iPad mini Retina, compressed power
The small tablet, now on sale, is the most affordable way to get a powerful Apple processor
It has the same size, but it has four times the display definition and graphics power; that's the great virtue of the iPad mini revamped version. The price remains unchanged, starting at 389 euros for the 16-gigabyte Wi-Fi model. A price that this time is justified because of its high-definition display. When it came to life a year ago, Apple's small-format tablet was powered by the same processor included in the iPhone 4s – the iPhone 5 already existed by then – and the standard display. And despite being a bestseller, it lacked some bits to justify the purchase beyond esthetics.
This time the opposite is true. The latest technology comes inside. It has the best Apple display (2048 x 1536 pixels on 7.9 inches) and a 64-bit processor. External design is similar, but it gains a lot when you use it. Not just when playing games, where it leverages all the processor power and display definition, but also when reading either a book or a web page. Text is more crisp and has a finished look, and the shades are also there.
Although, theoretically, the battery keeps the same 10-hour life, it does give the feeling of lasting longer in this new model. Connecting to Wi-Fi networks is easier; there is hardly any noticeable delay. And both in Facetime (Apple's own video-calling system) and Skype, you enjoy a cleaner audio thanks to the use of two microphones.
The best experience comes when retouching a photo, and it's even more amazing when editing a video with iMovie, an application that used to cost 4.99 euros and now comes for free. As developers upgrade their apps, the differences will be even more noticeable.
There are, however, two apps which shine above all the rest. One is Vjay for music-video performances, mixing, and projecting videos either through the HDMI port or using the company's Airplay wireless technology. And then DayOne, a digital journey and diary app to record your daily activity, which stands out as the best app of 2012, is also the first to make a specific use of the M7 chip. It adds the number of steps taken (assuming you always carry the tablet) without draining the battery.
Among minor details there is the new range of cases including some new colors. And yes, the neon fever has also reached Apple. Fortunately, and unlike when moving from the iPad fourth generation to the iPad Air, this time accessories fit perfectly as the size is the same.
So is it worth buying? If you already have an iPad mini it may be a rushed move. If you already have an iPad Air, it may be overspending as the difference is only the size and its lighter weight. If you plan to renovate an iPad which still has the old connector, this may be the most affordable option to own the latest technology without having to carry additional weight.