What once seemed like the stuff of myth, is now a reality you can hold in a single hand. The equally priced yet definably diminished iPad Mini is upon us. The thing has been rumored since the launch of the original iPad. Our own investigative digital sleuth, James has delved in a bit to show some side-by-side comparisons and lend some insight. It seems Apple has another success story on their hands. But until the official GR review rolls downs from on high, let us see what the rest of the world is saying about the new cutie from Cupertino.
These guys loved the new iPad Mini, giving it a generous 9/10. Topolsky is quick to point out the similar pricing and thus states, “With a price tag starting at $329 and heading all the way up to $659 (with LTE and 64GB of storage), this isn’t really a step down from the existing iPad (well, the iPad 2 at least) as much as it is a step to the side. At least, that’s the impression I get.” I have to agree. Apple squashes much hope of acquiring a “cheaper smaller iPad”.
The Verge also champions the design achievements. They may be simple and highly familiar but they keep this iPad rendition ahead of the competition by The Verge’s standards, highlighting, “Minor quibbles aside, the iPad mini stands head and shoulders above the competition in terms of design, the caliber of its components, and the solidness of how it’s been built.”
The Brits across the drink at Trusted Reviews also applaud much of what the iPad Mini is doing. Although, those of you looking for pixel density equal to the iPad 3 should take heed. This one does not feature the godly Retina Display of the iPad 3 and iPad 4. TR points out, “This means the iPad mini pixel density is 163dpi, which will be more than enough to keep text and images looking pretty sharp at normal viewing distances, but isn’t a patch on the 264dpi of the iPad 3. The iPad 2, meanwhile is 148ppi.” Wit this you get a 1024×768 resolution. That’s beating many full-size laptops. This also means games and other apps should be just as visually-appealing as they are on the previous iPad renditions (save for retina display-specific applications).
Score: 2 Cons VS. 2 Pros
Echoing TR, Ars Technica offers an interesting opinion about omission of the exalted Retina Display. “I thought the display wouldn’t matter much to me, and that some other reviewers who had nitpicked the lack of retina display were just being precious. But now I’m on the dark side; I can’t help but feel like the iPad mini would have a much wider audience if Apple would release a retina-display version. Perhaps it could be sold side-by-side with the non-retina version, as a “premium” option.” In this, I have to agree. I love the idea of a smaller more travel-friendly iPad–something that lends itself to thumb-typing more efficiently. But I’m hard-pressed to spend that kind of money on a device that will give me the pixel density of my near-3yr old original iPad.
One of the pervading points of laudability is centered squarely on the industry defining-battery life. While Engadget notes, “No, the performance doesn’t match Apple’s latest…” and there is this bit as well, “… the iPad mini managed an astounding 12 hours and 43 minutes. This gives it the longest battery life of any tablet we’ve ever tested, besting even the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 by 42 minutes.” I love a battery with longevity in spades–anything so I don’t have to lug a charger around out fear of battery mortality. Engadget also comes back to the truncated pixel density, complimenting the cameras’ picture quality and 1080p video recording but also illustrating, “But again, the combination of a lower-res sensor and the lack of a newer image processing chip means image stabilization isn’t nearly as good here as on the iPhone 5.”
It seems, the “i’s” have it, yet again. Apple has charmed the pants off the masses, again. I should also point out, each outlet featured here, also spoke very highly of the the speed and overall usability of the iPad Mini. To many, it feel as comfortable and efficient as an iPad with added allure, which is brought on by its compelling and diminished size. It almost goes without saying, anyone in the market for the a tablet should look long and hard at the iPad Mini. It could easily prove to be the “David” to the “Goliath” of mounting competition.
The Apple iPad Mini is available now at the Apple Store in Silver or Black, starting at $329.
Shawn loves gadgets, literature, history and games. For 10yrs+ he's straddled both the comic book & video game industries, as a writer, editor, marketing officer & producer. Shawn got his start in tech & games as an editor & Hardware Director for GameRevolution.com. More notable accomplishments include Executive Producer on mobile games Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved & The Shroud.