Apple iPad Mini

The contender

Apple’s small slate might have been late to the plate, but the 7.9in iPad Mini has since sidled past its big brother on many a gadgeteer’s team list. It feels lighter and slimmer than its specs suggest, and so is less likely to be left at home than the blubbery iPad, runs all the same brilliant apps and is the most affordable entry into the world of iOS. It comes with Siri, a 5MP cam that smashes those of the other tablets in this test, and optional 3G/4G. The catch?

The 1024×768 screen that makes text and homesceens look less than sharp, though it’s still a useful 4:3 shape and has superb contrast and colours.

Eight and great?

Sleek and skinny, the aluminium Mini is much better looking than its 8in nemeses — a fact that keeps case pedlars in beer money. Once you’ve waded through the huge app store, downloading and using software is hiccup-free. The battery lasts v/ell over a day and iOS remains easy to get to grips with. That said, it’s looking increasingly dated against the clever tricks and pen-flips of the Samsung; iOS 7 can’t come soon enough. But even so, an app selection that turns the Mini into anything from a pro audio recorder to a console nabs it top spot. And to think, a Retina Display Mini is rumoured to be on the way too…

Tech iOS6 dual-core 1 GHz A5 500MB RAM 16/32/64GB 7.9in, 1024×768.163ppi up to 10hrs battery 5MPrear, 1.2MP front 200×134.7×7.2mm 312g Price from £270 (Wi-Fi), £370 (3G) / apple.com/uk

★★★★★

Ignore the screen’s retro res; the blingy Mini is a slim winner

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