The Apple Core Hardware Gift Guide 2013

Summary:My year end wrap-up of the best Apple hardware and accessories of the year.

iPad mini with Retina Display – starting at $399

The Retina iPad mini is the best small tablet, but not by much - Jason O'Grady

I've been a huge fan of the iPad mini since it came out. Being a writer, I'm never far from my MacBook Pro 13-inch, which is powerful, fast and has a gloriously tactile keyboard. My use case for a tablet is when I have a small bit of time to read email, Twitter or surf the web, which is why I prefer a 7-inch tablet. If I need a larger screen, I have my MacBook Pro within arm's reach. When I just want to read for a while, I prefer the compact size and lighter weight of a 7-inch tablet. 

The problem with the original iPad mini was that it played second fiddle to the full-size iPad with a slower processor and an inferior screen. Well, not any more. The new Retina iPad mini (starting at $399) has a Retina Display and the same A7 processor found in the full-size iPad Air. In fact, the Retina iPad mini has the same number of pixels (2048 x 1536) as the iPad Air (and higher PPI – 326 vs. 264), but in a smaller package.

What's not to love?

Honorable mention: The Kindle Fire HDX 7" (starting at $229) is a viable competitor to the iPad mini. If I wasn't locked into the Apple ecosystem of apps, movies and music I'd probably be carrying the HDX instead. It has a better display and Amazon Prime which gives you access to 41,000 movies and TV episodes, 350,000 eBooks and the company's eponymous two-day shipping service. Amazon's trivia and character backgrounds in X-Ray for Movies and TV (and lyrics with X-Ray for Music) are a value-add that Apple doesn't offer and its Immersion Reading integration between Audible and Kindle ebooks, which features real-time highlighting, is the icing on the cake. 

Topics: Apple, Hardware


Jason D. O'Grady developed an affinity for Apple computers after using the original Lisa, and this affinity turned into a bona-fide obsession when he got the original 128 KB Macintosh in 1984. He started writing one of the first Web sites about Apple (O'Grady's PowerPage) in 1995 and is considered to be one of the fathers of blogging.... Full Bio

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