iPad mini Retina Display: a Perfect Machine to Play Tablet Games?

Posted by B. Johnson
Published on December 9, 2013 | 2 comments
iPad mini Retina Display: a Perfect Machine to Play Tablet Games?Hi Gametabletz readers, welcome back!

After sharing my personal review about iPad Air in the previous blog post, today i also want to talk about its younger brother, iPad mini 2 with Retina Display, which has been available to buy on Apple’s website several weeks ago.

iPad mini 2, just like the name says, is the mini or smaller version of the regular iPad.

This mini iPad made its first debut a year ago, to be exact, the same day Apple announced the iPad 4th generation.

iPad mini Retina Display benchmarks and gaming performance

Since this mini iPad has been available on the market, this iPad mini managed to cannibalize the sales of regular iPad 4th.

And that, i think, is truly a magnificent achievement by Apple given that Android tablets, that time, have been significantly eating iPad’s market share in the speed of light, from more than 70% of global market share, to almost less than 50% in less than 2 years.

Therefore, despite cannibalizing the sales of iPad, the arrival of iPad mini no doubt had saved Apple’s butt in tablet market.

The decision of Apple to out iPad mini to the market really contradicts with Steve Jobs’ philosophy that believed that smaller tablets than regular 9.7-inch iPad would be DOA or Dead on Arrival, which had been proved wrong by the success of many 7-inch Android tablets around the tablet market.

Therefore, Tim Cook’s decision to release iPad mini proved to be a brilliant idea and as a result, it now becomes one of the best selling items in 7-inch tablet market.

Pros
  • Great gaming performance
  • Great internal hardware
  • Great battery life
  • Premium design and great build quality
  • Full HD display just like iPad Air
  • Fast and fluid performance
Cons
  • It’s a bit expensive
  • It doesn’t have fingerprint scanner like the iPhone 5S
Back to Top
If there is one tablet that can really match the whole exact quality of iPad Air, in terms of design, build quality, tablet-optimized apps, performance, graphic processing power, and user experience, then we’re gonna bring its little brother, iPad mini 2 with Retina Display to the table.

Similar just like the iPad Air, iPad mini 2 surprisingly comes with the same exact spec sheet like the iPad Air, only in smaller package.

From the same exact full HD Retina Display with the resolution of 1536x2048 pixel, the same 64-bit A7 processor, the same 1GB of RAM, the same PowerVR G6430 GPU, the same features on iOS 7 and the same "4:3 aspect ratio" design.

iPad mini 2 Review (with Retina Display): a Perfect Machine to Play Tablet Games?
iPad mini with Retina Display
With that being said, then similar like the iPad Air, i have to say that iPad mini 2 is a really great tablet for doing many things, like:
  • watching movies or reading books because the screen looks really sharp,
  • browsing the net because it has a great Safari browser plus a fast browsing performance
  • and the most importantly, playing games because it has the best graphics processing power plus a huge catalog of tablet-optimized apps on App Store.
To be honest with you, i really think that iPad mini 2 is a perfect alternative for iPad Air given that it has the same spec sheet of iPad Air but in smaller package.

So it will come down to you as a consumer, which one of these iPads that could really attract you.

Design

As i already told before, the design of iPad Air really resembles the iPad mini 2.

That’s not so surprising because Apple actually uses iPad mini 1st gen as the design cue for the new iPad Air.

So the regular iPad Air now adopts 4:3 aspect ratio just like the iPad mini, which is a huge departure from the 16:9 aspect ratio of original iPads.

So in the real world quality, iPad Air looks exactly like the iPad mini, or the other way around, but in different size.

Actually, that’s a good thing because now the iPad Air and iPad mini have much wider screen real estate when used in landscape model.

So things like, watching videos, playing games or browsing internet on both iPads will be such a pleasing experience in both landscape and normal modes.

When it comes to build quality, then we all know that no tablet on the market to date, can match the exact quality found on the iPad.

It’s no different with the latest gen iPad mini. This tablet still inherits the same exact premium aluminum material all over its body, making it feel sturdy and really solid in hands.

And what makes this iPad mini great is because it’s now smaller and it’s really light in weight, making it comfortable to hold even with only one hand.

So this iPad mini 2 will definitely be perfect to use as on-the-go device .

For me, i personally like iPad mini 2 better than iPad Air. I know – both iPads share the same exact hardware specs and iPad Air is really thinner and lighter, bla..bla..bla.

However, what makes iPad mini better is its size.

It’s not that huge and it’s not that small just like other 7-inch Android tablets out there.

So i think iPad mini 2 is more compact and the size is just really perfect when used as on-the-go device. But it’s just a personal preference.

So at the end of the day, this will all come down to you as the customer.

If you love holding big tablet in public area, then go ahead pick the iPad Air.

On the other hand, if you’re more comfortable to hold smaller tablet in front of other people, then snatch the iPad mini 2 instead.

Both are great tablets though. Just pick one that suits you well, and you’re good to go.

Performance

As i mentioned above, iPad mini 2 shares the same exact internal hardware just like its bigger bro, iPad Air.

They both have the same: 64-bit A7 chipset, 1GB of RAM, PowerVR G6430 GPU, full HD display with the resolution of 1536x2048 pixels, and the same features on iOS 7.

So overall, they both will obviously have the same fast performance and graphic processing power, of course in different size.

So with this type of specs, then iPad mini 2 is great for doing simple stuff like reading books, browsing the net or listen to music, to heavy things like watching HD movies and playing games.

As a matter of fact, thanks to its 1GB of RAM, PowerVR G6430 GPU and a dual-core 64-bit A7 processor, i think iPad mini 2 is a great tablet for playing games.

However, what makes gaming on iPad mini much better than gaming on any other tablets is because iPad mini has much bigger catalog of tablet-optimized apps on App Store than Android tablets on Google Play Store.

So you’ll be able to find any kind of apps on App Store that have been well-optimized specifically for both iPads, iPad Air and iPad mini 2.

Besides, there are many apps on iPad that are still not available on Android tablets until today, like Garage Band, Infinity Blade 1/2 and many more.

Back to Top
One of the best selling points of iPad mini 2 is definitely its gaming performance.

As mentioned above, iPad mini is packing some high-end specs on it, from a dual-core 64-bit A7 processor, 1GB of RAM and PowerVR G6430 GPU under the hood.

With this type of specs, iPad mini 2 is an ideal device for playing games. If you happen to like playing simple games like Angry Birds or Fruit Ninja, this tablet will handle those 2 games just perfectly fine.

And if you are a type of hardcore tablet gamer, you can play any graphics demanding games across the App Store in buttery smooth performance.

So games like GTA San Andreas, Modern Combat 4, Asphalt 8: Airborne, Real Racing 3, GT Racing 2: The Real Car Experience, Dead Trigger 2 or even the games that are gonna launch next year, like N.O.V.A 4, next Gangstar game (if there’s any), next Asphalt 9, next GTA game (if there’s any), Dead Trigger 3 or Real Racing 4, all can be played on iPad mini 2 perfectly with no lag whatsoever, even in full graphics setting.

Update: according to one user, iPad mini 2 can't play GTA SA smoothly in full graphics, probably it's because this game hasn't been well-optimized by developer for iPad mini with Retina or it's maybe because iOS 7 software issues.

The same thing also happens on Snapdragon 800 devices like Samsung GALAXY Note 3 and Note 10.1 that can't play this game in full graphics, which is really weird because other Snapdragon 800 smartphone, Google Nexus 5, is capable to play this game smoothly in full graphics, probably because it's using stock Android OS, which is really "lighter" than TouchWiz UI on Samsung's devices.



Anyway guys, if you want to know more about the gaming performance of iPad mini 2 (with Retina Display), including what games that will run on this tablet, check out my YouTube video playlist or Pinterest page. :)

Camera

If there is one sector that other competing tablets still cannot beat iPad is definitely its camera. iPad has been popularly known to have the best camera around tablet market.

And iPad mini 2 is no exception.

Its 5MP camera of this tablet not only will get the job done, but it also will take some decent shots that are worth showing off on your Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

So if at some point, you forgot to bring a digital camera or smartphone at your disposal, then you can just count your life on the camera of this tablet. It just takes great shots.

iPad mini 2 also comes with iSight camera feature that allows users to have complete package of professional camera settings in simple interface, making it easier for users to edit their photos without complicated learning curve.

Not to mention, the camera of this tablet is also able to take slow-mo video in case you want to make an epic video of your brother when jumping to the pool.

Battery Life

Besides camera, the other thing that makes iPad mini 2 superior is its battery life.

Many users experience that the battery life of this tablet is extremely powerful and could even last in solid 1 day in heavy usage, thanks to the optimizations made by Apple on the software and hardware of this tablet.

So if you happen to love gaming in marathon, then you don’t ever need to worry about recharging this tablet during the day because that’s not gonna happen.

Even if you are the type of power user, who loves playing games in the row, you can still expect to see this tablet last around 7 to 10 hours.

And if you’re that active and only leave iPad mini 2 in standby mode, this tablet could last much even longer, around 1 day in mixed usage.

Conclusion

When releasing iPad mini 2 to the market, Apple knows perfectly that this mini iPad is gonna sell like hotcakes on the market.

It has premium design, powerful internal hardware, great full HD display, strong battery life, great gaming experience, smooth performance and bigger catalog of tablet-optimized apps on App Store specifically for this tablet.

iPad mini 2 with retina display is a perfect choice for those of you who are looking for a high-end tablet that has a great premium design and powerful performance.

However, if you happen to not have enough budget that you can spend on 1 single tablet, then you can also get other great alternatives, like Google Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HX or Tegra Note 7.

These 3 tablets may not have that premium aluminum feel just like the iPad mini 2, nor the full HD 2048x1536 pixel (326ppi) display on iPad mini 2.

However, these Android tablets are still powerful tablets though and can handle any kind of graphics intense games just like iPad mini 2.

Besides, with only $199, you can grab yourself a Tegra Note 7, a powerful Tegra 4 tablet that has some awesome goodies like:
  • microSD card slot for up to 32GB,
  • 1GB of RAM,
  • 72-core GeForce GPU,
  • a stylus with a great touch response technology that can match the S-Pen on GALAXY Note 8,
  • stylus-dedicated apps like draw and note,
  • a huge catalog of Tegra-optimized games on TegraZone that obviously look much better graphically than games on iPad mini (more textures, well-polished graphics, more visual effects, etc),
  • loud and clear sound quality on speakers,
  • powerful performance,
  • smooth experience with stock Android OS (no bloatware or manufacturer custom skins),
  • HDMI out,
  • Bluetooth gaming controller support
  • and many more.
So long story short, iPad mini 2 may be a great device for media-consumption purpose.

However, Tegra Note is also a perfect device for that same reason.

And the great thing about Tegra Note is that, it’s also a great productivity tablet, where allows you to do other things besides enjoying media contents, like for writing notes or even drawing some professional paintings on this device.

I know – you can also use 3rd party stylus on iPad mini 2.

However, the touch response on Tegra Note is much even powerful than iPad mini 2 given that NVIDIA uses this touch stylus technology or known as Directstylus technology that gives a great result of touch response on Tegra Note’s stylus.

You can check out the video below on how the stylus of Tegra Note even outperforms the S-Pen on Samsung GALAXY Note 8 in comparison tests.

So you can see how the stylus of Tegra Note is not just some complement item for the tablet or some marketing gimmick.

It really works insanely great on the device.

So even with only $199, you can get a lot more goodies than $399 on iPad mini 2, although the screen on Tegra Note that only has 1280x800 pixel resolution, compared to iPad mini 2 that 2048x1536 pixel (326ppi) display.

But that’s the only thing that separates them both.

Price

Anyway, if you still stand firm with your choice towards iPad mini 2, then go ahead.

You won’t regret it. Apple iPad mini 2 with retina display can now be had for $399 for the basic WiFi-only 16GB model.

Meanwhile, the 32GB, 64GB and 128GB model of this tablet will cost you $499, $599, $699 respectively.

And if you want to snatch the LTE model instead, the price starts at $529 for the basic 16GB model and all the way up to $829 for the biggest 128GB model.

Disclaimer: Hi guys, bear in mind that this is not some in-depth review. So this is just like Read more...

2 comments:

Leave comments if you want to share anything regarding this post

  1. Quote:
    And if you are a type of hardcore tablet gamer, you can play any graphics demanding games across the App Store in buttery smooth performance. So games like GTA San Andreas... [snipped] all can be played on iPad mini 2 perfectly with no lag whatsoever, even in full graphics setting.

    This shows you haven't compared GTA San Andreas between iPad Mini 1 and iPad Mini 2.

    GTA San Andreas isn't optimized for the new iPad Mini's PowerVR G6430 GPU, which is also present on iPad Air. I bought iPad Air thinking that every game would enjoy a framerate boost. I didn't have an iPad 4 before this, so imagine my shock when I found out how laggy GTA:SA runs. It's immediately noticeable once you paddled your bike out into the street in the opening stage. It gets worse as you progress. The framerate got so choppy (about 5-10FPS in certain areas), that I had to remove the game altogether and play Gangstar instead, which didn't run quite as bad despite the more advanced graphics (albeit without dynamic shadow).

    I briefly tried GTA:SA on iPad 2, whose performance is equivalent to iPad Mini 1. Stripped of the ground shadows, the game actually runs much smoother than iPad Mini Retina.

    I've since sold off my iPad Air and went with the older iPad 4. Although it's heavier and slightly bigger, every game seems to run the same as iPad Air. But when it comes to GTA:SA, iPad 4 definitely delivers the goods. I remember trying out this game on a MacBook Air 2011 (in OS X). Let's just say that iPad 4 runs smoother than that, and looks even better.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi, no 1. Thanks for sharing your comments on this website. I think this probably has something to do with game optimization from Rockstar Games itself, which should be updated with iPad mini 2.

    I guess you're right about that. The same thing also happens to Samsung GALAXY Note 3, and probably Note 10.1 as well given that TouchWiz UI is really heavy. But i believe it will be solved by Rockstar through software updates in the future. Or this probably also has something to do with iOS 7 which is really new and still being updated by Apple regularly. So not all game devs are ready with the new well-optimized games for iOS 7 entirely. And i heard several times that iOS 7 is really laggy. But i assume they are using older gen iDevices, not iPad mini 2, which is made for iOS 7.

    Sorry for my mistake in this review. I'll update this review in the near future. And sorry for the late reply coz i haven't been checking my email for this website in the past few months.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts
Recent Updates
Stats
Copyright © 2017 GameTabletz.com. All Rights Reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part or in any form or medium without written permission is prohibited!
Privacy Policy | Disclaimer | Tablet Reviews Disclaimer | Contact Us