New iPad mini: I pass

The new iPad mini is an upgrade that has some significant improvements over the first generation model. Even so, it's not good enough to get me to upgrade.
Written by James Kendrick, Contributor
iPad mini KB
Original iPad mini, ZAGGkeys Cover keyboard
Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet

I'm a tablet guy. I own four of them and use them all heavily. One of them is the iPad mini, and I use it a lot for both work and play. The new model that Apple unveiled recently has some significant hardware upgrades, and while the new iPad mini looks good on the surface it's not enough of an improvement to get me to trade in my original model.

Two areas of improvement in the new iPad mini are the better processor and the Retina Display. The former should make the refreshed mini run faster than the original model and the latter should leverage the small display of the new iPad mini to maximum advantage. These two features combined should make the new iPad mini a great tablet.

So why don't I want one? It's simple: my original iPad mini works just fine. Sure, it would be nice if it was faster and had a crystal clear display but to tell the truth it doesn't need it.

I use the iPad mini for all of the typical tablet activities, using it to do online stuff and read ebooks. I also use it to write articles on occasion, using a ZAGGkeys Cover keyboard. It works surprisingly well and I'll bet I've written 30,000+ words this way.

That's why I see no need to spend big bucks to upgrade to the new iPad mini. I don't find the original model to be slow in any way, so the processor bump in the new one would be nice but not life changing. 

I admit a Retina Display upgrade would be nice, but I have to confess something. I have a MacBook Pro and an iPad 4 with Retina Displays and when I move to the MacBook Air and iPad mini without the special displays I don't miss them at all. Yes, the systems with Retina Displays look really crisp and sharp, but I don't find moving to the iPad or MacBook Air to be that big a deal. I suspect I'd like the better screen on the new iPad mini but it wouldn't rock my world enough to make a huge difference.

My original iPad mini is fully loaded, 64GB of storage and Verizon LTE. I paid a pretty penny for it and I'd need at least the same configuration on a new one should I upgrade. That would cost a whopping $729. I found the original iPad mini to be worth the investment, but not again. I already have a good iPad mini and I'll stick with that; no upgrade for me. Now the iPad Air may be another story.

Note: This article was written using the original iPad mini and the ZAGG keyboard shown in the image above. I doubt a new iPad mini would improve this experience in a significant way.

See related: 

iPad Air: No Apple keyboard needed

2 keyboards for iPad Air: ZAGGkeys Folio and ZAGGkeys Cover

Two keyboard cases for iPad mini from ZAGG change the game

9 best iPad keyboards (hands on): March 2013

Definitive guide to keyboards for iPad and iPad mini

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