iPad mini review round up: What the experts say about Apple's 7.9 inch tablet

'Beautifully crafted,' 'awesome,' 'an explosion of handheld joy,' 'impressive,' 'incredibly appealing,' and the 'best small tablet you can buy'

A selection of tech journalist have got their hands on the iPad mini ahead of its release on Friday, and here's what they have to say about Apple's new 7.9in tablet.

Overall, reviewers seem very impressed by Apple's iPad mini, claiming that the quality of the device is much higher than competing tablets, and that the price tag is well reflected by the standard of the iPad. The downfalls are the display, some reviewers wish that it was Retina like the full-size iPad, but they still note that the other features of the iPad mini outweigh this negative.

Jim Dalrymple at The Loop initially said that he didn't think the iPad mini would fit into his workflow, and suggested that he would stick with Apple's full-size tablet instead. Now that he's seen the iPad mini first hand, though Dalrymple says he was wrong.

In his review, Dalrymple said that has tried many competing tablets, including Microsoft's new Surface, but "the quality of these other tablets is so inferior to what Apple manufactures that they felt like plastic toys in your hands."

"I'm a firm believer in "you get what you pay for." The iPad mini is a perfect example of that," writes Dalrymple. "If you want to save $50 and buy a cheap-ass tablet, go ahead. If you want quality the iPad mini will be waiting for you when you come to your senses."

Engadget's Tim Stevens said that the iPad mini is "Apple's best tablet yet, an incredibly thin, remarkably light, obviously well-constructed device that offers phenomenal battery life.

"No, the performance doesn't match Apple's latest and yet, that display is a little lacking in resolution, but nothing else here will leave you wanting," Stevens said.

"I can't think of another company that cares as much about how its products are designed and built - or one that knows how to maximize a supply chain as skilfully," said Joshua Topolsky from The Verge. "So something tells me that it's no accident that this tablet isn't selling for $200."

"There's no tablet in this size range that's as beautifully crafted, works as flawlessly, or has such an incredible software selection," Topolsky continued. "Would I prefer a higher-res display? Certainly. Would I trade it for the app selection or hardware design? For the consistency and smoothness of its software, or the reliability of its battery? Absolutely not. And as someone who's been living with (and loving) Google's Nexus 7 for a few months, I don't say that lightly."

The New York Times' David Pogue wrote: "Overall, the mini gives you all the iPad goodness in a more manageable size and it's awesome. You could argue that the iPad mini is what the iPad always wanted to be."

At Tech Crunch, reviewer MG Siegler said: "The iPad mini isn't perfect - for one reason [the lack of a Retina display] in particular - but it's damn close to my ideal device."

"The iPad mini is an explosion of handheld joy," Siegler said.

The Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg said: "In shrinking the iconic iPad, Apple has pulled off an impressive feat. It has managed to create a tablet that's notably thinner and lighter than the leading small competitors with 7in screens while squeezing in a significantly roomier 7.9 inch display"

"My only complaints were that it's a tad too wide to fit in most of my pockets, and the screen resolution is a big step backwards from the Retina display on the current large iPad," Mossberg concluded.

"If the mini had a Retina display, I'd switch from the iPad 3 in a heartbeat," said Daring Fireball's John Gruber. "As it stands, I'm going to switch anyway. Going non-Retina is a particularly bitter pill for me, but I like the iPad mini's size and weight so much that I'm going to swallow it."

"My guess its that this is going to play out much like the iPod and iPod mini back in 2004: the full-size model will continue to sell strongly, but the mini is going to become the bestselling model," Gruber wrote.

CNET's Scott Stein wrote: "If the iPad mini had a Retina display, a newer A6 processor, and a slightly lower price, it would be the must-have Apple gadget of the year. Even without that, it's still incredibly appealing."

"When you see it, you'll desire it. Just remind yourself you might not need it," Stein advised.

"If your budget's got more wiggle room, the iPad mini is the best compact sized tablet on the market," said Harry McCracken from TIME. "The result may be a product in a category of one - but I have a hunch that it's going to be an awfully popular category."

Rich Jaroslovsky from Bloomberg wrote: "I can tell you the iPad mini is the best small tablet you can buy."

We'll be getting a closer look at the iPad mini soon, but in the meantime, you can read our hands on review and catch up on the latest iPad mini news by clicking the links below.

Plus, if you still can't decide which iPad to buy, read: Which iPad should I buy?

Analyst: Half of iPad mini sales will be cannibalisations Amazon takes aim at iPad mini on its homepage iPad mini shipping times delayed Why did Apple announce a new iPad so soon after iPad 3? How Apple's iPad mini compares with Android tablets Apple's Phil Schiller defends £269 iPad mini price Opinion: Can a $329 Apple iPad mini compete in the bargain tablet market?

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Ashleigh Allsopp

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