IPad mini retina Wi-Fi. Apple iPad Mini 2 (A1489) Wi-Fi Only

Apple iPad Mini 2 (A1489) Wi-Fi Only

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If you aren’t 100% happy with your phone just return it to us in the same condition within 30 days for a refund of the purchase price.

Up to 12 Month Warranty

If you have any issues with the phone in the first 6-12 months, we will repair, replace, or refund the device.

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Our phones are network unlocked, meaning you can use any compatible SIM card on your device (unless very clearly stated in the listing)

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Industry leading inspection process, Every single product undergoes an extensive 72 point inspection process that ensures that it meets the high standards that you deserve.

Thin and Light Design

iPad mini 2 is incredibly powerful and capable, with advanced features like iSight and FaceTime HD cameras. Yet you can still hold it in one hand.

7.9-Inch Retina Display

Photos and videos look incredibly detailed and text is razor sharp on the stunning Retina display, which features over 3.1 million pixels a million more than an HDTV.

The powerful and power-efficient A7 chip with 64-bit architecture makes everything remarkably responsive while still delivering up to 10 hours of battery life.

Please note that this iPad cannot be upgraded past 10.3.5, and some newer apps will not work on older operating systems.

  • 1 x Apple iPad Mini 2 A1489 All Colours Wi-Fi Only AU Model
  • 1 x Lightning Cable
  • 1 x Wall Charger
  • 1 x Securely packed in retail white box

Cosmetic Grading

All items are graded based on their cosmetic appearance as GOOD, GREAT, EXCELLENT, AS NEW OR BRAND NEW. Certified Tech Direct are very careful to make sure that we correctly grade the devices but ultimately it is a subjective exercise. We supply indicative photos in the listing to give you a clear guide of what you can expect and we have a grading video that details examples of the various grade options available.

If you have any concerns at all upon receiving your phone please contact us via email and we will work with you to get a fair resolution. Please don’t open a return case before discussing it with our team.

As New – Device is as close to a brand new device as possible. Marks, if ever, will be microscopic.

Excellent – Device looks “as new” (only microscopic surface marks or very fine scratches). This phone is ex-demo or change of mind return and is very lightly used.

Great – Device is in very good cosmetic condition, shows light signs of wear (minor surface scratches or scuff marks). The device has been very well looked after and is in very tidy condition.

Good – Device has been used and shows signs of normal wear and tear (surface scratches and marks). Our best value option. Functions 100% is backed by our 30-day satisfaction guarantee and 12-month warranty.

Battery Performance

All phone batteries have different capacity and the amount of time that they will last depends on capacity and type of usage. Certified Tech Direct tests every battery to ensure that it is above 80% of its original manufactured capacity.

From time to time the capacity of the battery drops unexpectedly, causing issues. Batteries ARE covered by warranty – to take advantage of this warranty please contact us at customer.support@certifiedtechdirect.com.au and we will diagnose the problem and resolve it for you immediately.

HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100

30 Days 100% Satisfaction Guarantee

We know that you will be delighted by the phone we send you and we back that with a 30-Day satisfaction guarantee. If you aren’t 100% happy with your phone just return it to us in the same condition for a full refund.

All you need to do is contact us within thirty (30) days of receiving your phone. If the return is for change of mind you will need to pay the return postage.

Terms Conditions. 30 Days 100% Satisfaction Guarantee

12 Month Repair or Replacement Warranty

All refurbished mobile phones, tablets, and smartwatches are tested to the highest standards and we stand behind their quality. If you have any issues with the phone in the first 12 months we will repair or replace the device.

Accessories supplied with your devices such as wall chargers, earphones, and cables are covered by Certified Tech Direct’s 3-Month Warranty

BRAND NEW Products come with Manufacturer Warranty as stated in the product description.

Refurbished Accessories sold separately are also covered by Certified Tech Direct’s 3-Month Warranty

Terms Conditions. 12 Month Repair or Replacement Warranty

  • Orders placed starting December 1, 2020 are entitled to Certified Tech Direct’s 12 month warranty
  • This warranty covers any faults that occur in the first 12 months after receiving the device. This excludes faults caused by the way the device is treated and/or used by the customer (e.g. physical damage, water ingress, installation of non-manufacturer software)
  • You are required to obtain a Return Authorisation from the Certified Tech Direct Customer Service Team before returning the item. Repairs or replacement will not be processed until the item has been received and inspected by a Certified Tech Direct representative.
  • The item must be received within thirty (30) days of Certified Tech Direct issuing the Return Authorisation code to you.
  • If the device damage is found to be caused by the customer and their usage of the device it will not be covered by warranty and will be returned to the customer without repair. This will be done at the customer’s expense.
  • Once warranty claim is deemed valid, Certified Tech Direct may, at its discretion:
  • Replace the device (for a like condition device of the same model) OR
  • Repair the identified fault

CertifiedTechDirect Care Program

CertifiedTechDirect now offers an additional 12-Month Warranty which gives you additional coverage on possible wear-and-tear that you may experience with your refurbished mobile devices and tablets.

What is NOT covered: This Extended Warranty does not cover the following:

  • Any physical damage, including but not limited to cracked or broken screens.
  • Any device that has internal evidence of liquid damage.
  • Any damage that is deemed induced by the customer.

What is covered: The warranty covers issues or defects with any part of the device as long as the warranty terms have been followed, including but not limited to:

  • faults with the speakers
  • charging port
  • buttons (power, volume rocker)
  • microphone, and
  • screen (as long as no physical damage is present).

CertifiedTechDirect Care Program Terms and Conditions

Active dates. The CertifiedTechDirect Care Program begins exactly twelve (12) months after the date of purchase of the product and end exactly 24 months from the purchase date.

Pricing. The CertifiedTechDirect Care Program pricing will depend on the total price of a device (excluding discount vouchers applied).

Cancellation. Either CertifiedTechDirect or the customer holds the right to cancel the Care Program Agreement with 30 days written notice.


If you have any questions or feedback regarding an order please contact us through eBay messages. We have people standing by to answer your questions and generally respond to all message within a couple of hours during business hours.

Please keep in mind that our regular days of trade and store hours are Monday. Friday 9AM. 5PM AEST. We are unable to respond to any questions outside those times. We do not trade on public holidays in the state of New South Wales, Australia and will not be able to respond to questions on these days either.

For Customer Support enquiries please contact us at customer.support@certifiedtechdirect.com.au

You are required to obtain a return authorisation from the Certified Tech Direct Customer Service Team before returning any item. Repair, refund or replacement will not be processed until the item has been received and inspected by a Certified Tech Direct representative.

To get a return authorisation please contact us at customer.support@certifiedtechdirect.com.au

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Condition Grading

As New – Device is as close to a brand new device as possible. Marks, if ever, will be microscopic.

Excellent – The device looks “as new” (only microscopic surface marks or very fine scratches). This phone is an ex-demo or change of mind return and is very lightly used.

Great – The device is in very good cosmetic condition, and shows light signs of wear (minor surface scratches or scuff marks). The device has been very well looked after and is in very tidy condition.

Good – Device has been used and shows signs of normal wear and tear (surface scratches and marks). Our best value option. Functions 100% is backed by our 30-day satisfaction guarantee and 12-month warranty.

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What’s covered?

CertifiedTechDirect now offers an extended 12-Month Warranty which gives you additional coverage on possible wear-and-tear that you may experience with your refurbished mobile devices and tablets.

What’s not covered?

  • Any damage or malfunction caused by liquid/water
  • Wear and tear and cosmetic damages that do not affect the device functionality
  • Any damages arising out of negligence or intentional malpractice
  • Any loss/deletion/corruption of any data stored on the device
  • Loss/stolen device


Our customer service agents are waiting to help you. Email customer.support@certifiedtechdirect.com.au Call (02) 8880 9977 ABN 35 658 451 391


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Terms Conditions

Welcome to our website. If you continue to browse and use this website, you are agreeing to comply with and be bound by the following terms and conditions of use, which together with our privacy policy govern Certified Tech Direct Pty Ltd’s relationship with you in relation to this website. If you disagree with any part of these terms and conditions, please do not use our website.

The term ‘Certified Tech Direct Pty Ltd’ or ‘us’ or ‘we’ refers to the owner of the website whose registered office is Warehouse 104.2 2-6 Leonardo Dr EAGLE FARM QLD 4009. Our ABN is 35 658 451 391. The term ‘you’ refers to the user or viewer of our website.

The use of this website is subject to the following terms of use:

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Privacy Policy

This Privacy Policy sets out our commitment to protecting the privacy of personal information provided to us, or otherwise collected by us, offline or online, including through our website (Site). In this Privacy Policy we, us or our means Commodore International Holdings Pty Ltd, ABN 71 600 400 780.

Personal information

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We may collect these types of personal information directly from you or from third parties.

Collection and use of personal information

We may collect, hold, use and disclose personal information for the following purposes:

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Disclosure of personal information to third parties

We may disclose personal information to:

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By providing us with personal information, you acknowledge that some third parties may not be regulated by the Privacy Act and the Australian Privacy Principles in the Privacy Act and if any third party engages in any act or practice that contravenes the Australian Privacy Principles, it would not be accountable under the Privacy Act and you will not be able to seek redress under the Privacy Act.


Google’s advertising requirements can be summed up by Google’s Advertising Principles. They are put in place to provide a positive experience for users. https://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/1316548?hl=en

We use Google AdSense Advertising on our website.

Google, as a third-party vendor, uses cookies to serve ads on our site. Google’s use of the DART cookie enables it to serve ads to our users based on previous visits to our site and other sites on the Internet. Users may opt-out of the use of the DART cookie by visiting the Google Ad and Content Network privacy policy.

COPPA (Children Online Privacy Protection Act) of the U.S.A

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 is a United States federal law, located at 15 U.S.C. §§ 6501–6506. When it comes to the collection of personal information from children under the age of 13 years old, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) puts parents in control. The Federal Trade Commission, United States’ consumer protection agency, enforces the COPPA Rule, which spells out what operators of websites and online services must do to protect children’s privacy and safety online.

We do not specifically market to children under the age of 13 years old.

Your rights and controlling your personal information

Choice and consent: Please read this Privacy Policycarefully. By providing personal information to us, you consent to uscollecting, holding, using and disclosing your personal information inaccordance with this Privacy Policy. You do not have to provide personal informationto us, however, if you do not, it may affect your use of this Site or theproducts and/or services offered on or through it.

Information from third parties:If we receive personal information about you from a third party, we willprotect it as set out in this Privacy Policy. If you are a third partyproviding personal information about somebody else, you represent and warrantthat you have such person’s consent to provide the personal information to us.

Restrict: If you have previously agreed to us using your personalinformation for direct marketing purposes, you may change your mind at any timeby contacting us using the details below.

Access: You may request details of the personal information thatwe hold about you. An administrative fee may be payable for the provision ofsuch information.

Correction: If you believe that any information we hold about you isinaccurate, out of date, incomplete, irrelevant or misleading, please contactus using the details below. We will take reasonable steps to correct anyinformation found to be inaccurate, incomplete, misleading or out of date.

Complaints: If you wish to make a complaint about how we havehandled your personal information, please contact us using the details belowand provide us with full details of the complaint. We will promptly investigateyour complaint and respond to you, in writing, setting out the outcome of ourinvestigation and the steps we will take to deal with your complaint.

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We arecommitted to ensuring that the personal information we collect is secure. Inorder to prevent unauthorised access or disclosure, we have put in placesuitable physical, electronic and managerial procedures to safeguard and securethe personal nformation and protect it from misuse, interference, loss andunauthorised access, modification and disclosure.

We cannotguarantee the security of any information that is transmitted to or by us over the Internet. The transmission and exchange of information is carried out atyour own risk. Although we take measures to safeguard against unauthoriseddisclosures of information, we cannot assure you that the personal informationwe collect will not be disclosed in a manner that is inconsistent with this Privacy Policy.

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We may use cookies on our Site from time to time. Cookies are text files placed in your computer’s browser to store your preferences. Cookies, by themselves, do nottell us your email address or other personally identifiable information. However, they do allow third parties, such as Google and. to cause our advertisements to appear on your social media and online media feeds as part of our retargeting campaigns. If and when you choose to provide our Site with personal information, this information may be linked to the data stored in the cookie.

We may useweb beacons on our Site from time to time. Web beacons (also known as ClearGIFs) are small pieces of code placed on a web page to monitor the visitor’sbehaviour and collect data about the visitor’s viewing of a web page. For example, web beacons can be used to count the users who visit a web page or todeliver a cookie to the browser of a visitor viewing that page.

Links to other websites

Our Site may contain links to other websites. We do not have any control over those websitesand we are not responsible for the protection and privacy of any personal information which you provide whilst visiting those websites. Those websitesare not governed by this Privacy Policy.


The CAN-SPAM Act is a law that sets the rules for commercial email, establishes requirements for commercial messages, gives recipients the right to have emails stopped from being sent to them, and spells out tough penalties for violations.

We collect your email address in order to:

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  • Market to our mailing list or continue to send emails to our clients after the original transaction has occurred.

To be in accordance with CAN SPAM, we agree to the following:

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If at any time you would like to unsubscribe from receiving future emails, you can follow the instructions at the bottom of each email customer.support@certifiedtechdirect.com.au and we will promptly remove you from ALL correspondence.


We may, atany time and at our discretion, vary this Privacy Policy by publishing theamended Privacy Policy on our Site. We recommend you check our Site regularlyto ensure you are aware of our current Privacy Policy.

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For any questions or notices, please contact our Privacy Officer at: Commodore International Holdings Pty Ltd ABN 71 600 400 780 Email: customer.support@certifiedtechdirect.com.au

Apple iPad mini 2 Review

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Article Index

Each and every year, Apple refreshes their tablet line-up with new hardware and new features. The full sized iPad got faster, lighter, slimmer and even received a new name (iPad Air), while the second-generation mini is more impressive than ever, thanks to a major update.

Apple iPad mini (2nd-gen). 399. 829

  • 7.9, 2048 x 1536 IPS LCD display (326 ppi)
  • Apple A7 SoC
  • 1.3 GHz dual-core CPU, PowerVR G6430 GPU, 1GB RAM
  • 16, 32, 64 or 128 GB internal storage
  • 5 MP camera, f/2.4 lens, 1080p video
  • 23.8 Wh battery
  • Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, LTE optional
  • iOS 7
  • 331-341 grams, 7.5mm thick

This new iPad mini comes with a Retina display: a high-resolution 7.9-inch panel whose resolution is on-par with the Air at 2048 x 1536, bringing 326 pixels per inch. Not only that, but Apple’s new A7 system on a chip is included, alongside a larger battery in a shell that’s nearly identical in size to the original iPad mini. Some aspects of the device remain the same, such as the camera and the connectivity options, but it still has many new features that will hopefully satisfy.

With the Retina display in the second-generation iPad mini, Apple has increased the price on the base 16 GB Wi-Fi model from 329 to 399, making it one of the most expensive tablets of its size. However, past iPads have been of exceptional quality, so will this be the same for the iPad mini? Does the Retina display and faster processor make a worthy upgrade for first-gen owners?


Unsurprisingly, the iPad mini with Retina display looks very similar to previous iPads, utilizing a standard tablet design. Compared to the first-generation iPad mini, the Retina unit’s profile is identical at 200mm tall and 134.7mm wide, and comes in at 7.5mm thick; 0.3mm thicker than the original to accommodate the larger battery. It’s slightly heavier. 331 grams versus 308 grams for the Wi-Fi models. but still remains extremely portable.

In fact the iPad mini is a near-perfect size for anyone who’s looking for a smaller-classed tablet (see the unboxing here). It’s easy to use in one hand or two, the shape is comfortable and ergonomic, and there’s an adequate amount of bezel around the display that makes it great to use in landscape or portrait. Furthermore, while the bezel facilitates easy handling of the device, the display still covers approximately 72% of the front panel, which is better than competing devices like the Nexus 7 (62% coverage) and 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX (60%).

Apple’s industrial yet minimalist design continues with second-generation iPad mini. The front panel is plain, containing just the display, home button and front-facing camera, yet it looks as good as any previous iPad. Even though this model has been released after the iPhone 5s, there’s no Touch ID fingerprint sensor, meaning there’s no quick and secure unlocking method here.

The back features a typical tablet design: camera in the top left, shiny Apple logo in the middle, iPad branding at the bottom. With the front covered in protective glass, the back is equally tough thanks to its aluminium construction; aluminium which not only feels great to touch, but gives the iPad its usual premium look.

For this review I opted for a space grey model, which is lighter in color compared to the slate grey of the previous model, and looks fantastic. You get a black bezel around the display, which differs from the silver model that is paired with a white bezel, but both look great. I prefer the space grey design, however it really comes down to personal choice when picking a color for your tablet.

Around the edges is the usual arrangement of elements. The top edge has the power button and the headphone jack, the bottom has the Lightning connector and speaker grills, the left side is blank and the right side has the volume buttons and hold switch. All the buttons are accessible and feel solid to use, but it’s disappointing that there are only speakers on the right-hand side when the device is in landscape. Stereo speakers would be welcome on this media-centric device, however at least the large dual grill makes it hard to muffle the speaker when you’re holding it for gaming.

While there is the single-speaker issue, I generally have nothing but praise for the iPad mini with Retina display’s design. It’s well built, thanks to its premium aluminium construction, and nearly the perfect size for a portable, smaller tablet. I really like the space grey color option, with small but still functional black bezels and large display coverage.


The biggest upgrade to the iPad mini comes in the form of the display, which is now branded as ‘Retina’. In other words, the pixel density of the panel has received a significant bump from 163 pixels per inch (ppi) to 326 ppi, thanks to an increase in resolution to 2048 x 1536; the same resolution as the iPad Air. With over three times the original pixel count, the display should be significantly improved.

Pretty much any display that has over 300 pixels per inch looks great, especially those that are included on tablets. Generally you view a tablet further away from your eyes than a smartphone, which allows tablets more room to look awesome with lower pixel densities, and at 326 ppi the iPad mini definitely looks awesome. Text is crisp, images are crisp, videos are crisp, apps are crisp: basically, the sharpness is as fantastic as you’ve come to expect from previous Retina displays, and even better than the iPad Air.

The aspect ratio of the iPad mini’s display still remains 4:3, which isn’t ideal for watching most videos unless you enjoy significant letterboxing. However, a standard 16:9 video still takes up 7.2-inches diagonally, which makes it slightly larger than the video on a standard 7-inch Android tablet like the Nexus 7 (which is coincidentally the same height as the iPad mini). Where the 4:3 aspect ratio shines is in applications and web browsing, as more information is displayed on the screen, yet the tablet can still be held more comfortably than an 8-inch 16:9 tablet.

As far as the quality of the display is concerned, there are a few issues with the color gamut (as some other publications have noticed), which causes images to appear less saturated and vibrant as competing devices. Essentially the Retina iPad mini, like the first-generation iPad mini before it, falls short of reproducing the full sRGB color spectrum. Most other competing tablet displays, including the iPad Air, have a near-sRGB color gamut, so the iPad mini is noticeably lacking in this area.

While it can be proven through a colorimeter that the iPad mini’s display doesn’t have a full sRGB color gamut, will you notice it in everyday usage? In my time with the new Retina display, I found the moderate lack of saturation in images to be reasonably noticeable by itself, and very noticeable when compared with other displays like full-sized iPads, the Nexus 7 (2013) and my desktop PC monitors. When browsing the web and using apps it’s thankfully less of an issue, but people who demand quality will find the color quality of the iPad mini disappointing.

The good news is color gamut is the only major issue with the iPad mini’s Retina display. Black levels are very good, with all but two of the squares in a standard black level test pattern being discernable, as are white levels, which are very near 6500K. I didn’t notice any light bleeding around the edges of the panel, indicating a high quality backlight, nor were there any image retention issues with the model I received.

In terms of display brightness, the iPad mini with Retina display is reasonably bright, but not quite as bright as your typical smartphone. It is possible to read the iPad mini’s display outdoors and in strong lighting, however in some situations it can be hard, so I’d recommend finding shade where possible. The brightness range of the panel is decent and even, and the tablet does come with automatic brightness, even though it only adjusts each time you turn the display on, rather than continually.

The mini’s Retina display uses IPS and IGZO technology, meaning viewing angles are very good in nearly all situations, with minimal amounts of color and brightness deviation at off-angles. Whether you’re reading the device’s display front-on in your hands or at an angle on a desk, you should have no trouble thanks to the display’s strong performance in this area.

Aside from the disappointing color gamut of the Retina display used in the iPad mini, other areas perform well. The panel is the most crisp Apple has ever used in a tablet, making text and visual elements look terrific, generally speaking, and the size is fantastic for mostly everything you want to do on a tablet. If you’re not particularly concerned with the panel’s saturation (there’s a chance you won’t even notice), the second-generation iPad mini’s main attraction will suit you well.

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iPad mini 2 review

In 2012 Apple took the year-old 9.7-inch iPad 2, condensed it down to 7.9 inches, and re-launched it as the new iPad mini. Every inch an iPad, yet one of stark contrasts. a design from the future wrapped around technology from the past. It had an Apple A5 processor in the age of the Apple A6, and a 1024×768 standard density display in an age of 2048×1536 Retina. Still, for many, the lack of size mattered. Smaller, thinner, less expensive, and, most importantly, lighter than any iPad before it, the mini quickly found its way into s, purses, and hearts. It was such an incredibly good tiny tablet that otherwise incredibly discerning people. people who vowed never to go near a standard density display again. forgave it its shortcomings, even if its chunky pixels never let their eyes forget it. Enter the 2013 iPad mini with Retina display. Ever-so-slightly thicker, ever-so-slightly heavier, it manages to pack the full 2048×1536 resolution into an even higher density screen, and skips an entire processor generation to do it. Apple A7 powered, 64-bit, it appears atomically identical in almost every way to the iPad Air. Small wonder indeed. or is it?

Note: In October 2014, following the introduction of the iPad mini 3, Apple renamed the iPad mini with Retina display to the iPad mini 2, dropped the 64GB and 128GB options, and dropped the starting price to 299.

iPad mini 2 evolution

As always, this review will FOCUS on what’s new with the iPad mini 2. For everything that’s come before, including and especially the smaller 7.9-inch design, but also for the context, check out our previous iPad reviews:

iPad mini 2 packaging

The iPad mini with Retina display ships in the same type of package as the original, and the box contains the usual Apple pamphlet, the USB to Lightning cable for charging and connecting to a Mac or Windows PC, and the USB power adapter for connecting to an outlet.

iPad mini 2 design

Physically, the new iPad mini 2 is almost identical to last year’s original. Same minimalist design, same incredible craftsmanship. It does differ, however, ever-so-slightly in thinness and weight. The original iPad mini was 0.28 inches deep. The Retina is 0.29 inches. The original iPad mini Wi-Fi was 0.68 lbs. The Retina Wi-Fi is 0.73 lbs. That’s because of the double density display and the bigger battery it necessitates. In every day use, the difference in thickness is unnoticeable.

Whether or not the difference in weight is noticeable depends on how sensitive you are. 23 grams is roughly equivalent to 9 U.S. pennies, 20 paperclips, or, you know, life force. I can only tell the difference if I hold both an original and a iPad mini 2 at the same time, and it hasn’t aversely affect my usage at all. If the weight of the original iPad mini was already borderline for you, however, it’s something to consider.

One of the two color options has also changed, at least on the backplate. Last year Apple launched the original iPad mini in silver and white, and slate gray and black. Slate, like any color approaching black, proved difficult to anodize and was susceptible to scratches and chips, however, so just like with the iPhone 5s and iPad Air, the new iPad mini 2 has been switched a lighter space gray (the politically correct term or gunmetal gray). The faceplate has stayed just as black and just as glossy as ever.

Space gray falls somewhere in the middle of the scale between slate and silver, but should prove much more resilient. (And no, that isn’t silver and slate gray below, that’s slate gray and space gray. the difference in shade is far more noticeable in photos.)

The bigger deal. or rather the smaller one. is that the iPad mini 2 retains the original design at all. Sure, Apple handled the same transition from iPad 2 to Retina iPad 3 in the same way, but they had a much larger chassis to work with. It took them an extra year to pack that display into the iPad Air, and those same technological advances make it possible to pack Retina into the iPad mini now. From 2010 to today, the evolution is remarkable.

The tiny increase in thickness and weight. or thinness and lightness if you prefer. will likely disappear in the future, but they do nothing distract from the accomplishment of the iPad mini design, or this device today.

iPad mini 2 display

Retina display is the marquis feature of the new iPad mini; it says so right in the name. A marketing term adopted by Apple, Retina means the display density is high enough that, when held at a normal viewing distance, individual pixels disappear and all someone with 20/20 eyesight can see is the content. This happened in print media decades ago, it happened with the iPhone in 2010, the full-sized iPad in 2012, and now the iPad mini in 2013.

Apple’s method of moving a standard density iOS device to retina remains unchanged with the iPad mini. they double the pixels both horizontally and vertically, resulting in four times as many pixels in the same physical space. In other words, take a standard pixel, divide it into four, and you have Retina pixels. So, if you see something small on the screen, even a simple shape like a circle (left), instead of the cruder, standard density (middle), you get the much finer Retina result (right). That translates into crisper text, cleaner lines, and sharper images.

The original iPad mini’s 1024×768 @1x screen becomes 2048×1536 @2x on the Retina, and its original 163ppi density becomes 326ppi. If those numbers sound familiar, they should. The iPad mini 2 now has the same raw raw pixel count as the 9.7-inch iPad Air (and iPad 3 and iPad 4 before it). Because the iPad mini is only 7.9-inches, however, it enjoys the same pixel density as the iPhone 5s (and every iPhone before it, going back to the iPhone 4.) Here’s a comparison between resolution and density, for the iPad mini (red), iPad mini 2 (green), iPad 4 (blue), and iPhone 5 (purple) (from left to right). I’ve added 44×44 point squares (standard tap target size in iOS) over the screens, so you can see how the absolute pixel and touch sizes (top) change when the displays are at physical scale (bottom).

Otherwise, the iPad mini 2 retains the same 4:3 aspect ratio as the original, as well as its fingerprint resistant oleophobic coating, its bright, LED backlight, and its excellent viewing angle, thanks to in-plane switching (IPS). Unfortunately, Apple has kept the narrower color gamut display of the original iPad mini. Visually, that translates into less saturated reds. It’s most noticeable when viewed side by side with a wider-gamut panel, like the iPad Air.

For most people, especially people exclusively on an iPad mini, it likely won’t even be noticeable. For those with both a full sized Retina iPad, as well as photographers, digital painters, and those with especially keen color sense, it could prove irritating or even a show-stopper. If wider color gamut is important to you, consider an iPad Air instead. If not, you’ll be perfectly happy.

There have also been some reports of image retention on the iPad mini 2. It hasn’t been an issue with any of the models we’ve tested, but Apple typically draws upon multiple panel suppliers so it could be restricted to only one of them, or only one batch. If you experience the problem, exchange your iPad with Apple.

Even so, difference between an original, standard density display, and a new, Retina display, is as striking as ever. Here’s how it translates into icons, the App Store icon to be specific. iPad mini 2 (top left), original iPad mini (top right), iPad Air (bottom left), and iPhone 5s (bottom right).

Graphics in general, including words bubbles on comic books, are similar. iPad mini 2 (top left), original iPad mini (top right), iPad Air (bottom left), and iPhone 5s (bottom right).

Text and other thin, small shapes benefits most of all from the higher density display. iPad mini 2 (top left), original iPad mini (top right), iPad Air (bottom left), and iPhone 5s (bottom right).

So, after all that, we’re left with a iPad mini 2 that has all the pixels of the iPad Air and all the density of the iPhone 5s, but the same narrow color-gamut of the original iPad mini. While it doesn’t take away from the sharpness and clarity of the display, or the overall achievement of the device, it does show that even after Retina, there’s still room left for improvement.

iPad mini 2 dual microphones

Last year the original iPad mini became the first iOS device to score stereo speakers, a feature the iPad mini 2 retains. This year, like the iPad Air, the iPad mini 2 gains twin microphones. It should allow the Retina mini to record better audio thanks not only to double the possible vectors, but because it can now do noise cancellation as well. That’ll help with Siri and FaceTime as well.

It’s not quite up there yet with the iPhone’s 3 microphone beam-forming, but it’s much better than before.

iPad mini 2 Apple A7 64-bit performance

The iPad mini 2 is powered by the Apple A7 chipset. It’s a custom designed dual-core, 64-bit, ARMv8-based CPU called Cyclone paired with a PowerVR series 6 GPU with support for OpenGL ES 3.0 (likely the G6430). Clockspeed is 1.3GHz, same as the iPhone 5s, but 100MHz less than the iPad Air’s 1.4GHz. It’s a 7% difference, which won’t be noticeable to most humans, most of the time. That’s especially true if you’re coming from the original iPad mini, which used the much, much less performant Apple A5 processor.

Skipping two processor generations. leaping over the Apple A6 and going straight to the Apple A7. is what makes the iPad mini 2 possible. Previously, Apple needed the extra GPU power of the A5X and A6X to drive the 2048×1536 display in the iPad 3 and iPad 4 respectively. Neither wouldt work with the size. and hence thermal and battery. constraints of the iPad mini. Thanks to the A7, Apple has all the power they need, in a much more efficient package. And it shows. The difference between the iPad mini 2 and iPad Air is negligible. The difference between the iPad mini 2 and original iPad mini is astonishing. Perfunctory benchmark time, iPad mini 2 (left), original iPad mini (middle), iPad Air (right).

Though there have been some complaints of sluggish performance on the iPad mini with iOS 7.0.3, I’ve not found that at all. Doing the same tasks on identically set up iPad mini 2 and iPad Air, yields the same performance. That’s been consistent across several devices. Given the similarity in hardware, that’s to be expected.

importantly, using the Apple A7 means the iPad mini 2 will be a first-class citizen when it comes to the next wave of 64-bit apps and Open GL ES 3.0 games. Where the original iPad mini was bound to the Apple A5 past, the iPad mini 2 is set for the Apple A7 future.

iPad mini 2. and no Touch ID

When I reviewed the iPad Air earlier this month I complained that, thanks to Touch ID on the iPhone 5s, it now took me over 10 seconds to unlock the iPad. 8 of those to remember there was no Touch ID on the iPad, and to curse about it. That hasn’t changed with the iPad mini 2. If anything, it’s gotten worse. I use the iPhone 5s constantly, so Touch ID has become muscle memory. I just expect it to be there. So, when I feel a one button, and it doesn’t have Touch ID, it’s maddening.

I’m sure Apple feels the same way, and if they could produce Touch ID chips fast enough to meet iPhone demand, and faster still to extend it to iPads, I think they would. They can’t, however, so they didn’t, and here I am still entering Passcodes like it’s 2012.

It’s a first nerd problem of the first degree, to be sure. If you don’t have an iPhone 5s, you won’t even notice Touch ID is missing. (You probably want to print out this section, roll it up, and hit me with it.) If you do have an iPhone 5s, however, you will, and you’ll be thinking 2014 can’t get here fast enough.

iPad mini 2 iSight camera

The iSight camera in the Retina mini is the same 5 megapixel, backside illuminated (BSI), five-element, hybrid IR, f/2.4 aperture as the original. What has changed is the Apple A7 processor, and the image signal processor (ISP) inside it. It’s two generations ahead in terms of imaging technology, which includes smarter auto white balance, FOCUS, exposure, face-detection, and more. In daylight, when the sun is flooding it with photons, there’s not much if any difference. When it comes to low-light, however, the A7 ISP pulls a little more detail out of the darkness, same as the iPad Air, but certainly nowhere near as good as the superior optics in the iPhone 5s.

For macros, the the A7’s ISP again produces noticeably better results than last year’s original iPad mini, on par with the iPad Air. While noisier than the more powerful iPhone 5s camera, thanks to annoying glitches that remain in the iPhone macro FOCUS system, the iPads manage to resolve their photos better as well.

High dynamic range (HDR), which merges multiple exposures to pull more detail out of both highlights and shadows alike, varies little across the board. The iPad mini 2 and iPad Air are slightly better than the original iPad mini, but not exceptionally so. Even the iPhone 5s, while producing much larger, much cleaner images, doesn’t pull staggeringly more image information.

Video is the same story. In daylight, there’s no difference. In low light, it’s better but still noisy, especially compared to the iPhone 5s. Dual mics do make for better audio quality, but likewise arent up to the same standard as the triple mics and beam-forming in the iPhone 5s.

Also, unlike the iPhone 5s, Apple doesn’t surface Panorama, Burst, or Slo Mo modes, or real-time filters in the Camera app. You can still take up to 10 photos a second by holding down the shutter button, you just don’t get the real-time processing and fancy image selection interface. You can also add iOS 7 filters in post via edit mode, but the loss of real-time is a shame.

For some people the iPad is their only camera-equipped device, and their moments and memories are every bit as precious. Apple knows how to make great mobile cameras, all that remains is for them to put one on the iPads.

iPad mini 2 FaceTime camera

Like the rest of the new iOS devices released this year, the iPad mini 2 gets a slightly improved FaceTime HD camera. It’s still 1.2 megapixel f/2.4 and 720p like the original iPad mini, but it’s gone from 1.75 to 1.9 microns and switched to a back illuminated sensor (BSI).

In daylight, there’s no discernible difference. In low-light, however, it’s an improvement.

iPad mini 2 MIMO Wi-Fi, LTE, and radios

It’s getting harder to review LTE on modern iOS devices, because the chip sets are advanced and mature enough now that differences, if any, usually come down to a confluence of carrier and radio conditions. Apple does say the iPad mini 2 has the same LTE support as the iPad Air, which is excellent. Here’s the official cellular networking support, according to Apple:

  • UMTS/HSPA/HSPA/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
  • CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B (800, 1900 MHz)
  • LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26)

Apple keeps an updated list of the countries and carriers with official iPad LTE support.

In my tests, I’ve gotten just about the best LTE results I’ve ever gotten using the iPad mini 2. Up to 95Mbps on-device, and around 85Mbps on average. That’s more than twice as fast as the iPhone 5s on the same network at the same location. So, either there’s something fishy about the tests, the carrier is provisioning iPads for faster access than iPads, or. I don’t know. I’m not looking a gift half-hundred megabits in the mouth.

Tethering hasn’t been quite as fast on the iPad mini 2 as it was on the iPad Air, averaging between 60 and 70Mbps, but again, that’s likely due to the vagaries of cellular networks more than any difference between radios. Batter performance for tethering, like all iPads, has been spectacular. It goes all day.

U.S. Assisted Global Positioning System (GPS) and Russian Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) remain exclusive to the cellular iPad models.

Like the iPad Air, the iPad mini 2 has multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) Wi-Fi. That means there’s support for multiple antennas for both transmission and receipt, and the iPad can intelligently choose between them to not only ensure the best signal possible, but theoretically up to twice the speed.

Unfortunately, also like the iPad Air, the iPad mini 2 doesn’t have state-of-the-art 802.11ac Wi-Fi, which Apple does supports with the Mac and with their Airport routers and Time Capsules. 802.11ac isn’t widespread yet, but it would help with race-to-sleep, letting data transfer quickly so it can power down quickly. If it was an either/or choice, MIMO will likely help more people more of the time, and hopefully next year will provide for both.

There’s still no near-field communication (NFC), though that remains more chipset than feature set at this point. If and when it changes, Apple will need to change with it. Meanwhile, Bluetooth is still 4.0 Low Energy (LE), which isn’t a problem because that’s as high as it goes for now. It’s what Apple does with it, including direct device setup, game controllers, iBeacons, and more, that’ll be the most telling.

iPad mini 2 and iOS 7

Roughly a year before the iPad mini 2 launched, Apple hit the reboot button on iOS, the software that would run it. After half a decade of richly textured design, Apple stripped their interface down to nothing, and then carefully, selectively, built it back up into something. different. iOS 7 now runs on top of a physics and particle engine that allows elements to interact. to fly, to bounce, to collide. in a playful, delightful manner. Thanks to consistent layering and translucent blurs, there’s a sense of depth but also of context. Absent the felt and wood and leather of the past, typography and color palette are relied on to provide clarity and differentiation. And, as much as possible, the interface itself tries to get out of your way, deferring to the needs of the apps, and the apps to the content. It was a big, bold leap on Apple’s part, but they haven’t yet stuck the landing.

All change is divisive, yet iOS 7 on iPad even more so than the iPhone version. The original iPad launched in 2010 running iPhone OS 3.2. It was born into a world already defined by the smaller screen. iOS 7, for the first time, allowed Apple the chance to consider the iOS interface in post-iPad world.

Does that mean iOS 7 is more at home on the big, multi-column tablet than ever before? Or does that mean, in their rush to ship, it’s an even worse stretching out of the phone interface than previous versions? Opinions vary, and there’s no doubt some elements of truth in both.

iOS 7 seems better suited to the iPad, yet it also seems less fully realized. The beta of iOS 7 for iPad, famously, shipped two weeks later than the iPhone version, and seems to have struggled to keep up since. In a few months, in a year, this won’t matter. For now it does mean, once and a while, you’ll catch it struggling to keep its balance.

iOS 7 and apps in general on the iPad mini 2 look and work exactly the same way as on the iPad Air, and all previous generation iPads. However, because the iPad mini is physically smaller. 7.9- vs. 9.7-inches. iOS 7 and apps in general are physically smaller on its display as well. That means everything from text, to pictures, to the interface elements you need to tap, are all physically smaller. Technically, where you can fit only 264 pixels per inch on an iPad Air, you can jam 326 of them on an iPad mini. Smaller pixels make smaller stuff. Here’s how that looks at relative scale in the Settings app from iPad mini 2 (left) to iPad Air (middle) to iPhone (right).

Because accuracy is dependent on distance (throw), the smaller screen of the iPad mini offsets the smaller target sizes of iOS interface elements to some degree. And because size is also dependent on distance, you can hold the iPad mini closer to make text and images look bigger. iOS 7, however, adds an additional option, called Dynamic Text. Thanks to the new Text Kit framework, you can now go into Settings and increase the size of type at the system level. Sadly, it doesn’t change every bit of text on the screen, and App Store apps have to work, in some cases hard, to use it, but if you’re concerned about the size of body text in iOS in general, Dynamic Text should go part of the way towards alleviating that concern.

ipad, mini, retina, wi-fi

There’s still no Weather, Stocks, Compass, Calculator, or Voice Memos apps for iPad, and still no FaceTime conference calls. or similar, enhanced-for-iPad features. to take advantage of that big, beautiful screen. Yet, as reboots go, iOS 7 is a good one. While some elements clearly need a lot more work, others are already hauntingly beautiful. iOS 7.0.3 is the version that launched with the iPad mini 2. iOS 7.0.4 is already available, and iOS 7.1 just went into beta. It’s only going to get better.

While there are a several things I’d like to see from OS X Mavericks brought over to the iPad, it’s clear with iOS 7 that Apple understands the iPad isn’t a Mac. Other vendors still try to compete by misappropriating PC features for tablets, and advertising just that. While geeks love that stuff, its absolutely anathema to the mainstream. PCs are intimidating, inaccessible, and off-putting for the vast majority of humans on this planet, and those are exactly the people Apple is trying. and succeeding. to reach with the iPad.

I’d love to see more, of course, but not through regression or concession. Better natural language, smarter visual parsing, prescience, and push interface all have their place in the post-PC world. I want them now. But I’m patient enough to wait for them to get done right. In the mean time, Apple’s sticking to their FOCUS means an iPad can’t do everything a Mac can do, but many will be able to do far more with an iPad than they ever could with a Mac.

It’s impossible to overstate the size of that win.

iPad mini 2 and apps

Just like the full-sized iPad Air, the iPad mini 2 is compatible with almost all of the one million plus apps in the iOS App Store, just under half of which are specifically designed for, or have alternative interfaces specifically optimized for, the iPad. That’s not only far, far more tablet apps than any other platform, it’s astronomically more. Not all of those apps are fantastic, of course, but there are several fantastic apps in every category at least. That includes indie Mac developers like The Omni Group (OmniOutliner, OmniPlan, OmniGraffle, etc.), dedicated iPad developers like 53 (Paper), big game studios like EA, and even competing platform makers like Google, Microsoft, and BlackBerry. There’s also Apple, who not only offers all the built-in apps, but many additional apps, for free, on the App Store, including iBooks, Podcasts, iTunes U, Find my iPhone, Find my Friends, Remote, and now Apple Store as well. The iPad’s software lead, therefore, is not only or most importantly one of breadth, but of depth.

With the launch of the iPad Air and iPad mini 2, Apple has also made their entire iWork and iLife suites free as well. They include some of the best mobile apps ever made, and are compatible with their Mac and iCloud.com counterparts. The suites include Pages for documents, Keynote for presentations, Numbers for spreadsheets, iPhoto for images, iMovie for video, and GarageBand for audio, and they significantly increase the value proposition of the iPad.

Like iOS 7, App Store apps on the iPad mini 2 are identical to those on the iPad Air, though smaller due to the difference in physical size. Again, smaller distance means higher accuracy, so functionally most people won’t notice a difference. The Retina display makes even small writing legible, which wasn’t the case on the original iPad mini. However, small, legible text is still small. The difference isn’t extreme, and Dynamic Text can work wonders for body content. However, for some people, the smaller size should absolutely be a consideration.

Here’s what a comic book looks like in iBooks, in landscape (top) and portrait (bottom), at 326ppi on the iPad mini 2 (left) compared to 264ppi on the iPad Air (middle), with the iPhone. also 326ppi but with a much smaller 4-inch display. thrown in for good measure.

Obviously, reading a single page at a time in portrait orientation offers the biggest, best experience. It’s roughly equivalent to reading in landscape orientation on the iPad Air. A double page spread in landscape isn’t that far behind, experience wise. The Retina screen makes for crisp letters and lines, and gorgeous colors. (Yes, Superman’s bright red cape looks just fine, thanks.) My eyesight is terrible, and I can read them perfectly well in both orientations. In fact, I generally read in landscape, even on the iPad mini. I’ve been doing that exclusively for the last week and I’ve had zero problems.

I do prefer comics on the iPad Air, because it’s closer to actual comic book size, but the iPad mini 2 is far more portable. If that sounds like the same tradeoff as always. portability vs. screen size. it’s because that’s just exactly what it is.

I use Paper by 53 all the time. I used to draw every day, for ours of day, all through my childhood, and I still sketch as much as I can today. On the iPad Air, it’s a big sheet I can really go to town on, but on the iPad mini, it’s a small book I can keep with me and use any time.

That’s what it comes down to, consistently. Anything you can do on an iPad you can do on an iPad mini, just in a smaller but more portable form. For some apps, like photo editing, drawing and painting, perhaps even coding and calculating, you’ll benefit from the bigger size. If you want to take it with you, however, you’ll benefit from the iPad mini’s greater portability.

iPad mini 2 services and support

iCloud comes free with every Apple device, including the new iPad Air. It lets you wireless backup your data to Apple’s servers, and wirelessly restore it if you ever need to re-install iOS or switch devices. iCloud also lets you re-download anything you’ve bought on iTunes, the App Store, or the iBookstore, including music, movies, TV shows, apps, games, and iBooks. Photo Stream keeps recent photos both safe and available on all your Apple devices, as Documents in the Cloud does with your files. iWork for iCloud will let you access iWork documents specifically from any computer with a modern web browser installed. There’s a free version of the currently U.S.-only iTunes Radio service, as well as the paid iTunes Match music locker service. If you want additional iCloud storage, it’s expensive but you can buy it.

Apple Stores, especially when combined with iCloud, whether extended by AppleCare or not, provide remarkable customer support for iPad Air owners. Apple specialists can help you test a tablet to make sure it’s what you want, help you set it up, teach you how to use it, and if anything goes wrong, help you fix it. It’s a feature not always included on competitive checklists but anyone who’s ever needed to avail themselves of it knows just how important a feature it is.

iPad mini 2 accessories

Thanks to Apple keeping the same basic form-factor as last year’s original, the iPad mini 2, even with it’s extra 0.01-inch in thickness. If you have an especially form-fitting or wrap-around previous-generation case, it might be too tight, but most should fit just fine. Apple has, however, released newly updated Smart Covers and Smart Cases for the iPad mini 2. Cosmetically, they’re identical to the iPad Air Smart Covers and Smart Cases.

Likewise, all of Apple’s Lightning adapters, USB, SD, HDMI, and VGA and their Bluetooth Keyboard are compatible, as are almost all third-party Lightning and Bluetooth adapters, keyboards, and other peripherals.

iPad mini 2 pricing and availability

The iPad mini 2 comes in four capacities, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB. They start at 399 for 16GB and max out at 699 for 128GB. Add in the 130 cellular option, and it becomes 529 for 16GB and 829 for 128GB.

Due to supply constraints, however, the iPad mini 2 is currently only available via the online Apple Store, by reservation for pick up at Apple Retail, and through authorized resellers when and if they have stock.

Update: In October of 2014, Apple released the iPad mini 3, and dropped the storage capacity options and price of the iPad mini 2 to 16GB and 32GB for 299 and 399, or 429 and 529 with cellular, respectively.

iPad buyers guide

Choosing the best tablet to fit your needs has never been a more nuanced, more complicated proposition. While competing tablets haven’t gotten much better for the mainstream, there’s a lot about them for niche nerds to love. Even if you’re all-in on Apple, there’s still the incredibly tough task of choosing between the new iPad mini 2 and the also all-new iPad Air. Then there’s which color, what capacity, and if you want cellular data, on which carrier? That’s where the 2013 iPad buyers guide comes in:

If you have specific questions:

iPad mini 2 bottom line

Last year, despite its lack of Retina display, despite its lack of a modern chipset, the iPad mini’s ultra-compact form factor won the hearts and s of many. It was just so utterly convenient that many of us simply didn’t care. 2011 tech that it was, it became our 2012 iPad of choice. Yet it was always caveated. It was always in spite of as much as because of. No longer.

Yes, the 2013 iPad mini with Retina display is ever-so-slightly thicker and heavier, yes its 2048×1536 Retina display is ever-so-narrower in gamut, yes its Apple A7 chipset is ever-slower in clock speed. Compared to the major concessions of last year, which few regular humans even noticed, the concessions of this year, for most people, are all but laughable.

It’s become trite and cliched to say this is what the original should have been! It implies a stillness and finality to what is fluid and ongoing. Technology marches inexorably forward. The iPad mini will get thinner again. It will get more colorful. It will get Touch ID and other new features Apple’s already working on and we’re yet to imagine. That will be then. This is now.

The 2013 iPad mini 2 improves the most important things about the original in the most important ways. It’s not perfect. Nothing is. But it is, at last, every inch a modern iPad, and a small wonder indeed.

iPad mini 2 review

The iPad mini 2 is flawless in so many ways. From a rich app catalog to the best design on the market, the mini 2’s only real downfall is its price. If your s are deep you’ll simply love it.


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Update: While it doesn’t tote the same Touch ID goods as the latest iPad Mini 4, the Mini 2 still got a hearty update with the arrival of iOS 9.3.

Night Shift brings intelligent color temperature-shifting tech to the iPad Mini 2. Whether you’re tablet surfing in the morning or nighttime, this new feature automatically shifts the light emitted from the display to a hue of yellow that’s much easier on the eyes.

While it might not sound like a big deal, it’s hard to go back to a life without Night Shift. The change in the screen’s color temperature is said to assist in keeping your circadian rhythm in balance. Meaning, unlike other screens, the iPad Mini 2 with Night Shift won’t mess with your sleep schedule.

Wondering whether it actually effective at what it sets out to do, we took it to task for a few days. The result? Less eye-strain and improved sleep efficiency–both good things.

We look forward to the features coming down the line from iOS 10, which the iPad Mini 2 has been confirmed to support.

Curious to see what sorts of new features are coming down the line with the iOS 10 upgrade? We’ve done the legwork and have served up our first impressions of the latest software.

Original review follows below.

The iPad mini 2 was, in 2013, Apple’s next step in the smaller tablet wars – and with Google and Amazon stepping up their respective games, the Cupertino brand needed something that hit back with strength.

However, even with that landscape, I was still surprised when Apple announced the iPad mini 2 on stage, coming with things like the A7 chip under the hood and a 128GB iteration to satisfy those that crave a lot of HD action (although you’re now stuck with 32GB maximum).

On top of that, there’s the much-needed Retina screen (as the name might have told you) and an improvement in battery size over the first iPad mini to help power those pixels more effectively.

However, there’s the big issue of price, which Apple has had to balance carefully over recent years. While it’s dropped since the launch of the iPad mini 3 and iPad mini 4, you’re still looking at £219 (US269, AU369) for the lowest-spec 16GB model with Wi-Fi connectivity only – and Australia didn’t even get a price drop!

Given Apple’s decision to allow users to download the iWork catalog for free, as well as Garageband and iMovie, you’ll really be looking at buying the 32GB tablet option to keep things sane.

The doubling of the internal storage will set you back another £40/50/AU60, but it’s well worth the extra expense in my eyes.

Despite an arrival of a slew of cheaper Android tablets in recent years, the iPad mini 2 does still feel like decent value for money given that it’s not a loss leader over Google and Amazon, and not just because of the tired Well, it’s an Apple device and therefore spending more should be expected excuse.

I’ve never bought into that, and never will. Apple makes well-designed and premium products, but as the extra cost for larger capacities illustrates, it’s not always justified.

The iPad mini 2 is an excellent device. There’s no other way to look at it. I was pretty impressed with the original mini when it launched, but bemoaned the low-res screen and under-powered chipset powering things along.

So I fully expected the iPad mini 2 to be another sidekick to a bigger brother, and with the iPad Air showing itself at the time to be the best tablet on the market, I fully thought we’d be getting a smaller iPad with a Retina screen and an A6 chip – so the decision to make the tablet 64-bit enabled with an A7 CPU was a really great thing to see.

It takes an already well made device and adds in so much more: the aluminum finish no longer feels like a deflection from the fact the original iPad mini didn’t have the engine to compete with its Snapdragon-powered rivals.

Check out the benchmark speeds later and you’ll see just how much better the CPU is for day-to-day tasks over its predecessor and, coupled with the rich app ecosystem and improved operating system, you’ll see how Apple justifies charging the premium price.

M7 Chip

The addition of the M7 chip in the iPad mini 2 seems on the surface to be a little redundant, given you won’t be doing much in the way of exercise with the mini strapped to your arm.

However, there are journal-style apps that use information on where you’ve been and the weather at the time – tiny tasks that don’t need the help of the larger chip, but in all honesty, it’s just not needed.

Current page: Introduction

iPad mini 2 Review

The iPad mini 2 aims to put to rest some of the complaints levelled at the original iPad mini – the low-res screen and average processor. And it delivers. The screen, performance and camera have all had major improvements and it shows. This is a very good tablet indeed.

The sub 8-inch tablet market is booming, though, and Apple arguably has more impressive competition in this arena than it does in the 10-inch one, with the likes of the Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HDX, Asus MeMO Pad HD 7 and many others all offering good tablet experiences at bargain prices.

The iPad mini 2 is not the newest in the range, that award goes to the iPad mini 3 – but the iPad mini 2 is the one to buy. It’s dropped in price to just £239 for the 16GB version while the iPad mini 3 costs £319, which is the same tablet except for the addition of Touch ID.

Watch our iPad mini 2 Retina video review:

iPad mini 2 Retina: Screen

Even though the original iPad mini was launched next to the iPad 4, it was actually a ‘mini-me’ of the iPad 2 – a tablet Apple released way back in early 2011. It will continue to be sold next to the new version and comes with the same processor and screen resolution as the iPad 2, albeit in a much lighter and prettier body.

The 7.9 inch IPS display on the original mini is bright and colour accuracy is good, but the 1024 x 768 pixel screen with 162ppi just isn’t as sharp as it should be. Text isn’t crisp enough and pixels are clearly visible. That sounds silly in a way, but the fact is things have moved and ‘sharpness’ is one of the most important factors for any tablet or phone.

The iPad mini 2, on the other hand, is a compact version of the excellent iPad Air we reviewed recently. It quadruples the pixel count to 2,048 x 1,536 pixels with a stunning 324 pixels per inch (ppi) that’s almost exactly the same as the excellent screen on the new Google Nexus 7. The greatly improved screen pays off in a big way.

You get an immense amount of detail. Zoomed right in to high-res DSLR images the iPad mini 2’s Retina screen pops with detail and adds superb colour accuracy to the mix. It’s a very bright screen, too, although put it right next to the Nexus 7 and it’s a fraction dimmer at full brightness and the whites aren’t quite a dazzling. It’s bright enough, though, that it’s easy enough to view on a bright day.

Perhaps the biggest benefit the extra pixels bring is the smoothness of text. Reading a website or an eBook is greatly helped by the extra sharpness, the latter being a key improvement given the iPad mini’s size makes it a perfect ebook reader alternative. The Kindle Paperwhite might be the best ebook reader there is, but the iPad mini does a lot more than just read books.

The iPad mini 2’s retina display, like all iPads before it, has a 4:3 aspect ratio – just like old CRT TVs – as opposed to the 16:9 or 16:10 most Android and Windows tablets favour. We still think 4:3 is the best aspect ratio for a tablet, but it comes with a trade-off. If you’re watching TV or a film you end up with larger black bars at the top or bottom, making the viewing window a little cramped.

Almost all apps let you zoom in to the video, though. Yes you end up losing a some of what’s going on at the edges, but get more of the important main scene. Regardless, video quality is great. We really thought the fact that the screen is so much smaller meant it couldn’t compete with the iPad Air for watching video, but we were surprised by just how well it works as a device to consume media. For example, Iron Man 3 at 1080p looks great on-screen with explosions and fire popping from the screen.

Where the iPad mini 2’s 4:3 screen really trumps the competition is when it’s used for web browsing and apps. The squarer Retina display provides more sensible acreage and the 0.9-inch extra actually offers 35% more screen real-estate than other comparable 7-inch tablets in a form factor that isn’t any taller, and only an inch or so wider. Apple chose this size carefully and it shows: it’s just right.

iPad mini 2 Retina: Speakers and Sound quality

The iPad mini 2 comes with stereo speakers that reach impressive levels of sound for such a diminutive device. It’s important for a tablet that will be used for watching video to have decent speakers and the iPad mini does indeed. Not only are they loud, they are also accurate and don’t distort even when at full-blast.

A minor gripe is that the speaker drivers sit next to each other at the bottom of the mini. This makes the stereo effect less pronounced than if there was one at the bottom and one at the top, as is the case with the Nexus 7. Still, the sound that comes out is louder and cleaner than the 7-inch Android.

How we test tablets

We test every tablet we review thoroughly. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly and we use the tablet as our main device over the review period. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.