The little iPad Mini just got some big changes as announced in today's Apple event — first and foremost being a 7.9 inch Retina display. It's also got faster guts without growing out of its skinny little body. How's it run? Hands-on impressions say it's a familiar iPad with a screen that'll blow your hair back.
[O]ur first impression is that it's an iterative change from last year — but sometimes that's all it takes to make a great product. The same 7.9-inch display now features four times the pixels, a full 2048 x 1536 resolution, which makes text sharp and readable. Just as importantly, it makes iOS 7 look much better than it does on the original iPad mini, which often feels a little out of place on lower resolutions. iOS 7 also benefits from the iPad mini's new 64-bit A7 processor, making scrolling and everything else notably faster and smoother. As with the iPhone 5S, though, some of that speed feels throttled by Apple's decision to make you wait for overly-long transition animations when moving between folders and apps.
The new tablet feels exactly like the first generation iPad Mini. This is a good thing since the first Mini has a near perfect feel. However, while it feels great, it's all about that screen. And given the Mini's smaller 7.9-inch size, looks even sharper than the full-size iPad Air. However, to take advantage of the new pixel-dense screen, you will be paying up over last year's Mini. It's gorgeous however, so I'd imagine the new premium will definitely be worth it to some. Apple says the new iPad Mini is four times faster than last year's model and has eight times the graphics performance, while still provided a purported 10 hours of battery life. While that's good and all, the first generation iPad Mini isn't exactly a performance monster, especially in the gaming department.
The eye-boggling 2048 x 1536 screen looks excellent in person, and for anyone coming from a generation one device it’s going to be a dramatic change. The iPad mini itself is very slightly thicker and heavier than its predecessor to accommodate the Retina Display with the same battery life, adding 0.01 inches and 0.05 pounds to the specs of the original, but that makes minimal difference to the actual feel of the product in the hand.
[N]on-Retina displays are showing their age these days. The Retina mini fixes this completely with its 2048×1536 7.9-inch display. Putting the same resolution in a smaller screen makes for an even sharper display than the iPad Air, and iOS 7's thin fonts look excellent on the new screen. It looks and feels like the same tablet as last year, though it is very slightly thicker and heavier than it was last year: it weighs 0.73 pounds instead of 0.68 and is 0.29 inches thick instead of 0.28. The difference isn't enough to make the new mini incompatible with accessories for the old one, nor is it easy to tell the difference when you're actually holding the tablet in your hands, but it is there.