How iPad mini Is Too Outdated for Its Own Good

While it may be Apple’s newest object of affection, iPad mini is a far cry from being a tablet that can be considered to boast the features of the latest-and-greatest in such a competitively over-saturated market. Ironically, iPad mini misses quite of a few of the marks that its 9.7″ counterpart set itself and manages to surpass. While iPad for the most part makes other tablet efforts look embarrassing, iPad mini starts behind the race of the oft-desired features that makes a tablet cutting-edge; even breaking some trends that Apple had kick-started.

Perhaps the biggest deal-breaker for iPad mini is its lack of Apple’s signature Retina Display. With its paltry resolution of 1024×768, iPad mini packs the same amount of pixels as the first-generation iPad and iPad 2; around four times less than the 9.7″ iPad’s Retina Display. To put that into perspective, there are more pixels (pixels are the dots that make up a display’s image) on the 4″ iPhone 5 than on iPad mini. Despite the mini’s 7.95″ size, iPhone 5 has a superior, far-sharper display. It has been said once you have tried a Retina Display, you cannot go back; frankly, the blandness of iPad mini’s display does hamper its potential quite a bit.

Despite having superior options at its disposable, Apple had decided to go with the A5 chip for the iPad mini. For those keeping track, the A5 dates back to iPad 2 and iPhone 4S. Though it may not seem that old, the latest A6 chip (which was Apple’s first custom in-house chip design) in iPhone 5 is about three times as powerful, and we are confident that the A6X in the fourth-generation iPad further boasts superior performance. At the least, Apple should have created a new energy-efficient chip for iPad mini though we believe the move was more of a cost and manufacturing supply issue.

While that may only be two points against iPad mini, display and performance are the heart of a tablet making them perhaps the most significant past form factor. For users accustom to their third-generation iPad, Retina Display MacBook Pro, or at the very least iPhone 4S, the iPad mini experience will feel like one out of last year if we take its design out of the equation. The A5 already feels sluggish in iOS 6, and going back from a speedier chip will be a very noticeable downgrade. Still, falling back to a standard display is iPad mini’s biggest downfall since the Retina Display was such a major leap ahead.

Even Apple’s cheaper Android competition boasts smaller HD displays (up to 1080p) and more modern performance than iPad mini, which Apple went 90% as far to admitting is really a miniaturized iPad 2 taking after iPhone 5′s design cues. However, for most people, we feel that the exclusive inclusion of iOS in a sleek, premium enclosure will make up for that.

Nonetheless, general consumers will not care about some of the iPad mini’s more antiquated qualities simply because this is the debut of the more budget-friendly, petite iOS tablet. Most buyers of this first-generation tablet worry more so about cost and size than the pitfalls that will detract Apple’s usual early adopters that are used to the newer technologies that are lacking in this incarnation. We advise that it is better off waiting until what we are hoping (and expecting, in anticipation) will be a vastly-improved iPad mini 2 before taking the plunge; as eager as we are for a lighter, thinner iPad experience, the trade-off is too significant compared to what we are used to already.