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Apple iPad mini Review

It certainly looks cool, but the Apple iPad mini falls flat in performance.

November 02, 2012
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Science Introduction

The iPad mini may be interesting, but it falls short in terms of raw performance, as it essentially carries many of the same specs and parts of the iPad 2. Notable areas of shortfall include color gamut, contrast performance, and reflectivity.

Screen Performance

Poor color and contrast performance, plus high reflectivity to boot.

The Apple iPad mini has a somewhat high black level of 0.53 cd/m2, though its respectable peak brightness of 405.33 cd/m2 goes a long way in bailing out the contrast ratio, which sits at 765:1. There is a somewhat minor, but weird problem with the greyscale gamma, as the transition from black to white along the intensity scale is a bit off from what it should be. Thankfully, the error is more academic than anything, and not a noticeably glaring issue.

What is noticeably bad is the color gamut, as not only are reds and greens wildly undersaturated, but the blues are shifted bizarrely like tablets of a bygone era. This was quite common in tablets of 2011, but not so much with the stable of iPads Apple released this year.

Additionally, with a screen size of 6.3125 x 4.75 inches, and with a resolution of 1024 x 768, the mini has a pixel density of 162. Now, the full-sized iPad may have a retina display, but the Apple iPad mini 's screen is not this good. For those of you with better vision, you'll be able to see the pixels even at a natural position holding the tablet, and all HD content will have to be rescaled for your tablet.

When you take the iPad mini out into the world, one of the most annoying things you'll notice right off the bat is just how reflective the screen is. Not only is the reflection pattern very sharp and distracting, but the coating on the screen does very little to diffuse outside light at all. In fact, it will send about 18.3% of all light shone on the screen back at your eyes, making the image hard to see in direct sunlight.

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Battery Life

Fair battery life, but your mileage may vary.

A high screen brightness comes at a cost, and that fee is reduced battery performance. With the backlight cranked as high as it can go, and all wireless and additional apps disabled, the iPad mini was able to read War & Peace for a grand total of 6 hours, 3 minutes. At about 7 hours and 20 minutes, the iPad mini's battery lost the will to live playing back terrible videos of Santa Claus fighting martians.

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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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