iPad mini 2 review

A great tablet that still costs a little too much

Apple iPad mini 2 unveiled
The best mini tablet just got better

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The internet browser on the iPad mini 2 needs to be impressive, as otherwise one of the key functions for this device is really negated thanks to the excellent Retina screen.

While you might not be seeing much of an upgrade over older iPads in terms of functionality, the speed in overall use of the device is definitely something to be lauded.

iPad Mini 2 review

Safari wasn't neglected in the iOS 9 upgrade, and Apple's own browser now supports third-party ad-blockers. A new sidebar, tab view and full-screen view were introduced back in iOS 8.

The bar is actually chock-full of functionality in the same way as its Android counterpart, although there's perhaps a spot more relevance to everything that's run with the mini 2.

For instance, the reading mode is just a simple icon of text lines in the URL bar, allowing you to easily switch to a more text-friendly mode.

iPad Mini 2 review

It's a little irritating that you can't sync this with Pocket, though, as while you might be fine using the 'Saved for Later' function of Safari on the iPad, if you're not using an iPhone as your smartphone there's no central repository for all the articles you want to read later.

At least if you copy the URL of the site you're reading the app can intelligently work out that you might want to save it to Pocket – but when you can share links over Facebook and Twitter with such ease then it doesn't seem fair that other popular apps aren't supported.

Of course this is completely subjective, and something I would have expected from Apple a few years ago. It's become more relaxed about working with partners recently, however, so perhaps the functionality will come. (Safari on iOS now supports extensions as well).

In reality, all these reading modes don't mean much when you've got such a speedy and responsive browser.

iPad Mini 2 review

The iPad mini 2 was one of the first tablets to use MIMO wireless connectivity, allowing for a stronger and faster Wi-Fi connection. In reality this means that you can wander further from the router and still get access to the internet when you've decided against shelling out for the cellular version of the iPad.

I've covered this in the Battery section in more depth, so check that out if you want to find out how the new mini compares to the original in terms of speed.

The Retina display, which finally arrived on Apple's small slates with the iPad mini 2, is really bright and clear for reading stories on the go, and the 7.9-inch screen gives you so much more room to work with over the iPhone 6S or even the iPhone 6S Plus.

It's no surprise that Apple would make strides in this area, although text wrapping when zoomed in could still do with some work.

However, the internet browser on the iPad mini 2 is one to be rather respected, as it does what it needs to do with considerable aplomb.

Whether you want to see a list of shared links from Twitter (which is a rather underrated feature, drawing only the tweets from your friends that contain links) or save articles to check out when you don't have connectivity, there's little the iPad can't do.

If you're in a family home with a number of Apple devices then you can easily share links using AirDrop, and this will be useful for those that hate doing the same over messaging or Facebook - although with iMessage, it's hardly a chore.

I would say that something like Google Chrome is a better bet if you're a fan of simplicity though, as over time I found that I never used things like the Reader mode or the integrated quick link.

Chrome, on the other hand, is simple and unobtrusive and connects to Google accounts well too. I'm not saying that Safari is a bad browser or anything, but it's worth thinking about the options at times.

But Apple has kept things simple on both functionality and the interface on the iPad mini 2's internet browser, and that makes a lot of sense to me.

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.