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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.