Apple iPad Mini with Retina Display Initial Impressions

Apple iPad Mini with Retina Display Initial Impressions

November 13, 2013

So I picked up the Apple Retina Mini iPad 2 up earlier today after waking up to reports that the Mini 2 had been introduced to the world, silently overnight. Perhaps Tim Cook et al thought it would be be a wise move as the Retina Mini 2's wouldn't / couldn't cope with a proper launch (yes, the one in which you have to stupidly queue overnight for one - I myself have done it and it's getting too repetitive and the wait kills you, literally).


Not only was it introduced silently but a 'reservation only' system was strictly in place -meaning you couldn't just walk into your local Apple store and pick one up. I'm guessing all the rumours of the demand and shortages of Retina iPad Mini 2 were indeed real. After all, the rumour websites have been spot on over the past 24 months.


So anyways, back to the story of my Retina Mini iPad 2 - I had my reservation in hand and went to the Apple Store (Buchanan Street) at about 4:30'ish. Upon entering I was told by the Apple store employee "you've missed your slot unfortunately". *WHAT* was my reply. I showed him the reservation email which clearly stated I could pop in between 3pm-6pm today to collect my purchase. He apologised and a few seconds later an employee from the back store came out with a shiny new toy for me (side note - I find it so cool, each and every time, how their system works with a second employee from the back delivering the product to us at the table where we are standing). 


So I take my card out to make payment and the employee starts blabbering about Applecare+ and cases for my new toy and I'm trying to rush him as I don't want any of these and I know about them already (more so than him probably). So, card goes in, PIN number entered and receipt directly emailed to me (couldn't wait for printed receipt).


I leave the city centre store and...... Wait for it...... It's rush hour! Aaa argh!! #firstworldproblems


So I decide to take an Instagram pic of my new purchase and twe-ple start asking me about my spec and how I managed to get one so quick and what spec I got. Kept me entertained for the hour I was stuck in traffic! Tried to take short cuts but it felt as if I took even longer routes instead!


Got home, video camera and equipment was all set up for the unboxing. I was expecting the Retina iPad Mini 2 to be significantly lighter but I was shocked to see it wasn't. Prior to the iPad Airs coming out, I managed to see the iPad Mini 1 in store and was amazed as to how light it was. It was as if I was holding a few bits of paper. I guess with now owning an iPad Air, the weight honestly feels identical although technically the Air is a few grams heavier.


I won't go into speed and tests as the video below shows the differences and comparisons with the iPad Air. Spoiler: both are equal in terms of speed.


Is the Retina Mini 2 for you?


If the following applies to you then go for the new Retina Mini iPad 2:


- you have an existing iPad Mini 1 (and are happy with the size)

- you have a Mac and have always wanted an iPad minus size and weight (what weight!) of a full sized iPad

- you just want to consume content (not create)


Apple have never revealed the actual split in sales I.e. What type of iPad sells best. It's not rocket science to understand that the Mini's are the popular choice due to the shortages plus coupled with the fact that they are charging almost identically to the Airs - they obviously want people to think twice and go for the Airs.


My opinion is that you should go for the Retina iPad Air instead. Bigger screen for better viewing files, photos, videos, films and a full on-screen keyboard use (insert bigger is better line here). This option is especially true if the iPad is going to be your primary machine / daily driver and your looking to create content. If your spending £329 for an iPad Mini, you might as well fork out another £70 for an Air - thank me later. There is no spec difference, both are on equal footing so your not losing out on anything. 


Will do a comprehensive review shortly, meanwhile - check out my YouTube channel for more videos relating to this topic.


P.s. Written on an iPad Air.

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