iPad mini: Not what I hoped it would be

iPad mini: Not what I hoped it would be

Summary: Apple unveiled the smallest member of the iPad family to great fanfare. Tech addict that I am I figured I would order one as soon as possible but now I have my doubts.

TOPICS: iPad, Apple, Tablets
iPad Minis

Yesterday the folks at Apple presented the 7.9-inch iPad mini to the world to much fanfare. The newest member of the iPad family is thin, light, and much as expected. Most of the rumors that surfaced about the iPad mini were accurate, and in this instance they were not what I wanted to hear.

The fact I don't need a smaller iPad is what has me hesitating on pulling the trigger on one. If it had something totally new for the genre, like a Retina Display, that would push me over the edge.

The iPad mini is a beautiful piece of engineering. It is about as thin as possible (.28 inch) and as light as can be (.68 pound). The IPS screen is 7.9 inches diagonally fit in a case only 7.87 x 5.3 inches. It displays at the same resolution (1024 x 768) as the bigger iPad 2.

That resolution is what has me having second thoughts about picking up an iPad mini. The screen isn't bad, it is probably quite nice for the size. But it's not a Retina Display, something I felt strongly that Apple would produce. I am disappointed that the iPad mini display is not Retina quality.

This is the first new mobile product that Apple has introduced in a while without a Retina Display. My older iPhone 4S has one as does my iPad 3. The Retina Display was touted as a game-changer when introduced, and using those two devices backs up that claim.

I understand why Apple chose to forego the Retina Display for the iPad mini. It makes perfect sense for both Apple and iPad app developers to have a screen resolution that is cheaper and lets existing iPad apps display perfectly without changes. I get that. But I'm not Apple nor a developer, I am a customer, and I would prefer a Retina Display on the iPad mini.

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I am willing to pay for that display, would do so willingly. Using a Retina Display is simply wonderful, and it would be so on an iPad of this size. I may be in the minority on the price thing, but that's me.

I certainly don't need another tablet, I already have a third generation (no longer current) iPad and a 7-inch Nexus 7. The latter is what had me jonesing for an iPad mini with a Retina Display. I know first-hand the benefits of a smaller tablet so I don't have to be sold on the utility of an iPad mini.

The fact I don't need a smaller iPad is what has me hesitating on pulling the trigger on one. If it had something totally new for the genre, like a Retina Display, that would push me over the edge. As it is I am glad Apple chose to delay preorders until Windows 8 launch day. It gives me a few days to mull over a purchase.

Mobile tech addict that I am I admit I will likely hit the Buy Now button for an iPad mini at some point. I suspect the model with integrated LTE will end up winning the day over the Nexus 7. I have come to appreciate having high speed connectivity integrated in a tablet, and my Share Everything plan on Verizon would let me add the iPad mini for just $10 per month.

Those who don't own a 7-inch tablet might find the iPad mini to be a good choice. In my experience iPad apps are better than the competition's across the board. Using the iPad mini should be as good as usin an iPad but in a more mobile form.

The lack of a Retina Display turned the iPad mini from an instant purchase for me into a maybe. When I use my Nexus 7 I miss the quality of iPad apps, but it's not bad. I can just as easily keep using the Nexus 7 for now; until my tech addiction gets the better of me.

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Topics: iPad, Apple, Tablets

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  • "I am willing to pay for that display"

    You are NOT the market so instead of selling 1 to you they will sell a lot more to others.
    • iPad mini Retina will debute next year

      So, for now, James have to wait.
      • LOL

        LOL, you're right, of course. Apple needs to hold something back for when they introduce the iPad mini 2.
  • Retina display is just a marketing stunt.

    Most bloggers are fan boys, and reading their biased opinions are a waste a time.
    Just as an example, reading an SJVN article, everybody knows what he is up to, and I hardly read what he has written.

    James Kendrick has deteriorated to SJVN level with bias and his opinion about Surface is an example.
    • tiring

      seriously, this nonstop bashing of anyone who writes something about a platform you don't like is old. this man is one of the best and most objective writers znet has. look around, they don't have that many. yet because it's not some koolaid YOU drink he's biased.

      and you even admit to not reading it. talk about a fanboi.
      • Thanks!

        I always call them as I see them and sadly that always seems to upset some folk.
      • You obviously don't know what the word objective means

        James is a typical contrarian with an Apple bias. And large majority of his "writing" is peppered with that slant.

        He's far from being objective, but I never thought that was his "job" anyway. He's not a reporter, he's a columnist with a particular slant.
  • Really, James? Really?

    Anyone who expected a retina display iPad mini was setting the bar way too high. Check the specs of you Nexus 7 compared to the iPad mini for DPI. That's why it isn't a "retina" display - no one else's is either.
    • Resolution

      While it might not be a surprise that the resolution doesn't go all the way up to Apple's "retina" definition, it is a bit surprising that the iPad Mini has lower resolution than either the Kindle Fire HD or the Nook HD, particularly since it is priced quite a bit higher.
    • It doesn't compare to the Nexus 7 either

      The Nexus 7 has a much higher PPI than the 2 year old screen tech Apple put in the iPad Mini.
  • No Retina

    I honestly want retina too, but sometimes you have to wait on these things. I'm certain Apple would have offered it if the time were right. As it stands, this is still a compelling device as it is very mobile and very couch friendly. My mind is made up, I'm getting one. I have a GN7 too, but I have to say that the app selection on iOS is just way, way better (I have the 3nd gen iPad). I'm happy to have lower cost options available because that means I can use those too! Maybe the Nexus 10 with retina will be priced low enough that I can get that too. :)

    So far, Surface is not driving me to buy it.
    • What iOS apps are WAY better?

      What are the top 5 apps you use and how are they WAY better than on Android? That argument doesn't hold water any longer in October of 2012.

      New flash, the Nexus 10 will never has a Retina Display because that's a Apple marketing term no one else uses. It's not a true objective metric to measure ANYTHING!
  • dont worry

    in six months Apple will screw its customers by releasing a retina iPad mini just as they screwed the iPad 3 owners
    • yeah

      and if google introduces a new updated nexus 7 in a week what are you going to say about them?
      • The difference is that we know the Nexus 7 will be updated

        Apple, by comparison, kept the iPad 4 very very quiet. That's the difference. With the implication that they didn't want their iPad 3 sales to suffer if they leaked out the iPad 4 update.
  • Ipad mini S!

    Coming in 6 months, especially made for fanboy bloggers i.e the James Kendricks, AKHs, and Jason Perlows!
  • iPad mini: Not what I hoped it would be

    LOL this is hilarious. You were going to buy one and now your not. I'm not sure what you were hoping for except a smaller iPad. The Microsoft Surface isn't look so bad now is it?
    Loverock Davidson-
  • Ditch the iPad 3 and get an iPad 4

    You are a reviewer and should be able to afford it. I would like to hear how speedy it is. I have Android tablets, myself, and I am pretty happy with them.
    Mac Hosehead
  • Nexus 7

    James, because of you I bought Nexus and I'm very much disappointed!!
    Generally speaking Android and apps are far behind Apple by decade.
    Very disappointing from your positive review on this unit.

    Regards, Isaac
    • What apps are you referring to?

      Or, are you just trolling?