iPad mini - Multimedia, Battery Life and Verdict

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iPad mini – Multimedia

Although, unlike the recently released iPhone 5,

the iPad mini does not play host to a multimedia friendly 16:9 aspect

ration, the compact tablet still holds its own in terms of audio and

video playback with more than acceptable image quality paired with

surprisingly impressive audio abilities.

Despite featuring some

location based issues when playing app based games, the integrated iPad

mini speakers are in fact, for the large part, a surprisingly impressive

affair. During music playback, audio is strong with little distortion

or crackle, even at the top end of the volume spectrum. What’s more,

thanks to their position on the angled lower edge of the 7.9-inch

tablet, the inbuilt speakers are unaffected when the device is placed on

a flat surface with no muffling or depletion of output.

All that

said, they still pale in comparison to the stereo speakers employed by

the latest Samsung Galaxy Tabs, BlackBerry PlayBook and the Amazon

Kindle Fire HD.

Building on its iPod pedigree, the iPad mini

audio playback through headphones is some of the best we have

experienced on a tablet device with a well-rounded sound stage covering

everything from deep bass rich notes to the twang of an acoustic guitar.

Although output could be a bit stronger at the top and bottom ends, it

is hard to fault what is otherwise a hugely impressive audio performance

from a compact 7-inch tablet.

Strangely

for an Apple iDevice, and one which has such a strong audio standing,

the iPad mini does not come boxed with a pair of the company’s new Apple EarPods

headphones, or any headphones for that matter. Whilst not the biggest

omission, this does seem a little penny-pinching from one of the world’s

most valuable companys.

Following Apple’s trademark storage

options the iPad mini is available in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB capacities

with the tablet’s price jumping rapidly from £269 to £429 between this

trio of options. As ever this can’t be expanded by adding a memory card

as on some rivals.

Although present, the iPad mini photo editing

abilities are extremely limited with little more than red-eye reduction,

auto-enhance and the classic crop option on offer. With the plethora of

photo editing applications, both paid for and free, that are available

to download, however, this is only a small concern.

Further

bolstering the iPad mini multimedia capabilities, the fast access music

player controls that feature on the multitasking menu bar are a time

saving joy to use. Providing playback controls without having to delve

into the full music player, the remote panel allows users to play, pause

and skip tracks as well as make on-screen volume adjustments at will.

iPad mini – Battery Life and Connectivity

The

claimed 10 hour battery life of the iPad mini rings near enough true

during general day-to-day use. This predicted figure clearly doesn’t

account for the consumption of high-end, performance demanding games

such as EA’s latest NFS offering, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, however.

What’s more, when the battery is depleted, getting it back to full juice

again will take a considerable amount of time with an overnight charge

the least obtrusive way to recharge the device following heavy usage.

Currently

only available in Wi-Fi form with a cellular enabled, 3G and 4G

compatible device to launch later in the year, the iPad mini follows on

from the iPhone 5 and 2012 iPod Touch refresh in ditching the Apple’s

dated 30-pin connector in favour of the new, faster, smaller 8-pin

Lightning port.

Although commendably smaller than its

predecessor, and with the useful ability to be plugged in either way

round, the need to buy extra adapters and cables to make the connector

work with existing docks and chargers is a costly annoyance. The iPad

mini does come with a mains charger and Lightning cable in the box but

no other adapters are included.

Also notable is that while the

Lightning port can be converted into HDMI, USB and SD ports for

connecting to a TV, camera and SD card respectively, no such connections

are already on the device and the adapters can be quite pricey. Most

alternatives do offer one or more of these connections without the need

for adapters.

Wi-Fi is of course onboard, with networks up to

the 802.11n standard supported. We found connectivity to be strong with

no occasions of drop off or unexplained loss of connection recorded

during our time with the device.

Bluetooth 4.0 is also included

but otherwise that’s your lot, with no NFC included for instance.

Although not currently available, the iPad mini cellular options which

is tipped to be released in the coming weeks will host support for GSM,

EDGE, HSPA and LTE networks.

Apple iPad mini

iPad mini – Verdict

Certainly

the most desirable 7-inch tablet on the market, the iPad mini’s £269

starting price is considerably higher than the competition but for that

outlay you get a device that, although not specs superior, is a far more

enticing option than much of what is already on the market.

Combining

a brushed aluminium back with seamlessly curved edges and a fascia that

will be familiar to full-sized iPad owners, the iPad mini is a device

that looks and feels every penny that you pay for it. A step on from the

plastic backed likes of the Google Nexus 7, the iPad mini is unrivalled in terms of build quality and style.

More

than a simple piece of eye candy, however, the iPad mini is a joy to

use and one which, thanks to its slightly larger 7.9-inch display is

immersive and perfectly sized for a combination of business and pleasure

purposes. If you have recently splashed out on a full-sized iPad 3 or iPad 4

then this might not be for you. If, however, you are looking to make

the plunge into the tablet market for the first time and can live

without an HD display, it’s hard to look past the new iPad mini.

Score in detail

  • Performance 9
  • Value 8
  • Design 10
  • Screen Quality 7
  • Features 9
  • Battery Life 8

Other

Processor Apple A5
Memory (RAM) (Gigabyte) 1GB
Internal Storage (Gigabyte) 16/32/64GB
Weight (Gram) 302g
Height (Millimeter) 200mm
Width (Millimeter) 134.7mm
Depth (Millimeter) 7.2mm
Camera (Megapixel) 5 Megapixel
Front Facing Camera (Megapixel) 1.3 Megapixel
Mobile Broadband/3G 3G and 4G

Display

Resolution 1920 x 1200
Display Size (Inch) 7.9in
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