The iPad Mini
The iPad Mini

9 December 2012, Singapore – The Metropolitant Team finally received our iPad Mini LTE . Seizing this opportunity, we give you our take on Apple’s latest tablet.

First look, the iPad Mini does not evoke the same excitement as my previous iPad purchases because it adopts the same outlook like the rest of the iPad family. Aesthetically, it is merely a shrunken down version of the 9.7-inch iPad but commanding premium dollars to own one.

The back panel of the iPad Mini
The back panel of the iPad Mini

However, once you take it out of the box, it silenced my earlier unenthusiastic mood. The iPad Mini is so light (312g for the LTE version), and its size (width: 134.7 mm, height: 200 mm and thickness: 7.2 mm) fits nicely to be held by one hand for a relatively long use (my travel from City Hall to Bishan on the MRT). Adopting the iPhone 5 black brushed aluminum finish for the back panel, gave it a nice slight textured touch. It feels good to look at and to caress. It is still the most elegant 7-inch tablet out there, in terms of physical outlook. Well, for the kind of price tag, it had better look stylish.

Bottom edge of the iPad Mini showing the speakers and lightning cable port
Bottom edge of the iPad Mini showing the speakers and lightning cable port

The speakers and the lightning connector is found at the bottom edge of the iPad Mini. At the top edge, is the headphone jack and the power button. On the side, is the volume control button and the lock switch. They were all designed to have the same color as the chassis, maintaining the visual appeal of the iPad Mini.

Top edge showing the power/standby button and the headphone jack
Top edge showing the power/standby button and the headphone jack

The main complaint and deal-breaker for the iPad Mini has been the screen display. Many potential buyers were a little put off by Apple’s decision to map the built of the iPad 2 on the iPad Mini. Many were expecting the iPad Mini to have the Retina display. Naturally, they were disappointed to learn that the iPad Mini has a low 1024 x 768 resolution with 163 ppi. To be fair, as compared to the iPad 2, the iPad Mini appeared to have higher resolution because of the smaller pixel sensor size. This means texts and images do appear slightly sharper on the iPad Mini compared to the iPad 2.

That being said, we understand the main selling point of the iPad Mini is its portability, which is probably why Apple stuck with the lower resolution display because it requires less power and probably is lighter too thus keeping the iPad Mini thin and light.

The iPad Mini fits nicely in one hand & feels comfortably light.
The iPad Mini fits nicely in one hand & feels comfortably light.

In terms of processing power, it is the same as the iPad 2. Ideally, we prefer the faster iPhone 5 processor, but this is good enough for most applications. It definitely lag behind the new iPad or iPhone 5 in higher processing power applications such as iPhoto, but it still performs decently. So not much complaints in this department.

Mobile browsing experience is excellent. We love the LTE coverage here in Singapore. Surfing on the Safari is blazing fast, unless you are outside the LTE coverage area, when it slows down quite a bit (we meant 3G signal. Funny how we used to love to have 3G).

Battery wise, it last quite a number of hours, about 7 or 8 hours with moderately heavy browsing with some YouTubes before I feel the urge to recharge the iPad Mini. It is definitely going to last longer when the cellular function is switched off (about 10 hours we heard).

What we are not so crazy about is the camera. It seems there is not much improvement in this area. Pictures taken still look bad in our opinion.

Conclusion:

It is definitely a nice gadget to have, but only if it comes with a lower price tag. We are almost certain that it is probably going to have a Retina display in the future update (keeping our fingers crossed). So our recommendation is to wait for the next generation. Unless, you really do not mind the lower resolution screen and the slower processing power (which performs decently).

The good news is, the Metropolitant Team is giving away a 16 GB iPad Mini (Wifi only). Check out the details here.

Where To Get & How Much?

The iPad Mini is now available at the online Apple store and all authorized Apple resellers. The iPad Mini starts at S$ 448 for the 16 GB Wifi model and S$ 618 for the 16 GB Wifi + Cellular model.

5 thoughts on “A Layman’s Review – iPad Mini LTE

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