As many reviewers have pointed out, the iPad Mini's lack of a Retina display is one of its chief disappointments. At 1024 x 768, the iPad Mini has the same resolution as the non-Retina iPad 2. But it turns out the smaller display is more than meets the eye. The team at Repair Labs examined the displays of all the current iOS devices and discovered that the actual pixels on the iPad Mini are actually much smaller, and therefore deliver a finer picture, then the ones on the iPad 2.
"The iPad mini is where things get interesting. Its smaller size necessitates a few sacrifices, and the Retina Display (at this point) simply cannot be made to fit the new small chassis, so to speak. But lo! The difference between the 4th Gen and the mini is not that huge when examined under the microscope. In fact, the pixels of the Retina Display are only 2/3 the size of the iPad mini. In the older iterations, the pixels of the 4th Gen are ½ the size of the older versions, or .50. Here, they’re a full 16% (.16, since the 4th Gen’s pixels are 1/3 or .66 of the size of the mini) larger in comparison. This means the difference between the two, is less noticeable. In fact, to the naked eye, it’s negligible. Why is this? Since it’s a smaller screen, the pixels are packed much more densely."
Given that the iPad Mini is a smaller device, you would expect that pixels would be packed more densely. But it looks like Apple went one further and actually shrank the size of the pixels themselves. So, is it Retina quality? Not quite. But really it's not as bad as some are making it out to be.