IPad mini 3 re­view

The mini 3 has ar­rived with Touch ID, but not much else

iPad&iPhone user - - IPAD&IPHONE -

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.

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.

Bat­tery life

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.

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