iPad Mini: early observations

Having owned at least one of every generation of iPad so far, what is the iPad Mini like?

  • It’s smaller, obviously. But the only time it really feels it is when trying to enter text. You can manage quick notes if you use the ‘split keyboard’ trick and it’s light enough to make it practical unlike on the full size iPad.
  • When I first got a Kindle, it felt like a breakthrough because it fit in my coat pocket. This is in the same league when it comes to size and weight.
  • God I miss 3G on this so much more than I did on the iPad 3. Using it more and in more portable situations exposes the pain of setting up a personal hotspot on my phone every time I want to connect.
  • Get a Retina Display and 4G in this and you have my (and many other people’s) perfect iPad.
  • The full size iPad 3 now feels like a “iPad Pro”. For a long time I was using mine with the Bluetooth keyboard and Origami cover and its becoming more and more convincing for all but the most techy mobile worker. Still, I can’t see anyone wanting to own both.
  • The Mini’s SmartCover does look cheaper but does a much better job. No scratches on the side from the magnets and a seemingly much better grip make a big difference.
  • The feel is like a big iPhone 5. That same matte metal and blockier shape makes this easier to grab hold of on the same way.

Even the original iPad is still a solid device. For most owners, the limiting factor on their usage isn’t based in features or even speed — it’s accessibility. The iPad Mini takes something that was convenient to grab and throw down on the sofa and makes it practical to really take everywhere with you without even thinking about it.

 

- Max Tatton-Brown

November 19th, 2012