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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?
--------------------------------------

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.

Overall Opinion
---------------------

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 3 January 2015
Love this new gadget, it's beautiful. I'm sure others have sung the praises for it elsewhere.

The Amazon listing when I purchased it didn't make it super clear that the reason these are cheap from the seller I used (FirstData) is that they have been opened (box slightly damaged inside). This was fine for me, the FAQ answered by another seller hinted at it.

However, I dislike not knowing how close to new my item is. Is it a return or refurb? Or just that someone took it out of the box once? So avoid if you want factory sealed or prefer to know the history of things you buy. I just really dislike how ambiguous it is.

Otherwise, great item and good price that undercuts Apple's pricefixing a little.
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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". This is thanks to new zippy 64 bit A7 processor, lovely "Retina display" screen, amazing battery life and ultra 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
○ 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, as on the latest iPhone

I would have loved to see an improved version of the iPhone 5 touch ID.

------------------------------------------------------

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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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 30 November 2015
Confused by the number of iPad options? This might help.

This is a review of the iPad Mini 4 released October 2015, but is it really worth the money?

About this review
-----------------------
First a disclosure. I love the iPad range, and this review aims to explain why. There’s lots to say, so I’ve broken it up into sections to make it manageable, (just skip the bits you don’t need). Hopefully it will answer your questions, and by the end you’ll have decided if it’s worth the money, and perhaps which model you should buy. I’ve even included a summary of the best alternatives.

What’s good about the iPad Mini 4?
----------------------------------------
It’s screen is incredible, and photos and video is crystal clear. The 2,048 x 1,536 pixels are crammed into a tiny 7.9 inch space making it a beautiful screen. The smaller (super thin) and light (299g) frame is almost small enough to fit in a pocket, and it’s incredibly fast with an upgraded processor (the Apple A8 also in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus).

You don’t get the “3D Touch” features you get on the iPhone 6S (and probably all future full size iPads), but it’s still a beautiful device - and you don’t even get than technology in the iPad Air 2.

My view is this device is as pleasing as the last upgrade (the iPad mini 3) was disappointing. It’s a lovely device and gets my thumbs up.

What’s new about the iPad Mini 4?
----------------------------------------
If you’re thinking of upgrading, from the iPad mini 1-3 here’s the differences:-

- Size and Weight: It’s nearly 10% lighter than the already beautiful iPad mini 3 at 299g compared to the 331g.
- Design: The bezel (the edges) are even thinner at the sides giving it a really sleek look
- Screen: The screen (same as the mini 3), is amazing. Close even to the more expensive (and bigger) iPad Air 2. It has 2,048 x 1,536 pixels (324 ppi) squeezed into the tiny 7.9 inch frame making everything look incredibly sharp and clear. Looks even better than an iPad Air 2.
- Anti-Reflective coating: It has an anti-reflective coating (just like the iPad Air 2) which means, although it still won’t work in bright sunlight, it’s much better than before
- Power: Now includes the A8 chip in the iPhone 6 with 2Gb of RAM meaning you can keep more things going at the same time, at the same speed. A welcome upgrade.
- Benchmarks: It scored 3,230 on the “Geekbench 3” which is around 300 points faster than the iPhone 6 - very slick. Very fast.
- Camera: Is an 8 mega pixel iSight Camera, and you can record video at 120 frames per second and 720p HD footage

The remainder of this review describes the entire iPad range to help you to decide. I hope you find it useful.

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
==========================
Q: Can I run all iPad Apps on this one
A: Yes. Every App available for the full size iPad (or iPhone) will run on this device.

Q: I want a “Mini” - Which model should I buy?
A: This one if you can afford it. Otherwise ignore the iPad Mini 3 (not much of an upgrade), and search Amazon for "iPad Mini 2". Same device (except “Touch ID”) for a lot less money.

Q: Is this covered by Warranty ?
A: Yes. Full 12 month Apple warranty, and 90 days free technical support. You can also extend the warranty with "AppleCare+" provided to take out the cover within 60 days of buying your iPad. This includes accidental damage insurance (up to two incidents per year subject to an excess).

Q: Why are these cheaper on Amazon than at the Apple store? What's the catch?
A: No catch. You can buy in person from the Apple store (including free engraving), or from your local tech store. Alternatively buy from Amazon with a 30 day NO QUESTIONS ASKED return policy. If you find this item is NOT as described, (eg. is not the right model), return it immediately, report the issue to Amazon, and write a critical review.

Q: Should I buy the Cellular option?
A: You almost certainly don't “need” to - as ever it always depends. Many iPads never leave home, and even when they do you can store your videos/music on the device or connect to a coffee bar hotspot to get online. If you have a smartphone (eg. Android or iPhone) you can set up a "personal hot spot" or "tethering" and use your data plan on your phone. This effectively allows you to connect a WIFI only iPad to the internet via your mobile phone while you’re out and about. On an Android phone go to Setup --> Tethering & portable hotspot. On on iPhone go to Settings --> Personal Hotspot, and set up a personal WIFI network from your phone. Try it now, but be aware it may be an optional extra dependent upon your mobile phone plan.

Q: Is this the latest iPad?
A: Yes. (Provided your reading this before October 2016). This was launched in October 2015. Likely to be superseded October or November 2016.

Q: How much storage aka "disk space" do I need?
A: It depends. If intend to buy lots of Apps or store lots of videos and photos then go for the 64Gb or 128Gb if you need it. If it’s your first iPad, and you'll mainly be using it for accessing web pages and reading the odd book, then 16Gb will be fine. Be aware, you cannot increase the storaage - you can't add an SD card.

Q: Is it easy to set up?
A: Yes - very easy. Be sure to be near a WIFI connection, and the iPad will carefully take you through the steps needed to set it up. No, there’s very little in the way of an instruction manual - which is a testament to the simplicity of this device. It’s so easy to use most people find they don’t need one. However, there are lots of books available on Amazon. Just search for “iPad” under books if you’re concerned.

Q: Does it have a USB connection?
A: No. This means you can’t connect just any old device, but also means you can’t accidentally get a virus. To help support this, all Apps (programs) are available “over the air” (downloaded from the Apple App Store) and vetted by Apple. You can buy a cable which means you can plug in an SD Card to download photos. Search Amazon for "lightning to sd card reader” to find these. Apple provide a free back-up service. Just plug in your iPad to re-charge, and it will automatically be backed up to the Apple servers (the “cloud”).

Q: Do I need a computer?
A: No. All you really need is a WIFI connection. Whether an iPad could replace your laptop is another question. You can type (and print) letters, read eMails, view web pages, view photos or watch videos and listen to music on an iPad. You can even attach an external keyboard and type entire documents (this review was partly written on an iPad Air on a train). You can run MS Office or use the free Apple versions (Pages and Numbers). Personally, I find I use my iPad 90% of the time, only using a laptop to connect to the office. Whether you can get by with only an iPad is your decision based upon your needs.

Q: Does it run Microsoft Office?
A: Yes. Free for read only Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Q: Can I print from the iPad?
A: Yes. Provided your running a relatively modern printer with a WIFI connection you can.

Q: Can I read books, watch films and listen to music on an iPad?
A: Yes. That’s what I use it for most of the time. Kindle or Apple books work beautifully. You can rent/buy films from Apple, Amazon and lots of others. You can watch catch up TV services. You can load your music (MP3 files) on an existing computer to iTunes
and sync them with the iPad or stream unlimited music from music sites including Spotify. Finally, you can stream video to your TV using a set-top box from Apple (TV), Amazon (Fire) or Google (Chromecast)

Q: Do you work for Apple or Amazon?
A: A fair question that nobody has yet been brave enough to ask. No. Neither. I love the iPad, and I'm a great fan of Amazon’s customer service. Fantastic technology and great service at a terrific price. What's not to get excited about? ;-)

Which model should I buy?
====================
Skip this section if your familiar with the range, otherwise read on.

Firstly, there’s a confusing number of options available including the iPad 3rd or 4th generation, iPad Air, Air 2, Mini, Mini 2, 3 and 4. We then have WIFI and Cellular options, all with different size storage. Bare with me, and I’ll take you through them.

Which model - Full size iPad or Mini?
------------------------------------------------
The “full size” iPad is slightly smaller than an A4 pad of paper whereas the Mini is more the size of an incredibly thin paperback book (comparable in fact to the Amazon Kindle). Both iPads have a colour touch sensitive screen, and largely the same functionality, although the iPad Air 2 is now faster than it’s smaller “mini” equivalent.

In short, the main difference is physical screen size. If you plan to read books or watch video standing on train or bus, the mini is your best option. If you want the bigger screen, then the full size iPad is the best option.

What’s the storage options?
------------------------------------
Storage (for Apps, photos or videos) start at 16g which is fine if you plan to surf the web, read books or stream video. Personally I used a 16g iPad every day for four years - it’s a lot more space than many people will need. If however you intend to save lots of films or photos, then you’re better off with the larger storage options. Be aware once bought, you can’t add storage, so choose carefully.

Be aware, Apple have limited the storage sizes available for the “Mini” range (although you might find some old stock available on Amazon).

* iPad Mini - is available in 16g only
* iPad Mini 2 is available in 16g or 32g
* iPad Mini 3 and 4 is available in 16g, 64g or 128g storage

Personally, I’d take a cue from Apple sizing:-

* 16g if you’re a first time iPad user or are unlikely to store lots of top-end games or video.
* 64g if it’s for a teenager or you plan to store lots.
* 128g if you’ve got really deep pockets, and need lots of space

Either way, if you’re going to buy a Mini tablet, I’d recommend the 2, 3 or 4.

Of course it’s difficult to tell if you need 16g, 64g or even the whopping great 128g. What’s a “Gigabyte” anyway? I did some research and I’d estimate a 16Gb will hold around:-

* 6,000 JPG photos or
* 35 Standard definition movies or
* 15 HD movies or
* 4,000 MP3 songs

Which is quite a lot of stuff really. But as you can see, if you want to store lots of movies - buy more space up front.

WIFI or Cellular?
---------------------
Firstly all iPads include a WIFI connection. You can pay extra for a “cellular” option which means you can (for an additional monthly fee) buy a data subscription from a mobile phone network, and use your iPad to surf the web when you’re out an about. If however like me you have a smartphone (Android or iPhone it doesn’t matter) then navigate to Settings —> Personal Hotspot and set up a password.

This means you can create a “Personal Hotspot” using your smartphone data subscription. Also known as “tethering”, you can then connect your WIFI only iPad to the web, and off you go.

Personally, I use this every day on the train and it’s just brilliant. Just as fast as a cellular iPad, but more flexible (two people can share the connection), and cheaper too. Just check your mobile contract supports tethering, and includes enough of a data allowance. Otherwise you’ll run up a huge bill as you’ll find your iPad uses data faster than than your smartphone.

Should I upgrade?
==============
A personal choice, so I’ve summarised the key differences above. Each iPad is slightly better, although each upgrade can appear a relatively small change, and you need to compare the “full size” and “mini” iPads separately.

* iPad Mini: The upgrade from iPad Mini 1 to 2 was to an incredible screen and faster processor. The upgrade to Mini 3 adds only the “Touch ID” fingerprint reader, and it’s questionable whether it’s worth paying for.
* iPad Mini 4: Is much better. Faster processor, thinner and lighter. It’s a delight to use.
* Full size: I’d upgrade anything up to and including the iPad 4th generation without question. The Air and Air 2 are now up to twice as fast, 33% lighter and 1/3rd thinner than the 2nd, 3rd or 4th generation device. If you already have an iPad Air it’s less clear cut, and probably not worth upgrading.

The iPad Mini Range:-

iPad Mini 1 (Launched November 2012)
-----------------------------------------------------
* Very first iPad mini is like an incredibly thin paperback book. Beautiful colour screen, but now a bit slow and now dated.
* 1Ghz A5 processor - same as the iPad 2nd generation launched in March 2011. Weight 310g. 7mm thin.
* 1024x768 (Non-retina) screen at 163ppi (pixels per inch). Good but not brilliant
* 1.2MP front facing camera (720p video) and 5MP still and HD Video camera.

iPad Mini 2 (Launched October 2013)
---------------------------------------------------
* Incredible screen improvement at double the pixels per inch (ppi). Faster processor and quad core graphics. Stunning!
* Improved A7 processor and motion co-processor with double the memory. Much faster than the previous device
* Retina display (2048×1536) is just amazing. Absolutely pin sharp screen at 326ppi it’s even better than the iPad Air at 264ppi
* Storage options include 16, 32, 64 and 128g. Weight 330g. 7mm thin.

iPad Mini 3 (Launched October 2014)
--------------------------------------------------
* Almost no improvement. Same processor, screen and camera. Only the Touch ID fingerprint sensor added.
* Nothing more to say here, and certainly not worth the upgrade from iPad Mini 2. Available in silver, grey and gold.

iPad Mini 4 (Launched October 2015)
---------------------------------------------------
* Incredible retina screen at 2,048 x 1,536 pixels (324 ppi) squeezed into the tiny 7.9 inch screen. Absolutely pin sharp
* Improved A8 processor and 2GB of memory. Much faster than the previous device
* At nearly 10% lighter than the already beautifully thin at 299g compared to the 331g of the Mini 3.
* Storage options include 16, 64 and 128g.

The “full size” iPad range:-

iPad (1st Generation - Launched April 2010)
------------------------------------------------------------
* 1Ghz A4 processor with 256Mb memory and storage at 16 to 64Gb. Weighs 680g. 13.4mm thin.
* 1024×768 screen, but no front or rear facing camera.
* The “Classic” iPad. Now a collectors piece - but still great to surf the web

iPad 2 (2nd Generation - Launched March 2011)
----------------------------------------------------------------
* Faster, lighter and 33% thinner than the first generation. A huge leap in performance and size.
* Upgraded dual core (2 processor) A5 CPU and 512Mb memory - a faster device. Weighs 601g. Just 9mm thin.
* Now includes a front and rear facing camera.
* Great device, but you’ll see a massive difference if you upgrade

iPad 3 (3rd Generation - Launched March 2012)
----------------------------------------------------------------
* A significant upgrade. Faster with the incredible “retina” (2048×1536) sharp screen.
* Uprated A5X CPU and quad core graphics and 1Gb memory - faster again. Weighs 650g. Still 9mm thin
* Huge screen improvement to 2048×1536 pixels at 264 ppi. Incredibly sharp and clear
* Upgraded cameras. 1080P (front) and 5MP (rear facing)
* The last iPad to use the wide (30 Pin) connector. My wife still uses hers daily for web surfing (Oct 2014)

iPad 4 (4th Generation - Launched October 2012 - just 7 months later)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Quite a small upgrade from the previous generation. Again you’d see a huge difference upgrading to the latest device
* Guess what? Upgraded dual core A6X processor. A faster device, with the launch date moved to catch the Christmas buying period. Weighs 650g. 9mm thin.
* Upgraded front facing camera (1.2MP still and 720P video)
* First iPad to use the smaller narrow (Lightning) connector.

iPad Air (Launched Oct 2013)
---------------------------------------
* Amazing upgrade. Twice as fast, nearly 17% thinner and shedding almost a 1/3 of the weight of the predecessor. It’s an incredible device.
* Blisteringly fast 64 bit A7 processor with faster memory, and a motion co-processor. Weighs 469g. (28% Lighter) and now only 7.5 mm thin.
* New iPads now come with a free licence for Pages, Numbers, Keynote (Apple’s version of Word, Excel and Powerpoint). Plus Garage Band, iPhoto and iMovie.

iPad Air 2 (aka iPad 6 - Launched October 2014)
-----------------------------------------------------------------
* Another incredible upgrade. Now 1/3rd lighter and thinner than the iPad 4 launched just 2 years ago.
* A8X Processor (faster variation on the A8 fitted to the iPhone 6) with M8 motion co-processor. Weighs 437g and only 6.1mm (18% thinner).
* Touch ID fingerprint sensor (the first iPad Air to have this). Means you can effectively avoid using passwords
* Improved screen now includes an “antireflective” coating.
* Improved 8MP rear facing camera (3264×2448) with 10 frames per second “burst” mode and slow motion. Front facing camera has improved f/2.2 aperture.
* Lock/silent switch has been removed (to save space), but you can mute your iPad by swiping up the “Control Centre”
* Battery is slightly smaller (7,340mAh) compared to the previous model, but the same 10 hour battery life
* WIFI now supports new “ac” standard and is dual channel 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz. Also built in barometer.
* Storage options are now Small, Medium and Large. 16g, 64g or 128g.
* Available in Space Grey, Silver/White and Gold.

Accessories - What else will I need ?
===========================
All you “need” is a WIFI connection - you don’t even need a computer. However, there’s a number of additional accessories/devices you could buy with your iPad, and it's worth doing a search on Amazon. These include:-

* A cover or case - to prevent it getting scratched (definately worth buying). You can even get “Child Proof” cases - a must have for parents with toddlers.
* A wireless bluetooth speaker - to listen to music. A MUST HAVE for anyone who loves music. Sound quality incredible, and will also work with your smartphone or laptop.
* A "power bank" - as an emergency battery back-up. Also great for your smartphone - never run out of battery again.
* A separate keyboard - to turn your iPad into a virtual laptop. (I use mine every day on the train instead of a bulky laptop).
* An Apple TV, Google Chrome or Amazon Fire TV. Means you can stream photos/video from your iPad to your TV.

Most people (me included) buy a cover (or case) to avoid scratches and bumps.
Effectively you have two options:-

* Attached to the iPad by magnets, the “cover” protects only the screen from dirt or scratches
* A “case” encloses the entire device protecting back and screen. You can also buy “child proof” cases.

Both types automatically shut down the iPad when you close the lid (a lovely touch). You can pay a lot for an admittedly top quality cover from Apple, alternatively buy one on Amazon for about less. The highest rated covers (by customer rating) seem to be produced by “Swees”, “Mofred” and “EasyAcc”. Just be careful to buy one that fits your device. You’ll find your existing “cover” (screen only) will fit almost any iPad (2nd generation to Air 2), but you’ll need to be careful to buy the correct “case” as the iPad Air and Air 2 are each thinner than previous models.

A "Bluetooth Speaker" is a fantastic way to listen to music or the radio streamed from your iPad or Smartphone, and sound quality is astonishingly good.
The best devices I've tested and reviewed at every price point are:-

* Lepow Modre - Really cute design, bright colours and impressive sound for the money.
* ADX Fusion - Stylish aluminium design and excellent sound quality. Great value for the money from a small UK based company
* Audio Dynamix Atom V2 or V3 - Solid build in a beautiful brushed aluminium design with an impressive sound stage. Incredible value.
* Audio Dynamix Pulse V3 or V4 - Quirky design, but packs a punch way above its weight. Incredible sound quality, amazing value.
* Soundblaster Roar - Fantastic design with tons of features and a great sound
* Bose Soundlink Mini - Beautifully stylish with a warm and full room filling sound
* Bose Soundlink V3 - Simple but stylish design with an incredible sound stage
* Bowers & Wilkins A5 - Mercedes top end HI FI in a bluetooth speaker
* Bowers & Wilkins A7 - Mercedes S Class. Absolute top end HI FI quality at a price to match

All of these are available on Amazon. Just “mouse over” the stars for these speakers. You’ll find in each case 90% of customers rated them at FIVE STARS. An incredible achievement. These really are the best speakers in their class as of October 2014.

You can also buy a separate keyboard which turns your full size iPad into a virtual laptop computer.
Again there's lots of options - the best I've tried, tested and reviewed are:-

* Zagg - a top quality "full” keyboard. Some models even have “back-lit” keys - great for sitting in bed late at night
* Logitec Ultrathin - a top quality "half depth” keyboard, but a pleasure to use

Again, take care to buy the keyboard which fits your particular iPad model.

How about Apps?
=============
Firstly, an App, is a small "application" (a program) that runs on your iPad, and there's literally thousands available from the "App Store", with the most important ones (web browser, mail, music player, word processor, spreadsheet etc) are pre-installed or free to download.
Many apps cost $1, and loads are free (frequently advertising funded with the option to "add on" stuff - but beware you can run up a huge bill).

Here's my favourites:-

* Mailbox. Incredibly slick mail app (or use the built in Apple App) (Free)
* Photo & iPhoto. Built in apps to take/view/edit photos (Free)
* Skype or Apple Face Time. Chat to the family for free using a video call (Free)
* Netflix. For a small monthly fee watch a huge collection of films online. (Free)
* Evernote. Write and organise notes. Edit them on your Android, iPhone, iPad, PC or Mac (Free)
* DropBox. Access your files, documents and photos on Android, iPhone, iPad, PC or Mac. (Free)
* Tune In Radio. Listen to 1,000s of radio stations world-wide - or listen to Radio 4 like I do
* Spotify. Stream music for a small monthly fee (or free with ads). Brilliant! (Free)
* eBay. Buy and sell your stuff online. (Free)
* Garage Sale. Fantastic way to produce professional looking sales on eBay.
* Rightmove. Search for your next Flat or House or just gape at daft prices (Free)
* Zite. Online web magazine that learns what you like. Terrific! (Free)
* Movies by Flixter. Read reviews of films on cinema and DVD. (Free)
* Kindle. Read your books from Amazon Kindle bookstore. (Free)
* QuickOffice. Edit Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents (Free)
* Pages, Numbers and Keynote. Apple's version of MS Office. Edit/save documents in Word, Excel andPowerpoint format. (Free)
* MS Office. Word, Excel and Powerpoint - now totally FREE (Free)

Of course you could also use it to read web pages, or playing amazing games like “Real Racing” (Free) or "Cut the Rope". It's a wonderful surprise having come from a PC background to find the most expensive game in the top 100 cost less than a cup of coffee from StarBucks.

Personally, I tend to use it for Mail, watching TV (Netflix or Amazon Instant), or shopping using the built in browser - Safari. Having said that, I'm writing this review (using an external keyboard) on the free Apple word processing App, Pages - so it can (with a stretch) do "most" of what you can do on a PC or Mac.

What’s the alternative?
-------------------------
As this is a review not a sales brochure, I’m honour bound to include alternatives. These are the best available as of December 2015:-

- Samsung Galaxy Tab S2: Nice looking, with a super AMOLED screen which is fantastic. More powerful and better battery life. It’s probably the best competitor if you’d prefer an Android tablet. You “may” find it’s cheaper as Android devices often are.
- Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact: Smaller and slightly older, it’s not quite as powerful and the screen not as good, but a good contender. It’s also waterproof so a real option if you’re worried your child will drop it in the bath.
- Google Nexus 9: As it’s a “Google” device you get Android updates faster than everyone else which makes it a great choice if you’re into Android. Made by HTC it’s well made and has great dual facing “BoomSound” speakers. Overall a good alternative.
- Apple iPad Air 2. The bigger and slightly more powerful device although likely to cost a bit more. The larger screen benefits from the ability to use “Split Screen” features - available on the mini - but make more sense on the bigger screen.
- iPad Mini 2: Unless you really HATE using passwords, and need a “Touch ID” fingerprint reader instead, this is a much better option than the iPad Mini 3. It only comes with 16Gb but it’s a lovely device for a web surfer. You will find it MUCH slower than the iPad Mini 4 though, and if you can afford it, I’d go for the more recent model

Overall Opinion
============

It's hard to believe the first iPad was first launched in 2010, and there's a huge raft of cheaper tablet computers to choose from, but the Apple iPad (or mini) are still the ones to beat. As “CNET" online said about this device: “It’s perfect for travelling and iOS remains the superior user experience on tablets”.

Yes, there are cheaper Android based alternatives, but the quality, design and beauty of these tablets just set them apart. If they were a car they’d be a top of the range Mercedes, BMW or Porsche.

I do hope this review was useful. As you can see I’m a life-long fan of the iPad.
0Comment| 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 100 REVIEWERon 4 October 2014
Update 12/18/14 - With the update to 8.1.2, my iPad seems to be back to normal again and I'm a happy camper. I'm changing my rating to 5 stars.

I am an Apple fan from way back and I was very happy with this iPad before "upgrading" it to IOS 8 and then a few days later to IOS 8.02. The iPad was fast, responsive and had a beautiful display. I am normally a Kindle user but purchased this iPad mainly for work applications because of the size. The 7 inch Kindles were a little too small and the 8.9 was a little too large to carry in my purse when traveling. This iPad was just the right size. I have an iPhone so the operating system was familiar.

I like the sleek size and easy set-up for email and other apps which is the case across the Apple platform. The battery power is decent and I can use the iPad off and on throughout the day and recharge at night. It was easy to find covers and accessories because it is a popular device. I pretty much liked everything about it prior to the IOS 8 upgrade. It suddenly became a LOT slower when using it on a Wifi network with speeds that are typically in the 80 - 100 Mbps download range. Now it frequently hangs up after beginning to load a page and will not go further. It often gives a message that it cannot connect to the server. When I access the same page alongside it in my Kindle HD, the pages load instantly without any issue. I have been comparing the two tablets for a few days and even this older Kindle leaves the iPad in the dust. I've tried various fixes from the Apple support site with no resolution to this problem. The only thing that seems to help us to turn off the iPad and restart, or sometimes putting it to sleep and restarting helps. The new IOS has some nice features such as the new keyboard but that doesn't make up for the unresponsiveness.

I have decided not to update my iPhone to this new OS until the problems are resolved. Checking on different forums, I see that there are many other unhappy Apple users. Actually, this may be the push I need to look at other brands of phones since my 2 year contract is up. Some of the lesser known new phones are starting to look pretty good.
33 comments| 27 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 9 June 2015
Extremely disappointed. Ordered this for my daughter's 13th birthday present and found that the screen was faulty. I took it to my local Apple distributor to see if if it was a known fault only to be told that this device had already been previous registered and had already lost 145 days of the 365 day warranty! I bought this for £217, as a NEW device but it turned out to be a reburbished unit so I was not impressed. Amazon were fantastic in arranging the return and refund (they could not order a replacement as they fulfilled the order on behalf of 3rd party). I have since purchased a new device from my local distributor at £239 which comes with a 12 month warranty and included an additional 3 years cover at no extra cost! Daughter is now happy with her gift but this seemed to put a dampener on her birthday celebrations.
11 comment| 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 16 August 2015
So I received a brand new sealed box, and on opening there was a new iPad mini (Which is DIFFERENT to the model advertised in the description) and cable however shockingly the plug is so damaged. This is really annoying as the iPad is a gift and on purchasing it I made sure that I was buying a brand new item. I am left to assume that perhaps this is used because the way in which the plug is damaged it does not seem to be an odd scratch that you may get from manufacturing. It seems as if the plug has been previously used quite roughly. The pictures only show so much but in real the scratches are terrible and it looks like I just gave a second hand refurbished present. Not happy especially due to the price paid.
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11 comment| 20 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 23 August 2014
So so so happy I bought this iPad mini. I was unsure weather to buy it or not because it was so cheap but I'm so glad I did:) Exactly the same as the iPad mini retina sold in the apple store but you save so much money by purchasing it from amazon.
Fast delivery as well. I ordered it on Friday night at tea time and it arrived on Saturday, lunchtime (Amazon prime)
The retina display is also amazing!
I highly reccomend the IPad Mini with Retina Display, however the IPad Mini is just as good if you want to save some pennies:))
0Comment| 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 10 September 2014
Did the upgrade from my iPad mini 1. A Superb product. A great way to get the iphone5s architecture (64bit, A7 CPU M7 motion processer) plus an 8" screen for a lot less than buying the iPhone5s and it is much easier to surf the Internet due to a bigger screen.m. I am holding onto my iPhone 4s for the foreseeable future and using that for making calls and sending text messages.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 15 May 2014
Have an ipad, but the mini is light, fits well in a handbag, the clarity of the retina display is excellent, still use my ipad but for travelling I find the mini is more convenient.
0Comment| 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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