Apple iPad Mini Review

Apple iPad Mini Review

The iPad Mini is one of those more daring moves Apple has made recently. Despite its previous pronouncements that they won’t make any tablet smaller than 10 inches, they’ve now given up to the idea that a 7-inch could be the ideal size. Check our full review of the iPad Mini after the break.

Several years back, when Apple first introduced the iPad, Steve Jobs stressed that the 10-inch display is the most comfortable tablet size that people will appreciate. He dismisses the 7-inch category as too small.

This year, Apple finally gave in to market forces and was pressured to offer a smaller, thinner and more affordable iOS tablet.

Design and Construction

While most other tablets designed their tablets at exactly 7 inches, Apple slightly veered away from that by making the Mini at 7.9 inches. This gives the iPad Mini the leverage of having a much bigger screen real estate for almost the same size and form factor.

And surely, the iPad Mini has little bit more width and giving it an aspect ratio of 4:3 instead of the usual 16:9 most other tablets go around these days.

Apple did really well in designing the Mini — while it looks like the typical iPad, the slim and light form factor makes it look very sexy.

I’ve been so used to the size and form factor of the Nexus 7 that when I moved to the iPad Mini, it was kind of awkward to hold with one hand (clasping it like in their ad poster).

Nevertheless, the Mini is still very thin and very light that you would not think twice of bringing all the time because of the negligible weight and thickness it added to your daily luggage.

While this is already true with previous 7-inch tablets like the Galaxy Tab 7.7, the MediaPad 7 and the Nexus 7, we can’t deny the fact that the iPad Mini convinced previous iPad users of the novelty of a smaller screen and lighter form factor.

Apple managed to squeeze in all the basic physical controls of the iPad — at the left side is the volume control and rotation lock, the top end is where the power switch and 3.5mm audio port while the bottom end is where they placed the speakers and the proprietary 9-pin data/power port.


The display might be one of the first things you will check out when you first see the iPad Mini. If you’ve already heard of previous criticisms that the screen does not look good, you might already have prejudged the Mini.

This is mainly due to the fact that Apple started introducing the Retina Display feature into their tablets with the iPad 3. Hence, there’s an implicit expectation that all succeeding tablets should have the same level of resolution. Or, better.

However, unless you’re very used to the iPad 3, we don’t think you will greatly notice that the iPad Mini does not have as much pixel density.

Besides, all other 7-inch tablets in the market have almost the same resolution as the iPad Mini. And when a lot of people appreciate that these 7-inch tablets have 720p resolution (1280×720 pixels), the idea that the iPad Mini only had a 1024×768 pixel resolution is more on an un-met expectation rather than impression of inferiority.

On casual usage, the Mini has pretty good screen; the 163ppi pixel density is already decent, color saturation is almost even and screen brightness is sufficient.

We believe that only long-time iPad 3 users will immediately spot the difference. Everybody else who’s upgrading from the original iPad and the iPad 2 as well as the other 7-inch Android tablets will certainly appreciate the clarity and over-all performance of the display.

OS, Apps and UI

Perhaps, one of the biggest strengths of the iPad Mini is its operating system and app ecosystem. iOS, despite its simple and straightforward UI implementation, has truly matured. It has not really changed its look since day one which helped it adopt to all sizes of iOS devices it’s been installed into — iPod Touch, iPhone and iPads.

The iTunes App Store has over 700,000 active apps in its marketplace. Almost half of it are free and most of the new and widely used apps are first released for iOS. This gives Apple devices a huge advantage to attract the app-crazy market.

The smaller screen proved to be a challenge when it comes with using the virtual keyboard. With the bigger iPads, it was easy to touch-type with both hands as the size and distance of the keys were enough. With the iPad Mini, it’s already cramped. This obstacle will actually force you to change the way you type — by holding it with both hands and finger-typing with the thumb, just like what you would do with a large smartphone.


Multimedia & Camera

The iPad Mini’s multimedia features are strongly hinged on iTunes so most of the media management is done thru the client and then synced to the PC/Mac. This includes downloading of music, TV series, podcasts, movies and apps.

While the process has changed in recent years, meaning you can download media directly into the iPad, iTunes remains to be central to this ecosystem (for obvious reasons that it is where Apple makes money).

The speakers on the Mini are surprisingly good, has enough volume when you want to crank it up and does a pretty good job for all-around use.

The display, while it’s good enough for playing 720p movies, has the older standard of 4:3 aspect ratio so that when you watch videos or movies, it doesn’t fill up the screen (you get black borders at the top and bottom end).

Where the iPad Mini excels that the previous 9.7-inch iPads had a hard time was with reading eBooks. You will find using the iPad Mini much more comfortable on the hands even with prolonged use (apparently, a lot of people use it while lying down on their beds and holding the iPad with one hand).

As for the 5-megapixel camera, we’ve already been spoiled with how good the optics on the iPad 3 is so when we used the one on the iPad Mini, we were a bit disappointed.

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Web browsing on the iPad Mini is surprisingly good since it has enough width and resolution to display most websites in full without much of the zooming in and out of the page.


So much can be said about the iPad Mini’s performance. If you were using the tablet for the usual stuff like running apps (Twitter, FB, Instagram), browsing the web with Safari or playing media files on the native app, you will rarely notice any difference.

However, once you fire up the more resource-intensive apps, that’s where you will definitely see the difference. For once, try firing up Google Chrome on the iPad Mini and open up several loading the same website. Here you will notice the tablet struggling with multiple processes running at the same time.

Battery Life

Despite its very slim profile and significantly smaller size, the iPad Mini was still able to deliver close to 9 or 10 hours of battery life on a single full charge.

Playing movies in a loop gave us around 9 hours of playback at 60% brightness and 50% volume. The Mini tends to heat up just a little on prolonged us, especially while multi-tasking but it’s not as big a concern as the one on the iPad 3.

iPad Mini specs:
7.87-inch IPS LCD display @ 1024×768 pixels, 163ppi
Apple A5 chip, dual-core
16GB, 32GB, 64GB internal storage
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, dual-band 2.4GHz & 5GHz
Cellular (optional)
Bluetooth 4.0
5MP rear camera
1080p video recording
1.2MP front-facing camera
720p Facetime
Assisted GPS with GLONASS
iOS 6.0


The iPad Mini is a 4th generation device with a 2nd-generation hardware. For first time iPad users, the sleek form factor and app ecosystem in a more affordable price point (compared to all other iPad models) makes it an enticing offer.

For long-time iPad users, the size and weight difference will be its biggest charm as you no longer need to consciously decide whether you want to bring that old bulky iPad with your laptop in your daily working bag.

For hard-core iPad users, the slower processor and the lack of Retina Display could be its biggest turn-off.

The iPad Mini is a beautiful device and we are sorry to say that Steve Jobs was wrong when he said the you can’t go below 9.7 inches on a tablet. In fact, at 7.2mm, the iPad Mini might actually beat 99% of other tablets and smartphones out in the market. Sadly though, it’s a gorgeous device with an outdated hardware configuration.

The iPad Mini is now available in the Apple Philippines Online Store with a starting price of Php15,990 (check the complete price list here).

What we liked about it:

  • Super thin and light
  • Simple but great design
  • It’s more affordable

What we did not like:

  • It’s slower than current iPad models (two generations slower)
  • Much lower resolution than the iPad 3 and iPad 4

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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51 Responses

  1. Nikko Bengco says:

    Hi, can you review the LTE version? And does Globe/Smart already support it?

    • ronnie says:

      The selling point of this apple product is the high speed lte like the iphone, but both are not supported by any lte providers in the philippines.

  2. templar_kaozzzz says:

    So nexus 7 is still the king in terms of the 7inch category?

  3. andrew says:

    Its 4:3, not 4:6.

  4. Apple didn’t say they won’t make a tablet smaller than their current 9.7″ (or 10″). Steve Jobs, more specifically said, 7″ tablets suck. So, they made a 7.9″ (or 8″) tablet. I think they didn’t really contradict any of their previous statements, plus, of course it is all marketing. But at the same time, a year before the iPhone came out, they said they won’t make a phone. They also said around the time of the iPhone that they won’t make a tablet.

  5. Hmm, I see the iPad mini as a 1st generation device, not a 4th generation one. But yes, coincidentally it has almost the same internal specs as the 2nd generation regular iPad at a time when the 4th generation of that regular iPad came out.

  6. Bryan says:

    Well apple really had to veer away from the typical 7″ because Tim Cook publicly announced that Apple will never be making 7″ tablets. That’s his way of not eating back his words after seeing the potential of 7″ market. But for a leader in innovation to release such a… meh…. product, this looks more like a desperate move than a daring move.

  7. tarush says:

    Almost all stores have sold out stocks for the iPad Mini 16 GB WiFi as of today:)

  8. Mr. Curious says:

    The high selling rate of this product only shows how stupid people are in buying products. -_-”

    you may say, “no I bought this because of it’s simplicity and not for its performance” and yes I might agree with that, but considering the fact that you can buy a much better product with the same price? Well I don’t know with you, but… [email protected]#[email protected]# -_-“

    • Mr Bitter Ka says:

      stupid na kung stupid… masaya naman. eh ikaw? basa ng basa ng post tungkol sa ipad mini. wala ba nagbabasa sa android? hahahhaha

    • Mr. Curious says:

      LOL your reply made me laugh hahaha!

      like super guilty? so you’re saying that android buyers are also stupid? and you’re saying that you’re happy being stupid? HAHAHAHA this made my day!

    • Mr. Curious says:

      LOL your reply made me laugh hahaha!

      like super guilty? so you’re saying that android buyers are also stupid? and you’re saying that you’re happy being stupid? HAHAHAHA this made my day! BTW I am not a hater of apple, I actually own some apple devices FYI. Don’t say I am bitter with it, just telling the truth here. Well I guess you’re the one who is bitter around here. Check your reply; there are already 3 comments posted and didn’t cared about my comment at all. Guess my comment has hit you and made you like super GUILTY haha! bitter and disappointed are two different words FYI hahaha still you made me laugh seriously! hahaha what’s with reading ipad mini’s article? Why should I read android articles? First of all man, my point there is the price point of the products. god!..

    • Mr Bitter Ka says:

      ahihi… haba ng reply. twice pa nag post. gigil much? merry xmas!

    • Ang Supremo says:

      I don’t think its stupidity when someone buys it as a gift for a kid/child who won’t care about customization and processor speed. It just makes for a wonderful and “simple” present :-|

    • Mr. Curious says:

      @Mr. Bitter ka, hahaha sorry but I always encounter this difficulty in posting comments/replies here, it always show that my reply was a duplicate, then I’ll try to refresh the page, after that it will show that i already posted twice. Well thanks anyway, thou we don’t have xmas =D anyways happy holidays everyone!

      @Ang Supremo, yup but let us all be honest, do you think 70% or even 80 % of the buyers of ipad mini bought it as a gift? I don’t think so. happy holidays! =D

    • Cliiick says:

      You’re actually wrong with that conclusion. As you can see, an iPad 2 still costs 18.5k for its starting price. The mini is 16k which, as mentioned, is as fast as the iPad 2. So in turn, it doesn’t really cost that much if you go by that logic. If you compare it with nexus 7′, then that’s the only time it becomes expensive. However, nexus 7 doesn’t run iOS so many people still opt to buy the mini. And besides, the mini is really more comfortable to use compared to my ipad 3 which feels like a brick to hold. The only drawback is the screen which is not good for reading PDF files.

    • Cliiick says:

      You’re actually wrong with that conclusion. As you can see, an iPad 2 still costs 18.5k for its starting price. The mini is 16k which, as mentioned, is as fast as the iPad 2. So in turn, it doesn’t really cost that much if you go by that logic. If you compare it with nexus 7′, then that’s the only time it becomes expensive. However, nexus 7 doesn’t run iOS so many people still opt to buy the mini. And besides, the mini is really more comfortable to use compared to my ipad 3 which feels like a brick to hold. The only drawback is the screen which is not good for reading PDF files

  9. Sherwin says:

    ilang ram ba talaga ang iPad Mini?

  10. danilo says:

    the price of the product doesnt matter because its quality speaks which u can rely on and really satisfied as you keep on using it.

  11. Jcnjcjcnjc says:

    Very nice built quality, screen sana retina but you know apple they will milk the fanboy with small added improvement with every new product, so may be retina display will be in iPad mini 2 so apple fanboy will buy again.

  12. MarkxkraM says:

    well, well, well… criticism is always there. if not in the product, the price, and if not in the price, the consumer. haha…

    ok, criticism is good sometimes, but we know all the greatness & flaws of Apple “Products”. either we have it (all) or not, we still have our own criticism for their products.

    anyway, i like both stuff, but the only things that we should care for our-self are:
    does the specs meets my needs?
    does the price is reasonable?
    and is it fit for my everyday use?

    PS: People are not stupid buying this stuff, they are just crazy / fanboy of Apple products.

    Happy New Year to all & to YugaTech!

  13. ipadmini says:

    People buy the platform not just the hardware.

  14. appleboy says:

    well, iba tlga ang apple. kahit sabihin mong maraming phones ang ahead sa specs ng apple product, mas naangat parin ang apple. lag pa rin kasi sa andriods kahit sabihing ang taas ng specs. :) Pero sabagay, its not about the specs, its all about the actual usage. At doon the best ang apple.


  15. Mark says:

    hindi ba parehas lang ang back camera ng ipad 3 at ipad mini, and mas better pa nga ang front facing cam ng mini?

    bakit ka na disappoint sa camera ng ipadmini?

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  22. Angelica says:

    as a student po na mahilig magdala ng gadget sa school, ano po advice nyo na kunin ko, ipad mini or ipod touch 5th gen?

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  26. angela alviz says:

    sir, okay lang ba ang ipad mini kung bata lang ang gagamit? gusto ko kasi iregalo sa anak ko. thanks!

  27. Hi Angela Alviz, yes even your kids can also use iPad Mini, there’s no limit age naman eh using iPad Mini as long as they will know how to use it.

  28. kenneth says:

    mgkno nLng pOh b ung iPadmini ngaun jan s Pinas.? tnx pOh s mga mgrerepLy..

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