iPad mini with Retina Display – starting at $399
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.