Last year’s iPad mini 2 was a fantastic little fella, essentially offering everything that impressed about the iPad Air, but in a smaller package. There was very little in the way of compromise. And let’s face it; when you’re paying hundreds of pounds, no one wants to compromise.
Perhaps realising that the tablet world’s definition of “better” is swinging back towards Big, Apple’s iPad mini 3 doesn’t impress nearly as much as the spanking new iPad Air 2. Full tear-stained story below.
I had expected this news piece to be remarkably short, essentially just a few paragraphs confirming that the iPad mini 3 is ultimately a smaller version of the iPad Air 2. But it’s not.
Things that are the same: the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 both come in 16, 64 and 128GB options, in a choice of white, space grey and gold; they both have resolutions of 2048 x 1536 (same as last year); they both introduce Touch ID fingerprint scanners; and they offer roughly the same in terms of battery life.
But the list of iPad Air 2 features the iPad mini 3 can’t match is potentially enough to put off even Joe Average.
For starters, with the iPad mini 3, you’re not getting that fully laminated display or anti-reflective coating, and its thickness is still 7.5mm – same as last year and a good bit thicker than the 6.1mm iPad Air 2.
Worse still, the iPad mini 3 doesn’t bother with the iPad Air 2’s Apple A8X processor, or even the iPhone 6’s A8. An enhanced A7X might’ve been an acceptable consolation prize, but it’s the plain old A7. Again, that’s the same as last year. For the record, Apple says the A8X is 40-50% faster than the A7. Bah.
As for the iPad mini 3’s rear camera, it’s a comparatively humble 5MP compared to the 8MP iPad Air 2, and you can forget about features like burst mode and slow motion video.
The Barometer sensor rounds off the list of things not on the iPad mini 3, and all in all we can’t help but feel a little short changed.
I guess logically, few people are going to fork our for an iPad mini 3 if they already own an iPhone 6 or the even-bigger iPhone 6 Plus - or indeed any other phablet device. We’re only talking a few inches of difference, so it’d be a bit like owning a 7in and 10in tablet, and that'd just be silly.
Slightly less subtle, Google yesterday officially ditched the previously successful 7in market in favour of the 8.9in Nexus 9 from HTC. Is this the end of the ‘tweener tablet as we know it? It certainly looks that way.
iPad mini 3 price comes in at £319 for the 16GB, rising to £399 and £479 for the 64GB and 128GB respectively.
Interestingly, the first-generation iPad mini looks set to hang about, and it's now officially available for a pound under £200 (£199 for the mathematically challenged). Could be some good deals on that guy in the coming months.
But going back to the iPad mini 3, I feel a little deflated. You?