Tech Industry

iPad Mini, fourth-generation iPad reviews arrive

The first crop of reviews for Apple's latest pair of tablets have come in. Find out what critics are saying.


Just a week after both devices were announced, the first crop of iPad Mini and fourth-generation iPad reviews are out of the gate.

The general consensus is that reviewers like the smaller form factor of the Mini for most tasks, but yearn for the Retina Display found on Apple's other devices, like the normal-size iPad, iPod Touch, and iPhone.

For the fourth-generation iPad, most reviewers say it's zippier, but that it's also difficult to tell how much zippier, since developers haven't done anything to push it to the limit. Reviewers also suggest that owners of the third-generation iPad are safe to sit this upgrade round out.

Both devices go on sale Friday. Those who pre-ordered the device online before initial stock sold out get it delivered to their homes.

Before going any further, you can get CNET's reviews of the iPad Mini here, and the fourth-generation iPad here.

iPad Mini reviews


Bottom line: If you want the full, polished Apple tablet experience in a smaller package, the iPad Mini is worth the premium price. Otherwise, good alternatives are available for less money.

All Things Digital :

I've been testing the iPad Mini for several days and found it does exactly what it promises: It brings the iPad experience to a smaller device. Every app that ran on my larger iPad ran perfectly on the Mini. I was able to use it one-handed and hold it for long periods of time without tiring. My only complaints were that it's a tad too wide to fit in most of my pockets, and the screen resolution is a big step backwards from the Retina display on the current large iPad.

USA Today:

Despite a few quibbles and strong competitors in the space, the Mini is a splendid choice for folks who held off buying an iPad because it was too large or too expensive.
The New York Times :

Sadly, the Mini doesn't gain Apple's supercrisp Retina display. Nobody's going to complain about the sharpness -- it packs in 163 pixels per inch (ppi) -- but it's not the same jaw-dropping resolution as the big iPad (264 ppi). Gotta hold something back for next year's model, right?


Over all, the Mini gives you all the iPad goodness in a more manageable size, and it's awesome. You could argue that the iPad Mini is what the iPad always wanted to be.

Engadget :

This isn't just an Apple tablet made to a budget. This isn't just a shrunken-down iPad. This is, in many ways, Apple's best tablet yet, an incredibly thin, remarkably light, obviously well-constructed device that offers phenomenal battery life. No, the performance doesn't match Apple's latest and yes, that display is a little lacking in resolution, but nothing else here will leave you wanting. At $329, this has a lot to offer over even Apple's more expensive tablets.

The Verge :

There's no tablet in this size range that's as beautifully constructed, works as flawlessly, or has such an incredible software selection. Would I prefer a higher-res display? Certainly. Would I trade it for the app selection or hardware design? For the consistency and smoothness of its software, or reliability of its battery? Absolutely not. And as someone who's been living with (and loving) Google's Nexus 7 tablet for a few months, I don't say that lightly.

The iPad Mini hasn't wrapped up the "cheapest tablet" market by any stretch of the imagination. But the "best small tablet" market? Consider it captured.


The iPad Mini isn't perfect -- for one reason in particular (more on that below) -- but it's damn close to my ideal device. In my review of the Nexus 7 (which I really liked, to the shock of many), I kept coming back to one thing: the form factor. Mix this with iOS and Apple's app ecosystem and the intangibles I spoke about earlier and the iPad Mini is an explosion of handheld joy.
The Telegraph :

...What will make some think twice about buying an iPad Mini is the price.... Whether it's worth it depends on how much of a premium you put on great design and a vast ecosystem of apps. Apple will sell a lot of these little beauties, that's for sure.

The Loop :

I was really surprised with how much I used the iPad Mini in my daily routine -- more than the 10-inch iPad. There are a couple of things you have to remember with the iPad Mini. First, it isn't just a smaller iPad, but rather it feels like its own device...The second thing is that what seems like a little bit of extra screen real estate on the iPad Mini makes a huge difference. Everything just works on the Mini -- all of your old apps, iCloud, everything. It works.

Daring Fireball:

If the Mini had a retina display, I'd switch from the iPad 3 in a heartbeat. As it stands, I'm going to switch anyway. Going non-retina is a particularly bitter pill for me, but I like the iPad Mini's size and weight so much that I'm going to swallow it.

Fox News :

After a few days I started to prefer the Mini to my larger iPad despite its lack of a Retina screen. It even made my larger iPad look old fashioned. Awkwardly large. The Mini is fast, impressively light -- weighing in at just over 10 ounces -- and easy to keep with me at all times. The only thing I don't enjoy as much with the Mini is watching videos. It seems the crystal-clear Retina display in the newer (and larger) iPads has spoiled me.

Slashgear :

In the end, it's about an overall package, an experience which Apple is offering... If the iPad with Retina display is the flagship of Apple's tablet range, then the iPad Mini is the everyman model, and it's one that will deservedly sell very well.
The Guardian :

...There's no doubt that this is indeed a five-star device.

Apple is going to sell a lot of these -- quite possibly more than the "large" iPad -- in this quarter. The only way Apple could improve on this product would be (as some people are already agitating) to give it a Retina screen and somehow make it lighter. That might happen at some point. You can wait if you like; other people, in the meantime, will be buying this one.


If your budget's got more wiggle room, the iPad Mini is the best compact-sized tablet on the market. Apple didn't build yet another bargain-basement special; it squeezed all of the big iPad's industrial-design panache, software polish, and third-party apps, and most of its technology, into a smaller thinner, lighter, lower-priced model. The result may be a product in a category of one -- but I have a hunch it's going to be an awfully popular category.

Bloomberg :

...Apple has compromised the iPad experience. For the most part, it has simply shrunk it.


I can tell you the iPad Mini is the best small tablet you can buy. The question you'll have to answer for yourself is whether it's that much better.

Apple's fourth-generation iPad, which looks a lot like the third-generation iPad, which -- yes -- looks a lot like the second-generation iPad. Whew.
Apple's fourth-generation iPad, which looks a lot like the third-generation iPad, which -- yes -- looks a lot like the second-generation iPad. Whew. CNET

Fourth-generation iPad reviews

Numerous reviewers focused mainly on the Mini versus reviewing both devices separately. Here are a handful of highlights from the reviews on the 9.7-inch, fourth-generation model:


The bottom line: The latest iPad adds several tweaks and improvements to secure its position at the top of the tablet heap. It's better all around, but third-gen owners need not apply.
The Verge:

The fourth-generation iPad is the very definition of an iterative change: Apple made important things better, but neither overhauled nor revolutionized anything.... For now, if you're within your return window you should probably swap for the newest iPad, but if not? Rest assured you're not really missing that much. Not yet, at least.

TechCrunch (embedded in its iPad Mini review):

I've been playing with this latest version of the iPad for the past week. Yes, it's faster. Apple claims 2x CPU and graphics performance thanks to the new A6X chip. That claim has been a little hard to test since no apps are yet optimized to take advantage of the new power -- and mainly because the previous iPad was already so fast -- but things do generally seem to launch and run a bit faster than they do on the third-generation iPad. I did get a chance to see a demo of a game that was optimized for the new chip (though it's not out yet) and that's clearly where this new iPad is going to shine.

Slashgear :

Day to day, there's not a significant difference in usability. By its third generation, the iPad was already smooth and showed little in the way of lag, and that same polish is evident here on the A6X powered model. There isn't the obvious swell in performance that we've seen before in, say, stepping from the first-gen iPad to the second, however.


On the other hand, it widens the distance between the iPad 2 -- which remains on sale as the "budget" full-sized iPad -- and the iPad with Retina display.


The sneaky iPad 4 takes our tablet top spot almost by default. There are no cosmetic changes to swoon over but this is a seriously slick, turbo-charged version of our favorite slate, and all for the same price as the outgoing iPad 3.


iPad 2 or iPad owners should also perhaps hold out on the upgrade. Maybe the slim, 308g iPad Mini, with its decent 7.9in display and extreme portability would suit you better? In six months time we may also be treated to an iPad 5 with a skinny bezel slimmer waistline anyway.