iPad mini 3 review

If you aren't desperate for Touch ID, this tablet offers very little

iPad Mini 3 review
Nowhere near enough of an upgrade

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There's nothing wrong with the way the iPad mini 3 performs under the finger. It's mostly stable enough, with very little in the way of crashing. However, it's always worth checking back on these reviews as such gremlins can show their face after a few weeks' use.

However, the general interface is as simple as you'd expect. iOS 8.3 works as well here as it does on the iPhone range, but with added features to make it a little more stable and usable.

iPad mini 3 review

iOS 8 is a little more stable in a tablet environment

The main interface is a simple layout: grids of app icons as before. But swipe around and you'll see some features that really help it feel like a next generation product. For instance, on the lock screen you can swipe an email and archive or mark as read without even unlocking your tablet.

If you're playing a game and a message comes in, swipe down on the top notification and you'll be able to send a reply without having to exit the app and possibly lose vital points or places in a race.

iPad mini 3 review

Control Center gives easy access to settings, whatever you're doing

Then there's the Control Center, which isn't perhaps new but does give an always-available place to set the volume, brightness, connect or disconnect to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, turn on the torch and set up the calculator.

It might not sound like much (and man alive, it can be hard to drag it up from the bottom of the screen sometimes) but it's good that it's so pervasive throughout the tablet.

The notifications bar has been given an overhaul too, with widgets in the Today section providing a really useful feature.

Whether it's offering your flight info from BA (if you've got the app installed), or enabling you to bid on ending items from eBay without leaving your app, it's a really novel way of doing things.

However, there aren't that many apps that can take advantage of this right now, which is a bit of a shame. Hopefully that will increase in the future.

The general interface is easy to use. It annoyingly doesn't have the home button double tap feature from the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus (where hitting that button twice without pressing it will cause half the screen to drop down within easy reach of your digits). I say annoyingly because this would have been a really nice way to use the mini 3 one-handed.

I don't know why Apple doesn't just put the back button at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. It would solve all the problems.

iPad mini 3 review

The iPad mini 3 benchmarks marginally lower than the mini 2

The performance of the iPad mini 3 is fine, although not as responsive when it comes to the touchscreen as the iPad Air 2 as it doesn't pack the same new technology for improved finger accuracy.

It also scores ever so slightly lower in the benchmarking tests compared to the iPad mini 2. I'm talking single digit percentages (2,478 compared to 2,481 on the GeekBench 3 test) showing that, again, you're getting nothing here that you wouldn't on last year's model, save for being able to use the fingerprint scanner for security and payments.

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.