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Summary:

Apple’s iPad mini is here, but does it offer a big experience in a small package or is this just a useless device for many? I like the form factor and it turns out that the lower resolution display isn’t all that bad!

ipad-mini-in-hand

I jokingly said today that the iPad mini is here almost two years after I really wanted it. Props to Apple for realizing what I saw back then: The form-factor of a small portable tablet can be a desirable feature. My iPad mini arrived today, so here’s a video look and my first impressions of the new device. I bought a 16 GB Wi-Fi model for $329 but you can increase the storage or add mobile broadband capability as additional options.

Although I’ve only just started using the iPad mini, there isn’t much new in the experience because it runs all of the apps that any iPad can run. That’s a good thing. The camera quality is better than I expected so far and because the tablet is so light and thin, I could envision myself taking it everywhere; just as I did my with Nexus 7 tablet.

So is the 1024 x 768 screen resolution an issue? Not as much as you’d think, even though that’s the same resolution as the first and second iPad models. As I explain in the video, cramming the same number of pixels into a small screen adds some clarity. It’s no Retina Display, but it’s better than the first two iPads.

  1. Thanks for doing this video. It gave me a quick and dirty intro to Apple’s newest product. By the way, what is the max distance in feet where you cannot see the individual pixels on the iPad mini?

    1. I’d say after 18 inches or so, but my eyesight is quite poor FWIW. ;)

  2. John Christopher Supertramp Friday, November 2, 2012

    I’m using iPad2 even we have ipad 3, it is faster because of lower res which doesn’t bother me so much. I believe that iPad mini will be perfect as it has right size and right performance. I should receive mine on 16th hope. I believe with TV out it will be perfect for menu things. Also I found nice docking station on kick starter: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1610299429/complete-dock-the-best-ipad-dock-and-more

  3. @Kevin: Everyone seems so hung up on the retina display thing and I had an iPad 3 and I recognize how nice the retina display is so I do not want to minimize it. However, I also saw my iPad 3 get thicker and heavier than my previous iPad 2.

    My question is can Apple make an iPad mini with a retina display without making it thicker and heavier with current technology? I am not talking about next year, I am talking about now. Because I see the form factor as the selling point for this device.

    I looked at it today and have a LTE model on preorder and for carrying around they seemed to have got this thing right. I think the screen looks good to me, though clearly not as good as retina. So for me, I am willing to trade retina display for the thinner and lighter form factor. I just think most of what I read just automatically treats it as a negative, but if they are unable to engineer the product at the same size and weight with a retina display, it is more a choice.

    One more thing, as for the weight, I was blown away how light it was. I went over and picked up the regular iPad and after playing awhile with the mini, the iPad seemed dated to me somehow and in need of a serious diet.

  4. OK Apple. Do we need Retina display for tablets to be usable or not? The iPhone, iPod and iPads 3 & 4 all have Retina displays. Your theology is that Retina display is the technology that makes Apple tablets vastly superior to all others. If a tablet experience can be fine with sub Retina displays…why should I shell out more money for a Retina display device. If the display of a 7+ inch tablet is fine for its intended use….why in the world would a 4 inch iPhone need more pixels packed into a smaller screen size. You are confusing me on display imperatives.

    1. You said “your theology.” Heh, heh, heh.

    2. No, what Apple showed you is that if you value a higher quality display eye got ou covered. And they still do. However if you don’t value a higher pixel display, or don’t value it over maximum portability then the mini is right for you.

      Not sure why folks are trying to make it seem as though Apple is playing some trick. The new Airs don’t have retina displays, but the Retina Display Pros clearly do. So is Apple saying never buy an Air? No. Comes back to consumer preference.

  5. Can you show how iPhone apps look on the iPad mini? I’m interested to see since they were half way usable on the ipad(since it still uses the iPhone keyboard instead of the iPad keyboard). With the slitly smaller screen.

  6. Not impressed. I am happy with my IPad2. I was not convinced by the IPad3 or this mini. There haven’t been any features that made me go, “Wow!” I am waiting for a thinner stylus. What about providing and scratch resistant coating on the screen? Why are both speakers on the bottom or on the same side?

    1. Thinner stylus? No iPads come with a stylus.

  7. It looks cool. I want to buy iPad mini for my son and i want a good case. the iPad mini cases for kids here http://www.amazaz.com/2012/11/ipad-mini-cases.html looks pretty cool but are they worth the price?

  8. I am an all Android person atm, and don’t like the apple closed garden eco-system.
    But I held a iPad Mini today and I cant stop thinking about it.
    From a form factor perspective its he biggest sexiest thing you can still hold in one hand.
    Nexus 7 is cheaper but this is just so … “precious” is the nearest word I can think now.
    Hmm … I must resist. I called my Android friends for a group support session.
    Just theoretically, if I had acquired one. I would have to go with a new though cheap small screen phone as a mobile wifi, or go all out data voip and take the 3G mini.
    Any theoretical suggestions Kevin?

  9. Guess i gotta go find a PC to watch. No flash on my Galaxy Tab 7.7. Grrrrrrr…..

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