Apple IPad Mini 3 Review: A Touch Of Gold: Conclusion

By 10:49 Sun, 15 Aug 2021 Comments

Final words

On its own, the Apple iPad mini 3 is remarkable all-round tablet. It has everything a slate of its caliber should offer - a minimalistic design, an fantastic attention to detail, an excellent display. All that backed by the fluid iOS 8 and the fantastic App Store variety makes for an overall excellent slate.

There's no escaping the fact however that the Apple iPad mini 3 is just a minor update over the previous generation and since the iPad mini 2 can still be found at a noticeably cheaper price makes the recent arrival that bit harder to sell.

Apple could have elevated the recent mini model to the iPad Air 2 greatness, but instead they chose to leave it where it was a year ago. Is the recent iPhone 6 Plus changing the company's hold on the smaller iPad or has it been uncomfortably eating into the iPad Air sales to start with? We don't know, but we would have surely appreciated improvement in more departments.

Now let's hold a closer see at our key test findings and check what the iPad mini 3 got right, and what not.

Key test findings

  • The aluminum unibody has remarkable build quality
  • Good display quality, though it's not improved over last generation
  • Battery life is very good, though it's not improved over last generation
  • Connectivity to other devices is limited, sharing almost exclusive to the iOS/OS X ecosystem
  • iOS 8 is quick and fluid but not as customizable as Android
  • Touch ID works flawlessly, adds a welcomed recent level of security
  • The Apple A7 chipset is capable enough to handle everything in the App Store, but is not future proof for graphics
  • Speakers are quite easily muffled with hand and are not very loud to start with, though they have excellent sound quality
  • Uninspiring default video player, no subtitles support, extremely limited codec support
  • Splendid audio output quality
  • The main capturing camera does OK in fine light, but the FaceTime capturing camera is uninspiring due to low resolution
  • 1080p videos are solid, but come out quite noisy

As we assumed - on its own, the Apple iPad mini 3 is a remarkable device, but it only has a Touch ID fingerprint sensor and a recent paintjob option to show over last year's mini. As such, its market success isn't anything close to sealed as throughout the last few months some nice and powerful tablets have stolen the spotlight.

The HTC-made Google Nexus 9 is surely something to consider. It offers an inch bigger IPS display with the same resolution. It uses the top-notch Nvidia Tegra K1 beast, which easily puts the Apple A7 chip to shame when it comes to graphics processing. It is also a fine looking chap, with a better capturing camera and the latest pure Android 5.0 Lollipop. The pricing is honest too, and it seems the Apple iPad mini 3 will be meeting quite a threat in the face of the Nexus 9.

HTC Nexus 9

Of course, the €100 cheaper Apple iPad mini 2 is the one lots of people will choose over the iPad mini 3 becautilize the price premium for the recent Touch ID sensor is hardly worth it. Both devices have the same looks, the same display, the same internals, including the camera, and both run iOS 8.1. Honestly, we wouldn't be paying a hundred bucks for the touch scanner, either.

Apple iPad mini 2

The Xiaomi Mi Pad 7.9 is another Tegra K1-powered slate with a 7.9" IPS display that matches the iPad mini 3 screen. It is more powerful than the iPad mini 3 and has a better battery. The all plastic build and the Android Operating System (OS) with the Xiaomi's launcher will hardly allow you to foracquire that you are holding a cheaper tablet. Though, at €200 cheaper, it may as well be worth the trade-off.

Xiaomi Mi Pad 7.9

Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is doing remarkable today with relevant specs, fantastic 1200p display and super-thin and lightweight water-proof design. It is among the best performers among the mid-sized tablets and Sony really hit the jackpot this year with the Z3 Tablet Compact. The pricing of both the Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) and the LTE-enabled versions are on par with the Apple iPad mini 3, so the Sony's beast is a real threat to Apple's mini slate.

Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact

The newly announced Nokia N1 with a 7.9" Retina display, powerful Intel Atom Z3580 chipset and quite identical aluminum unibody design should be considered as well. The slate is manufactured by Foxconn and runs on the newest Android 5.0 Lollipop and Nokia's innovative and simplistic Z Launcher heavily relying on gestures. The pricing is quite attractive too, but the slate will go on sale shortly after the holiday season.

Nokia N1

Finally, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 boasts a Super AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) display with higher resolution and an octa-core processor into an even thinner and lighter body than the Apple iPad mini 3. Its software package is up to date with Android and TouchWiz, and it's enriched with an excellent office suite, premium services, features and apps. The customization options are way better, too.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 LTE

This year the iPad mini 3 has been ignored by Apple in favor of the the iPad Air 2. It's only natural that they shouldn't feel disappointed if people ignore it in the stores, too. Android manufacturers wouldn't mind Apple giving up the fight in the segment, that's for sure.

The Touch ID sensor is hardly worth the hefty price premium over the iPad mini 2 and last year's mini is still a fine buy on its own. As things stay today, there is hardly any incentive for parting with the extra cash so you should either acquire the iPad mini 2 or see elsewhere for your next mid-size tablet.



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