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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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 I can only recommend you go with the 32GB version for your media collection.

Given I 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.

I'm 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 did at least have the option of the 128GB option as the highest tier device when the mini 2 launched, but that's now been discontinued, and you'll have to plump for the latest and greatest iPad mini 4 to get that much storage.


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 real 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.

The refreshed Apple Music app (now with added streaming) looks much better than its predecessor on the iPad, with a nice blend of functional tools and cover art.

The Now Playing screen takes color cues from the artwork of the song you're listening to, and while the playlists screen remains rather sparse, the music app that comes with the iPad mini 2 now has the visual appeal to match its audio quality.

iPad Mini 2 review


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 2 and the Amazon Kindle Fire tablets have better screens when it comes to color reproduction, giving a more natural-looking experience.

iPad Mini 2 review

But once 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 codecs 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, I needed to re-encode the battery test video just to get 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 matters. Yes, unknown files will have odd thumbnails, but for the most part everything is 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.

I'm 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.

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.