When is a smartphone not a smartphone? When it's the iPad Mini tablet! Not only did this compact tablet represent a major change in approach for Apple, but it also provided a unique and affordable compact tablet for on-the-go browsing.
At first glance, the iconic iPad Mini looks like a souped-up smartphone, with its wide, 7.9-inch display struggling to fit neatly in the palm of your hand. This should not distract you from the core purpose or functionality of a refurbished iPad Mini, however, which Apple designed to provide a cheaper and more portable alternative to the devices in their classic tablet range.
In many ways, the iPad Mini represents a considerable departure for the iconic Apple brand. Far removed from the sleek, large and premium iPad designs that have gone before, if offers something completely different to the brand's most loyal customers. It also opens up a brand new market for the brand, with the iPad Mini bringing the iconic Apple tablet experience to a brave new world where the customer's budget reigns supreme.
The iPad Mini's a device that's designed to be used with two hands, of course, and once you've overcome this relatively small hurdle if you were expecting one-handed browsing, you'll notice that the iPad Mini is actually a superbly designed device that shares Apple's fabled build quality. The aluminium chassis certainly shares the same colouring as the attractive iPhone 5, with the premium black slate and white silver iterations introducing a genuine (and much-needed) touch of class.
If you were to go by specification alone, the screen on the iPad Mini may prove something of a concern. While the device may not be your type on paper, however, it features additional technology that improves the viewing experience considerably. More specifically, the device's 1024x768 resolution is akin to the iPhone 3GS, but the sharpness and the clarity of imagery is much-improved thanks to the advanced IPS LCD technology. This makes for a smooth and enjoyable viewing experience, whether you're watching your favourite film or sifting through a raft of message notifications and emails
In terms of the rear camera on the iPad Mini, there's little here that breaks the mould. However, the 5MP lens does benefit from a number of performance-boosting features, including backside illumination to improve light sensitivity in real-time. Interestingly, the seemingly low-resolution, 1.2MP front-facing camera is capable of delivering some truly exceptional selfies, and is great for interacting with others on FaceTime. The iPad Mini can also capture video at a standard 1080p, while there's also an imager stabiliser feature that creates a more professional look in good-to-excellent light conditions.
It's fair to say that the power pack lives up to the hype that it generated prior to the launch of the iPad Mini, both during moderate and heavy usage. When tested at optimal brightness and with higher-power apps running consistently in the background, the iPad Mini can last for an average of six hours on a single charge. However, if you operate at a reduced level of brightness and only use the device sporadically (which is usual for a tablet), battery consumption is reduced considerably, creating a scenario where your iPad Mini may last for well over 48 hours on a single charge.
Although some may have criticised Apple for reintroducing old technology in the iPad Mini, the trusty A5 processor combined with 512GB of RAM is genuinely fit for purpose. This economical specification also helps to drive the price of the iPad Mini down, without ever compromising on the performance of the interface or your ability to multitask. This means that you can switch between tasks and apps until your heart's content on the iPad Mini, without having to dig deep into your bank balance!
First impressions can be both important and misleading, and there's no doubt that there's considerably more to Apple's iPad Mini that initially meets the eye. Apple has also worked hard to create a modest and affordable specification that dramatically lowers the price point of a refurbished iPad Mini, while maintaining the iconic design, battery power and performance that's synonymous with all iPads.