Apple iPad Mini review: the screen [Epic Review]
Our Apple iPad Mini Epic Review is a long-form look at one of the most anticipated tablets ever produced. It’s sponsored by JadoPado.com – your one-stop online shop for all things gadget related. Want to pick up an iPad Mini just like the one we’ve reviewed? Click here.
If you’re expecting the best display Apple can throw at your peepers, you’ll feel a little let down by the iPad Mini‘s 1024×768 effort. Compared to the iPad 4’s 264ppi resolution the Mini’s 163ppi sounds weedy, and sure enough a side-by-side comparison shows the Mini’s icons and text to look a smudgy around the edges.
The more important question is how the iPad Mini’s screen compares to that of the Google Nexus 7, and the Mini draws first blood with its extra 0.9in of diagonal space. Its squat 4:3 ratio could lead you to believe that the 16:10 Nexus would offer you a greater widescreen movie viewing area, but in actual fact the picture on the Mini is still marginally bigger. What’s more, those HD videos are beautifully crisp and naturally coloured. Away from movies the bigger screen has more obvious advantages – web pages, ebooks and apps have an appreciable level of extra room to breathe.
However, the Nexus 7’s 216ppi screen offers advantages that the Mini can’t match. Fonts in ebooks and web pages are rendered with less obvious pixellation, and still images look more detailed. In terms of colours and contrast, though, Apple wins back the advantage with whiter whites and an overall brightness that can make the Nexus 7 look just a little dull. On balance, we reckon the Mini still makes the marginally better ereader and browser, owing to the additional screen space it has to offer.
There’s no need to worry about any accidental prodding of the screen thanks to that skinny bezel, either. Apple’s baked thumb detection tech into the Mini that ignores the touch of an errant digit, and it works a treat.
Speaking of prodding, some tech-heads (including Steve Jobs) have worried that pressing the smaller buttons on a reduced-size screen could be too hit-and-miss to make mini tablets useful. With the iPad Mini, the touch targets are significantly downsized from those of the big iPads, but with most developers already designing apps to meet Apple’s 44x44p button criteria, we found the transition to the Mini’s screen just fine.
For rigour, we loaded our iPad Mini up with Korg’s recreation of a full analogue synth, iMS-20 for iPad. With more buttons, sliders and dials than Apple’s got dollars in the bank the app does require more precise fingerwork on the Mini than it does with the iPad 4, but it won’t slow your mixing down enough to annoy. In fact, aside from the odd need for a double tap – funnily enough mostly on Apple’s own buttons in the settings menu and the App Store – we think small-icon anxiety is gadget scaremongering.