IPad mini 3 review
The mini 3 has arrived with Touch ID, but not much else
Anew Apple iPad mini 3 was announced at Apple’s 16th October event, now in Mk 3 guise. It has only a few running changes, though including the addition of a Touch ID fingerprint sensor for a Home key.
There is one obvious change this time around when it comes to the design – as with the Air 2 (page 3), a gold version has been added to the range. Apple told us that gold has proven to be a very popular colour choice for the iPhone. However, unlike the iPad Air 2, which is even thinner than before and offers many new and powerful features, the iPad mini 3 is practically identical to its predecessor, apart from one significant difference: Touch ID.
We watched this in use and it looked pretty foolproof. You will be able to use Touch ID to unlock your iPad mini 3, and to unlock various apps. You will also be able to use it to do your online shopping, as long as those online stores have Apple Pay implemented.
Apple hasn’t made any changes to the Retina display on the new iPad mini 3. It retains the same resolution as the mini 2: 2048x1536 at 326 pixels per inch (ppi). That’s better than the iPad Air 2, which has a resolution of 2048x1536 at 264ppi.
The processor is exactly the same as that found in the iPad mini 2 – the A7. It seems likely that Apple has chosen to make the iPad Air 2 the true flagship iPad this time round. Last year, we were surprised that the only difference between the iPads was their size. Now there will be more reason to buy an iPad Air. Not that the A7 chip is a slouch. It’s a very fast, 64-bit processor. The iPad mini 3 also has a M7 motion co-processor. Both the A7 and M7 feature in the iPhone 5s.
The claimed battery life for Apple’s diminutive tablet is 10 hours, which is the same as that of the mini 2.
Whereas the new iPad Air 2 offers better Wi-Fi connectivity than the Air 2, thanks to the inclusion of the latest 802.11ac technology, the iPad mini 3
doesn’t offer this. It keeps the same standard as last year’s model, which strikes us as odd. The Cellular model comes with a removable Apple SIM. This is designed to be as “flexible as possible” according to Apple. It will only work in the latest iPads, though.
As it did with the iPhone 6 line up, Apple has dropped the 32GB capacity option from the iPad mini 3 line-up. The company told us that this was a strategy to bring the higher capacities down to a lower price point making it more affordable in that category.
When we asked Apple why it had kept the 16GB model on (rather than replacing that with the 32GB model), we were told that 16GB has always
been popular). If you do want a 32GB tablet, then you can still buy an iPad mini 2 with this capacity.
Prices start at £319 for the 16GB Wi-Fi version, rising to £419 if you add cellular connectivity. That’s just £80 less than the iPad Air 2 – begging the question of why you wouldn’t opt for that model instead. As with the iPhone 6, there is no 32GB iPad mini 3, instead you jump straight to 64GB for £399 (£499 for cellular). The top of the range 128GB iPad mini 3 costs £479 (£579 for the cellular version).
iPad & iPhone User’s buying advice
The iPad mini 3 is a great little tablet, but apart from the introduction of Touch ID there’s little to make it stand out from its predecessors. These older minis are also still available, so if you do want a smaller iPad, it’s well worth checking these out first.