iPad mini review

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

iPad Mini review
The definitive iPad mini review

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Apple led the way when it came to mobile browsers back in 2007, and five years later the same structure is still giving a decent mobile experiences on a multitude of screen sizes.

The iPad mini Safari browser is an excellent implementation, despite its age; while it lacks some of the impressive bells and whistles of its competitors, the simplicity of being able to scoot between web pages with ease is enough of a trade-off for many.

ipad mini review

The browser is fast enough too, although the A5 processor isn't able to match the speed of its iPad 4 brother over the same Wi-Fi connection, which can render pages a few seconds faster in our tests. It's no slouch, but in the pantheon of other devices which launched at around the same time (including the Google Nexus 7) can all chuck the text and pictures we want to see together in a much more impressive time, while newer devices are even faster.

The display resolution isn't too bad for the browsing experience thankfully; with the low-res effort we were worried zoomed-out text would look illegible until we double-tapped or pinched to get closer, but it's good enough for those without eyesight problems to be able to see effectively.

As we mentioned, the iPad mini browser is fairly feature-light, but what it does have is useful. For instance, sharing a web page, printing it out (as long as you have an AirPlay printer connected) and sending the link via mail or Facebook is a simple as tapping the icon, and the integrated nature of the tablet means there's no confusion over what it's doing.

Similarly, we loved the offline reading function - while, again, this isn't a new feature on a mobile device or an Apple product, the portability of the iPad mini puts it in a lovely spot between the iPhone (which can be too small for reading longer articles) and the larger iPad (which can be a hassle to get out on the train compared to the pocket-size of the iPad mini... well, large pockets, that is) for reading the things you don't have time to.

The list is easy to view when trying to find the article you want to read, and the icon to save for offline reading is again easy to hit (in the sharing section).

ipad mini review

The other feature, and one that's been around for a while is the Reader option, where tagging the feature in the URL bar will give you a cut-down version of the article you're reading without all the unnecessary features that mobile advertising brings.

Again, the iPad mini is the best device for reading the articles you really care about on the go, and beats its budget tablet competition hands down in this area.

Apple should be commended here as well for sticking to its guns in the mobile video arena and eschewing Flash - while its reasoning for not including it previously as a standard in its web browser was suspect, the upshot is we now have a cleaner video format for mobile devices that isn't as convoluted to use.

On the iPad mini, while the video experience isn't as good as it could be thanks to the screen resolution, for web video and clips its excellent, and the speed of loading is more than acceptable. It means sites like the BBC offer nearly all its online content with ease, rather than the frustrating 'Flash is not supported on your device' message we all sadly had to get used to.

There are a few things that irk us when it comes to the web browser on the iPad mini - and not just the slower speeds, which aren't necessary when you consider that the cheaper competition is able to provide a much speedier experience.

Not being able to perform functions like finding text on a page or reflowing text to fill the screen as you zoom in are elements we wish Apple would offer, despite knowing that it never will. It would add to the experience immensely, and give a good reason to consider the competition.

But overall the iPad mini web experience, while rather last-gen, is still one of the best around. It brings ease of use and acceptable speeds while providing an excellent wide screen size to actually see and read the things you want to, either on the sofa or on the go.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.