iPad Mini with Retina Display: Hands on review

Apple rather quietly started selling the Retina version of the iPad Mini last night. Here’s my early thoughts.
As with all hands-on, this isn’t intended to be a full review; merely some thoughts after a couple of hours of test time with the new tablet.
It’s an iPad Mini, and that might seem like a terribly obvious statement, but having owned the first generation Mini it’s also a neccessary statement, because Apple’s done very little to change the visual design of the new Mini in any real way beyond the Retina screen.
The Retina display itself is quite sweet side by side, but what’s even sweeter is the performance hike.
Last year’s Mini was a really easy tablet to use, but there was no doubt when using it that it was underpowered compared even to that year’s iPad 3rd or 4th generation. The iPad Mini with Retina Display technically has the same innards as the iPad Air, although a quick bit of benchmarking shows that Apple’s running the Air at a slight clock speed premium to the Mini.
The Mini has the same A7 chip as the iPad Air, at least according to Apple, but Geekbench 3 reports it as running at 1.29Ghz, where the Air reports back at 1.39Ghz, giving it a slight performance edge. Still, put this year’s Mini up against the previous generation, and the differences are massive.

Still, it does make me wonder about my previous declaration regarding the “best” iPad. The Air is a little quicker, but I’ll need more testing time to see if that’s just a distinction in the benchmark figures, or something that makes a genuine difference in day by day use. Stay tuned for a full review.

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