Customer Review

2,938 of 3,027 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best buy of the year, 5 April 2013
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This review is from: Apple iPad Mini - Black (16GB, Wifi) (Personal Computers)
(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, 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!
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Tracked by 11 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 63 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 7 Apr 2013 15:36:18 BDT
john says:
It would have been a much better review if you stated what problems you had with your android devices.
I have had my fair share of problems with apples own walled garden on my wifes ipad mini...... all the processes you carried out on your mini can be equally carried out on Android tabs, in some cases much easier.
My wife rarely uses the mini, the screen is a real let down (yesteryears technology, ipad 2 era), compared to some of the newer android tabs, as far as operating systems go, Android can now be regarded as the front-runner, gone are the days when Android was considered user-unfriendly.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Apr 2013 07:55:30 BDT
Mousecub says:
"It would have been a much better review if you stated what problems you had with your android devices."

But then it wouldn't have been a review of the iPad Mini. Surely the point of a review is to comment on the product itself rather than the problems found when using a competitors product.

I thought the review was excellent and informative.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Apr 2013 18:03:58 BDT
john says:
Well thanks mousecub, you really have brought so much more to these reviews and comments.
Even amazon prefers that reviewers that mention an alternative.... back up their statement with facts, its called the balance approach, its really not enough to say, I didn't have the skill to use android, and couldn't be bothered to look around for litreture that may have helped, strange really as this happened when the reviewer bought the ipad mini.
I have no problem with the reviewer stating the ipad is the best in its class, but do have a problem when he/she states the reason was a bad experience with an Android tab, please give me, as a potential purchaser the problems you had with your Android tab, it may detract me from buying one.
Finally, i'm lucky, we have both the ipad mini, Nexus 7 and can really compare side by side..... yes the ipad mini certainly comes a very far second best..... with the Nexus 7..... you not only get the best internal hardware, but the software leaves ios in the shade. My wifes ipad mini is now consigned to the drawer, no more blocky screens to watch using yesteryears technology.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Apr 2013 00:48:49 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 Apr 2013 00:49:29 BDT
G. Barton says:
Well said Mousecub !

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Jun 2013 01:35:03 BDT
Last edited by the author on 20 Sep 2013 12:09:17 BDT
Android is getting better I use an Archos 80 G9 which still performs well and has a good specifications but Apple is still the platform more favoured by developers of applications. All though I think that Android is now catching up and provides often cheaper units with more advanced specifications.

Posted on 21 Aug 2013 16:29:19 BDT
J. Tremlett says:
Nice in-depth review with some useful tips - thank you.

Posted on 27 Aug 2013 11:57:52 BDT
Susan G. says:
I would like to say a big 'THANK YOU, Steve!', for your review. It has given me the reassurance and confidence I needed to go for an iPad mini (and the Dummies book!).

Posted on 31 Aug 2013 16:32:29 BDT
Thank you for a very intelligent and word perfect review. It is rare to find someone who can spell and use proper grammar.
The question about Android and whether or not you can compare it to Microsoft's offerings is subjective. What may suit one person will not suit another. The complainant on here who says you should have said why an android device should be discussed is to my mind quite ridiculous. The fact of the matter is as far as Steve was concerned is that his i-pad Mini is suitable for his needs. HE is not compelled to make comparisons to write a review about his i-pad Mini.
I thought his report was brilliant and John below seems very happy with his Nexus 7. For anyone interested I had a Nexus 7 for a few days and sent it back for a refund because I thought android was difficult to set up and I did not like the interface.(Google adverts pervading the screen every few minutes) In my view there is only one company that has a decent Android interface and that is Sony. The Xperior phones and tablets especially the Xperior Z are superior to everything else out there in my view. BUT I am going to buy an I-pad Mini as the size suits me and I already have an Apple desktop computer so to buy into the Apple system makes perfect sense. Thanks to Steve at Barton for the best review for a long time and brilliantly written up!

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Aug 2013 16:49:53 BDT
john says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on 19 Sep 2013 15:12:55 BDT
P. Benham says:
Excellent review. Thank you.

Despite some unhelpful comments about your observations that smack of sour grapes; you have cleared the way for me to make my decision. It appears that your principal critic could have given a 'balanced' review himself rather trying to knock you off your perch. Silly and rather nasty in my opinion.

Once again, excellent and very helpful and informative review - keep up the good work!
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