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First Look: iPad Mini with Retina display

Apple has packed a whole lot of technology into a very small space.

By Jason Snell
November 13, 2013 09:26 AM ET

Macworld - The iPad mini with Retina display has arrived. As someone who dumped the full-sized iPad for the iPad mini a year ago, I've been excited to get my hands on this new model. Can its small size beat out the all-new, all-lightweight iPad Air for a place in my heart and my backpack? I've been using mine for half a day; here are some initial impressions ahead of my full review.

Fans of the original (now $299) iPad mini will be excited to know that the shape of the new version is essentially unchanged. This thing is a dead ringer for its non-retina sibling. It's three-tenths of a millimeter thicker than the old model, and if you pick up the original mini followed immediately by the new one, you'll notice that it's slightly thicker. Accessories for the iPad mini should generally fit this new model, unless they're remarkably exacting in their size. Apple's $69 iPad mini Smart Case, for example, is rated for either model. I was able to use my old, tea-stained iPad mini Smart Cover on the new model with no trouble. They're the same, within a reasonable margin of error.

The iPad mini with Retina's weight is a bit more noticeable. The new model is between 20 and 30 grams heavier than the non-Retina version, and that's noticeable, though again I suspect that it's a fine distinction that current iPad mini users won't notice after a couple of days. (In comparison, the iPad mini with Retina is nearly 140 grams lighter than the iPad Air.)

Though the new iPad mini with Retina display is lighter than the iPad Air, it's actually more dense. Picking up the iPad Air feels a bit like picking up a movie prop; like the iPhone 5 series, it's almost impossibly light. The Retina iPad mini definitely feels more solid, like a whole lot of technology got packed into a very small space.

And that's an accurate impression: This is a device that's only slightly larger and heavier than the non-retina iPad mini, but has a full-on Retina display and a modern A7 processor. In a year, Apple has taken a device that was small and light but equipped like an iPad 2, and replaced it with one that's still pretty small and light, but feels more like an iPad Air. There's a whole lot packed in that small space.

The screen itself is just what you'd imagine: A beautiful, bright display that packs every pixel found on the 9.7-inch iPad Air display into the mini's 7.9-inch size. That means that the Retina iPad mini's screen packs 326 pixels into every square inch, compared to 264 ppi on the iPad Air. The number of dots is the same; only the size of the screen is different.

Originally published on www.macworld.com. Click here to read the original story.
Reprinted with permission from Macworld.com. Story copyright 2012 Mac Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.
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