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

Apple's A5 SoC: Familiar CPU And Graphics Performance

The A5 SoC inside Apple's iPad mini isn’t new to us. We discussed it in quite a bit of depth last year in Apple's iPad 2 Review: Tom's Goes Down The Tablet Rabbit Hole. In short, though, this is still a 1 GHz dual-core Cortex-A9-based chip complemented by a dual-core PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU. Memory capacity is no different; the CPU and GPU share 512 MB of LPDDR2-800.

Almost two years have passed since Apple started using the A5, though. It was originally manufactured at 45 nm, but emerged as a 32 nm SoC earlier this year. You can call it a second-generation A5, but nothing changes performance-wise. As you can see in the benchmarks below, pre-2012 iPad 2 performs comparably to the iPad mini. Even graphics performance looks the same, since both tablets employ the same 1024x768 resolution.

45 nm A5 vs 32 nm A5 (Source: Chipworks)

In addition to the revised iPad 2 and iPad Mini, Apple's die-shrunk A5 is also found in the fifth-gen iPod Touch and third-gen Apple TV.

  • Hellbound
    The iPad mini is overpriced.
    Reply
  • azathoth
    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.
    Reply
  • hardcore_gamer
    I'm waiting for a 7 inch version of surface. It is the only productive tablet out there.
    Reply
  • _Pez_
    Those devices are a JOKE !
    Reply
  • mikenygmail
    iPricey
    Reply
  • Darkerson
    Overpriced, but thats not really a surprise, since its an apple product. Sadly, people are eating them up regardless.
    Reply
  • shikamaru31789
    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.
    Reply
  • Tomtompiper
    This is a blatant rip off of the Samsung Tab, I hope Samsung sue their ass off :kaola:
    Reply
  • Jigo
    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
    Reply
  • godnodog
    The screen in tablets are too big, i want something with 1 or 2"!!!
    Reply