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on 16 November 2015
The Ipad mini with retina display, also known as the ipad 2, is a brilliant tablet. It is slightly old now as the 4th generation is out but this means it can be picked up at a bargin price. It has the same specs as the Ipad mini 3 except it has no finger print scanner and is available in less colors. The ipad mini feels fast and nippy when doing basic tasks such as email or web browsing and performs well with more demanding tasks such as Gaming or Video streaming. The appstore is available to all IOS devices and offers a wide range of free and paid for apps to customize you ipad. The boot times are fast and the controls feels solid. I previously owned a Nexus 7 and i can say that the sound quality from the speakers of the Ipad is much better and the build quality is second to none. I am really pleased with this purchase and would recommend this product, if you found this review helpful then please mark it so :)
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It is incredible how the iPad has revolutionised the computer industry in just under 4 years, triggering the tablet era.

The latest 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.

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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 available for the iPad are generally of a very high standard and virtually virus free. There are various reasons for this:
○ iPad is also targeted for professional environments
○ Stable and reliable iOS platform
○ Applications are only available through the App Store, thus guaranteeing income to the developer
○ Other platforms have new tablets springing every other day, sporting different screen sizes and processors

Pros:

✓ 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
✓ iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand, Pages, Numbers and Keynote available for free
✓ Awesome battery life. No other tablet manufacturer can match as yet

Cons:
- Proprietary hardware required. Ie: Bluetooth GPS, Airprint printers..
- No expandable memory
- No touch ID

I would have loved to see an improved version of the iPhone's touch ID.

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Probably the most difficult task 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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on 21 January 2014
Bought an iPad to replace an old iPod touch. This tablet is designed beautifully and feels really thin and light it can be held with one hand. Apps loads really fast, browsing is seamless. Fast access to open games and app store. The screen is stunning, the amount of detail from the retina display is incredible. I would recommend the retina version, because it has the faster processor and retina screen. Was thinking about buying the first one but decided to pay a bit extra for this model and I am not disappointed.
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on 30 December 2013
This iPad Mini is the most recent model, and it's an incredibly beautiful device. The iPad comes in several sizes (and prices) now:-

1. iPad Mini (with standard display)
2. iPad Mini with Retina Display - This one. The latest fastest Mini size iPad with an HD display.
3. iPad 2, 3 or 4th Generation - Full size iPads
4. iPad Air - The latest fastest full size iPad.

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 10 year old 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?
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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?
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* 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?
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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.

Overall Opinion
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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.

Highly Recommended.

PS. [...]. Feel free to comment or ask a question.
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on 18 February 2016
Ok, so I've only really used Android for tablets before, this was my first attempt to try IOS. I will say it took a little while getting used to, for me as a developer I wasn't expecting that you don't have a file system to access like with Android, but instead it's typical to use apple iTunes to transfer files across - similar to an iPod.

The tablet is great though, I must admit. It cost a little more than a typical Android tablet, but not much. But with it you get an amazing hi-res screen at 2048 x 1536. It's pin-sharp and you can't see any anti-aliasing or pixels at all - plus webpages display fully and readable. The addition of the more 4:3 type display as apposed to the normal Android 16:9 actually makes the tablet feel bigger. The last 7" tablet I had was a Nexus 7, this is the same approximate height, but wider. I've just returned a faulty Lenovo tab 2 10", and the iPad mini 2 doesn't feel much smaller weirdly.

It also feels really snappy, no obvious slowdown. The battery is also really good and lasts a long time and the Camera ain't too bad either in good light.

The only moan I could levy at it was that all new apple gear (phones, tablets, Macbooks etc) should come with free extra software, titles currently are Keynote, Garageband, Pages, Numbers and iMovie. When starting the tablet it offered an update to IOS 9, but didn't offer the said software free as I was informed it might.

In the end I had to go onto apple Support chat to sort it out. They were friendly and eventually (after about an hour back and forth) they gave me redeem codes for the missing software.

They had no idea why I didn't get the software listed as free, but anyway it's sorted.

So if you're looking to make a change, then for the price now is your chance - if you're a Android veteran prepare for a day or so to get used to things. Good buy.
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on 28 May 2014
Having been the owner of two iPad series 2, I thought a mini version would be so much better and, generally speaking, it is! Very clear, quick display & for travelling, it's a boon as I only take this with me instead of taking my Kindle reader as well. BUT, if, like me, you're if a certain age, I do miss the larger display & find writing harder to read. I do wish is paid a bit more & gone for the iPad Air, but this will have to do for now!
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on 19 June 2014
Was very Impressed by the quick delivery from the seller.
I already have an iPhone 5, so setting up the IPad Mini was straightforward. I'm impressed by the clarity of the screen and it's ease of use. The one I bought however is the 16GB version and unfortunately after only a couple of months of use I have used 10GB of the 16GB! There is no means? of adding more memory to the machine so I have to constantly check the size of photo files and Apps which has become tedious. I have a much older Motorola Zoom tablet and I've found it more versatile in terms of flexibility of use and access. I was able to add a 64GB micro SD card to it and can connect to my DSLR and TV with ease.
I bought the Mini to work alongside my Tablet so have the best of both worlds - it's light and compact compared to the Tablet and is mainly for use on holiday! Excellent build quality and clarity of screen and worth the money despite its limitations.
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on 16 February 2014
I had one of these for over a month and then I returned it (thanks for Apple's generous return policy around Christmas) for three reasons:

- I have an iPhone. That's a portable computing device that's hard to beat. The Mini fits in a large coat pocket and a pleasure to hold, use and carry around. But for checking emails and news, a smartphone is the device you need.

- I have a MacBook Air with an 11" screen. I was hoping that I would be using the Mini for composing documents and working with graphic apps a lot more but the file system just doesn't make that possible in the way that could be considered more productive than just using the Air. Also, the 16GB storage space is ridiculously small. You actually get a lot less as the OS and apps that cannot be deleted take up some space. One thing that I found the iPad Mini with Retina Display beats the MacBook Air hands down was gaming. Playing Grand Theft Auto Vice City is an absolute pleasure on it. San Andreas is also great and I never experienced any lagging or hesitation from the device as the processor and the RAM are reasonably high spec. The video/graphics performance is great, too. I flew abroad recently and watching films, playing GTA made the journey an absolute pleasure. I still had a lot of battery juice left when I arrived to my destination. I regularly managed 7-8 hours with graphics-intensive gaming.

- £319 is a lot for a 7.9" tablet with 16GB of storage space in 2014. Fortunately, prices are slightly coming down and I would say that at around £279, the entry-level model should make anyone happy, if the storage space is not an issue. Just on the side, I have to highlight that this product was never sold for £369 as Amazon's listing indicates it. It came out with the full price of £319 and that's the maximum price you should pay for it, regardless of where you buy it in the UK.

An issue I haven't mentioned is the screen. Retina is a codename for a high-resolution screen and it looks stunning as the human eye can hardly see individual pixels. Sadly, the colours are a bit washed and even compared to the iPad Air, they are not as natural-looking. My item also had a light leakage on one side, but that might have been down to the device being one of the first ones to be shipped (I ordered mine from Apple within an hour of them starting taking orders).

If I was to buy one again, I would definitely consider getting the 32GB version. Apple's premium for the extra storage space is immoral and ridiculous but perhaps some can bite the bullet and spend another £60-70 for an extra 16GB, so you can actually have a few good games AND some music and photos on this rather loveable little device.

UPDATE!

Please, note, that Apple rebranded the iPad Mini with Retina Display and it is now being sold as the iPad mini 2 with no changes to the specs, although, Apple since released iOS 8 and the newer models come with that operating system. However, previous models also update for iOS 8 and it is a free update. The larger capacity (64GB, 128GB) models have been discontinued.

Furthermore, Apple reduced the official UK retail price of these models and the 16GB version now retails at £239 for the 16GB version and £279 for the 32GB one in both colours. The price reduction makes this model an excellent purchase, especially if we consider that the 'new' iPad mini 3 is identical to this model, apart from the added fingerprint sensor (which some might dismiss as a pure gimmick) and the introduction of the gold/white colour option.

In summary, the iPad mini 2 (formerly known as the iPad Mini with Retina Display) remains one of the best medium-sized tablet on the market. The much-needed price reduction makes the iPad mini 2 stand out of the current range of 7.9" iPads and indeed the medium-sized tablets. Whereas the iPad mini is outdated and has a low-resolution screen, the iPad mini 3 is effectively just an iPad mini 2 with a fingerprint sensor with an £80 premium. The only downside to the iPad mini 2 is the somewhat washed colours but everything else will make up for it, including the high definition screen that makes using this tablet a pure joy. Both the 16GB and 32GB versions now offer fantastic value at £239 and £279 retrospectively and I would whole-heartedly recommend the larger model in either colours. It will serve you well.
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on 25 June 2016
Superb Tablet!

The iPad mini 2 (Retina display) blew me away in almost every category. It was by far the best purchase I'd ever made.

Portability:

At first I was quite sceptical about the size of the iPad mini, I thought it would be too small to watch videos and too small for browsing the web. Well, my gosh was I wrong! The tablet is perfectly sized (in my opinion) and is perfect for travelling. The tablet is very light so it's great for reading at night and holding the tablet one-handed. The great thing about the size, is that there are only small bezels around the sides of the iPad, this makes a really immersive experience when watching videos. The iPad is also extremely thin which is also great for travelling and makes the whole iPad feel lighter. Overall, Apple did a superb job in the portability side of things and you won't be disappointed.

Battery Life:

When I first saw how thin the iPad mini was, I thought this would be yet another tablet that has had the battery life sacrificed for looks but in actual fact, it both looks good and has great battery life! In my testing I got around 9 hours with heavy use of watching videos, web browsing and listening to music. Please note though, listening to music draines your battery extremely quickly, even more so that watching full HD videos! I'm not sure why this is as watching videos requires powering the pixels of the screen and the speakers, compared to music only requiring speaker use. However it still lasted around 8.5 hours of listening to music so you've got absolutely nothing to worry about.

Screen Quality:

I, and I'm sure many others, didn't really think anything of the 'retina display' I just thought it would be a good quality 1080p (Full HD) screen. But in actual fact, the screen resolution is amazing, coming in at 2048x 1536. This means that you can't see any pixels on the display which makes the iPad experience that slight bit more special. Well done Apple! The colours are also extremely accurate too so this tablet is superb for video/photo editing if that's what you like doing. The contrast ratio is also superb so the blacks are blacker and the whites are whiter. Overall, the screen is incredible, I couldn't of asked for anything better!

Unboxing Experience:

This tablet is of course made by Apple so the unboxing experience was superb. You first have to slide the lid off of the box, and then you are met by the main attraction itself. You then pick the iPad up and beneath it you see a quick start guide alongside some stickers. Finally, there is a wall plug that's bigger than the iPhone wall plugs which means that your iPad can charge faster. (More amps).

Cameras:

The rear facing camera is 8 megapixels so if used correctly with sufficient light, can take some decent photos. But let's be honest, who takes photos with an iPad if you have a smartphone/digital camera. The front facing camera is a 1.2 mega pixel camera so don't expect incredible selfies but if you do the odd Skype call or conference call then the 720p video does the job. There is a picture of a keyboard that I took with it to give you an idea of the quality.

Extra Tips:

1. You should probably buy a case but DO NOT buy a case from Apple as they are very overpriced. I recommend looking at 'spigen' and 'Belkin' cases on Amazon.
2. If you are planning on watching lots of videos on your iPad, I definately recommend picking up the black version as you get big letterboxes on your screen. (Black separation bars)
3. Buy an extra lightning cable (NOT FROM APPLE). Look on amazon but look for the ones that say 'MiFi Certified' as the ones without these don't work after a week of use.

Conclusion:

This iPad I superb for literally everyone! It's great for the family, great for work and great for playing games. Here is a sum up of good and bad points:

Good Points:

- Great battery
- Great Screen
- Super Portable
- Very fast
- Very reliable
- Well priced
- Thin and light
- Looks good
- Has great Apple support if you need it.

Room for Improvement:

- Letterboxing when watching videos.

If you found this review helpful then please click the "yes this review was helpful" button. Many thanks, Ross.
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on 26 October 2014
I'm writing this review from the iPad mini I'm reviewing. Brilliant piece of kit: the display is crystal clear, sound quality is amazing, touch screen is smooth, runs fast! Perfect for photography or just mindlessly surfing YouTube for hours.
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