iPad mini 2 with Retina display review

A great tablet that still costs a little too much

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Typing on the iPad mini 2 is an interesting experience. It feels like the whining of the privileged to even mention it, but such is the balanced weight of the Retina-clad mini that holding the device in portrait mode and using two hands to enter text makes it feel too top heavy.

If you split the keyboard (either through pinching outwards on the keys themselves, or dragging up the keyboard icon) it doesn't break apart fully until too far up the page.

iPad Mini 2 review

And the landscape option pales in comparison to the iPad Air, with the smaller strike zones meaning that even if you prop the mini 2 up with a cover, it's still not as accurate as we'd like for a productivity device.

You might argue that writing longer documents is an ancillary function, but when Apple is shoving its iWork apps on consumers for free, you can argue quite easily that the company is hoping enough people buy iPads as laptops replacements.

Email and iMessage

While it can be hard to find the people you want (or at least have all the social networks linked) messaging on the iPad is a much better experience.

There's iMessage and the decent inbuilt email app on offer as standard, and the variety of other chat apps you can download is mind blowing.

iPad Mini 2 review

iMessage remains a slightly confusing app in that it can pull in information on your phone number and email addresses and use these to connect to other users - however, this isn't always accurate when you're trying to share details and can result in people trying to contact you in the wrong way.

It's better than it is on the iPhone, which has texting to worry about too, but it's never the most reliable system to set up in our eyes.

Thankfully, the Mail app is a lot better, with a wide and expansive view that makes full use of the screen size.

You get a decent column down one side to see all your missives, and a gentle swipe across allows you to move or edit the mail or send it to the trash can.

On top of that, emails are grouped together nicely when in conversation flow, email folders are easy to use and you can have all your messages in one inbox, even with a variety of accounts being used.

We also like the VIP setting, allowing you to tag only your boss and colleagues, so you know when to panic should you see a mail arriving there.

Facetime

Adding in the Facetime HD camera is a big plus for the iPad mini 2, as it feels like the 1.2MP camera on the front of the device is so much smoother than before.

It has all the same easy functionality as the previous iterations but makes things look so much better over a decent Wi-Fi connection. Facetracking also works well to keep things in focus, and obviously allows you to give up your soul for the odd selfie.

Facetime is still a little impenetrable to set up for some - you have to know which numbers or email addresses have been used to access the service though, which can be frustrating when you have a contact and they've only set up Facetime on a certain email address instead of the number you have for them.

iPad Mini 2 review

But with the addition of Facetime Audio, and the improved Facetime HD camera, this is a great device for when you're on the go and want to say goodnight to your goldfish from the bus.

And with Facetime Audio now an option, you can have free voice calls with other enabled users thanks to VOIP technology. Once in the app you can set up your favourite people as instant contacts to call - and helpfully they can also be set to call through voice or video by default.

While there aren't that many other ways to talk to people over the iPad mini 2, the Contacts app is still obviously on board, giving access to all the people you've spoken to and saved over the years.

However, be careful when adding accounts, as you'll likely have a few on there and it's very easy to have information from Exchange, Gmail, Hotmail and iCloud all jostling for position in your list, as well as those from Facebook too.

It's not as easy as on Android to change these though, as you'll need to jump into the external Settings app once more to check the right boxes.

iPad Mini 2 review

However, when this is done things are nice and simple, showing the friends you've saved as well as their Facebook picture (or other that you've tagged) if you've linked the accounts.

However, here's an issue we're not sure why Apple hasn't fixed as yet: contact linking is nigh-on impossible unless you drill right down through the editing menu.

You can pull all manner of social network account info into a contact card, but when adding the names in you're not going to link to the right person unless you're exact with your spelling.

It's confusing as to why your contact lists aren't pulled from Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and more when you're trying to perform this task, but it's very difficult to tag people together, which is irritating when you want pictures to go alongside each name.

Tags

Tech Specs

Product TypeTablet
Flash Memory Capacity128 GB
Processor ManufacturerApple
Graphics Controller ManufacturerImagination Technologies
Graphics Controller ModelPowerVR G6430
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeNo
Maximum Battery Run Time10 Hour
GPSYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyUMTS, HSPA, HSPA+, DC-HSDPA, CDMA2000 1xEV-DO Rev A, EDGE
Product FamilyiPad mini
Cellular Network SupportedGSM, CDMA2000
Front Camera/WebcamYes
Operating System PlatformiOS
ColourSilver
Operating SystemiOS 7
Brand NameApple
Form FactorSlate
Processor Speed1.30 GHz
Processor TypeA7
Screen Size20.1 cm (7.9")
Screen Resolution2048 x 1536
Weight (Approximate)340.2 g
Cache4 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
TouchscreenYes
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyIn-plane Switching (IPS) Technology, Retina Display
WWAN SupportedYes
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Cellular Generation3G
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Height199.9 mm
Width134.6 mm
Depth7.4 mm
Screen ModeQXGA
ManufacturerApple, Inc
Product ModelME840B/A
Product NameiPad mini with Retina Display
Product LineiPad mini
Aspect Ratio4:3
Manufacturer Part NumberME840B/A
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.apple.com/uk
Marketing InformationWe've expanded the definition of mini.

iPad mini was designed to give you nothing less than the full iPad experience. So when we thought about which enhancements to bring to the new iPad mini, there was only one answer:all of them. We packed a Retina display, the A7 chip, the M7 coprocessor, advanced wireless, and more into its small form. It has a huge amount of power and capability, but it's still nice and mini.

Package Contents
  • iPad mini with Retina Display
  • Lightning to USB Cable
  • 10W USB Power Adapter
  • Limited Warranty1 Year