Round up of Retina iPad mini reviews

BY Gautam Prabhu

Published 15 Nov 2013

retina ipad mini hero

The unexpected launch of the Retina iPad mini earlier in the week caught everyone by surprise, including the folks who got review units.

So many of the well known tech writers and critics have just published reviews of the Retina iPad mini.

Here’s what some of them had to say about the iPad mini with Retina Display.

Scott Stein of CNET:

The good: The iPad Mini with Retina Display adds an excellent high-resolution display that rivals the iPad Air’s, a far faster A7 processor, and tops it off with improved Wi-Fi and LTE connectivity, with battery life that’s as good or better than in last year’s Mini.

The bad: A starting price of $399 places it well above the small-tablet competition, and adding more storage or LTE makes it even more expensive. It lacks the innovative Touch ID fingerprint sensor that the iPhone 5S sports.

The bottom line: The new iPad Mini somehow shrinks down the iPad Air into an even more compact package, sacrificing nearly nothing. It’s more expensive than before, but it’s also the perfect smaller tablet.

David Pierce of The Verge:

For some users, saving money might be the right idea, too: the Nexus 7 is a fantastic device for reading and watching movies, and as long as Google’s Play Store has the apps you need it’s absolutely worth considering.

If you’re buying a tablet to keep, though, one to explore and grow into, the App Store becomes an absolute trump card. You’re paying $170 for access to 475,000 apps, including virtually all of the best options designed for a larger screen. Android can’t touch the iOS ecosystem on tablets. [..]

[..] On the other hand, what if you want to buy an iPad? Which one do you buy? [..]

[..] In talking to people about the new iPads, I’ve found everyone has an instinctive reaction — some people like the portability and smaller package of the mini, others appreciate the large screen of the Air. Some are price-conscious, others weight-conscious, others space-conscious, but everyone seems to lean one way or the other.

To those people, I say: go for it. You can’t lose. I’d buy a mini for myself, because I love having something that doesn’t take up much space in my bag and that I can wield even on a crowded subway. But the mini is now so beautiful and so immersive that you’ll never want to look away from the screen, and the Air now so portable and usable that you’ll rarely need to put it down. The mini used to be the lesser one, the reductive one, the one you bought if you couldn’t fit or afford the iPad. Now it’s just the smaller one.

Christina Bonnington of Wired:

The iPad mini is exactly the type of product we expect from Apple. Stunning good looks, a display so high resolution it’d take a magnifying glass to pick out the pixels, and unparalleled performance. This is the smaller iPad that should have debuted last year, but hey, better late than never.

Sascha Segan of PCMag:

The bigger concern is that the mini’s small-tablet competitors all cost much less, and they’re also great devices.

[..] So you’re paying $170 extra here (up from last year’s $120 difference) to get iOS apps rather than Android apps. If you’re an iPhone user, or you’re attracted by unique iOS exclusives like the Infinity Blade series of games, Toca Boca kids’ apps, or the iWork office suite, that investment will probably be worth it. But I think all of those apps play even better on the big iPad. If you’re looking for cross-platform applications like Kindle book reading, comics reading, casual games, or Web browsing, you can get them on a great tablet that costs a lot less. That makes the iPad mini a very highly rated tablet, but still not quite our Editors’ Choice.

Mark Spoonauer of Laptop Mag:

The iPad mini with Retina Display is simultaneously a splurge compared with 7-inch Android tablets and one heck of a value in the context of Apple’s own tablet lineup. For $100 less than the full-size iPad Air, you get the same sharp screen resolution and blazing A7 chip in a more compact design. We prefer the color saturation and black levels on the Air’s screen — and some will like having the extra real estate on the Air’s display for content creation — but the mini delivers a lot for the money.

On the other hand, for the $399 starting price of the new iPad mini, you could pick up a very fast new Amazon Kindle HDX ($229) and a Kindle Fire HD ($139) and still have money left over for some apps, games and movies. The reason why we think the mini is worth the premium is Apple’s superior tablet apps selection, its larger and sharper display, better design and much longer battery life. Overall, the iPad mini is the best midsize tablet on the market.

Now that the Retina iPad mini reviews are in (in case you were waiting for them), let me know if you plan to buy it.