Apple iPad mini 2 review: Moving up the ranks

Orlin Milinov, 22 November 2013.
Pages: 123456789101112

Tags: Apple, iOS

Screen resolution is as high as it gets on a compact tablet

Apple introduced the Retina display back in 2012 on the third-generation iPad and hasn't increased the resolution since. What's amazing however is that now we get the same high resolution in a compact sub-8-inch tablet. The competition may have 10-inchers with higher resolution, but in the compact segment, the iPad mini screen resolution is as high as it gets.

In a stark contrast to last year's iPad mini, the new screen is incredibly sharp. The number of pixels has been quadrupled (3.1M pixels vs. 0.78M pixels) and the mini has doubled the pixel density of the original (324ppi vs. 162ppi). Now, it's really hard to spot the individual pixels with your bare eyes and even the smallest of fonts look clear and legible.

Apple iPad mini 2 Apple iPad mini 2 Apple iPad mini 2 Apple iPad mini 2
Same size display, but a quadruple difference in pixel count

The pixel arrangement on the LCD matrix is the same as on the iPad Air - you get a standard red, green and blue pixel side by side.

Looking at the numbers the iPad mini 2 stacks pretty well against the competition. Its contrast is not the best we have seen, but the colors are nicely rendered and the viewing angles are very decent for a tablet..

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Apple iPad Air 0.19 181 968 0.53 508 964
Apple iPad mini 2 0.20 167 835 0.56 450 804
ASUS Transformer Pad TF701T 0.40 450 1125 0.71 755 1119
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 0.27 221 831 0.53 440 821
Google Nexus 10 0.26 223 859 0.50 443 878
Sony Xperia Tablet Z - - - 0.53 531 996
Sony Xperia Tablet S 0.35 334 947 0.67 526 783
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 0 149 0 379
Apple iPad mini 0.25 208 838 0.51 458 812
Apple iPad 3 0.21 167 809 0.6 477 779
Apple iPad 4 0.21 163 797 0.63 476 762
Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 0 200 0 328
Asus Google Nexus 7 0.25 244 954 0.36 327 908
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 0.27 223 832 0.49 406 821
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 0.31 257 826 0.55 502 915
Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus 0.17 196 1141 0.34 424 1236

Battery life

The iPad mini 2 is equipped with a 45% more battery capacity than last year's mini (23.8Wh vs. 16.3Wh) just so it can achieve the same manufacturer rating of 10h of runtime.

Well, manufacturer ratings are never to be taken at face value, so we did our usual set of battery life tests to see how the iPad mini 2 stacks up against the competition.

We are happy to report that the Apple iPad mini 2 did more than enough to live up to Apple's claims and then some. The slate managed a 10:47 hour run in our Wi-Fi web browsing test. That's nearly 40 minutes more than the iPad Air, but it should come as no surprise - the mini 2 has a much smaller screen and the chipsets are almost identical (save for a small difference in clock speed). More importantly, the improvement over the original iPad mini is over an hour and a half.

Web browsing

  • ASUS Transformer Pad w/ Dock
    13:48
  • Acer Liquid E2
    12:39
  • LG G2
    11:22
  • Sony Xperia ZR
    11:20
  • Apple iPad mini 2
    10:47
  • Apple iPad Air
    10:10
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini duos
    10:10
  • BlackBerry Q5
    10:04
  • HTC One
    9:58
  • Apple iPhone 5s
    9:58
  • Apple iPhone 5
    9:56
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    9:47
  • Motorola RAZR MAXX (ICS)
    9:12
  • Apple iPad mini
    9:05
  • Apple iPhone 5c
    9:05
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
    9:04
  • ASUS Nexus 7 (2013)
    9:03
  • ASUS Transformer Pad TF701T
    9:02
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom
    8:51
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II N7100
    8:48
  • BlackBerry Q10
    8:42
  • Nokia Lumia 810
    8:20
  • Asus Padfone 2
    8:20
  • Moto X
    8:17
  • Huawei Ascend Mate
    8:17
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
    8:17
  • HTC One mini
    8:12
  • Nokia Lumia 610
    8:01
  • HTC One X+
    7:56
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    7:42
  • Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition
    7:39
  • Samsung Galaxy S III mini
    7:38
  • Nokia Lumia 720
    7:37
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 Active
    7:35
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    7:24
  • Huawei MediaPad 7 Vogue
    7:23
  • Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX
    7:23
  • HTC Radar
    7:17
  • Nokia Lumia 520
    7:15
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 GPE
    7:13
  • LG Optimus GJ
    7:11
  • Gigabyte GSmart Maya M1 v2
    7:10
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Duos
    7:09
  • Samsung Galaxy Express
    7:09
  • Nokia Lumia 625
    7:07
  • Motorola RAZR i
    7:06
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    6:58
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    6:56
  • Samsung I8262 Galaxy Core
    6:54
  • HTC One V
    6:49
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    6:40
  • Samsung I9105 Galaxy S II Plus
    6:40
  • Sony Xperia L
    6:40
  • HTC Droid DNA
    6:40
  • Samsung Galaxy Premier
    6:40
  • Motorola Atrix HD
    6:40
  • BlackBerry Curve 9380
    6:40
  • Sony Xperia Z
    6:37
  • Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2
    6:35
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    6:34
  • HTC Desire 500
    6:31
  • Huawei Ascend P6
    6:30
  • BlackBerry Z10
    6:27
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III (JB)
    6:27
  • HTC Butterfly
    6:24
  • Sony Xperia SP
    6:18
  • Samsung i937 Focus S
    6:15
  • Nokia Lumia 510
    6:13
  • Sony Xperia ZL
    6:04
  • HTC Windows Phone 8X
    6:01
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    5:59
  • Sony Xperia ion LTE
    5:56
  • Samsung Galaxy Fame
    5:55
  • Samsung Rugby Smart I847
    5:53
  • Pantech Burst
    5:51
  • Nokia Lumia 1020
    5:50
  • Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G
    5:45
  • HTC Desire V
    5:44
  • HTC Evo 4G LTE
    5:41
  • Nokia Lumia 920
    5:40
  • Samsung Wave 3 S8600
    5:34
  • Oppo Find 5
    5:33
  • Sony Xperia T
    5:33
  • Samsung Captivate Glide
    5:33
  • Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam
    5:28
  • Samsung Galaxy Note LTE
    5:24
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    5:23
  • Samsung Galaxy S Duos
    5:23
  • HTC Sensation XL
    5:20
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    5:19
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
    5:17
  • Sony Xperia acro S
    5:16
  • HTC Rezound
    5:16
  • HTC Desire X
    5:16
  • LG Optimus G
    5:15
  • HTC Rhyme
    5:08
  • Samsung I9103 Galaxy R
    5:07
  • HTC One X (AT&T)
    5:03
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia Pro
    4:50
  • LG Optimus Vu
    4:49
  • HTC Vivid
    4:46
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace Duos
    4:45
  • Meizu MX
    4:35
  • Google Nexus 4
    4:34
  • Nokia N9
    4:33
  • Acer CloudMobile S500
    4:32
  • Nokia Lumia 820
    4:24
  • Samsung Galaxy S II
    4:24
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia neo V
    4:20
  • HTC One X
    4:18
  • Nokia 808 PureView
    4:14
  • LG Optimus 3D Max P720
    4:10
  • Nokia Lumia 900 for AT&T
    4:10
  • Nokia Lumia 800
    4:07
  • HTC Titan II (LTE)
    4:05
  • HTC One S
    4:03
  • BlackBerry Bold 9790
    4:02
  • LG Nitro HD
    4:00
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    3:59
  • Sony Xperia P
    3:59
  • Nokia Lumia 710
    3:51
  • Nokia Lumia 620
    3:50
  • Samsung Galaxy Pocket
    3:47
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    3:35
  • Huawei Ascend P1
    3:23
  • Samsung Galaxy Nexus
    3:01

The big iPad Air comes out ahead of the iPad mini 2 by half an hour in our video playback test. This test doesn't stress the CPU, so the bigger battery of the Air managed to feed the bigger screen slightly longer. This score is also half an hour less than the original iPad mini.

Video playback

  • Motorola RAZR MAXX (ICS)
    16:35
  • ASUS Transformer Pad w/ Dock
    15:29
  • Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX
    14:17
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
    13:32
  • Nokia Lumia 1020
    13:12
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    13:12
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini duos
    12:52
  • Apple iPad mini
    12:51
  • Samsung Galaxy Premier
    12:51
  • Apple iPad Air
    12:49
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 GPE
    12:32
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    12:30
  • BlackBerry Q5
    12:28
  • Apple iPad mini 2
    12:22
  • Huawei Ascend Mate
    12:18
  • LG G2
    11:51
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    11:29
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II N7100
    11:27
  • BlackBerry Q10
    11:15
  • Apple iPhone 5s
    10:31
  • Apple iPhone 5
    10:12
  • ASUS Transformer Pad TF701T
    10:07
  • HTC One
    10:02
  • Moto X
    10:01
  • Samsung Galaxy Express
    10:00
  • Samsung I9105 Galaxy S II Plus
    10:00
  • Nokia 808 PureView
    9:53
  • Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam
    9:42
  • Samsung Rugby Smart I847
    9:34
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom
    9:30
  • HTC One S
    9:28
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III (JB)
    9:27
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    9:24
  • HTC Evo 4G LTE
    9:07
  • Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition
    9:02
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    8:45
  • BlackBerry Z10
    8:44
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    8:40
  • Nokia N9
    8:40
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
    8:34
  • HTC Butterfly
    8:28
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    8:25
  • LG Optimus GJ
    8:15
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Duos
    8:11
  • HTC One X+
    8:11
  • Motorola RAZR i
    8:11
  • Samsung Galaxy S II
    8:00
  • Samsung i937 Focus S
    7:55
  • Samsung Wave 3 S8600
    7:52
  • HTC Desire 500
    7:50
  • Samsung Galaxy S III mini
    7:46
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia neo V
    7:45
  • Apple iPhone 5c
    7:41
  • Asus Padfone 2
    7:38
  • Huawei Ascend P1
    7:38
  • Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G
    7:33
  • Acer Liquid E2
    7:30
  • Samsung I8262 Galaxy Core
    7:30
  • Sony Xperia ZR
    7:30
  • HTC Droid DNA
    7:30
  • Samsung Galaxy Note LTE
    7:30
  • Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2
    7:30
  • Sony Xperia SP
    7:27
  • HTC One mini
    7:23
  • Nokia Lumia 610
    7:23
  • LG Optimus G
    7:16
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 Active
    7:03
  • ASUS Nexus 7 (2013)
    7:03
  • Huawei Ascend P6
    6:55
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    6:49
  • Nokia Lumia 720
    6:43
  • Huawei MediaPad 7 Vogue
    6:40
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    6:33
  • Nokia Lumia 620
    6:32
  • Nokia Lumia 625
    6:29
  • HTC Windows Phone 8X
    6:27
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    6:27
  • Nokia Lumia 810
    6:27
  • HTC Desire V
    6:26
  • HTC One X (AT&T)
    6:26
  • Nokia Lumia 820
    6:25
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace Duos
    6:25
  • Gigabyte GSmart Maya M1 v2
    6:24
  • Nokia Lumia 510
    6:23
  • LG Optimus Vu
    6:23
  • Samsung I9103 Galaxy R
    6:21
  • Nokia Lumia 920
    6:19
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    6:12
  • HTC Sensation XL
    6:12
  • Samsung Galaxy Pocket
    6:06
  • Samsung Captivate Glide
    6:04
  • Sony Xperia ion LTE
    6:03
  • Samsung Galaxy Nexus
    6:02
  • Sony Xperia T
    6:01
  • Motorola Atrix HD
    6:01
  • HTC Vivid
    6:00
  • HTC Radar
    5:54
  • Nokia Lumia 800
    5:52
  • Nokia Lumia 520
    5:50
  • HTC Titan II
    5:50
  • BlackBerry Bold 9790
    5:47
  • HTC One X
    5:45
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia Pro
    5:44
  • Sony Xperia Z
    5:39
  • Sony Xperia acro S
    5:38
  • HTC Desire X
    5:38
  • Pantech Burst
    5:38
  • Sony Xperia ZL
    5:28
  • Meizu MX
    5:27
  • HTC Rhyme
    5:23
  • HTC One V
    5:20
  • Acer CloudMobile S500
    5:18
  • Oppo Find 5
    5:18
  • Nokia Lumia 900 for AT&T
    5:18
  • BlackBerry Curve 9380
    5:09
  • HTC Rezound
    5:03
  • Samsung Galaxy Fame
    5:02
  • Google Nexus 4
    4:55
  • Sony Xperia L
    4:44
  • Samsung Galaxy S Duos
    4:30
  • Sony Xperia P
    4:30
  • LG Nitro HD
    4:17
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    4:14
  • LG Optimus 3D Max P720
    3:28
  • Nokia Lumia 710
    3:27

Still, for all intents and purposes the two Apple iPads have the same battery life. Compared to the original iPad mini, the mini 2 shows tangible improvements in the web browsing department and a slight regression in video playback. More importantly, Android tablets struggle to outlast the iPad mini - the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition is behind by 3 hours in both tests and the Asus Transformer Pad is 2 hours behind, coming out ahead only when attached to its dock (which has an additional battery).

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