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Apple iPad Mini 2 review  September 13, 2016 – 08:28 am
Tablet Reviews - CHOICE

Editors' note: On September 7, 2016, Apple gave a storage boost to its lineup of iPads, increasing the base capacity of the iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 4 and iPad Mini 2 from 16GB to 32GB. At the same time, the company discontinued the 16GB, 64GB and 128GB editions of the iPad Mini 2. It also knocked the price down to $269 for the version without cellular connectivity and $399 for the version with it.

Apple iPads are synonymous with "tablet" for good reason. Their high-end designs, fast performance, simple operating system and well-stocked App Store make them the go-to choice in the category.

Or, at least, that's how it was. The growth of tablet sales has slowed considerably in recent years, with the exception of the bargain segment. Small 8-inch Android models like the Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 and Samsung Galaxy Tab A can be had for as little as $170, £129 or AU$279, and Amazon has cornered the budget market with its selection of "good enough" Fire tablets that start at prices as low as $50 or £50. (Amazon doesn't typically sell hardware in Australia, but the US price converts to about AU$70.)

Apple, of course, is all about premium, high-end products. But the company's answer to bargain shoppers is to keep some of its older products in the line at discounted prices: 2014's iPad Air 2 and 2013's iPad Mini 2. The latter model remains the oldest one in the current line - but, with prices starting at $269, £219 and AU$369, also the most affordable.

Despite its age, the iPad Mini 2 still has a lot to offer for buyers who don't need the latest and greatest model.

Here's what you need to know.

The Mini 2 is the most affordable iPad model available.

Josh Miller/CNET

The Mini 2 is slower and has fewer bells and whistles than the Mini 4.

If you're going to get an iPad, why not the latest and greatest? The iPad Mini 4 outshines the Mini 2 with a thinner and lighter design, faster processor, better cameras, and a more vivid screen (resolutions are the same, however). And though the iPad Mini 2 supports picture-in-picture, it doesn't have the newer features that make the iPad Mini 4 a premium tablet - the TouchID fingerprint sensor and split-screen function (currently limited to the 9.7-inch Air 2, the Mini 4, and iPad Pro).

But Mini 4 is a bad deal compared to the iPad Air 2.

All those shiny features come at a price. The iPad Mini 4 starts at $399, £319, AU$569 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model, $499, £399, AU$699 for the 64GB version, and $599, £479, AU$829, for 128GB. But the larger iPad Air 2 - which is quite a bit faster - costs exactly the same, making it a far better deal.


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