Two years ago, we denied the need for a smaller iPad. And now with might and main we consider it to be the best tablet in the world. As soon as Tim Cook confirmed the release of the new iPad mini, I knew that I would definitely buy it. And here he is next to me. Is this a good tablet? Definitely. Should you change the previous mini for this one? No options. True, this is not an ideal device.

Apple employs engineers, not wizards. The positives in new devices are always easy to find: the euphoria and joy of owning a new toy helps a lot. But to get to the bottom of the real cons in the first few days is almost impossible. I’ve been using the new iPad mini with Retina display for three weeks and have found, in addition to the obvious improvements, a few unexpected ones. negative moments, many of which have not been written about in any popular review. Let’s fix the situation, starting with ourselves!

For what?

Is the iPad mini with Retina display so bad that a separate article is devoted to its disadvantages? Of course, it’s not like that at all. Even vice versa. I am sincerely, objectively delighted with this tablet: it is very fast, very light, very portable and functional. This is exactly the iPad mini we secretly wanted when we bought the previous model.

But, after reading dozens of foreign and a couple of domestic reviews, I was left with mixed feelings: as always, journalists are in a hurry, they want to shoot a review among the first and slide into a banal praising of the device and free quoting of marketing clichés from apple.com pages. And their readers are already talking about the minuses – on the forums, with angry responses towards the manufacturer. I think this is wrong. So that you are fully armed, I will freely walk ice rink on iPad mini with Retina display. Immediately make a reservation that we will not discuss the pros in detail.

Battery, charging and battery life

Year after year, Apple puts a charger and cable to iPads, refusing an extra pair of headphones. An interesting point: iPad mini is not equipped with a new 12-watt charger, but with an old 10-watt one. The manufacturer saves, but in practice it changes almost nothing: the tablet charges for about 5-6 hours from zero to 100%. If you use it regularly and thoroughly, make it a habit to charge your device once every two days – and everything will be fine.

From the USB port, the new mini is practically not powered, except for the deep sleep mode. Considering that notifications are constantly coming there, you will have 20-25% at most for the whole night. Plug it into an outlet, there is no other option. I immediately warn you: external batteries with a capacity of less than 10,000 mA barely breathe when connected to a new tablet. These are the realities of using a new display and much more voracious hardware.

When playing resource-intensive games like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, the tablet runs out faster than the previous generation mini – mine refuses to live after 5 hours of continuous play. But here it is worth making an important remark: we are talking about the “heaviest” toy for iOS at the moment, which, in terms of processor load, even does Infinity Blade III. Lighter toys will work around 7-8 hours, and in the “naked” Wi-Fi surfing mode without playing video and with low brightness, you can squeeze out of the tablet not even 10, but as much as 11, or even 12 hours of work . That’s more than 99.99% of us need. During the day, you will definitely have the opportunity to find a charger, which means that the iPad simply cannot physically let you down at the right time (hello, iPhone!).

By the way, I’m so used to the long and stable battery life of the iPad that I constantly forget about the helplessness of iPhones in this regard. Countless calls and important emails that were missed because I forgot to turn off 3G and disable geolocation. With the iPad, you never need to deal with such garbage. Well, unless you want to set records: there are people on Twitter who squeezed 13 hours of continuous work out of the tablet. And when to live, eat, sleep? 🙂

Chassis, design and heating

iPad mini with Retina display comes in an iPad mini without Retina display. This could have ended. But no, Apple made a reservation that the case became thicker by a couple of tenths of a millimeter and heavier by several tens of grams. And now everyone wants to know: has he really become fat and terribly heavy, or can he be patient and somehow survive? Well, you understand, a whole tenth of a millimeter is not for you khukhry-muhry!

No, it is not thick and not heavy at all. The difference with the previous iPad mini is felt only when alternately weighing in the hands. And then all this looks more like a statistical error. In general, we immediately discount the weight.

The old cover did not survive the upgrade.

It would seem that in this situation, one can not think about the thickness at all. But no. You may not notice it, but covers and pads will not get off so easily. The new iPad mini doesn’t fit as well into tight-fitting cases from the previous generation, like those with hard plastic clips on the sides. If the clamps are weak, then the novelty will not fit there at all as it should. And if they are strong, then with each “undressing” you will pray not to wrinkle or scratch the sensitive sharpened edges of the tablet.

Not only did the grooves burst, but the lid is now not completely closed.

Don’t take chances with cases: take your tablet with you, go to the store and try on each option before buying. If it fits enchantingly tight or not completely, give up and look for another one. Unfortunately, not every manufacturer has heard this, and many of them are willing to say that their old cases are fully compatible with the new iPad mini. In addition to the clamps, pay attention to the cover, if any. The protruding piece of the new tablet, timidly peeking out of the case for the previous generation mini, is very frustrating: personally, I will have to look for a new case for every day to replace the one I already love.


The new iPad mini is almost three to five times more powerful than its predecessor. This could not remain without consequences. Metal is an excellent conductor of heat, making it Apple’s favorite material for the legendary MacBook cases. Only in Apple mobile gadgets there are no radiators, let alone coolers. Therefore, only the body plays the role of a cooler. You probably already guess what I’m getting at.

iPad mini with Retina display may become warm. Strongly. About the same as the third iPad heated up two years ago – and even a little more. For example, the game GTA: San Andreas is able to warm up the tablet to an unusual state, when the device is not hot enough to get burned, but already hot enough to really start to worry. Moreover, the heat is felt not only on the back panel, but also on the screen: the gadget is relatively small, and there is especially nowhere for the heat to go. Apple knew this very, very well. Why I think so – below.

Performance, Throttling, and iOS 7

The previous generation iPad mini was a smaller version of the iPad 2 with an outdated processor. Surprisingly, Apple got away with it easily: we attributed this to case limitations and heat dissipation, and then we went to the stores in orderly rows. In 2013, the trick was not repeated: the iPad mini with Retina display is equipped with an A7 processor. The iPad Air also has an A7 processor. And the iPhone 5s too. And so a reasonable question arises: why do these devices show different levels of performance not only in synthetic tests, but also in games?


Graph from Anandtech’s iPad mini review

Every A7 processor is different from every other device, whether it’s the iPhone 5s, iPad Air, or the new iPad mini. Numerous A7 tests have shown that each of the three gadgets operates at a different frequency, which varies depending on the load on the processor. It is called “throttling”: A programmed CPU performance limit to protect it from overheating. Throttling is implemented in all processors, from full-fledged computer CPUs to mobile ARMs. Thanks to throttling, your iPhone and iPad will not be able to overheat and be damaged by excessive load. I explain this so that no one “rolls a barrel” on the technology itself.

So, the new Apple gadgets – and the limits of throttling – are programmed differently. Best of all shows itself iPad Air. Under high load, it very smoothly, almost by one megahertz, reduces the processor frequency to 1.3 GHz. This is a very small drop that the average user will not be able to notice. Partly Air was lucky: only in its design an additional heat dissipator is provided.

Chart from the iPad Air review at Anandtech

But the iPhone 5s for real “crazy”, as soon as it encounters a resource-intensive task. The processor frequency in the “esque” drops sharply from 1.3 GHz to 1 GHz, and then actively jumps up and down, sometimes dropping to 850 MHz – more than a third of the base value. But this is a third of the performance, which disappears into nowhere while your smartphone cools down.

If you are sitting in Safari at this moment, all these fluctuations will not be noticeable. But if you play GTA: San Andreas, you will see the moment when throttling is activated naked eye. The toy will simply start to noticeably slow down. The developers did not take into account the fact of throttling, so the engine loads the poor iPhone as if it had all 1.3 GHz. And there is 850 MHz, on the screen – 15 frames per second, and the back panel is slowly turning into a frying pan. In general, throttling greatly changes the balance of power in resource-intensive applications.

The successes of these devices are important in comparison. The iPad mini with Retina display uses the same frequency processor as the iPhone 5s. The throttling parameters in it are slightly better than in the iPhone: for example, the performance drop stops at about 1 GHz, which is already significantly better. But the main problem remains: as soon as you load a new mini-tablet, it quickly gives up a good quarter of its performance in favor of the temperature of the chip. The A7 turned out to be significantly hotter than previous chips, and therefore Apple had to make such sacrifices.

iPhone 5s is still more powerful

If the previous point is of interest primarily to developers, then the next “minus” can be easily understood by any ordinary user. The difference in actual, effective video performance between the iPhone 5s and iPad mini is not in favor of the tablet. All thanks to the resource intensity of the new Retina display. After all, the processor in the iPhone 5s works on a screen with half the resolution of the 2013 iPad mini display. This is partly confirmed by tests of the processing power of the processor:

But only video chip tests show the real difference:

The difference in effective 3D performance is more than 30 percent in favor of the iPhone 5s. Lower resolution – less load on the hardware. And here even an increased throttling threshold cannot change anything.

What does all this mean for each of us? The simple fact is that the most beautiful and high-quality games of 2014 will not only run slightly better on the iPhone 5s than on the iPad mini with Retina display, but also show a better picture. Next time, Apple should consider adding more powerful processors to its tablets than those that come with the company’s miniature smartphones. This has already happened with the iPad 4 and A6x, so why not repeat the trick next year?

Having gone through the features of the processor, I want to note: everything is not at all as bad as it might seem after reading this section. With all the idiosyncratic downsides, performance is the first reason that should make you swap out your old iPad mini for a new one. Fact: not a single mobile game will slow down on this tablet for another year or two. The difference is noticeable to the naked eye: where the old model thinks for six seconds, the new one thinks only for a second and a half. iOS 7 dramatically increased the technical requirements for the device, and the first iPad mini finally ceased to cope with the modern load. Stuttering and stuttering don’t exist on the mini with Retina display, except for a few that come from poorly optimized iOS 7.

iOS 7. Version matters

iOS 7 is very good. Especially her idea. Thanks to the seven, Apple devices have finally found not only a second life, but also a completely new vector of software development, which seemed impossible in the language of skeuomorphism. But let’s be honest, just for a minute. First, iOS 7 icons are still ugly. We could get used to it, we could stop paying attention, but this cannot cancel the very fact of the soulless wretchedness of most of the icons on the main, home screen. Secondly, none of these icons and none of the official apps reveal the benefits of the gorgeous iPhone and iPad screens. Where there used to be ultra-detailed textures, now lies a two-tone gradient and expansive shapes. Finally, the operation of the system itself often leaves much to be desired.

Thanks to the bare-bones design of iOS 7, the difference between the old iPad mini and the new iPad mini isn’t quite as strong as, say, between the iPad 2 and iPad 3 in the days of iOS 5/6. It, at a cursory glance, is dictated only by the desktop wallpaper – now much more detailed. We’ll talk more about the screen. The main thing is that the “old man”, that the new product has strange brakes: for example, applications switch with twitches, or they close with a lag when using a five-finger gesture. The A7 processor has nothing to do with it: it’s just that iOS 7 is poorly optimized for new hardware, and Apple will have to work on the Apple system for a long time and hard work.

To really enjoy iPad mini with Retina display, you need to install the latest iOS 7.1 beta on it. You cannot do this without registering a UDID, so take care of everything in advance so as not to be left with a brick at a crucial moment. The main advantage of iOS 7.1 is ultra-fast, truly smooth animations for the first time, as well as a clearly increased performance of the system itself. After iOS 7.1, the officially available version seems to be hello to Android OS. Unfortunately, there are rumors that the official release of 7.1 will be delayed until spring, so for now we will have to bet with beta versions.


A talk about hardware would not be complete without mentioning RAM. Today, all Apple mobile gadgets are strictly 1 gigabyte of RAM. According to the owners of the buckets, this is very little. According to the owners of iDevices, everyone somehow don’t care. The gigabyte limit, which applies to all top-end devices, has a good effect on the optimization of third-party games and applications: developers know which “ceiling” they need to focus on for at least the next six months. But it is already clear that the system is “suffocating” within the framework of such an amount of RAM. For example, on iOS 6, the iPad could keep almost 7-10 Safari tabs in memory without requiring them to be reloaded. Today, their number does not exceed 4-5, and sometimes even less (depending on the weight of open pages).

When the second iPad mini with Retina display comes out, Apple will happily announce that the device has more RAM, and we are right! Let’s go to the store happily. Keep this in mind when buying the current mini, and mentally prepare for this so that you don’t get offended by the guys from Cupertino later. They need to earn money.

Retina display. Afterglow, contrast issues – huegate

We were genuinely surprised that the technical specifications of the latest full-sized iPad would be the same as those of the mini version. It wasn’t exactly Apple style. Somewhere the company had to really save money. Unfortunately, the savings are almost entirely on the Retina display. Most likely, you already know: the screen of the new iPad mini is considered to be of less quality than that of the recently released iPad Air. The difference is in the depth, variety, and contrast of the colors displayed: the new mini is far more “passive” and cooler in color reproduction than the bright, sharp, and mesmerizing screen of the iPad Air.

The Russian transcription of the phenomenon sounds peculiar, but in the West this “scandal” was dubbed “huegate” – by analogy with Antennagate (antenna problems in iPhone 4) and Scuffgate (erasing edges of the iPhone 5). As an iPad Air owner with little experience, I can confirm that the colors in the new mini are really not as vibrant as on the larger iPads. The spectrum of displayed colors corresponds to that of the very first mini model. Therefore, we can conclude: the Retina screen of the iPad mini differs from the old display only by double the resolution. And nothing more.

There are two options for how to respond to this minus. If you have been using only a minicom for the last year and did not have a 9.7-inch Retina iPad at hand, then all these scandals and “gates” do not concern you at all. Any difference is known in comparison, and if you compare the new mini with the old, and not with some “fourth” iPad, the previous generation does not no one real advantage. Just take a new model and don’t worry.

If you still have not decided which model of the new iPad to take, take a walk to the store and be sure to compare the iPad Air and the new iPad mini. The Air screen will definitely be better in all possible parameters. Excluding, perhaps, the clarity of the picture: the density of pixels per inch, and hence the detail of the image in the new iPad mini is worthy of the highest praise.

Color differences make you think twice about buying an iPad Air over a mini. But remember: whatever the difference in screens, the size of a large iPad still plays a significant role. Fact: mini is always more convenient and easier to take with you, carry in one hand, hide in a bag and so on. And the Air, no matter how light and thin it is, is still 9.7-inch “tray”, which is not always comfortable to get in a public place. And even more so something to photograph them. Accordingly, if you are going to take mini, take mini. If you were attracted to the Air and were previously satisfied with full-size iPads, don’t trade any further.

With the exception of color reproduction, the screen of the new mini is excellent. Huge viewing angles and high brightness make the picture incredibly solid, as if reproduced on paper. The old model here generally ceases to be quoted. Now the small text on the pages of websites does not look like a cluster of smeared pixels, and with a certain skill and good eyesight, you can read the news on the pages without using zoom. High definition picture is unusual for those who have used the old mini for a long time: I swear, the first few days I continued to see pixels and their well-defined borders.

More or less like this.

Here, however, we have to make an unexpected remark. In the second week after buying the new mini, I discovered a strange new screen feature that I’ve never seen before on either the iPad or the iPhone. If the screen displays a dark picture for a long time, and then abruptly switches to bright, gray and white colors, then the color reproduction changes significantly. Gray colors, and especially small text, seem to disappear on a white background, and all other shades become brighter – as if they were “burned out”. The essence of the problem is suspiciously similar to the features of the Retina screens in the MacBook Pro. Only in the case of MacBooks, a howl rose to all the “Internets”, but something is silent about mini. Probably everyone is happy: it’s better Sothan without a Retina screen at all.

Most often I “caught” this problem in the official client YouTube: after watching a long video with a lot of black, I minimized it from full screen mode with a gesture – and for 2-3 seconds I almost didn’t see the description text, comment block, and so on. There is no need to panic: the screen restores the normal balance of colors very quickly, and it is not so easy to achieve such a strange effect. However, this has not happened in previous models of Apple mobile devices. Problems with mini displays, which caused Apple to significantly delay the launch of devices on sale, were known back in early November. It is now clear that these were not just rumors. Have you observed such problems on your devices? Share in the comments.


The retina display makes the iPad mini a modern device, but does not create a competitor for a full-sized version of the tablet. iPad Air is much better suited for home use: it’s more fun to watch movies and surf the Web, because the benefits of a physically larger screen are obvious. But the new iPad mini is a versatile companion in the city and on the road, capable of everything you expect from a tablet. And if you move a lot through life, you are on your way with a minicom.

I didn’t want this article to be filled with negativity. But there are never ideal devices – and therefore, in order to make a really right purchase, each of us must know not only the pros, but also the cons. Euphoria is always good, but it tends to fade away, leaving behind purely practical conclusions. Now, when you make a decision and go to the store for iPad mini, you will know for sure that it will not disappoint you. And this is the most important thing.

I also asked Roma and Artur to share their impressions of the new iPad mini.

Impressions of Roman Yuriev from Retina iPad mini

The announcement of the new iPad models was a little unsettling, to be honest. The iPad Air turned out to be MUCH lighter and noticeably more compact than its predecessor, and the iPad mini is not far behind its larger counterpart in terms of power. What to choose against the background of experience with two tablets at once – iPad 4Gen and the first iPad mini? Everyone has it its advantagesbut I still decided not to produce entities and use only one new generation tablet, having sold both predecessors.

iPad Air has a larger display, weighing just 120g, more than the 2nd generation iPad mini, plus better color reproduction. In general, some completely wild problem was inflated from the color reproduction of the display of the new iPad mini, and this also added its own confusion to the choice. However, 80% of the time I work with the iPad mini and it is always with me, there is even a chic shoulder bag for the gadget, in which the iPad Air will not fit in any way. The fierce shortage of a compact novelty almost became the reason for purchasing the iPad Air, but I still resisted and got hold of the Retina iPad mini, which I do not regret at all. And now, after such a long and dramatic introduction, my first impressions of the new product.

There was no WOW effect, except that it got a little excited from 128 GB of flash memory and the ability to abandon not only 1.5 GB “rips” of films, but also HD versions of 4-5 GB, plus all the software and toys that were previously distributed between the two tablets. Still, a big family and everyone has something on their device. Now it all fits easily into 128 GB and there is still a lot of space left (about 30 GB, to be exact).

That is, the first feeling is that the new iPad mini is exactly the same as the old one, it seems that it has not changed the tablet. This was the first few days of using the device, when I mostly sat on it in Tweetbot and watched videos on the train. Although the increased weight of the device was slightly felt, plus the light gray color of the case was unusual.

When I returned home from a business trip (in which I got a new tablet), I began to work more closely with the iPad mini. And here I already felt the whole buzz of the gadget. Firstly, I was glad that I took it, and not the iPad Air. The high-resolution display rocks, and in fact, I got the experience of surfing the web (when you really need picture clarity) like on the iPad 4 before, but in a more compact package. That is, there is no negative experience in connection with the reduced diagonal of the display.

SecondlyWith no iPad Air handy for direct comparison, I don’t see any color issues with the new mini. Gorgeous display and excellent color reproduction. I do not understand the hysteria of the people about this. If you are still in the throes of choosing because of the display, then do not bother yourself with nonsense. Normal in iPad mini LCD matrix.

Thirdly, you begin to understand the whole twist from the clarity of the screen only after a few days of heavy use of the device. Watching YouTube videos, reading books in iBooks, toys – the brain rejoices, the eyes dance in ecstasy. At the same time, I “stuffed” my old iPad mini for a friend, and somehow there were no negative emotions about the display – everything is fine. That’s what it means, high-quality adaptation of the OS and software for different resolutions. I picked up the Retina iPad mini again and again began to enthusiastically admire.

Fourth, especially pleased with the increased productivity. Faster switching between applications, no more Safari crashes (although obviously there still can be, given that the browser crashes on the iPhone 5s from time to time), editing texts in the WordPress admin panel goes like clockwork, finally the keyboard stopped slowing down when typing comments in the browser, etc.

I didn’t find any special heating of the tablet, although I haven’t played games yet.

So, don’t expect some techno-maniac ecstasy from switching from an old iPad mini to a new one. Everything will happen everyday, and only after some time you will begin to realize how cool the novelty is. So the little things add up the overall picture of the ideal tablet. Yes, the Retina iPad mini is the perfect tablet in my opinion. This is the gadget I’ve been waiting for since getting to know the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7, when I realized that 10 inches is a lot for a travel device that you carry with you all the time.

The Retina iPad mini is the ultimate no-compromise tablet, with an ultra-clear display, over-the-top powerful hardware, and a chic assortment of software. There are no alternatives for traveling and everyday carrying with you, IMHO.

Impressions of Artur Malosiev from iPad mini with Retina display

I consider my purchase of the second generation iPad mini one of the most useful in the past year. Its great display and resources are enough to solve all my problems. According to past experience, I took only the Wi-Fi version, so as not to produce SIM cards at home, because the iPhone 5s turns into a modem at the touch of a button. In my opinion, this “minicom” turned out to be a good and reliable friend, the power reserve of which will be enough for the next couple of years.

If you have already bought a new mini, feel free to tell us about it. Like? How do you use? Are you going to take Air after? Thanks for reading – and Happy Holidays!

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Two years ago, we denied the need for a smaller iPad. And now with might and main we consider it to be the best tablet in the world. As soon as Tim Cook confirmed the release of the new iPad mini, I knew that I would definitely buy it. And here he is next to me. Is this a good tablet? Definitely. Should you change the previous mini for this one? No options. True, this…

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