iPad mini 3: Screen
The iPad mini 3 has the same screen as the mini 2 and quadruple the pixels of the original iPad mini – 2048 x 1536 pixels, or 324 pixels per inch (PPI).
The iPad mini 3’s screen provides a huge amount of detail for such a small display, and the colours are great, too. This is a superb tablet to watch movies on, and bright enough to be viewable even on a sunny day if you whack it up to full.
The screen comes into its own for ebook reading or browsing the Internet. That high resolution makes text look super-sharp, the iPad mini 3 makes a great alternative to an E Ink reader like the Kindle Paperwhite. Of course, you don’t get a battery that lasts for weeks, but then the iPad mini 3 does a lot more than a plain ebook reader.
Unfortunately the screen doesn’t come with the innovations Apple brought to the iPad Air 2. It isn’t bonded, which means it isn’t as vivid and it doesn’t have the same anti-reflective layer. It’s a shame. These changes make the iPad Air 2 a lot more usable outdoors, and while the iPad mini 3 works as well as most other tablets in this scenario, we’d like to have seen those improvements made to the smaller tablet.
The iPad mini 3’s screen is a lot more reflective than the iPad Air 2’s
The iPad mini 3 has a 4:3 aspect ratio as opposed to the 16:9 or 16:10 most Android and Windows tablets favour. There are some strengths and weaknesses that come with a 4:3 screen. Widescreen movies end up having bigger black bars than on other tablets, although most video players let you zoom into the picture. This crops out the left and right edges of the video, but means the viewing area isn’t as small.
The strength of the 4:3 screen on the iPad mini 3 comes when it’s used for reading and browsing the web. Websites work better in portrait or landscape mode on a squarer screen.
The speakers are too close together to provide adequate stereo separation
iPad mini 3: Speakers
Stereo speakers are squezzed into the iPad mini 3’s diminutive frame. They pack an impressive punch and are good for watching movies and TV. Unfortunately, the fact that they’re stereo doesn’t really make much of a difference. The speakers are located so close to each other at the bottom of the tablet that there’s no separation between the two sound channels.
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Their location also means that they can get muffled by your palm if you like to hold your tablet while watching. That’s not an issue if you balance the iPad mini 3 on a table using the smart cover, though.
How we test tablets
We test every tablet we review thoroughly. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly and we use the tablet as our main device over the review period. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.