iPad mini 2 with Retina display review

A great tablet that still costs a little too much

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When it comes to all manner of media, the iPad mini 2 is a great device to consume the content you want on the go.

It starts at 16GB capacity, but 4GB of this eaten up straight out of the box, which means we can only recommend you start with the 32GB version for your media collection.

Given we had managed to suck up 12GB just by downloading a couple of TV programs, three HD games and plonked on a lot of music, that's not going to last well over the course of your ownership.

We're really rather frustrated that Apple hasn't scrapped the 16GB iteration of the iPad mini, as it's going to annoy a lot of buyers who go for the cheapest option thinking they're getting a good deal, when in reality it's going to be a compromised performance for many when they have to start deleting content.

You do at least have the option of the 128GB option as the highest tier device now, which is a nice move, but again begs the question of whether Apple is aiming the mini 2 at the productivity space.


The audio performance of the iPad mini 2 is hugely impressive, even with the most basic of earbuds on offer.

There are plenty of other reviews out there that seem to gloss over the fact that the iPad is as much a media-centric device as anything else, and no matter how many streaming services you subscribe to, the output is always going to be limited by the hardware.

iPad Mini 2 review

But what Apple has done, and to be honest, always managed to do, is bring refined audio output to a system that commands a premium price.

Through a decent pair of headphones it's possible to capture all the nuance of high-bitrate audio, and even streamed to an external speaker via Bluetooth things don't sound as muddy and horrendous as they might on other devices.

It's a much more compelling option as a portable music player because it has the same audio performance as the Air, yet is so much easier to sling in a bag or even a generous pocket.

It also makes the interface feel a little less stretched out, thanks to there being less screen estate to go around.

iPad Mini 2 review

On top of that, the lock screen has excellent integration for third party apps, so the likes of Spotify feel as much a part of the iPad mini 2 as its own music player.

So while sonically we're enamored, the interface still feels like, as with other elements in iOS 7 for iPad, it's designed for an iPhone and stretched up.

iPad Mini 2 review

We get that it's meant to be a simple way to show as many songs as possible, and appreciate the widgets on the lock screen and in the Control Center. However, can't we have a more beautiful interface? You can either have a long list of songs with a tiny controller at the top, or a Now Playing screen that is surrounded by bland and unsubtle white.

What happened to the Cover Flow beauty of the first iPhone? Where did that go? It's made even worse by the fact that finally we have a processor that can keep up with all the artwork, yet all we get is this pool of limpid uninterestingness.


Video on the iPad mini 2 is excellent. There's no other way to describe it. You've got sharp images, a large screen and, the black bars aside thanks to the 4:3 screen ratio, a thoroughly immersive experience.

However, it's not the best out there. You can argue that the larger iPad Air and the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX both have better screens when it comes to color reproduction, giving a more natural-looking experience.

iPad Mini 2 review

But ones you've plopped your favorite movies onto the iPad mini 2, you're in a very good place indeed. The 7.9 inch screen is a really portable size that means you can cart the mini 2 around with you without getting wrist ache from too much watching.

The range of movie codes supported is still disappointing though, with MP4 really the main one that will be supported. iTunes is still an infuriating platform to use to get video onto your iPad – for instance, we needed to encode our battery test video into 1080p from 1080p just to allow it on.

Compare this to the drag-and-drop nature of Android and you'll see that there's still a disparity between the systems.

However, once it's on there, things generally look really good, and that's what matter. Yes, unknown files will have odd thumbnails, but for the most part everything this slick.

You've also got the added bonus that a number of Blu-ray discs now come with an iPad-compatible copy of the film, where Android has to make do with Ultraviolet. Apple's method is so simple and works just as well as if you'd paid far over the odds for a simple TV show or movie from its own store.

We're getting sick of moaning about the cost of videos on the iTunes store, but at least the breadth is getting seriously wide – if you've got an Apple TV you'll wonder how you ever spent so many nights in BlockBusters trying to choose a film to rent.


Tech Specs

Product TypeTablet
Flash Memory Capacity128 GB
Processor ManufacturerApple
Graphics Controller ManufacturerImagination Technologies
Graphics Controller ModelPowerVR G6430
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeNo
Maximum Battery Run Time10 Hour
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
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)
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