Pros * Beautiful retina screen
* Blazingly Fast
* Great battery life
Cons None that I can think of
Summary Yes, you'll spend more on a Retina iPad Mini than on a Nexus 7 or any of the other Android 7" tablets out there. Only the Nexus 7 gives you anything near the experience of the Retina Mini though, and even the Nexus 7 is nowhere near as fluid feeling (I own both) although it's also an excellent choice if you can't afford the Mini or use an Android phone (best to stick with either Android or Apple for Phone+Tablet).
The screen went from very good with the original Mini to beautiful with the Mini 2. Retina is a funny thing - the iPad Air, already being "retina" has pixels too small to see, so the even smaller pixels of the Mini 2 look absolutely no better than the iPad Air (or iPad 3 or iPad 4 for that matter) but they look NOTICEABLY better than the original Mini. There's a little bit of overkill because they could have technically gone with a less resolution screen (1080p would have been enough) but the way they did it all the Retina-iPad software already available on the App Store didn't need to be rebuilt or stretched at all. As Jobs always liked to say: "It just works" and works beautifully. The only way I can imagine improving the screen would be to have an OLED display so they could eliminate the backlight and increase battery life.
The speed is the other big change from the original. The 64bit A7 is so fast I find myself constantly shaking my head in disbelief. It feels faster than any computer I've ever used, including my i7 quad core MacBook Pro with an SSD drive. I'm sure it's not actually faster, but it FEELS faster because the OS is already so efficient that this new chipset just doesn't even break a sweat no matter what you throw at it. So far, even the most intensive 3D games I've tried seem to run at 60fps although I'm sure eventually game developers will find something that will tax it. Very, very impressive.
Is it worth the extra price? Ask yourself how long you think you'll be using it. If it's more than a year, I'd say definitely. Pay the extra $50-$200 (depending on what your other option would be) and get a tablet that's going to be running strong even with the latest apps in 2 years. I don't think there's a single Android tablet (except maybe the Nexus) that I'd feel comfortable making that assumption with. And the original Mini? Don't even consider it. The new one is at least 5x faster in real-world use and the original will very likely not be able to run iOS 8.0 (it is, after all, just a smaller iPad 2).
Cons None that I can think of...
Summary I just bought myself an iPad Air, and got my wife the iPad mini with Retina. Literally, the only difference is screen size. You sacrifice nothing else in the mini, which is incredible. It's more expensive than other 7" tablets because it's got the same guts as the top performing iPad Air.
If you aren't as stubbornly in love with the 10" screen size of the iPad Air, this is honestly the tablet you should buy -- hands down.
Pros Form factor, app availability, battery life, ecosystem integration, display, LTE performance.
Cons Expensive base configuration and ridiculously expensive options pricing.
Summary Coming from an original iPad (!) so of course anything feels like an improvement. This is the perfect 'bridge' device for me - it fits the gap between my phone and my 13" mac book air. Compact enough to take almost anywhere (and I'm so glad I got the Mini instead of the Air) and capable of all the email/web browsing/entertainment duties that I ask of it. I'm a physical keyboard kind of person so for any serious typing duties, I'm going to be reaching for my MBA if available or someone else's computer. As a frequent business traveler however, this thing is awesome.
Display is excellent with true colors, good off-axis viewing and outdoors visibility. I haven't experienced any image retention/ color gamut shift like some other folks. I suspect that's early production gremlins raising their heads and hopefully limited to a very small percentage. If you do get a bad unit, exchange it.
Battery - no formal testing on my part but I absolutely believe the objective testers to date. It will easily last the whole day with heavy use for me. I have no doubt it would go 10 hours+ on video or web surfing. I'll throw the caveat in that using LTE (I have a AT&T data plan) burns through battery quicker than wi-fi. Also using it for navigation is battery intensive. Duh.
Speed - Fast. Stupid fast. Way more computing horsepower than current apps require. Like driving my corvette to the grocery store. Love it!
Ecosystem - big part of why I stayed with Apple across the board. Calendar, iPhoto, iCloud, etc. all seamless and transparent to the end user. Your stuff is just synced and works as well as ever. Apps are generally superior to android offerings although they're exceptions to that. I had a galaxy note 2 for a while and was glad to get back to Apple. I do not like iOS7 - it's design for design's sake IMHO. But I'm hopeful that future versions and/or iOS8 will fix that gripe. If I was a PC/Android person then would probably lean more towards that combination. But for now, I love OSX, love my macs and will stay in the apple ecosystem. $0.02
Design and materials. This is part of what you're paying for with Apple products and to me, there's intrisic value in that. Go pick up an iPad mini then a Nexus 7. Yes, the N7 is a great device and terrific value. But is it this drool worthy aluminum and glass engineering masterpiece? No. 3 years from now I know which one I want to still be using. Is it worth the extra $$$? To me, yes.
Camera - is acceptable for a quick snap shot. It does video conference pretty well. I don't use it for serious photography although a flash would've been nice.
Pricing - $100 for an extra 16GB of storage up to 32 GB from the base model. Seriously? Nexus does it for $40 (much more reasonable). Having ******* about that, I would tell you 32GB would be the minimum storage for me and the LTE option was a must have in my case. I did take advantage of Best Buy's trade in program which knocks $100 off the price. Plus going with the mini instead of the air saved me another $100. Still very expensive for a tablet.
As with a gun or camera or other needed tool, the best one is the one you have with you when you need it! The mini is my "go to" device for a lot of needs. Thanks to the LTE I can use it almost anywhere. I love this thing and it goes with me almost everywhere. '
Get a good case - I anticipate good resale as with all things Apple. But "great" condition sells better than "fair" so the case will pay for itself in that regard down the road. Plus you'll need the stand functionality part of that case!
Hope all the above helps. Happy shopping.
"The tablet to beat."on by Zayn7
Feels good in hands
Cons Expensive (specially for 128 GB).
Summary One of the best tablets I've gotten my hands on (I have previously used nexus 7, nexus 7 2013, playbook, iPad 4 retina, Samsung galaxy 10 and galaxy tab 7). Just feels amazing in your hands. Fast in doing everyday task like surfing the web, watching videos and streaming music. Surprisingly lasts for more than a day on a single charge.
Pros Great hi-res screen
Cons A bit expensive