Ars Technica reviews Apple’s iPad mini: You’ll find yourself reaching for it over a full-sized iPad with Retina display

“I didn’t really want to like the iPad mini as much as I did before I reviewed it for several days,” Jacqui Cheng reports for Ars Technica. “I didn’t want to dislike it, but as a third-gen iPad owner, I couldn’t see the iPad mini having any purpose in my life. But as I began to wrap up this review and laid off on my requirement to use the iPad mini over my iPad 3 at all times, something changed. I found myself voluntarily reaching for the iPad mini over my full-sized iPad when it came time to relax on the couch or read in bed.”

“I can’t help but feel like my preference for the mini when entering into ‘iPad mode’ is almost entirely due to its Kindle-like shape and weight. It’s just that much easier to hold and carry around,” Cheng reports. “Picking up my third-gen iPad feels like lead after spending days on end with the mini. And the iPad mini’s screen isn’t actually that mini—the experience is largely the same. Again, it reminds me of the 11″ versus 13″ MacBook Air—and I happen to prefer the 11″ for the same reason.”

Cheng reports, “I also didn’t want to be one of those people wishing for a Retina display in the iPad mini. I didn’t consider it to be an absolute requirement for the mini before its launch, and I understand Apple is aiming for a more ‘affordable’ price point. But again, after having used it (and after becoming used to other Apple products with retina displays), I realized — yep, I’m one of those people. Adding a retina display would undoubtedly add to the cost of the iPad mini, but I wish the option was there.”

Much more in the full review here.

Related articles:
24 hours with Apple’s iPad mini: This is the real iPad – November 6, 2012
Why I just dumped my iPad 3 for iPad mini – November 5, 2012
DisplayMate: Apple’s iPad mini offers ‘just a very capable display’ – November 5, 2012
Apple’s iPad mini and ultra-mobile computing – November 5, 2012
Demand for Apple’s new iPad mini is huge – November 5, 2012
The Register reviews Apple’s iPad mini: ‘The tablet even Apple anti-fans won’t be able to leave alone’ – November 5, 2012
Apple sells three million iPads in three days; double previous first weekend sales – November 5, 2012
The Independent reviews Apple’s iPad mini: High-end gadget is worth the price – October 31, 2012
CNET reviews Apple’s iPad mini: The new standard for little-tablet design – October 31, 2012
NYT’s Pogue reviews Apple’s iPad mini: ‘All the iPad goodness in a more manageable size; it’s awesome’ – October 31, 2012
USA Today’s Baig reviews Apple’s iPad mini: ‘A splendid choice; terrific for reading, watching movies and playing games’ – October 31, 2012
Mossberg reviews Apple’s iPad mini: ‘An impressive feat; the perfect solution’ – October 31, 2012


  1. I’m quite happy with the iPad mini I picked up last Friday (32GB Wi-Fi). However, once a retina display version is available, I will get the absolute top of the line model (64GB with LTE) without any hesitation. With a retina display the iPad mini will be virtually perfect and I can’t wait.

  2. Apple uses IPS screens with amorphous silicon transistor colour filters in iPad mini, and as well as in iPad 3/4 with Retina screen. And it is different subtype of technology to that of phone-sized screens: LTPS/FFS, which allows more translucent colour filter matrix, but it is too pricey to use in such big screen as in 9.7″ iPad (and no one mass-produces bigger than phone-sized displays with LTPS/FFS technolgy anyway).

    So Apple had to use more typical technology for such size, and it required making iPad 3/4 thicker and heavier than iPad 2 simply because the backlight had to be so much brighter to compensate for dramatically more obstructive interpixel areas, which is not compensated with higher translucency of transistors themselves as with LTPS/FFS technology that used in phone-sized screens.

    Sharps’s IGZO technology finally solves this issue even for bigger screen, but output levels are still low, so Apple was not able to update iPad 4 screen to use of such technology. And of course Apple was not able to use it in iPad mini.

    This means that to make iPad mini with Retina display **right now** Apple had to make much heavier, thicker and pricier device that it wanted it to be. And up to 100 g lesser weight is one of the biggest usability advantage over much smaller screen 7″ rivals.

    Apple will update both iPad and iPad mini screens with IGZO technology next year, when production levels will allow that.

  3. Yep another review about the amazing form factor and powerful ,intuitive OS.
    The only issue is the non retina screen.
    Dont worry guys , as soon as the samsung display for the current ipad mini is sold out, apple will switch to the LG / sharp fused display retina screen..woohooo

      1. Only if the iMac is vertical.

        If it’s horizontal to 20 degrees from horizontal it will work just fine.

        Think about the possibilities.

        That’s right! If Microsoft’s Big Ass Table was at 20 degrees from horizontal it would have been the Big Ass Desk.

      2. Yes, this would be horrible disaster.

        The only way how it could work if iMac screen could be movable to nearly-horizontal position so user’s hands would not fall off.

        But the construction would be too rigid anyway, very unlike to mobile freedom of iPad and iPad mini.

        So, at best, there could be “iPad Maxi” model with like 13″ screen, but it would be barely mobile, so Apple will hardly ever make something like this until, say, 2025 when such device could be done very thin and light.

  4. (Quote) “Adding a retina display would undoubtedly add to the cost of the iPad mini, but I wish the option was there.”

    This is exactly what I’ve been saying from the beginning. I’ll also say that this is the new preferred size format for Apple’s iPad and I don’t see Apple holding back the Retina display from the iPad Mini for very long. The option will come sooner than you think.

  5. It isn’t just a cost issue. When you hav the retina you have to have the bigger processor and then you need a bigger battery and then all of the sudden you have something thing and shitty like a fire hd. The reason everyone is going crazy over the iPad mini is its form factor. The reason it has the incredible form factor is what they decided to cut. They made a brilliant move.

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