Apple iPad Mini: Features and Buying Guide

iPad mini

iPad mini is the first small tablet by Apple. Beside the size different, iPad mini looks very similar to iPad with same aluminum body and screen dimension. Read this article to learn about iPad mini features, price and buying advice.


While other Android small tablets use 7-inch for their size, iPad mini has a 7.9-inch LED display with 1024×768 pixels resolution. iPad mini screen resolution is same as last iPad 2 but, due to smaller size, iPad mini has higher pixels per inch (163 ppi) than iPad 2 (132 ppi). The pictures and text on iPad mini should looks better than on iPad 2.

iPad mini black
iPad mini (black)

However, iPad mini is not Retina Display. The latest iPad with Retina has 2048×1536 resolution at 264 ppi. That’s a great disappointed about iPad mini. Anyway, we are expecting next generation of iPad mini (2013) to have retina display.

Run all iPad apps

Since iPad mini has the same screen resolution and dimension as iPad 2, no changes for iPad apps needed. iPad mini can run all iPad apps just fine.

iPad app developers do not need to modify their apps to suit iPad mini. No extra work, sell the same app to one more device.

For existing iPad owners, they can install all the iPad apps they bought previously on the new iPad mini. No extra cost.

Lightning connector

iPad mini Lightning connector and Stereo speakers
iPad mini Lightning connector and Stereo speakers

Like the new iPhone 5 and latest iPad, iPad mini use the new smaller Lightning connector. You will need a Lightning to 30-pin Adapter (sold separately, USD$29) to connect iPad mini to your existing iDevice accessories.

Stereo speakers

Surprised! iPad mini is the only one in iPad family that has dual (stereo) speakers. All other iPad models are mono speaker.

Power & Battery life

iPad mini is using second version of Apple A5 chip (S5L8942), the same processor used in Apple TV (3rd generation), iPod touch (5th generation). It is 42% smaller than the first version of A5 chip used in iPhone 4S and iPad 2.

Even in smaller package, iPad mini still has the same 10-hour battery life as its iPad sisters.

Dual cameras

When compared to other small tablets (Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HD), one significant advantage of iPad mini is its dual cameras. iPad mini has a 5 MP rear camera and a 1.2 MP front camera. You can record 1080p HD video with the rear camera and 720p HD video using the front camera.

The bad news? You will still see people shooting photos and videos using iPad mini. (though it is smaller size than iPad now)

Faster WiFi and 4G LTE

iPad mini supports 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi. It supports dual band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) 802.11n WiFi and channel bounding thus gives you faster wireless connect in speed on the supported network.

iPad mini WiFi+Cellular adds support for 3G and LTE networks. It uses  Nano SIM card (same as iPhone 5). There are two models to support different LTE bands. Make sure you buy the correct iPad mini WiFi+Cellular that support your local LTE band.

Price & Availability

iPad mini available in black and white colors; WiFi and WiFi + Cellular. There are 3 storage sizes: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB.

The price (USD) for iPad mini WiFi only: $329 (16GB), $429 (32GB), $529 (64GB). Add USD$130 for WiFi + Cellular version (available after mid November 2012).

LiewCF’s Buying Guide

iPad mini is smaller, lighter, slower, less pixels than iPad with retina display, but it is convenient to be hold with one hand or put in your small bag. iPad mini is not an iPad replacement. It is a new Apple tablet option.

If you only do web surfing, ebook/magazine reading, playing some games and prefer holding tablet with one hand… iPad mini is good enough for you. If you need a tablet for serious work, watching movie, playing 3D games… iPad with Retina display is more suitable.

Family with a 10-inch iPad may also get iPad mini as the secondary tablet for the kids and elderly.

iPad 1 and iPad 2 owners who are thinking to upgrade their tablet may want to consider how would they use the device. They are using iPad with non-Retina display, they may not mind about missing Retina display in iPad mini. However, once you use Retina display, you will never go back.

The questions will be, which iPad size you prefer, 7.9 inch or 10 inch? I would suggest you visit nearby Apple shops and have a hands on experience on both iPad mini and iPad with Retina display, then you will know which one is your choice.

Personally, my iPad 1 is still serving me well, except that it is heavy and no retina display (I am using iPhone 4S with Retina display). I like the iPad mini size but I also hope to get high resolution display. Therefore, I am waiting for “next generation of iPad mini” in 2013. I bet 2 bucks that the 2nd generation iPad mini will have Retina display!

Video: Introducing iPad mini

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3 thoughts on “Apple iPad Mini: Features and Buying Guide”

  1. Liew, “I am waiting for “next generation of iPad mini” in 2012.” should be 2013 I think? Thanks for your sharing!

  2. The iPad Mini is quite hard to hold with only 1 hand, unless you have really large hands.
    If compared to the Nexus 7, the Nexus has a better form factor and much more ergonomic to hold.
    Moreover, the Nexus 7 can fit into some pockets while the iPad Mini couldn’t fit in any as the width is too wide.


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