Review: The iPad Mini
After I mentioned that I had pre-ordered the new Apple iPad Mini in October a lot of you told me you would like to hear my opinions about it once it arrives. I received it last week, so I thought I would do a little writeup on what I think of it so far. This won’t be the techiest of reviews, as those have already been done already by people far more competent than I am:
(Spoiler: everyone loves it.)
Instead I will focus on how it suits me personally. An awesome gadget is pretty useless if it doesn’t serve your needs, after all!
The thing that I was the most curious about upon hearing about the iPad mini was the size. Here it is compared to my Amazon Kindle Keyboard – the Mini is a tiny bit larger, but only by a minuscule amount. If you don’t own a Kindle then the Mini is pretty much exactly the size of a DVD cover. It is also a little bit heavier than the Kindle, just over 300 grams compared to the Kindle’s 240 grams. It feels really light, and I can honestly say that the extra weight in my handbag hasn’t been very noticeable at all. It is ultra-portable and very travel friendly, and while I could never imagine lugging a regular sized iPad with me on a day-to-day basis – at around 650 grams it weighs twice as much – the Mini is very comfortable to carry around.
When it comes to user experience the Mini delivers exactly what you would expect from an Apple device. It runs smoothly and is pretty much a joy to use whether it is for reading, browsing or watching videos. It is very easy to use, and doesn’t require any unnecessary fiddling and adjusting out of the box. There has been a lot of fuss over the fact that the Mini doesn’t have a retina display, and while the difference in display resolution is noticeable in a side-by-side comparison, it honestly doesn’t bother me at all. The fact that it automatically syncs up with my MacBook is a huge plus, but that goes for the entire Apple ecosystem and isn’t unique for the Mini.
I was also very curious about how comfortable it would be to type on the Mini. I have a habit of coming up with blog post ideas when I am away from my laptop, so being able to type out longer texts in an un-fiddly manner was my ultimate criterion for whether the Mini was a good purchase or not. Good news: this isn’t a problem at all. I wrote my previous post in its entirety on the Mini, in bed, propped up on my duvet and I did not run into any problems. However, if I were a student who had to take notes quickly in class I would choose a laptop any day – you just can’t beat a keyboard for speedy typing. I know you can buy keyboards for pretty much any tablet, including the Mini, but to me that just seems pointless when there are plenty of lightweight laptops out there. The Mini is not a full-blown laptop substitute. That said, it is perfect for all your light-weight day-to-day tasks, and if I wasn’t a blogger and/or dependent on heavier software like the Adobe Suite I can honestly say that my MacBook would only be used for, well… file storage and file management, mostly!
Then there are the apps: there are more than 275,000 of them available for the iPad. Most popular apps that you can get for the iPhone have a version for the iPad, and most apps that you can find for Android have an iOS equivalent. I can see myself doing a lot of video, TV and movie streaming on this thing, and if I didn’t already have a Kindle I would probably do all my reading on the Kindle app. You can also download a digital version of what seems like every news paper and magazine on the planet from Newsstand, which is prefect from a clutter-phobe like me. No more magazines lying around the apartment, and from what I can tell so far the digital versions of magazines like Elle and Vogue are about 1/3 of the price of what I would pay for the paper version from the 7-eleven down the street. Then there are of course the software that you would expect to find such as FaceTime, iTunes, Maps and Photo Booth, and you can “text” other iOS users using iMessage. Pretty neat for when I am too lazy to find my phone.
All in all the iPad mini has been a great addition to my little gadget family. If you are unsure of whether to get the mini or the original size I would advice you to visit an Apple retailer and see which one you like best, but to me there is no doubt that the Mini is the most travel friendly alternative. I can honestly say that I haven’t once thought that this device would be even better in a larger size, and for me it is the perfect fit.