March 4, 2013 by Will Ray
I’ve had my iPad mini for about two months now. And I. Love. It.
I mean, what else would you expect from a professed Apple aficionado? I’ve been using Apple products since before they were really big – I got my first Apple laptop in 2004, when they were still kind of an “inside joke.”
But I’ve played a bit of a different tune in regards to the iPad. I’ve always thought it was a great device, and groundbreaking. But for the price your paying I’ve felt like it should offer more connectivity and be more like a stand-alone device, independent of iTunes sync and activation. Furthermore, to get what I would want on a device like that, I would have to spend at least $750, a price tag that proved to be too tough for me to stomach.
I was intrigued when they unveiled the iPad Mini last fall. Smaller form factor, same power as the third-generation device. After multiple trips through the Apple Store and Best Buy, and having saved my money for some kind of device like this for 12-18 months, I finally decided to go to with the Mini.
I’ve had it about two months now, and here’s why I love it:
1) Form Factor
I love the size of it. After using it constantly for multiple applications, I agree with everyone in the blogosphere that has said “it’s the size that the iPad should have been.” One of the main things I use it for is reading books – I’ve read three since I got it. The device is much more book-like in its size and weight than the regular iPad.
Further, I love that it’s the size of my Bible, my journal, or a Moleskine. I can carry any of them together without one sticking out really big. Any regular iPad I pick up now feels chunky and heavy in my hands, with a pointless amount of screen space.
Like any Apple product, it feels solid and has a good weight too it, but not enough weight to make you tired from holding it. The front outside edge is beveled and the back edges rounded, so it’s a comfortable gripping surface. Hang onto it tight though – like many iDevices, I feel like it’s so easy to lose your grip. It’s not that durable.
The right and left border on the screen has been reduced significantly on the iPad mini to keep the size more natural looking. Though I’ve had a few instances where I’ve initiated things accidentally, it generally hasn’t been a problem.
While not “retina display” quality, the Mini’s screen still holds up well to inspection. It’s bright, and the resolution is still very good – better than the iPad 2. While it has the same pixels as the iPad 2 (1024 x 768), they’re packed into a smaller space, improving the screen quality. The Mini doesn’t beat out some of the competition in this area (Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD) but I’ve had nothing to complain about with regards to resolution.
The screen size has been fine as well, handling all of my apps well and without feeling “crowded.” I don’t use a ton of apps that need a bunch of screen real estate, but I can see how certain apps might be more compact than you would want (DJ apps, other live-control apps).
While I wish Apple would’ve gone with a cleaner $299 price tag, the $329 price meant I could still get the upgrades I wanted (32GB and LTE) and still be closer to $500 than $1000. I paid under $600 ($580 plus tax) for the device, which I was happy with. The same upgrades for the regular iPad costs around $750 with tax.
Overall – I couldn’t be much happier. There’s a few things I’d like to se improved that will likely all come in time. But for how I use this type of device, it fills the need very well. If you’re thinking about it, go get your hands on one at a store, it will help your decision process.