5 reasons I like the iPad mini more than my iPad 3

5 reasons I like the iPad mini more than my iPad 3

Summary: The iPad mini doesn't have a retina display but don't count this tablet out. It's easy to use, light, runs all iOS apps, and more.


I have to admit that contrary to what I expected, the iPad mini is a great device. Along with many other gadget fans, I watched as it was unveiled and compared to the iPad 2, instead of the latest generation iPad. I was surprised to hear that there would not be a retina display, and figured I'd buy it just so I could write about it. Well, it arrived on Friday and I have been using it throughout the weekend, and I have to say that I like it better than my iPad 3.

Before I go into why I like it, let me qualify that I have plenty of experience with 7-inch tablets. I have been loving my Nexus 7, and also bought a Kindle Fire HD. Both tablets offer their own unique experience, but what I've been finding is that the iPad mini brings its own unique experience, too. In the case of the iPad mini, it's the familiar iOS experience, which means that if you have already invested in the Apple ecosystem, you can instantly enjoy your favorite iPhone and iPad apps on an approximately 8-inch screen. But it doesn't stop there. Below are five reasons why I really like the iPad mini:

1. Ease of Use

The iPad mini is just so easy to use. Not that the 10-inch is cumbersome, but you definitely notice the difference. I find myself leaving the iPad mini in various rooms, and not just by the television. Because of its size, I instantly downloaded the Kindle app and started reading my Kindle books again--something I continued to put off doing on the 10-inch iPad.

2. It's light as a …

I tend to wrap up the night by reading my RSS feeds on Google Reader on my iPhone in bed, checking Facebook, playing Words With Friends, Scramble, and some others. I've tried that same experience in the past with the iPad, but have found that it keeps me awake because it requires me to stay in a certain position to get comfortable. In the case of the iPad mini, it's light enough that I can pretty much hold it the same way I was holding the iPhone.

Notice how thin the iPad mini is

3. 1024x768 means full web

Since the iPad mini features a 1024x768 display, you can choose to go with the mobile-friendly version, or go for the full-blown website. I also like that I can use the iPad optimized apps on the smaller screen, or blow up the iPhone apps to full screen.

4. You can type with your thumbs

I figured when I saw the over-stretched hand of Phil Schiller holding the iPad mini, that there was no way this device would let me type like a human being. I was happy to see that when holding the iPad mini in portrait mode, I can type just about as fast as I can on the regular iPhone. See the video below.

For comparison purposes, below I'm holding both the iPad mini and the Nexus 7. As you can see, the Nexus 7 is much easier to hold in one hand.

Holding the iPad mini in one hand
Holding the Nexus 7 in one hand


5. All of those apps!

I mentioned before that you can take advantage of the familiar iOS experience. In my world, that means many iOS apps for both iPhone and iPad. So, out of the box, I just logged in with my Apple ID and then carefully chose which Apps to run on the iPad mini.

The iPad mini may not be for everyone, but for my world, it's even better than the iPad 3. Sure there's no retina display, and it's approximately 8-inches instead of 10-inches, but the fact that it can do 1024x768, run both iPhone and iPad apps, and is super light, makes it a better companion for me than a full-sized iPad.

I mentioned above that I have the Nexus 7 and the Amazon Kindle HD. Both of those devices are amazing Android-based devices, but the fact that I already invested in the iOS ecosystem makes the iPad mini the best tablet for my needs.

Do you have an iPad mini? Share your thoughts on why you have one, or why you don't plan on picking one up.

Update: I wanted to clarify that I have purchased the iPad mini, Nexus 7, and Kindle Fire HD. These are not review units and my opinions above are based on real usage, not products loaned to me by manufacturers.

Topics: iPad, Amazon, Android, Google, iOS, iPhone

Joel Evans

About Joel Evans

With more than 15 years of mobile, Internet and wireless experience, Joel specializes in taking existing brands and technologies into the mobile and wireless space. Joel is currently the VP of Strategy Integration for Mobiquity, an enterprise-class mobile solutions provider.

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  • You get what most tech-heads don't.

    It isn't about feature lists. It's about usability. Is the iPad mini more fun to use than a 7" android tablet or Kindle Fire or similar product? That's the only metric that matters.
    • Not the only metric

      The iPad mini and iPad 2 are basically the same from an app perspective.
      I am already running intoapps that require the iPad3 and an increasing number of apps that have difficulty running on the iPad2 due to its hardware limitations.
      You honestly think devs are going to fragment new apps to run on the mini/2 or 3/4?
      Seriously doubt that.

      Sorry, the iMini and iPad2 are both obsolete tablets.
      • ????

        what apps are these that require an iPad3+? Maybe if your talking about a handful of games...? I'd like to see what apps your talking about. I have yet to find an App that won't run on my iPhone 4S and its similar, but a bit slower than the iPad mini.
        • Apps designed for Retina Display, that's the issue

          Why would a software vendor put in time and effort to design both a Retina and non-retina display app for a tablet at this point on iOS? The implication from Apple was that all devices would have Retina displays going forward and then they come out with the iPad Mini.

          If Apple couldn't fit a retina display in a smaller tablet, they shouldn't have bothered. Steve Jobs was correct in that respect. It's a low quality product.
          • For developer, retina or non retina makes little difference to most apps

            The reason why a software vendor would put in "time and effort" to design for retina vs non-retina is because in the vast majority of cases it's practically no effort.
          • I agree. Low quality

            As the 1st commenter posted "It isn't about feature lists. It's about usability." That said, it's over priced for what you get. And thats comparing it to ipad2, ipad3 and a ipod touch which I feel the ipad mini is but just with a bigger screen.

            No tech specs compared to android tablets, not even a comparison as the tech specs for android tablets out shine apples ipad line with one exception, retina display. But again, this was meant to be more usable in hand and drain money from the loyal pockets with out-dated electronics
            Free Webapps
          • It isn't about tech specs

            and never was. Feel free to chase that dragon all you want. You can never always have the latest "thing". It's how it works and what you can do with it. For now, iOS apps can make an iPad work pretty much as a laptop replacement including video and audio editing, Office style apps, email, we browsing, and so on. Some later Android devices are capable of most of this as well, but knowing which one is best suited could be a challenge for those who don't do a lot of homework. OR you can just buy an iPad and not worry about it including the potential for malware.
            Guy Serle
          • Heard this before

            HAHAHAHAHA. Just a bigger iPod Touch. That's what all you jokers were saying about the original iPad. You know, the device that created the tablet market as we know it today. The device without which none of those other devices you like so much would even exist.

            I don't know if I'll buy an iPad Mini. I need to see how much a step back the display is before I decide. If the display looks good enough to me, I'll definitely buy one. If not, I'll wait for next year's retina version. I use my PC for work and for content creation but I already do most other things on my phone. 10" tablets are too heavy for me to use comfortably, I like the smaller form factor. The 1024X768 resolution works well on the Internet, which is the one thing other than content creation that the phone is not so good for.

            I'm not married to Apple. I'll probably never own a Mac. I do own a Kindle Fire. I might buy another Android device or a Surface at some point but right now, the apps I want to run work on Apple tablets and Apple tablets provide a significantly better user experience for me. That's why I'll be buying a mini in the next year or so.
          • Maybe for you

            You might think it's over priced and that opinion is fine but when you try to apply that to anybody else it's no longer valid. The average consumer doesn't care about spec sheets and is only focused on user experience. For some Android is better and for others it iOS. What you find as overpriced they might find as cheap because they find the user experience to be superior for them.
          • Apple requires all iOS apps to support Retina and non-Retina displays

            I'm a developer and I can inform you that all apps must support non-Retina displays as well as Retina displays. Otherwise the app will get rejected by Apple.
            It's also dead-easy to do and the base code stays the same. You just need to supply two versions of the graphics and iOS will automatically choose which one to display. Hardly any extra time or effort needed at all.

            As for low quality...are you kidding? As a developer I always have one device of each category and I can say that I'm using the iPad mini *more* than its larger sibling.
            I agree 100% with the author of this article. The iPad mini is more or less becoming my main go-to device for anything except phone calls.
          • That's ridiculous.

            BTW, by low quality, I'm referring to the specs and not the manufacturing of the device. And if you're using it more than the iPad it points to the fact that the only reason you're doing so it's because it's smaller and lighter and not because it's a better overall tablet than the iPad.

            So as a developer, how does the iPhone 5 fit into your design strategy for Apple. Is it dead easy as well to design for this other resolution as well? So do you have to design for the three resolutions with varying form factors?
      • Massiver life extender for iPad 2

        The iPad Mini is a huge life extender for the entire iPad 2 range, which was the top retail product last XMAS.

        The iPad 2 will likely get IOS7,8 and 9 and become the tablet equivalent of the venerable iPhone 3GS (and last model iPod Touch)- which has just come off general availability, yet is still current with IOS6
        • But 3rd party software will not be so kind to...

          both the iPad 2 and iPad Mini mainly due to the limited ram and much lower screen res. Both the iPad 2 and iPad Mini are dead end devices because of those two things.
          • Yes, RAM limits are starting to hurt

            That's why your iPad reloads web pages when you switch between tabs...
          • Bitter

            You honestly think Apple would sink so much money into a product already obsolete before it's even launched? You seem very bitter about this. I can only assume you already own an ipad 3 and are trying to vindicate your reasons for not buying a mini... But who are you trying to convince, yourself perhaps?
          • Why do you think Apple used these old specs?

            This is the first time Apple has ever done this. They have NEVER released a product with basically the same specs of a 2 year old device. And why are they still selling the iPad 2? Normally, that would have gone away by now.

            You want to know the reason? It's the competition. If the Nexus 7 and the Amazon tablets wouldn't have been as popular do you really think Apple would have released the iPad Mini. Lastly, why release an iPad Mini with old specs? Again, because competition. Apple was caught unprepared so they cobbled together a device as quickly as possible. The outside of the device can more readily be "designed" but not the internal specs or the screen. Both of which they had plenty in stock due to the aging iPad 2. Put the iPad 2 surplus tech in a smaller redesigned outer shell and you have the iPad Mini. When will their "true" 7" tablet come out? Probably in time for back to school in 2013. In some ways it would have been too late for them if they had waited until then. The iPad Mini made marketing sense for Apple, but not for it's users.
        • Extender

          Bet they drop it at 8. ;-)
      • So is iOS

        I agree. iOs is also obsolete. Apple is really playing things conservatively these days. They are in for a world of hurt if they continue down that path.
        • Man, I love the comedians always acting

          like they have a clue what the future holds yet time and time again Apple proves them wrong. You don't like iOS or Apple, thats perfectly fine don't use anything either iOS or Apple made.
      • What apps won't run on iPad 2?

        Like Doh123, I'd really like to see your list.