can say about it, other than that it's a decent alternative when you've got nothing else to shoot with and you can rest it securely on a surface to minimise judder.

The Photos app does at least let you trim the start and end points of any video you shoot, and save it either as a new version or to replace the original clip.

Tech Specs

Product TypeTablet
Flash Memory Capacity16 GB
Processor ManufacturerApple
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeNo
Backlight TechnologyLED
Product FamilyiPad mini
Front Camera/WebcamYes
Operating System PlatformiOS
ColourWhite, Silver
Operating SystemiOS 6
Brand NameApple
Form FactorSlate
Processor TypeA5
Screen Size20.1 cm (7.9")
Screen Resolution1024 x 768
Weight (Approximate)313 g
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyIn-plane Switching (IPS) Technology
WWAN SupportedYes
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Cellular Generation4G
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Height199.9 mm
Width134.6 mm
Depth7.1 mm
Screen ModeXGA
ManufacturerApple, Inc
Product ModelMD543NF/A
Product NameiPad mini MD543NF/A Tablet
Product LineiPad mini
Aspect Ratio4:3
Manufacturer Part NumberMD543NF/A
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

The whole package. In a smaller package.

A beautiful display, powerful A5 chip, FaceTime HD camera, iSight camera with 1080p HD video recording, ultrafast wireless, and over 275,000 apps ready to download from the App Store. iPad mini is an iPad in every way, shape, and slightly smaller form.

Package Contents
  • iPad mini MD543NF/A Tablet
  • Lightning to USB Cable
  • USB Power Adapter
Limited Warranty1 Year