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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While there are numerous good big screen tablets the selection of compact slates is rather more lacking, especially since the most recent Nexus 7 has been discontinued.

The iPad mini 3 doesn't have a huge amount of competition then, but there are still a handful of tablets that give it a serious run for its money, including others by Apple.

iPad mini 2

iPad mini 2

Oddly the iPad mini 3's main competitor is arguably the iPad mini 2. Apple's older slate is still on sale, now at a lower price, making it more affordable than the iPad mini 3.

Yet the iPad mini 3 doesn't deliver the big jump in specs you might expect. In fact all that's really changed is that Touch ID has been added.

There's no denying that Touch ID is a useful feature, but useful enough to justify the extra outlay for the iPad mini 3? We're not so sure.

If you absolutely have to own the latest and greatest slate available then of course you should pick the mini 3 over the mini 2, but the iPad mini 2 is just as powerful, just as well built and significantly cheaper.

Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact

Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact

The Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is one of the iPad mini 3's closest Android competitors. The Z3 Tablet Compact's 8.0-inch screen is almost exactly the same size as the iPad mini 3's, though it's not quite as sharp.

Its mostly plastic construction isn't as premium either, but it is slimmer than the mini 3 at just 6.4mm thick and lighter at 270g. It's also water and dust resistant, which means there's slightly less need for a case.

The Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact also benefits from a microSD card slot so you can bulk up the storage and it's a little bit cheaper than Apple's slate.

With plenty of power and a long-lasting battery it's pretty close to being a perfect compact tablet, but for screen clarity and build quality the iPad mini 3 has it beat.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4

Galaxy Tab S 8.4

While Samsung's smartphones are major iPhone competitors the company has struggled to make a real iPad rival, but with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S it's come closer than ever.

The 8.4-inch model is an obvious alternative to the iPad mini 3. The display is a little bigger, a little sharper and a little more vibrant. In fact it's got one of the best tablet screens around.

It's also slimmer and lighter than the iPad mini 3, more powerful and has a similarly long battery life. Really the only significant way the iPad mini 3 has it beat is in its design, as the Tab S might be slimmer and lighter but it's also clad in plastic, so it doesn't look anywhere near as premium.

But with a slightly lower price the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 is undoubtedly the better buy, unless you're really wedded to iOS.

iPad Air 2

iPad Air 2

The iPad Air 2 is less of a direct competitor than the other slates in this list, but if you're considering an iPad mini 3 then you've likely at least glanced at its larger sibling.

We wouldn't blame you either, as while the mini 3 is an exceedingly minor upgrade on the iPad mini 2, the iPad Air 2 is a true flagship slate, standing tall above both the original iPad Air and the iPad mini 3, thanks primarily to its more powerful processor.

Of course that extra power and the larger size does make it more expensive and if you're after a compact slate specifically then the 9.7-inch iPad Air 2 probably won't work for you.

But if money and size are no object it's not only the best iPad but the best tablet and the closest thing to a perfect slate we've ever seen.

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.