When the iPad Mini first came out it completely stole the spotlight and the sales of every single product on the market, featuring a new smaller design and great specifications the iPad Mini was the device Apple fans were waiting for to go bigger as iPhone users and practical as iPad users but unfortunately amazing things never last too long, turns out the new iPad Mini 3 hasn’t been packaged with a ton of new features only a very short list that could make it different from the previous models.
The iPad Mini 3 now features Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor. Ufortunately for some users the 32 GB model it’s out of the market and now you can only pick from the 16 GB, 64 GB or 128 GB models – on a positive side Apple will be incorporating a Gold model as well as the Silver and Space Gray. Is it worth it to go from a device nearly identical as the previous and upgrade considering everything else apart from the mentioned is identical to the iPad Mini 2 like the 7.9″ Retina display, the Apple A7 chipset or the 5MP rear camera? Probably not if you have an iPad Mini 2 but as an owner of an older iPad model we could definitely say yes, here’s why:
The iPad Mini 3 is indeed gorgeous, no matter how similar it is to the Mini 2 it’s shell is made out of aluminum and very well finished with tapered edges while its display is covered by a protective glass with oleophobic coating, Apple really does know how to keep it elegant and luxurious. The materials used and the thought put in the design really make up for the similarities and lack of new features. Thankfully the device is not only very attractive, we can also say that the device feels great in the hand, easy to hold and very lightweight the iPad Mini 3 is made for handling it using one hand.
Above the screen we can find the same 1.2 MP front camera capable of capturing 720p videos and right next to it we find the light sensor that adjusts the screen brightness automatically as we know. Right under we find the home button completely upgraded to the Touch ID Fingerprint Sensor now very well known by iPhone users which will help you enhance the security on your device. On the side of the Mini 3 we can find the volume and mute buttons.
Apple’s iPad Mini 3 display is a 7.9″ IPS Retina display of 2048 x 1536px showing off a 324ppi undeniably a very nice pixel density, it’s the same resolution as the one on the iPad Air 2, so the pixel density is higher than the one on the bigger iPad but identical as last year’s iPad Mini 2. The tablet comes with 6470mAh battery capacity exactly the same as the previous model but the video playback test turned out surprisingly better than the iPad mini 2, this might as well be iOS 8′s fault and hopefully Apple will release an update and give solution to this issue in the next couple of weeks.
The new iPad Mini 3 retains the same Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n support with MIMO technology unfortunately unlike the Air 2, there is no Wi-Fi 802.11ac connectivity. Apple’s new device supports LTE Cat.3 with 100 Mbps in other words, Wi-Fi+Cellular and AirPlay can wirelessly stream your iPad screen to an Apple TV, HDTV or compatible audio systems you can specially enjoy this feature if you are a Netflix user, no small screen, no cables…all good. We are very sorry to say that the new iPad doesn’t support NFC so it can’t be used for Apple Pay’s main service, you still can authorize online payments once Apple Pay begins competing with PayPal though.
The iPad Mini 3 comes with the exact same menu as all of the devices on iOS 8, your apps are on the home screen, it has a notification center that has significantly improved with the new iOS and control center is the same with controls for music, volume and brightness slider bars, camera icon, timer shortcut, AirDrop menu and Airplane mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb, Silent and Rotation lock.
Apple included the previous generation A7 chip, the same chip that powers the iPhone 5s and the iPad Air and Mini 2. Packed with a 64-bit dual-core Cyclone processor running at 1.3GHz, a snappy PowerVR G6430 graphics and 1GB of RAM. We meet the same specs we found in the Mini 2 so we expect very similar performance. Keeping the same camera as the first iPad Mini – 5MP and able to record 1080p videos and a front-facing FaceTime camera that has not changed much either the iPad Mini 3 offers the same resolution that we can confirm it’s not amazing but pretty decent to compete with other tablets in the market.
The viewfinder is significantly improved thanks to iOS 8 so if you tap to focus on the screen, the device will give you an optional exposure compensation slider and you can, lock the focus and exposure too but that isn’t new, of course. With most icons on the right side it is easier to reach (switch to front facing camera, HDR and timer are above the virtual shutter and the carousel of shooting modes). Talking about the speakers the issues remain just as they did with all previous models: they are really easy to block with your hand when holding the iPad in landscape orientation. Also they are that close together that as users and humans we can’t recognise a stereo effect in whatever game, video or music you are playing. The top of the iPad Mini 3 has the 3.5mm audio jack, the power/lock key and the microphone, which is used in FaceTime/Skype calls and extras as music.
In conclusion the iPad Mini 3 is a very powerful device that might not feature huge improvements compared to previous Apple devices but it certainly remains popular with a smooth usability combined with elegance and great specifications. We can confirm it could be the present you’ll be waiting for this Christmas.