Apple iPad mini review: One for the road
5 MP iSight camera goes smaller
The iPad mini features a 5 MP iSight camera capable of producing stills of 2592x1944 pixel resolution. It features Geo-tagging (Wi-Fi location on the Wi-Fi-only model), touch focus and face detection.
The user interface is as basic as it gets, offering very little controls outside of the virtual shutter key. The other available option lets you switch between the back and the front-facing camera.
Images captured with the iPad mini turned out good. Colors are decent and accurate and the level of detail is pleasing for a 5 megapixel shooter. Considering that this is a tablet and you probably won't rely on it as a primary shooter, we are tempted to say that it even over-delivers here.
Photo quality comparison
The iPad joins our vast array of devices in the Photo quality comparison tool. We've selected to pin it against the iPad 3 and Galaxy Note 10.1 but you can select any available device in our database.
1080p video recording
The iPad mini's iSight camera is capable of producing 1080p videos@30fps. Although not the go-to device for making home movies it's still a nice addition to have.
The camcorder interface borrows from the camera one - you get one shutter button, a switch to front-facing camera toggle and that's it.
Videos have a bitrate of around 18 Mbps with a fps of 29. Audio has a bitrate of 65 Kbps with a sampling rate of 44 kHz but it is mono, as with all iDevices so far.
Videos are smooth and detail is good enough. Automatic exposure struggles at times and we found the resolved detail to be insufficient at times - videos don't look as sharp as on the iPhone 5, for example. The iPad mini also features video stabilization. It's more of a software gimmick as it is real hardware stabilization but it does remove some of the shake, which is useful when shooting video with a tabet.
Here's a sample video uploaded to YouTube.
And here's an untouched 1080p@30fps sample taken straight off the device.
Video quality comparison
The iPad mini joins our video quality comparison tool, where you can compare its output quality to that of the other 1080p contenders we have tested. The tool's page will give you information on how to work with it and what to look for.