• Big Expectations: My hands on with the Apple iPad Mini


    So the UPS driver dropped of my iPad mini today. I actually order both a white and black iPad mini. My black one showed up while my white one is back-ordered for 2 weeks.



    When I first opened the Mini I couldn't help noticing that the finish feels fantastic. The edges of the bezel are like the iPhone 5 while the back is metal that feels kind of satin-y.



    Before I even turned it on I thought that the Mini feels substantially larger than my Nexus 7. The Nexus 7 has a 7" 16:9 screen while the Mini's is 7.9" with 4:3 aspect ratio. In my hand the Mini is a lot wider and not comfortable at all to hold unlike my Nexus 7.


    Another thing I dislike about the Mini is that it doesn't fit into my coat pockets easily like the 7.

    I think Apple made a big mistake here. The Mini's form-factor makes no sense. It's too big to be used like a Nexus 7. If it's this big it might as well be a full-sized iPad.



    It's much thinner than I was expecting. I never thought my 7 was too thick but the Mini is substantially thinner. Still, we're at the point now where most devices are thing 'enough' so I won't gush over one device simply because it's slightly thinner.



    Given the large 7.9" screen and relatively low 1024x768 resolution the Mini's screen looks quite coarse. While the iPad 2 has the same resolution I tend to hold it a little further away so in the end the 2 devices look very similar. I guess I've been spoiled by all the high resolution devices I get to play with.

    While I'm sure many people will be fine with the resolution - it's adequate for sure - it's an compromise we shouldn't have to make.


    volume buttons and silent mode slider


    headphone jack, power button

    Still, I'm pleased that Apple included a 5mp camera on the back, they could have put the iPad 2's instead.

    The WiFi supports both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz.

    I'll have a full review in a few days.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Big Expectations: My hands on with the Apple iPad Mini started by howard View original post
    Comments 30 Comments
    1. sabesh's Avatar
      sabesh -
      The Mini looks Gigantic next to the Nexus 7. Looks odd. I'll pass and wait for Mini 2 after Apple (hopfully) corrects this ridiculousness.
    1. seekr's Avatar
      seekr -
      Quote Originally Posted by sabesh View Post
      The Mini looks Gigantic next to the Nexus 7. Looks odd. I'll pass and wait for Mini 2 after Apple (hopfully) corrects this ridiculousness.
      I think you're referring to the screen "ridiculousness"? I don't think it's going to get smaller otherwise.

      I also think the iPad mini fits with in the product line perfectly. It can't out-do the performance of an iPad 2 in every aspect for less money, otherwise what is the point of the iPad2 at all in the line up? It also isn't out of the line up because it continues to sell. So it must compromise in certain ways, while appeal in others.

      The iPod touch with it's retina display is only $30 cheaper and much smaller that it can't be considered a tablet at all. Taking into consideration all of this, Apple had to create something new, but also place it and price it so it made sense with in their existing lineup.
    1. howard's Avatar
      howard -
      After using the mini for a few hours today the size makes a lot of sense to me. I prefer the 4:3 aspect ratio over 16:9 on my Nexus 7.

      The way I see it, if you're thinking of getting an iPad 2 for use around the house then get the mini instead.

      So I guess I get the screen size now but I'm still annoyed that I can't really take the mini out of the house.
    1. Furry Atom's Avatar
      Furry Atom -
      It also should be noted that although it's not as sharp as the Nexus 7 with the resolution being lower and screen being larger, the image quality overall will be better. It's almost certain it'll be calibrated the same way as the iPad with Retina Display, iPod Touch 5th gen, and iPhone 5 displays, which are all essentially perfect with their gamma, sRGB coverage, intensity scale, etc. Where as the Nexus 7 has what may honestly be described as the worst calibration for any IPS panel on a mobile device ever. Convex and irregular gamma, intensity scale drops off at high brightness so everything looks washed out, and sRGB coverage ranging between 50% and 90% depending on how lucky you are.
    1. Doolie's Avatar
      Doolie -
      Quote Originally Posted by torrado View Post
      I love the way ipad mini 1 is but its not master piece hope so that ipad mini 2 will be much more better than this
      I would still buy one for my audio studio. It takes up less space than an a full on iPad, and can do just as much. iPad apps take advantage of the full screen real estate, not just stretched out phone apps. Plus, if I already own the iPhone version of an app, the iPad version is free.

      I can still plug in the USB adaptor or use Wi-Fi. MIDI over USB works flawlessly for me. Plus, no need to root and flash ROMs until I find one that does what I want the most, if any.
    1. primetechv2's Avatar
      primetechv2 -
      Yeah, it's looking like the appeal of the iPad mini is simply Apple filling in the gap of tablets... Google made an excellent and inexpensive device and here, surprisingly for the first time, Apple is tripping over itself trying to get a bulkier, less crisp, slower, and more expensive competitor out to stand against it. If you must have an Apple product I guess this is the one for you, though.

      Ironically Apple should get sued by Samsung for this one. They were passing around memos months before the release of this tablet about how awesome the Galaxy Tab 7" was.
    1. primetechv2's Avatar
      primetechv2 -
      Quote Originally Posted by howard View Post
      After using the mini for a few hours today the size makes a lot of sense to me. I prefer the 4:3 aspect ratio over 16:9 on my Nexus 7.

      The way I see it, if you're thinking of getting an iPad 2 for use around the house then get the mini instead.

      So I guess I get the screen size now but I'm still annoyed that I can't really take the mini out of the house.
      Wait, people have said the iPad 1/2/New is too big to leave the house with without having second thoughts. Now the Mini is too big as well? What is the purpose of having two separate lineups if they're both too big to carry about without being annoying?

      What about the 20-inch Windows tablet by...Sony, I think? You gonna mount that on the wall?
    1. Random Select's Avatar
      Random Select -
      Quote Originally Posted by primetechv2 View Post
      Wait, people have said the iPad 1/2/New is too big to leave the house with without having second thoughts. Now the Mini is too big as well? What is the purpose of having two separate lineups if they're both too big to carry about without being annoying?

      What about the 20-inch Windows tablet by...Sony, I think? You gonna mount that on the wall?
      Just wait for Howard's full review.

      Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2
    1. Cauchon's Avatar
      Cauchon -
      I definitely want a smaller iPad but I will be holding off for the retina screen. Nice review.
    1. Importz's Avatar
      Importz -
      The resolution is crap! I am returning my mini
    1. seekr's Avatar
      seekr -
      Quote Originally Posted by Importz View Post
      The resolution is crap! I am returning my mini
      It actually isn't. It's better than the iPad 2 for sure. I wish I could buy your unit off you though, I just placed an order that will come for nov.22, and i only ordered after seeing it yesterday in store.
    1. ceredon's Avatar
      ceredon -
      Quote Originally Posted by primetechv2 View Post
      Yeah, it's looking like the appeal of the iPad mini is simply Apple filling in the gap of tablets... Google made an excellent and inexpensive device and here, surprisingly for the first time, Apple is tripping over itself trying to get a bulkier, less crisp, slower, and more expensive competitor out to stand against it. If you must have an Apple product I guess this is the one for you, though.

      Ironically Apple should get sued by Samsung for this one. They were passing around memos months before the release of this tablet about how awesome the Galaxy Tab 7" was.
      Google did make a nice device and it's a good price. But like amazon it's easy to sell at a good price if you are willing to forego profitablity. We'll see how sustainable that model is.
    1. kingc's Avatar
      kingc -
      I think the 4x3 aspect ratio is to emulate that of paper instead of movies. It is very uncomfortable for me to hold one-handed. Took it back, as will also await the model with the retina display and more current processor chips. Beautifully made device, though.
    1. Random Select's Avatar
      Random Select -
      Does this device have all of iOS6's features?

      If not, then this device isn't "future proofed" for newer OS updates.
    1. Doolie's Avatar
      Doolie -
      Quote Originally Posted by Random Select View Post
      Does this device have all of iOS6's features?

      If not, then this device isn't "future proofed" for newer OS updates.
      Why wouldn't it?
    1. Jonavin's Avatar
      Jonavin -
      I've owned a few 7" devices and never thought that size was any good. Reading on it was rather weird, and that would be the reason for me, personally, to even consider this size. Could be because of the 16:9 format, just doesn't work for me, whether that's a Nook Color, Nexus 7, or Playbook. It's really too large to be truly portable and too small for reading or videos where a full 10" tablet would be better (I've got iPads, TouchPad and Asus EeePad for that).

      After playing with my brother's iPad mini, I think I will order one. I compared it to my Kindle 2 and it is thinner and a tad smaller than that; weight seems about the same. 4:3 seems to be more fitting for my usage. I never felt that the screen was too small for browsing or reading.

      I don't think the Nexus 7 is any more (or less) portable than the iPad mini. I guess it depends on how you carry, but they are both too large for a typical pocket. OTOH, put on a Scottevest and even a full size 10" will fit in your pocket. I've gotten used to carrying my Kindle around enough that an iPad mini in its place would not be a problem.
    1. luv2travel's Avatar
      luv2travel -
      Quote Originally Posted by tendenzi View Post
      It actually isn't. It's better than the iPad 2 for sure. I wish I could buy your unit off you though, I just placed an order that will come for nov.22, and i only ordered after seeing it yesterday in store.
      Actually it is considering that I do own both an Android 7" tablet and a RIM Playbook and did compare side by side in the Apple store on the behemost of Apple employees who were not happy with me there and the crowd.
      I would like to buy the iPad Mini if it has the Retina display and a faster processor, probably the next version for sure.
    1. ceredon's Avatar
      ceredon -
      Quote Originally Posted by luv2travel View Post
      Actually it is considering that I do own both an Android 7" tablet and a RIM Playbook and did compare side by side in the Apple store on the behemost of Apple employees who were not happy with me there and the crowd.
      I would like to buy the iPad Mini if it has the Retina display and a faster processor, probably the next version for sure.
      The Playbook has a DPI of 169, the iPad mini 163. Hardly a noticeable difference. I expect doing a side by side comparison would show almost identical DPI, but much better colour reproduction and brightness on the mini. The Apple employees should have been happy for you to do the comparison, showing the mini was larger, thinner, lighter and faster than the playbook with an arguably better display. And remember, the $99 price (or $200 if you overpaid) was not the listed retail price. They were $500+ when launched. Firesale clearance is not the 'real' price.

      Which Android tablet were you comparing it to?
    1. luv2travel's Avatar
      luv2travel -
      Quote Originally Posted by tendenzi View Post
      I think you're referring to the screen "ridiculousness"? I don't think it's going to get smaller otherwise.

      I also think the iPad mini fits with in the product line perfectly. It can't out-do the performance of an iPad 2 in every aspect for less money, otherwise what is the point of the iPad2 at all in the line up? It also isn't out of the line up because it continues to sell. So it must compromise in certain ways, while appeal in others.

      The iPod touch with it's retina display is only $30 cheaper and much smaller that it can't be considered a tablet at all. Taking into consideration all of this, Apple had to create something new, but also place it and price it so it made sense with in their existing lineup.
      This move isn't new with Apple. If you recall 20 years ago with their introduction of the Macintosh IIci, it was selling well but they needed a cheaper machine to compete with Windows PC, Atari ST and Amiga so they put out a Macintosh IIsi (mini version with a capped 68030 20Mhz which is actually capable of being boosted to 25Mhz like the IIci). While the IIci continue to sell well, people started buying the IIsi because its cheaper and then chipping them to run as fast as the IIci. Why do you think this wont happen with the iPad line itself.

      Here's what I see is the problem. iPad 2 was put there to strictly compete with the Android 10" platform because of price, but it is competing with its own iPad 3 and 4 now. iPad Mini was placed there strictly to compete with Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HD and the up and coming Kobo Arc, but judging at the Apple store chatter and what I gather in my experience in the digital industry is that, once you make a cheaper product with the same feeling, people will eventually gravitate towards the cheaper product. What Apple had done, which a lot of other consumer electronics had done many times, is making a tablet to compete against its own pricier owns. And don't quote me on this because a number of Apple store employees said the same -- you don't need the powerful processor of the iPad 4 and Retina display because really it is easier to sell a cheaper product once the initial high wore off.

      I suspect that the iPad Mini will eventually cannibalize the sales of the iPad 2 and some iPad 4 sales, being that the form factor and the weight issues are more favorable with the smaller size as well as the price tag in this difficult economy.

      Case in point. The store I was in had lots of iPad 2 stock as well as iPad 4 with Retina Display and yet no iPad Mini (sold out). Its interesting that very few customers even knew that there was an iPad 4 release!
    1. seekr's Avatar
      seekr -
      Quote Originally Posted by luv2travel View Post
      This move isn't new with Apple. If you recall 20 years ago with their introduction of the Macintosh IIci, it was selling well but they needed a cheaper machine to compete with Windows PC, Atari ST and Amiga so they put out a Macintosh IIsi (mini version with a capped 68030 20Mhz which is actually capable of being boosted to 25Mhz like the IIci). While the IIci continue to sell well, people started buying the IIsi because its cheaper and then chipping them to run as fast as the IIci. Why do you think this wont happen with the iPad line itself.

      Here's what I see is the problem. iPad 2 was put there to strictly compete with the Android 10" platform because of price, but it is competing with its own iPad 3 and 4 now. iPad Mini was placed there strictly to compete with Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HD and the up and coming Kobo Arc, but judging at the Apple store chatter and what I gather in my experience in the digital industry is that, once you make a cheaper product with the same feeling, people will eventually gravitate towards the cheaper product. What Apple had done, which a lot of other consumer electronics had done many times, is making a tablet to compete against its own pricier owns. And don't quote me on this because a number of Apple store employees said the same -- you don't need the powerful processor of the iPad 4 and Retina display because really it is easier to sell a cheaper product once the initial high wore off.

      I suspect that the iPad Mini will eventually cannibalize the sales of the iPad 2 and some iPad 4 sales, being that the form factor and the weight issues are more favorable with the smaller size as well as the price tag in this difficult economy.

      Case in point. The store I was in had lots of iPad 2 stock as well as iPad 4 with Retina Display and yet no iPad Mini (sold out). Its interesting that very few customers even knew that there was an iPad 4 release!
      Yeah you know what I mean. I agree.