2,990 of 3,080 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best buy of the year
(Please also see update at foot of this review)
Still undecided about whether to get the iPad Mini? Then maybe this will help, based on my own buying experience. By way of background, back in early 2012 I was looking for something small and portable, mainly to use at home whilst slumped in front of the TV, and for occasional use away from home via wifi...
Published on 5 April 2013 by Steve at Barton
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful with iOS 8.1 - browser runs like a dog
The update to iOS 8.1 (in my case from iOS 6) turned a beautiful piece of kit into a complete dog. The iPad mini hardware is not up to running iOS 8.1, no matter what others say. This mainly manifests itself when you browse or switch between apps. If you switch from one tab to another in the browser, the page almost always has to reload because there isn't enough memory...
Published 2 months ago by Arty
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2,990 of 3,080 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best buy of the year,
(Please also see update at foot of this review)
Still undecided about whether to get the iPad Mini? Then maybe this will help, based on my own buying experience. By way of background, back in early 2012 I was looking for something small and portable, mainly to use at home whilst slumped in front of the TV, and for occasional use away from home via wifi hotspots. There was less choice around then so in the end I took the cheapest option and got a 7" Android tablet. However, I was never completely happy with it, it seemed quite slow (1.2GHz chip), the capacitive screen was not very responsive, the wifi connection was a bit hit and miss, and I personally did not particularly like Android 4.0, so it spent most of its time in a drawer. In fairness, it was from the budget end of the market, and the instructions that came with it were absolutely useless, so I probably got off to a bad start, but first impressions etc.....
Move on a year and I came across an iPad Mini on display in a shop. (I had never previously owned any Apple products, so I did not start off with any preconceptions.) Anyway, as soon as I got my hands on the demo model I felt completely at home with it - very simple and intuitive to use, very responsive, and very solidly made. So, after a bit more research when I got home, I took the plunge and ordered one on Amazon.
Some tips: if you do buy online, then whilst waiting for delivery, download a copy of the instructions from the Apple website for a little light reading, and also set up an Apple ID as you will almost certainly need one unless you never want to download any Apps - even free ones need an Apple ID. You might also want to set up iCloud on your PC to get the most out of the Ipad and to synchronise with your PC. Go to the Apple website and search on iCloud and you will find the download page. (All of these things can of course be left until your iPad arrives, but why not get everything ready beforehand?)
When it arrived I switched it on straight out of the box - it was showing almost a full charge - and it went automatically to the set up routine - any decisions you make can be overwritten later via "Settings" so don't worry too much about getting it right first time. Some reviewers have commented that the written instructions are inadequate, but having already looked at the downloaded instructions I had no problems. Connecting to my wifi (BT Home Hub 3.0) was pretty much instant, and within 5 minutes I was up and running, initially browsing the web via Safari which I found to be very logical and easy to use (better than Internet Explorer? - make up your own mind). Setting up a few bookmarks (favourites) was straightforward having already read the downloaded instructions, but I then discovered that by opening the iCloud panel on my laptop (running on Windows 7) I could synchronise it with the iPad so that all of my IE favourites were automatically transferred to the iPad as bookmarks, including all of the folders/sub-folders, and in exactly the same order. Plus, any changes made subsequently on either machine automatically update on both - additions, deletions, renaming or re-arranging - which makes life much easier. Setting up eMail was my next task and here I did have some problems with my main email account which is with inbox.com, which I had to configure manually. However, after some trial and error with the server addresses I did manage to get it sorted, but if I had to do it again I would probably still struggle. But don't let this put you off, other email accounts may well be much easier (my BT and Yahoo accounts for instance were a doddle) and it CAN be done! Other stuff was fairly easy, downloading Apps is no problem, the camera is easy to use and pretty good, and whilst I am not into gaming or iTunes, so can't comment on those, I imagine they will be similarly easy to suss out. I have downloaded a few useful Apps, including Kindle, and now as well as downloads from Amazon I can also use the iPad to store and read Kindle books that I got from a bumper bundle DVD bought cheaply on eBay. As to the screen, I have not had any experience of the Retina version of the big iPad, but all I can say is that I do not have any problems with it, for its size it is very clear with no blurring, and the brightness can be set either manually or via the auto function.
So, I have now had my new toy for about 10 days and it is rarely out of my reach. I did find though that it was a bit too thin to hold comfortably for any length of time, and also that the aluminium back was quite cold to the touch, so I invested in a case which has overcome both of those problems and also gives good protection. (If you are after a decent leather style case at a very reasonable price of £1-99 with free delivery, have a look at my other reviews.) Battery life on the iPad is at the moment better than claimed - it is currently showing that I have had 3 hours usage plus 15 hours standby since last recharged and the battery indicator shows that there is still 73% remaining. I have also ordered a copy of "iPad Mini for Dummies" to help me get the maximum benefit from my investment. (See my separate review for this if you are interested).
If you have got this far, I assume you have found my comments useful and hope they will help you come to the right decision - buy one now, and enjoy!
UPDATED 7 May 2013
A month later and I can honestly say that I have absolutely no regrets about buying the "Mini". I now tend to use it for almost all of my browsing and emails, most days the laptop never gets switched on. I am still finding new features (the "Dummies" book has been very useful) so it is very much a voyage of discovery. I have not yet come across any problems, or found anything that I felt could be improved.
In conclusion, whilst the iPad Mini is the first Apple product I have owned, I somehow suspect that it won't be the last!
502 of 520 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly light, fast and beautifully designed. Best tablet available.,
This iPad Mini is not quite the most recent model (it's been upgraded to the "iPad Mini with Retina Display" and the full size "iPad Air"), but it's still an incredibly beautiful device. Oddly enough, it's so beautifully easy to use (my one year old daughter loves playing with it), it's almost doesn't feel like a computer at all.
I bought one for my daughter and she absolutely loves it. We sold the previous Android tablet as it just sat in a drawer not being used.
A word of warning - this review is written for people who've never owned an iPad before - and are wondering what all the fuss is about. Don't read this if you already own an iPad or Mini and are thinking about an upgrade - I'd recommend you simply buy a mini with Retina or an iPad Air.
Just what's all the fuss about?
I used to own a laptop for work, and (very occasionally), it'd sit on my lap on the sofa, and I'd use it for pleasure (eMail, watching films or playing the odd game). Then I bought my first iPad, and the laptop became redundant, a boring "work device". Hard to explain, but the fact the iPad is so small and light, and you navigate around with your finger by pointing and gently swiping the screen makes the whole experience a lot easier - a lot more fun.
Even my most "luddite" of friends have been won over.
It's incredibly simple and easy to use (it only has one main button), and everyone from my one year old daughter to my 85 year old dad have taken to without problems. It's size and shape also support using it like a book (literally to read a book or web page), but you can also watch TV and films.
Personally I'm also paranoid about my password getting "hacked", and someone running up a huge Amazon bill or buying stuff with my credit card on eBay. Well one of the benefits of the iPad (and iPhone) is it's "almost impossible" to get a virus - one of the most common ways to get hacked. This doesn't mean you shouldn't use strong passwords, (both Sony and Adobe got hacked), but it's reassuring to leave the Windows world behind.
Finally, I love the way these devices (iPad, iPhone, Apple TV, Apple Mac), increasingly work together. The fact you can start a Pages document on your Mac and edit it on your iPad, or take photos on the iPhone, and in seconds see them on the iPad or Mac and display them on the Apple TV.
The thing is, "it just works".
What would you use if for?
* Shopping online. Obviously - you could be reading a review on Amazon about the iPad Air!
* Video Calling. With either "FaceTime" (to another Apple device) or Skype - you can make video calls to other people
* Reading web pages. As you can hold it like a book it's great to read the news online (my wife loves the Daily Mail Online).
* Reading Books. It's great for reading books from Amazon Kindle or Apple Books with the benefit of 1,000s of online book reviews
* Navigating web pages. Instead of clicking with a mouse, you gently swipe your fingers on screen to scroll around
* Watching Films. I use it to watch Netflix online videos (with an Apple TV you can send stuff to the telly)
* Watching TV. With the free BBC iPlayer app you can catch up or download BBC programs
* Reading and replying to mail. I use "mailbox" a great free app to read and reply to mails, but there's a free one included
* Showing and organising photos. Any photos on an iPhone are automatically available within minutes in "the cloud"
* Playing games. From fun puzzle games like "Cut the Rope" to fully fledged first person shooters.
* Listening to the Radio. With "Tune in Radio" you can listen to thousands of radio stations world-wide.
* Listening to music. I stream mine to an Apple TV, but you can also buy portable speakers or just plug into the AUX socket
* The list goes on and on.
Which model should I buy?
I can't comment about Android tablets (apart from the Google Nexus 7 which is well regarded), but in terms of the Apple tablet line-up:-
iPad mini Size:-
* iPad mini is a lovely tablet. A 7.9 inch screen and astonishingly light and remarkably thin - it feels like a light-weight book.
* iPad mini with retina screen. Again 7.9 inch screen, but with the blazingly fast A7 chip and a "retina" (high definition) screen. Worth the upgrade if you can afford it. The HD screen is amazing, and faster chip means it will be a bit more "future proof".
Full Size iPad options. (much larger screen - makes a huge difference):-
* 1st Generation iPad. Seldom available new - best avoided - there's better options available
* 2nd Generation. Avoid the Apple iPad 2, it's a relatively old model, under-powered and with a lower resolution screen. If you really want an Apple but don't want to spend the cash, buy a 16g WIFI 3rd or 4th generation iPad from Amazon or eBay. Avoid this one.
* iPad 3rd Generation. First iPad with the "Retina" (high definition) screen. A5X chip. Excellent iPad - highly recommended
* iPad 4th Generation. With A6X chip. In short, not quite as fast as the latest chip but pretty zippy. Biggest difference is the smaller power socket and slightly faster processor.
* iPad Air. Same fast (A7) chip as the Mini with Retina - the latest and fastest iPad available. This has been re-designed to be even smaller than the iPad 2/3/4 and with the new chip making it even faster.
In terms of which to buy - if you want something REALLY small and light to read on the train, the iPad Mini or the latest version with the Retina screen is your best bet. Otherwise, the 3rd, 4th generation or iPad Air is your best option - depending upon your budget.
Me I've owned a 1st and 3rd generation full size iPad and most recently an Air. My daughter owns an iPad mini, and we've loved them all.
What are the Optional add-ons?
Well, assuming you've dropped by the Apple Store or John Lewis (which I would highly recommend), and handled the iPad Mini (with/without retina screen), and iPad 2 and Air then your options are around memory size and cellular option.
Memory: Once bought, you can't add memory (space for apps, films, books etc). However, the basic price goes up a huge amount (+£80 for the 16g to 32g iPad Air). But, having owned a 16g and then a 32g iPad - I can safely recommend the 16g unless you really want to store a huge amount of videos and downloads. Only you can decide, and if you're lucky enough that money is no object then splash out. Otherwise, 16g should be fine for most people.
Celular: Allows you to connect to the internet while you're out and about. This will add an additional +£100 to the price and means you can slip in a mobile phone SIM card. This means (for an additional £7-15 a month extra), you can access the internet on the move. Alternatively, you can opt for the WIFI option, and use it at home or at at "hot spot" (eg. Starbucks, most rail stations and hotels etc).
Personally I'd buy (and indeed did), the 16Gb iPad Air WIFI. But again, it depends upon your budget.
Do I need anything else?
Most people (me included) buy a cover. Apple (and now several copy-cats) make a "smart-cover" which automatically shuts down the iPad when you close it, and switches it on when you open it. There's versions which cover the back, or just the screen. Apple charge from £35 to £65 for their (admittedly) high quality fabric or leather covers, but there's many available from £10. Be aware, you do get what you pay for.
Personally,I think it's a pity to cover the beautiful aluminium industrial design of the iPad with a cover - but if you've spent hundreds of pounds you'll want to protect it from scrapes and bangs.
I also invested in a keyboard (£25-80), as I tend to write a lot of mails and documents (remember it comes with a word processor). I'd recommend (for the iPad Air) the Logitech Ultra Thin iPad Air Case with Keyboard - Space Greyand the ZAGG Keys iPad Air Case Folio with Backlit Keyboard - Black although these are strictly optional unless you want to use your iPad as a proper laptop.
Word of warning: If you're looking for a case or keyboard be sure to buy the correct size (they're all different):-
1. iPad mini size
2. iPad 2, 3 or 4th generation (full size iPad)
3. iPad Air size (full size but designed to be smaller)
Finally, if you have another Apple device (eg. an iPhone, Apple TV or Mac) you'll find these work together beautifully. For example, you can create a reminder on your iPad and it appears on your iPhone. Equally, photos taken on your iPhone appear on your iPad, and you can stream music or videos from iPad, iPhone or Mac to an Apple TV.
One word of advice - make sure the entire family use the same "Apple iTunes Account" - but you all have a separate "iCloud Account". This means, when you buy an App, Music or Film on one iDevice its available to everyone, but you each have separate "Cloud Storage" to backup your iPad or store documents independent of each other. Incidentally, creating an iCloud account means your iPad is automatically backed up (no wires, no fuss) every time you charge it up. A wonderful feature - one of many.
It's hard to believe the iPad version 1 was released just four years ago, and there's a huge raft of "me too" tablet computers to choose from, but the Apple iPad is still the one to beat. As "Which?" magazine put it about the iPad Air - "...the best tablet we've ever tested. Apple packs a beautiful screen and lightning fast processor into a slimmer-than-ever shell, and battery life is very impressive".
Yes, there are cheaper Android based alternatives, but the quality, design and beauty of this tablet just sets it apart. If it were a car it'd be a top of the range Mercedes or a BMW. Looking at the iPad 3rd or 4th generation, you've not quite got the "latest version" - but it's still a top end tablet computer.
Obviously, depending upon your budget, buy the latest iPad (full size or mini) available - but whichever one you buy you're sure to be delighted.
PS. If you found this review useful, please click below. Feel free to comment or ask a question.
1,397 of 1,484 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The same, but smaller.,
The build of the iPad mini screams "quality", even more so than the iPad (3) which we also have. It's very easy to hold and the design is immaculate with the screen filling more of the tablet (almost) edge to edge.
I think that the viewing experience when using streaming apps (Netflix, sky go etc) does suffer with having to play on the smaller screen (compared to the iPad) but with the pixel ratio compressed in size, the detail is arguably marginally better again.
The device is ideally sized for my wife and step daughter as they have smaller hands but to me it does seem like it has a more slippery feel so a good case to protect it is an absolute must.
You know what you're getting with apple products and iOS specifically and it was that which was the main hook for the ladies in my house. I actually think its overpriced compared to other mini tablets on the market but that won't matter to those who already have iPhones etc and want to complete the apple experience. In fact, its only really the price that prevents this from being a 5 star review.
Now that I've used this for a more substantial period of time, I wanted to update the review to make it more useful and give a better idea of the iPad mini's strengths and weaknesses.
- The aluminium chassis gives the iPad mini a premium feel straight from the box.
- Light weight, comfortable and easy to hold. This makes it accessible, and useable, for every member of the family.
- Handles multitasking and all apps without lag or problems (apps used include Netflix, Sky Go, Facebook, Twitter, Sky news/sports news, BBC iplayer)
- As well as the 16gb (or 32/64) there is 5gb of cloud storage.
- Easy to use, familiar and probably every app you can think of is available.
- As I've stated in the main review, it feels slightly slippery in the hand. This is one downside of the aluminium case.
- The other downside of the aluminium case is that it back cover does mark and scratch easily. I cannot emphasise enough the importance of also getting a quality case.
- The battery does not last as long as the iPad 3. This is down to the capacity but due to the smaller screen and reduced processing power, we had expected it to be broadly similar to the larger version. It doesn't quite get to this standard and I would estimate that it lasts approximately a quarter of the time less.
While writing the strengths and weaknesses I kept thinking about the price. For me I can't get away from that thought BUT if you can justify the price to yourself (based on the iOS interface and available apps) then I can fully understand the choice of the iPad mini over the nexus 7 or kindle fire HD (both of which are significantly cheaper).
But the most important conideration is how it will link with the other technology in your life. I currently have an Andriod phone and it is frustrating not being able to link it with either the iPad or iPad mini. My main recommendation is that you chose a tablet with the same operating system as your phone to maximise the potential of the devices.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great iPad, My husband bought me it for my ...,
A great iPad, My husband bought me it for my 60th birthday and I've never been off it!.Battery life good, photos great, very light and easy to use, not a bad thing to say about it. Delivery and packaged excellent. Would highly recommend.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful with iOS 8.1 - browser runs like a dog,
The update to iOS 8.1 (in my case from iOS 6) turned a beautiful piece of kit into a complete dog. The iPad mini hardware is not up to running iOS 8.1, no matter what others say. This mainly manifests itself when you browse or switch between apps. If you switch from one tab to another in the browser, the page almost always has to reload because there isn't enough memory. This is hugely irritating. Also, the page load times are simply dreadful. For instance FB now takes eons compared even to my 4 year old Samsung NetBook. So if you combine those two things, browsing is now annoying. I am looking for an upgrade, probably to an Android tablet. I can't be doing with paying top dollar for a nice piece of kit only for Apple to foist a killer iOS update, rendering my lovely iPad virtually useless.
657 of 716 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Short And Sweet Review,
I've been waiting a long time for the iPad Mini to be released and now it has finally come I'm not disappointed. I've had it for the last couple of weeks and I can honestly say this is a top quality product as expected from Apple. I've tried other 7.9" Android tablet devices but as far as I am concerned this little mini device is superior to them all. I've been using this device more than my laptop round the house and when I'm out and about. Sure sometimes I wish I had gone for the cellular one (so I could access the internet when I'm not in a wi-fi zone), but I would have had to pay quite a bit more for it.
As far as I'm concerned I prefer the iPad Mini to the iPad simply because it's more compact, easier to carry around, and lighter to hold for long periods. The pixel quality is fantastic for watching films or tv programmes (BBC iPlayer, ITVPlayer, 4oD, 5 on Demand and many more are all free to download off the app store), or visit iTunes if you want to pay to rent or buy a more recent film. Of course it doesn't have retina display like the iPad, however for those of us who have never owned a tablet before and don't have an iPhone so know no different, I'm incredibly impressed with picture quality. Anyway roll on next year when I am pretty certain Apple will release a new iPad Mini with retina display.
And if you have any problems you simply visit Apple online and go to the communities section to get help and advice, or book an appointment with an Apple Genius at your nearest Apple Store.
A word of advice - check out the Apple Store UK for iPad Mini's price before purchasing off Amazon. As the iPad Mini has only just been released, Amazon seem to have hiked the price up a bit.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars iPad Mini - Black (16GB, Wifi) - small in size, big on features.,
The iPad Mini is a great all round tablet. It's size is, as the name suggests, smaller than that of the iPad. However, this size and weight is most beneficial when traveling and using it. The screen size is big enough, though I do miss having to look at a retina screen. You can hold the iPad Mini in one hand which makes it easier to use when using all kinds of apps.
All iPad apps work on the iPad Mini -- I had an iPad 3, so of course I was pleased when I could use apps I had purchased for that device, with the mini. The speaker placement isn't ideal; they are located on the bottom. If you're watching video in landscape mode or indeed using apps that play sound, you hand ends up covering the speakers and subsequently muffling the audio. For how thin the iPad Mini is though, the speakers are of a good enough quality and can go to a decently loud volume.
This iPad Mini uses the new 'Lightning' connector to charge and sync with. This is something to bare in mind if you have accessories that use the old style Apple iDevice connector.
The iPad Mini handles 3D intensive graphics well. If you want to play and use apps at full power than you may want to consider purchasing an iPad 4.
The cameras and FaceTime work well.
Overall, the iPad Mini is much cheaper than an iPad 4, though as the differences between these two devices aren't major, I can certainly recommend the iPad Mini as a great, highly competent all round tablet device.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Small and perfectly formed.,
This was a 'gift' for renewing my newspaper subscription. There's little I can add to the favourable reviews. It's up and running out of the box within 5 minutes. All my content on other Apple devices, iPad and iPod, was sync'd immediately and available to download as I wished. It's a delight to hold, more convenient for using away from home than the full sized iPad as it's smaller. No compromise on quality and the smaller screen is barely noticeable.
I've no complaints about the product, the support, the Apps or Apple. I love this neat little device and would recommend it without hesitation. Particularly for ease of use and speed. Outstanding.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Defective i-pad mini,
Delighted with our i-pad minis, we persuaded my aged father to purchase one. Unfortunately, his was defective - we were unable to even get past the set-up stage. The letter T would not type at all and the letter V appeared as a T. The screen would suddenly shift rapidly back and forth in a sideways direction. Sometimes, on attempting to type just one letter, several more would appear. A frustrating and unfortunate experience which has only served to prove that APPLE are not infallible and to convince my father that both purchasing on-line and technology in general are not for the faint-hearted.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Super slim, stylish and blazing fast,
I am no Apple iOS diehard fan. In fact I have several android and windows tablets. Yet there's no denying that the iPad has revolutionised the computer industry by triggering the tablet era.
The iPad mini is just a smaller version of the iPad Air, and as such sports the same processor and options offered on its bigger brother.
Now does the iPad Mini really live up to the marketing hype?
A quick answer is "Yes", thanks to new zippy 64 bit A7 processor, lovely "Retina display" screen and portability!
And what makes this the best tablet to date are the apps, which have been optimized to take full advantage of the powerful 64bit processor. As an example: If you have a 64bit operating system but 32bit software than the performance increase is negligible.
Apps written for iOS are generally superior to the android version. There are various reasons for this:
○ Applications are only available through the App Store, and are virtually virus free
○ Stable and reliable iOS platform
○ iPad is also targeted for professional environments
+ Blazing fast, low consumption A7 (64bit) processor
+ Premium build quality sporting ever so stylish looks thanks to the precision engineered aluminium housing
+ Retina display. Great colour saturation producing stunning images
+ Super lightweight, WiFi version 331grams and WiFi+Cellular version 341grams
+ Vast choice of apps which can mimic laptop/desktop programs
+ Awesome battery life thanks to the new low consumption A7 processor. No other tablet manufacturer can match as yet
- Proprietary hardware required. Ie: Bluetooth GPS, Airprint printers..
- Screen is not as customisable as Android
- No expandable memory
- No touch ID
I would have loved to see an improved version of the iPhone's touch ID.
So if that satisfies your requirements the next thing to consider is choosing the version which best suits your needs and budget:
I will first start with the common denominator. All flavours offer the same A7 chip, retina display and Wi-Fi.
So the options are colour, storage size and cellular:
○ Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, yet I do suggest a side by side hands on comparison.
○ Given the fast processor I would say go for the largest available storage you can afford. This could easily become your best carry around companion, so the larger the memory the better.
◘ Many think that cellular versions only offer data. This version also sports a GPS chip which works as good as the best GPS receivers. So this has to be taken into consideration when factoring the price difference.
Highly recommend to anyone on the move wanting an ultra portable, fast and reliable alternative to its larger sibling.
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