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« Review: iPad Air 2 | Main | Nexus 6 feature wakes up the phone when you pick it up »
Tuesday
Oct212014

Review: iPad mini 3

By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla 

For anyone looking for an ideal mini slate under 8-inches, the iPad mini 3 as well as the iPad mini 2 (still on sale along with the original iPad mini) are excellent choices. 

It’s hard to believe that the iPad mini is already on its third iteration. Seems like almost yesterday when the world was clamouring for a smaller, more compact iPad and the mini as well as the mini with Retina Display really opened up the market for smaller iPads. Here's the lowdown on the latest mini slate from Apple.

It’s interesting to see where the iPad mini places itself now with the availability of the iPhone 6 Plus. While a 5.5-inch smartphone and a 7.9-inch tablet may have a lot of key differences and a truly diverse set of user cases, I feel many consumers will find themselves deciding between the two. 

Whether users are thinking of an iPhone and iPad combination, or are happy to invest in just one device that’s big enough for all their needs is really a relative thing, but more choice presents more points to consider.

Personally, the iPad mini WiFi + LTE has been my go-to device for those instances where I need to be connected and keep track of the news or mail as well as situations where I need to tweet updates from a launch or event that I am covering. 


It’s also a great travel companion for when I want to travel light, I simply pop in a corresponding SIM card for the country I am visiting and have a handy source of data when needed. 

Loaded with ma favourite movies and TV shows as well as all my favourite apps, the iPad mini is both powerful and convenient as well as useful when I desperately need to take a picture of something that catches my eye. 

Now that I use the iPhone 6 Plus as my main smartphone, this might change, but during instances when I’m using a non-iOS smartphone for purposes of review or evaluation, my unlocked and loaded iPad mini is not far behind. 

 

The iPad mini 3 offers the same processor, design and specs as the iPad mini 2 (AKA iPad mini with Retina Display). Users looking to purchase the newer model do get the benefit of the Touch ID feature as well as the additional choice of the gold colour. Touch ID may seem limited to serving as a security feature as well as possibly an online shopping authorization add-on for websites or services that support it, but it is nonetheless an important part of Apple's future with Apple Pay.

While last year’s iPad Air and iPad mini 2 offered parity in terms of features, specs and capabilities. This year the iPad Air 2 has a lot of distinct features and specs that put it at the very top of the tablet food chain and differentiate it from the competition. 

The bigger iPad now gets next generation processors and co-processors, more powerful performance, faster data via WiFI and LTE improvements and an improved display by way of new lamination process. Check out our full review of the iPad Air 2. 

Many, if not all, of these iPad Air 2 features will likely make it to the iPad mini line in the future, but for now the changes are slight. 


Just like last year’s model, the iPad mini 3 offers a dense Retina Display with 2048-by-1536 resolution at 326 pixels per inch, smaller screen will offer up a higher pixel density than even the iPad Air 2. The result is an impressive display that replicates a lot of colour, texture and fidelity from high resolution photos and video.


While the A7 chip with 64-bit architecture and the M7 motion coprocessor are identical to last year’s iPad mini retina, the availability of iOS 8.1 and the new core functionality of Metal, actually enable it to take full advantage of the fast processor and graphics. For apps and games that support it, this will definitely show marked improvement.

There’s also news that Apple will require all developers to submit 64 bit apps starting next year, which means that even the older Apple A7 processor is on its way to realizing the full potential of software that can make full use of its capabilities.

Many of the key apps from Apple and top developers are only now realizing the benefits of moving to 64-bit architecture as well as  many of the APIs for iOS 8.


The 5MP iSight camera with an ƒ/2.4 aperture and a five-element lens is still quite good and made better by the new software. 

The iPad mini 3 is a bit of good news for owners of older iPad mini models which share mostly identical features and also reap the benefit of the new software updates. For anyone looking for an ideal mini slate under 8-inches, the iPad mini 3 as well as the iPad mini 2 (still on sale along with the original iPad mini) are excellent choices. 

Rating: 4 out of 5

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