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iPad Mini 2, the proof: the best iPad ever

iPad Mini 2, the proof: the best iPad ever

Powerful and handy, finally with Retina display: all the beauty of the iPad Air in a smaller shell

Price: from 389 euros Vote: 9More information: Apple

Apple iPad Mini 2 (Photo: Maurizio Pesce / Wired)(Photo: Maurizio Pesce / Wired)

Although we can think of the iPad Mini 2 as a smaller version of the new iPad Air, there are at least two reasons to dedicate a space of its own to the latest version of the small Cupertino tablet: 1, it finally has all the features to consider it as an alternative to a computer portable and 2 – the best iPad ever created.

If a year ago, at the launch of the first model, the absence of the Retina display had left perplexed, the updated version renders the Mini an almost perfect tablet. Almost, because the Touch ID is missing and because the most affordable version is still expensive and has just 16GB of non-expandable internal memory: very little for a tablet to fill with movies and magazines.

The IPS LCD screen finally has afabulous resolution: 2048 × 1536 pixels, at 326 pixels per inch, much more than the 264 of the Air, thanks to its small size. A remarkable leap forward in performance, thanks to the generational leap of the processor: from the old A5, you go directly to the brand new dual-core A7 from 1.3GHz presented with the iPhone 5s and iPad Air. Trying it with the apps already tested on iPad Air, the feeling of having the same machine in your hands, just a little smaller. Still a bit disappointing the iSight camera (always 5 Mpixel BSI sensor with automatic stabilizer, able to shoot video in Full HD at 1080p): despite iOS 7 and the 64-bit chip the interface remained the same and the Panorama and Slow Motion function in the videos is still missing, in addition to filters (never mind: I don't think I've ever used them). A LED is still missing to take photos in low light conditions that the opening to f / 2.4 does not help to achieve).

ISight Camera (Photo: Maurizio Pesce / Wired)(Photo: Maurizio Pesce / Wired)

The front camera still with 1.2 MPixel with face detection and capable of shooting in HD at 720p at 30 fps: Apple also declares an optimization for FaceTime calls in HD that we could not perceive.

The autonomy also improves, a fundamental detail for a product made more for mobility than for portability (ie: you use it a lot around, rather than taking it to use when you arrive, as it happens more easily with the original iPad, the big one): the Mini 2 ensures over 10 hours of operation even when multitasking applications, streaming and some Internet sessions. Watching streaming video at maximum brightness just takes away 8% battery every hour.

For the apps that require it, here too the M7 motion coprocessor, which saves battery by collecting all the compass and GPS data without great energy consumption. What is it for? To have a faster response than the maps (if you've never tried to use the Mini as a navigator in the car, the first thing you need to do as soon as you can), an immediate geolocation on apps like Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter or on apps like Day One, the best you can download if you want to write a travel diary adding notes, check-in , photos and videos and even what song you were listening to when you wrote your note. The offer of optimized apps in the meantime increased to 475 thousand and the iWork suite finally included and no longer to be purchased separately.

The connectivity has been further enhanced: as on the iPad Air, the dual Wi-Fi antenna allows connections up to 300 Mbps while the LTE is now compatible with 14 different networks.

They do not change size and design, except for the very small detail of the additional microphone on the back, as already on the iPad Air.

Apple iPad Mini 2 (Photo: Maurizio Pesce / Wired)(Photo: Maurizio Pesce / Wired)

Aluminum shell, just 7.5 mm thick and slightly heavier than the first, but still very light: it weighs 331 grams (341 the LTE version, all well below the industry average, which is around 490 grams), and perfect to be used even with one hand. The speakers are still positioned on the bass, making the stereo effect minimal when watching a video with the Mini in a horizontal position.

Compared to a Nexus 7 or a Kindle Fire HDX 7, with a few millimeters and grams of difference, the display is considerably larger, but still easy to carry around; compared to a Kindle HDX 8.9, save centimeters and grams that give greater ease of use in mobility. In terms of resolution, despite a substantially equal pixel density among all the tablets mentioned, the Mini is more defined than the Nexus 7 with the naked eye and in line with the two new Kindle.

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Available in sidereal Gray or Silver, the Mini iPad with Retina display makes more sense than the more memory you choose to have: the 128GB version, for example, pay dear 659 euros for the Wi-Fi version and 779 euros for the Wi-Fi version with LTE network but you can safely consider it instead of an Ultrabook (you already have Keynote, Pages, Numbers, iPhoto and iMovie, but you'll need a Bluetooth keyboard). Proportionately, it is less convincing than the 16GB version (389-509 euros)

You want? Yes, if you are looking for a tablet that can be used in mobility and not just to read Twitter, but to watch videos and browse through photo albums. No, if you already have the first Mini and you use it discreetly or if you would like it just to browse more than for multimedia entertainment: that's why there are much more suitable tablets for price and performance.

Wired: Fabulous performances; dimensions and design.

Tired: The price is still high.

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