When reviewing the iPad mini 2, we've compared it to the previous version of the smaller tablet - both with and without iOS 7. The jump in the OS is marked, but even without that, all owners of the original mini will feel a pang of envy when you hand them the newer one.

With the screen turned off, there's very little difference between the two versions - the options of Space Gray and Silver are different to the black and silver versions from 2012, and there's a slight increase in the weight from 312g to 331g.

But in the hand there's nothing to choose between them - which is fine, as the design last year was the saving grace of an otherwise low-powered, but cheaper, tablet.

iPad Mini 2 review

What we've seen is the iPad mini design being taken on by the iPad Air, and now back again on the smaller sequel, and it really works.

Apple is still maintaining that users will be able to hold it one-handed, and while this is uncomfortable when done for long periods, we did find that on occasion for browsing the internet we were able to work with a single palm.

The aluminum-clad design feels hugely premium. If you've walked into an Apple store thinking that the mini 2 is too expensive compared to the Nexus 7, then the second it's thrust into your palms you'll realize that's there's no comparison between the two when it comes to build quality.

iPad Mini 2 review

While the new Nexus 7 is a much-improved design from Asus , it's still a rubberized device that relies on plastic to make it feel robust and a little lighter.

The iPad mini 2 has the same effect, but it's hugely more impressive. It's not £160 (US$170, AU$180) better, which is something of an issue for those torn between the two tablets, and any Nexus 7 fan would have a very valid reason for purchasing the Google tablet.

iPad Mini 2 review

But looking simply at Apple's design, and it's easily the best on the market. The smooth covering, machined speaker holes and gently curved edges all combine very well to give a really secure feeling, that this is the device that it was worth forking out a little more.

Even down to the solid click of the sound toggle, or the long travel of the power, home and volume buttons, the whole thing makes you feel like it's robust and won't crack on you a year or so down the line.

There's no TouchID on offer here, and we're torn over whether this is a big miss. We use it all the time on the iPhone 5S, but that's only because it's there. It marginally makes using the phone easier, which is nice.

iPad Mini 2 review

It's missing more on the iPad mini 2 for a couple of reasons. Firstly, you're more inclined to pick this tablet up like a phone, meaning your natural impulse is to hold the power button.

Secondly, tapping out a passcode on this screen is harder as your thumb isn't as well placed, meaning most will avoid iPad security altogether.

Given the 64-bit architecture is there for the encryption, it seems odd that Apple has left this out for the mini 2 and the Air – and it's not like its omission is enough to upgrade to next year when the sequels appear.