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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What's the iPad mini 3 good at? The basics. And that now includes calling.

"WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? ARE YOU MAD?" I can hear you thinking. But it's true. If you own an iPhone running iOS 8, and an iPad mini 3 linked to the same iCloud account, you can easily make and receive calls from the tablet thanks to the new Handoff feature baked into Apple's new operating systems.

iPad mini 3 review

With Handoff and an iPhone 6, you can make calls from your iPad

It's a really nice system actually - in that it's so simple. iPhone in bag and tablet on the desk with you? Get a call and it will show on all your iCloud connected devices, and you can answer using the iPad mini 3's inbuilt speaker and microphones.

You can even dial out through the contacts app - this is a really nice touch, although the contacts app is still woefully underpowered. Linking a contact to a social network is a nightmare - even the automatic linking seems to be confused.

Sometimes a tap will take you to the right Twitter account. Sometimes a linked Facebook account will appear, only to just open the app and nothing else.

Either way, there's no dialler, so you'd better hope that you've got the name in your contacts book. Or just stop being lazy and get your iPhone out.

Messaging and emails

The best thing about iMessage is that it's pervasive across your Apple devices. Receive an Apple-powered message from your phone, see it on your tablet. The same, sadly, isn't true for the humble text message, so it's a bit of a disjointed system, but good when you get up and running.

As iOS 8 now allows you to use other keyboards as well, it's the quality of the inbuilt one is less of an issue, but it's actually now got to the point where I'd use the default option over a third party choice. Apart from GIF keyboard, but mostly because that's funny.

The range of emojis with iOS 8.3 on board is also increased, with more variation and choice to play with.

iPad mini 3 review

Apple's keyboard is so good, third party options are moot

The keys are accurate and expansive, and in landscape mode work really well. It's especially good for Mail, as you can rattle through a few emails on your lap without worry, and the unified inboxes are useful for power-mailing.

The only downside is that searching through archived messages on Gmail is a nightmare, but then again the official Gmail app isn't bad and easily available.

The last thing to talk about is Facetime, with the new and improved... wait, no, exactly the same camera as last year. This means a 1.2MP camera, but it's HD and does more than well enough when showing other people what you look like in a hotel room in another part of the world.

The quality is high and works well - even Facetime Audio is loud and clear and a good way to get past tricky roaming charges.

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.