back to article Dear-ly beloved: Apple’s costly iPad Mini with Retina Display

Last year’s iPad Mini really was playing second fiddle to the regular iPad. Not merely smaller than its sibling, the Mini had a much lower resolution display. It had a less powerful processor too. It felt like a product Apple was obliged to make rather than one it actually wanted to. Twelve months on, and the Mini’s first …


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  1. eSeM

    The biggest flaw I can see with the iPad mini is that it is the wrong shape.

    The beauty of a small tablet is that it can fit in a suit or jacket pocket ..... the iPad fails in this respect.

    Also makes it poor for watching movies.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Got one, feeling smug that I can off set it against my business tax.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Wrong shape? A rectangle with rounded corners!

      How dare you.

    3. Silver

      All the reviews I've seen of tablets which are sized appropriately for watching films and TV is that when you rotate them into landscape, there isn't enough screen space to comfortably view stuff without excessive scrolling. Not to mention that once you pop the onscreen keyboard up, it takes up over three quarters of the available space.

      Maybe my priorities are different, but since I like using a tablet in landscape to browse the web and check my email, I'm more than happy putting up with some black bars top and bottom when watching films and TV.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Keyboard too big?

        In which case, try Swiftkey, where there are different layouts, key sizes etc. Should fit the bill for you.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Size is always contentious - make it smaller and it's harder to read but may fit in your clown pockets. For me a phablet screen is too small to be useful as a tablet and too large for a phone.

    5. Dave 126 Silver badge

      >The beauty of a small tablet is that it can fit in a suit or jacket pocket ..... the iPad fails in this respect. Also makes it poor for watching movies.

      That's an inevitable consequence of the iPads screen's 4:3 aspect ratio - until such a time as a foldable display is available. I've used netbooks with 16:9 letterbox displays that I've found frustrating for general web-browsing.

    6. PlanetWilson

      Much better for reading though and viewing webpages. Interestingly the physical dimension of a 16:9 movie on the iPad and nexus 7 is the same due to iPad being 7.8" vs Nexus 7"

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Actually because the ipad is 7.8" and say the Nexus 7 is 7", the actual viewable size of widescreen content at 16:9 ratio is exactly the same. I have both and side by side the TV/movies I watch are the same physical size.

    8. Frank Bough

      4x3 is better

      If you want to watch movies, you're better off with a 2.35:1 ratio, but all widescreen ratios make for poor general purpose functionality.

      If only you could still get 5:4 computer monitors....

  2. General Pance

    Never mind the price of the lower end model, spec it up a bit and that's when you see the real divergence.

    You pay another 100 pounds to get GPS (and 3G) and a further 80 pounds to get another 16GB of storage. And chances are you'll want to do that.

    16GB is pittance, and it's a pain in the arse getting data on and off IOS devices unless you like waiting for hours while your Dropbox syncs, instead of minutes if the Internet didn't have to get involved.

    Many Android tabs come with GPS as standard, can be expanded cheaply using a card slot and support USB OTG because it's really bloody useful. It's a pity reviewers of these products didn't knock a few points off their reviews for that.

    Never mind, you can always email that 2GB MKV to yourself. Makes sense.

    1. Toxteth O'Gravy

      Dropbox doesn't sync on iOS, it just lists what you have stored in the cloud and provides access to it. So it only pulls down files when you need them. Download speeds aside, it's a good way to get files onto an iDevice. But you're right 32GB should be the baseline.

    2. SuccessCase

      You can simply Air-drop it. Which is really convenient and works really well. Device to device or Mac (iMac/MacBook) to device. If you're on a PC, as far as I understand it, you're out of luck though (are there third party Air Drop clients that work on Windows or Linux, I don't know for sure as I don't use them?)

      This was quite quietly introduced and many haven't yet even realised the option is always present in the sharing menu along with email, Dropbox etc.

      1. Toxteth O'Gravy

        Does Mac-to-iDevice AirDrop work now? Last time I tried it - pre Mavericks - it didn't.

      2. Toxteth O'Gravy

        No, still doesn't work, even under Mavericks and iOS 7 - just tried it.

        1. SuccessCase

          Shit your right. Apologies for the false info. I've been using Airdrop quite happily to transfer photos from my iPhone to my iPad for editing when I'm on the road. Also use it for file transfers from my MacBook air to my friends desktop at the office. Works great. Not working between the Mac and iDevice though, which is what I guess most people will want to use it for.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            My old man has limited patience for technology, but he has the money to give it a go. The number one use he has for his tablet is to transfer photos from his camera and show them to people... his Samsung Tab 10.1 has a optional SD card reader.

            It's annoying that this Samsung Tab has a propriety socket for charging and connecting USB devices; at least Apple chargers are fairly common.

            1. Frank Bough

              Apple also

              Offers an SD reader for iPad.

              1. bex

                Re: Apple also

                With no way to delete transferred photos if you don't have a computer

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      £100 for 3G and 4G/LTE and at least it works pretty much worldwide unlike Samsung with their region locking (if I remember correctly).

      Yes it's £80 for another 16Gb (to make it 32Gb) and then another £80 to go from 32Gb to 64Gb and then another £80 to go from 64Gb to 128Gb - I agree it makes the first upgrade from 16Gb to 32Gb seem expensive but the last upgrade from 64Gb to 128Gb actually seems relatively expensive but the larger upgrades are more reasonable.

      Guess the silver lining is that iDevices typically last longer (are supported / updated for longer) and / or have better resale values. I know plenty of people with the iPad 2 - despite it being quite a many years old now.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yep - silly that 16gb is still the floor

      Apple should have raised everything, from iPad 4 onwards. The cost to go from 16gb to 32gb is absurd. That said, there are operator deals for the 4G version, where the total cost of ownership (tablet + service) is more reasonable.

  3. SuccessCase

    The movie was probably non h264, since most reviewers were getting over 12 hours of movie playback. 6 hours makes me think you were playing it in a player using software decoding. Indeed low power consumption during movie playback is one of the iPads strengths. Was it being played using a video app like VLC or something similar (I pretty sure the built in player doesn't support software decoding)?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Anandtech report 13.6 hours for a 720p H.264 video, though they make no mention of screen brightness or WiFi state. Reg got six-and-a-half hours for a 1080p when Wi-Fi was connected, and the screen brightness set at 50 per cent.

      I don't know if the discrepancy is in the video codec, the higher bitrate, or the WiFi and screen.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    >London Underground [Internet] Gadget Index

    'Luigi'! The London underground is accessed by jumping down those vertical sewer pipes that aren't harbouring fireball-spewing giant Venus-flytraps ... The commute has become more interesting.

  5. Chris Miller

    "The original Mini was a big hit last Christmas, despite because of its relatively high price for a mid-size tablet." FTFY

    ‘Rejoice, my dear,’ I said one day to Madame de V--- ' a loom has just been shown to the Society of Encouragement on which it will be possible to manufacture superb lace for practically nothing.’

    ‘Why’, the lady replied, with an air of supreme indifference, ‘if lace were cheap, do you think anybody would want to wear such rubbish?’

    The Philosopher in the Kitchen - Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    16Gb is the standard for most tablets these days so no surprise there. Micro SD - most people would just fit a card and leave it - so they may as well just buy the one they wanted in the first place. At least on iOS devices you get pretty much the 16Gb useable - a mate had a 16Gb Android tablet and think he said it has about 8Gb useable!

    Syncing files is pretty simple and in the house I have access to my iTunes library - in the house and out and about I have access to my entire (60-70Gb) music library via iTunes Match (so takes up no space on my device unless I really wanted to copy some of it local) and all my purchased TV shows and movies streamed as well. Other than that I also use Netflix (streamed).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      IPad is trying to raise itself above the 'most tablets' category so the 16Gb entry level is dated for a 2013-14 premium product. Not so much a problem at home with WiFi but soon becomes limiting for people who get out more, stuck with a less than ideal product that can't be upgraded - good news for Apple in their quest for two year obsolescence but especially disappointing for the first time tablet buyer.

      Sure theres a 32GB option but the £5/Gb for the extra SSD makes for stupidly expensive. I do wish reviewers would highlight this ripoff (Apple are not alone in trying to take us for a ride on storage prices), might encourage a faster move to longer lived devices.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        For comparison, current prices are:

        iPad Mini (32GB): £419

        Dell Venue 8 Pro (32GB): £249

        Nexus 7 (32GB): £240

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          And after 2 years.

          iPad Mini - 50% or more of purchase price

          Dell Venue - near enough zilch

          Nexus 7 - perhaps even less

          This argument is the same as saying a BMW with a 1.8 litre engine is more expensive than a Ford with a 1.8 litre engine or your Omega is more expensive than my Casio watch.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            And after 2 years. iPad Mini - 50% or more of purchase price

            Bollocks will they be if the last model is anything to go by. My local Computer Exchange has had the same iPad Minis in the window for months. despite them reducing the price a few times.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Those Dell and Nexus tablets are more like the old iPad Mini - it's not really a fair comparison against the new iPad Mini with A7 processor and retina screen??

          £249 now for the older iPad Mini 16Gb which is really not all that much more than other tablets and they are still not made as well or have the resale value etc. Fact is you buy an iPad because you want the best - it may cost slightly more but that is irrelevant over it's (probably) longer lifetime and / or residual value.

          It really comes down to other things like build quality, OS, security, service and support and on those Apple wins.

          1. qwarty

            Not exactly fair, all these devices have their strengths and weaknesses.

            For instance the Venue 8 Pro has access to the largest ecosystem (Windows applications) including a vast army of open source programs but on the other hand doesn't have quite the range of tablet optimized programs as iOS or Android.

            Nexus 7 and iPad Mini retina have great displays and colour quality (although iPad Air does better than Mini for the purist). Venue not so great.

            The old iPad Mini and iPad 2 look worst value of the bunch now, couple of years time when all the cool iStore apps require 64bit A7 these will look very sad indeed.

            Tho I must admit this resale value we so often hear about is something of a mystery to me, never encountered anyone in real life from this apparently bottomless pit of people prepared to buy generations old technology for a modest discount over the up to date models.

          2. Steve Evans

            @A/C 12:12 - you're so bwave!

            Okay troll, I'll bite.

            The original N7 out specced the original iPad (which appeared after it).

            Shall we compare the 2013 models?

            iPad 7.9-inch retina display 2048x1536 324ppi.

            Nexus 7 7-inch IPS LCD display 1920x1200 323ppi

            Did you have a point to make? Because I can't see it here. The long side is almost identical, and the short side is only smaller on the Nexus because it's 16:9 instead of 4:3... A size which means it slips into the back pocket of my jeans, or the inside pocket of my jacket.

            Want GPS so you can tether your tablet and use if as a large satnav or use other location based services?

            Nexus 7, no problem, GPS is a standard feature across the range.

            iPad, no. You need the 3G enabled model (£££$$$)

            I would guess you've never even touched a 2013 Nexus 7, it's beautifully made, and doesn't want to slide out of your hand like the iPad (for those times when it's not comfortably tucked into your jacket pocket).

            As to why people continue to buy iPads? Easy... It's either:

            1) Investment in iOS apps

            2) Lack of knowledge of the alternatives

            3) Baaaaaaa

            I'll stick with my 2013 N7 (costing £10 less than the 16gig fruity alternative) thank you very much.

  7. Dave 126 Silver badge

    >I honestly can’t see a reason for Joe Soap to favour one over, say, the Nexus 7

    Software, software, and the odd bit of hardware. Most people will have their needs met by the range of apps available on Android, but there are some who will be better served by iOS - particularly in the area of music creation. More annoyingly for me (I'm an Android user) is the range of 3rd party hardware that is designed to work with iDevices (most commonly, the remote controls on wired headsets - and there is no one single Android system; even a single vendor like Sony have released Android devices with slightly different headset implementations), and hardware that works in conjunction with apps only available for iOS (some DSLRs, Adobe's upcoming Napoleon Ruler and Mighty Pen)

    The converse is also true; there is no waterproof iDevice, none with built in IR, none that has NFC (though its a feature I've never used on my phone).

    It's up to the individual user to asses their own wants. and decide if its worth the £100+ price difference.

    (Though the Reg is not guilty of this, I'm getting bored of reading reviews of smartphone apps and games on tech-sites, and only reading at the end of the piece that it is available for iOS)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Fact is iOS is more profitable for developers and there are more accessories for iDevices as they are more standard.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        I think AC may have been referring to some studies, reported here in the Reg, that a larger proportion of iOS users pay for their apps. He's correct.

        July 2013

        July 2011

        July 2013 "In April 2013, the Google Play vs. iOS app revenue balance stood at 27% to 73%. "

      2. Mark 110

        Has to be an opportunity for someone to clean up by catering for the droids though. I would have been tempted to buy stuff (speakers, music centres, etc) if it didn't need me to buy an iPhone/iPod first.

        I look at potential purchases in shops and then the "optimised for iPhone/iPod" sticker looms so I walk away. Their loss, not mine - I do my own better (but more effort) solution instead.

        1. tjdennis2

          The problem is that for manufacturers, the Droids don't last long enough on the market to spend the R&D money. An accessory for an iOS device can have a typical run of 2 or 3 years before Apple changes the hardware shape or interface. That's a lot of time for people to buy the hardware that can use the accessory.

          On the other hand, there's a new Android phone or tablet on the market every 3 months so by the time they get a case on the shelves, the next model is out and everyone is buying that instead. So the number of units they can sell accessories for is going to be a lot less. Not worth wasting the R&D money.

    2. RubberJohnny

      Music Creation Apps

      Android devices still don't support low latency audio, so they are next to useless for instrument input, which is why Line6 Mobile Pod is only available on iOS.

  8. Michael Jennings

    Not really a fair comparison.

    I don't think comparing the iPad mini with the Nexus 7 is terribly useful. Even though a 7.9 inch screen and a 7.0 inch screen sound similar in size, when you look at surface areas (taking into account that a screen with a 16:10 aspect ratio is smaller than a 4:3 screen with the same diagonal measurement), the area of the iPad mini's screen is 30.0 square inches, compared to 22.0 square inches for the Nexus 7. The iPad mini's screen is actually 36% bigger.

    This actually is a good reason for many of us to buy an iPad mini rather than a Nexus 7. For me, 7 inch tablets like the Nexus 7 are too small, and the 8 inch size is much better. The Nexus 7 is a great device for the price, and if it works for you that's great, but there is actually a bit of a scarcity of high end Android tablets with screen sizes around that of the mini. Samsung makes a Galaxy Note 8 and a Galaxy Tab 8, but neither has anything like the screen resolution of the mini. (They are both 1280x800). I am sure the next generation of the Note 8 at least will have a high resolution screen, but for now we are waiting. A Nexus 8 would be nice, too, but once again, it does not presently exist.

    In addition, those 8 inch Android tablets that do exist cost quite a bit more than the 7 inch tablets. The list price for the (lowish resolution) Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8 inch is £299 compared to £199 for the Galaxy Tab 3 7 inch. (Both products are selling at rather less than the list price, but 50% more for 8 inch seems to roughly hold). High resolution 8 inch Android tablets will come along, and will be cheaper than the iPad mini, but I doubt the price difference will be as dramatic as when you compare it to the Nexus 7 or other 7 inch tablets.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not really a fair comparison.

      Call me shallow but my Nexus 7 fits into my jacket pocket and the iPad Mini is too large. Much though I like the new retina model its simply too expensive for what it is, especially when costing in the work for my tailor.

      1. RubberJohnny

        The Jacket Pocket Argument

        A 7 inch tablet in the inside pocket makes a smart jacket asymmetrically sag and the wearer transforms into a tramp.

  9. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton

    Which all goes to show that if the Apple decided to do a base model without all of the cosmetics with a minimum of 32 GB memry at a price on par with Nexus 7 then it would be a world beater?

    But who wants to be a world beater?

    On the other hand: is the world ready for an economically inspired iDevice?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What would you rather have - the lion's share of the market, or the lion's share of the profit? The dot-com bubble and a few public flotations since suggest people (not you) can confuse the two.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        What would you rather have - the lion's share of the market, or the lion's share of the profit?

        We're not all Apple shareholders dear.

  10. Philip Lewis

    IIRC the iPhone is supposed to have a screen that is more or less RGB perfect and is supposedly the best on the market.

    This review suggests that the iPad Mini is not nearly as good in this respect, at least in theory (YMMV depending on how good your vision is).

    Have I understood this correctly, and if so, why is this the case?

    1. RubberJohnny

      " iPhone is supposed to have a screen that is more or less RGB perfect"

      Essential for Candy Crush and Facebook.

  11. stu 4


    no one is mentioning the hudl.

    at 120 quid for 16gb, its a steal. plus sd card slot, HDMI out, etc, etc

    I got one for the parents. It is absolutely excellent (I have mk1 nexus7 and it's faster than that for regular stuff).

    So the general tablet buyer in has a 7" hudl for 120 quid vs 230 quid* for ipad 16gb (non retina)

    90 quid more for retina.

    So nearly double the price of a hudl even for the non-retina.

    I'll be interested to see how they both compare over xmas - I can tell you that my parents love the hudl, and wouldn't have loved the ipad any more (less actually as they were used to android and it was all familiar, no expansion for me to give me movies on an SD card, etc).

    *20 quid off 200 quid tablets, and 30 quid off 300+ tablets at tesco till next week, so the cheapest place to buy an ipad of any description I think at the moment..... I gave in yesterday and bought a 32gb ipad air.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: But

      But, but, but you bought your parents an Android! Then you bought yourself an iPad!

      You've obviously not been paying attention. One is good, the other one is evil. I'm not sure which is which mind, opinion on that seems to be divided, but check the comments on this or pretty much any article here, you're only allowed to like one!

      1. stu 4

        Re: But

        wait... there's more.... until 3 months ago I had been on iphone for 3 years - now I have an HTC ONE.

        Yet I have a house full of mac minis, imacs and macbook pros (chist I even still have a windows laptop running in the house for home security webcams!)

        OSX, windows

        iOS, Android (ok.. even I draw the line at windows mobile)

        Clearly, I swing both ways.

        As you point out, this makes me a freak causing most of society to shun me.

        I can only hope that eventually people like me will get the same rights and respect as you mono-Osers.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: But

          I know someone who owns a video production company... he uses Mac Pros, Hackintoshes, Macbook Pros, an iPad and now (after a Palm Pre then a mid range Android) an HTC One. So no, you're not the only freak of nature! : D

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