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.
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.
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.