Apple iPad Mini Review: Our New Favorite Size, But...That Price?

Battery Life

Despite its third-place finish in our Web browsing battery life test (at maximum brightness), we're a little underwhelmed. Yes, the iPad mini edges out larger tablets with bigger batteries and more power-hungry displays, but just barely. It only gives you nine more minutes of run time than the iPad 2, well within a margin of error. More important is that Apple's 7.9" tablet trails the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD by more than an hour.

In absolute terms, the iPad mini performs better in our movie playback test, delivering close to eight hours of battery life. That's almost two hours more than the Kindle Fire HD. Google's Nexus 7 still reigns supreme in this test, though, delivering nearly ten hours of run time. It's a little counter-intuitive that the iPad 2 offers better battery life than the mini, but the delta between them is significant.

Normalized Brightness Benchmarks (Background Info)

With all of our tablets calibrated to 200 nits, the iPad mini doesn't do as poorly compared to Google's Nexus 7 in the Web browsing test, though it suddenly finds itself behind the iPad 2 and third-gen iPad, neither of which are losing battery life as quickly to a display operating at maximum brightness. Amazon's Kindle Fire HD takes first place in this one, though.

Google's Nexus 7 remains very close to the iPad mini, just as it was in the previous chart. But the Kindle Fire HD gets bested by more than an hour in our video playback metric. It was blown out at maximum brightness, too.

Epic's Citadel is one of the more popular titles for iOS because it's based on the same code used in Infinity Blade. Much like 3DMark, Citadel loops a sequence through the app's landscape. But even as it serves up a modest graphics workload, Citadel is a tech demo, so we have to take its outcome in context.

Riptide is perhaps more appropriate for benchmarking battery life in a 3D environment because it's a real-world game. The title enters into demo mode whenever it sits idle on the home screen. According to Vector, Riptide's developer, textures are dynamically rendered during the demo, resulting in a continuous workload.

It's a little surprising to see the iPad mini match the iPad 2's battery life since the latter enjoys a larger power source. More impressively, the iPad mini trounces its competition in this test; the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD show up at the opposite end of the chart.

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49 comments
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    Top Comments
  • The iPad mini is overpriced.
    30
  • Overpriced, but thats not really a surprise, since its an apple product. Sadly, people are eating them up regardless.
    24
  • While the device is certainly nice, I don't like the fact that it has no support for MicroSD, and I would be unable to tinker around with it as I can for an Android based device.

    ...And the price. I'm not going to give a second thought when I see a $200 tablet with removable storage versus $330 for 16GB of internal storage and no expansion options.

    If the device was closer to say $260 for the 32GB version, or just included an option for removable storage... Then I would certainly see the iPad mini as being a viable option even for someone used to Android.

    The main factors (in my opinion) for a great device are,
    1: A good quality screen, it needs to have vibrant, accurate colours.
    2: Even if during benchmarks the device is slow, if it FEELS snappy and quick, that's all that counts.
    3: Removable storage for god sake, I know by practice apple enjoys their closed system, but COME ON!
    4: It doesn't need to have some amazing 15 hour battery life, but I certainly don't want it to die on a full charge after a movie and a few youtube videos.
    22
  • Other Comments
  • The iPad mini is overpriced.
    30
  • While the device is certainly nice, I don't like the fact that it has no support for MicroSD, and I would be unable to tinker around with it as I can for an Android based device.

    ...And the price. I'm not going to give a second thought when I see a $200 tablet with removable storage versus $330 for 16GB of internal storage and no expansion options.

    If the device was closer to say $260 for the 32GB version, or just included an option for removable storage... Then I would certainly see the iPad mini as being a viable option even for someone used to Android.

    The main factors (in my opinion) for a great device are,
    1: A good quality screen, it needs to have vibrant, accurate colours.
    2: Even if during benchmarks the device is slow, if it FEELS snappy and quick, that's all that counts.
    3: Removable storage for god sake, I know by practice apple enjoys their closed system, but COME ON!
    4: It doesn't need to have some amazing 15 hour battery life, but I certainly don't want it to die on a full charge after a movie and a few youtube videos.
    22
  • I'm waiting for a 7 inch version of surface. It is the only productive tablet out there.
    3
  • Those devices are a JOKE !
    0
  • iPricey
    10
  • Overpriced, but thats not really a surprise, since its an apple product. Sadly, people are eating them up regardless.
    24
  • It's definitely overpriced, but I've come to expect that with Apple, you're mostly paying for a name and some unique styling with them. It has some features going for it, but I wouldn't buy one, not when there are several cheaper options in the mini tablet lineup. That's not stopping the legions of Apple sheep from buying it though.
    6
  • This is a blatant rip off of the Samsung Tab, I hope Samsung sue their ass off :kaola:
    3
  • AzathothWhile the device is certainly nice, I don't like the fact that it has no support for MicroSD, and I would be unable to tinker around with it as I can for an Android based device....And the price. I'm not going to give a second thought when I see a $200 tablet with removable storage versus $330 for 16GB of internal storage and no expansion options.If the device was closer to say $260 for the 32GB version, or just included an option for removable storage... Then I would certainly see the iPad mini as being a viable option even for someone used to Android.The main factors (in my opinion) for a great device are, 1: A good quality screen, it needs to have vibrant, accurate colours.2: Even if during benchmarks the device is slow, if it FEELS snappy and quick, that's all that counts.3: Removable storage for god sake, I know by practice apple enjoys their closed system, but COME ON!4: It doesn't need to have some amazing 15 hour battery life, but I certainly don't want it to die on a full charge after a movie and a few youtube videos.


    you're right
    I'm glad that i bought the Nexus7. 16GB is enough, and rootet i can plug in external device. And as for all my techy stuff, i doubt i've to send it in before the 2y warranty expires
    5
  • The screen in tablets are too big, i want something with 1 or 2"!!!
    -6
  • TomtompiperThis is a blatant rip off of the Samsung Tab, I hope Samsung sue their ass off

    You mean, the Galaxy Tab 7.7. But yes, they should sue Apple fir design infringement.
    5
  • I'm sure it is a nice piece of tech, but it is more than I would want to pay for a small tablet from any maker.
    3
  • I think that the price of the iPad Mini is justified with how amazingly it runs! The iPad Mini is a great option with an incredible processor speed, as my coworker at DISH likes to tell me about, and it deserves the price it has. With how great it works, it is also very light and smaller and makes it incredibly easy to watch TV streamed to the DISH Remote Access app with the Sling Adapter hooked up to my receiver. I really don’t mind the price, especially for these great features!
    -4
  • i believe you mean "micro-usb" in the sentence "...but we have to admit preferring mini-USB for its ubiquity across the other tablets we use." sorry, i work at radioshack :)
    3
  • I think the attractive thing about the iPad is the form factor. The dimensions, large screen and weight are absolutely perfect compared to the Nexus 7 and Kindle. Other clever software features, like being able to notice when your palm is holding the side of the screen, vs actually trying to use touch input is the perfect thing for a tablet of this size to keep the screen real estate large.

    The apps are phenomenal and far more abundant than any competitor as well.

    But as I've said, the problems are:

    1) Price is way to high
    2) Screen quality (Would NOT be an issue if the price wasn't stupidly high. If we're paying $130 more for a tablet, we atl east want retinta.)
    3) No storage expansion. I understand that storage is being used to "tier" these things like consoles are doing, but its pretty silly not to all for a simple SD expansion.

    Unlike a lot of younger techies, I don't feel that the closed environment or the lack of "customization" is really a flaw. Most individuals don't want to spend a lot of time tinkering around with their tablet. They just want to use it or accomplish a task with it. To most adults, its more of a tool to get a job done that a toy to be tinkered with constantly. I'm ok with leaving the device alone and simply reading, listening to music or watching movies on a plane.
    4
  • no love for the nook hd :(

    its got almost the same specs as the kindle, an sd card slot, and a better screen(1440x900). similar price too.
    0
  • The one thing everyone has to realize is that, yeah it is overpriced but not compared to the iPad. Android is my OS of choice but Android lacks the support that Apple products has. iDevices have better apps and better games. I love Android but until it get the support level iDevices have then it will always play "second fiddle"
    -5
  • I think the target market for this flavor of iPad are women, who can still have a fashionable Apple device that fits in their purses (yes they all have more than one). Also the Apple accessory market is very strong with fashion labels supplying attractive and functional cases for them. I did a one sample study in my household to obtain that information and I am $429 poorer because of it lol. Good thing she got a chinese case from newegg.
    -3
  • Pssht everyone knows the Archos GamePad is where it's at. :p
    0
  • Just purchased our first tablet for my wife (i have a galaxy note phablet). Ipad 1 for $200 on ebay and the screen is fine for me, im surprised from reviews the screen didnt look like sd tv. especially my wife would never know hd. I found it to be heavy and unweildly. I think you just have to say thats what they cost and get over it, im not fighting android os anymore. And im not asking my wife to learn a new os to save $130. Granted she doesnt need extra storage or want to root. Me on the other hand i will get a note3 next year that way i wont need a tablet too.
    2