Apple iPad Mini – Review
In October of 2012, Apple’s iPad lineup adopted a smaller sibling. Following its launch in 2010, the original 9.7-inch tablet computer had become a de facto standard for tablets and few thought that Apple would introduce a smaller version, yet here I am holding a 7.9-inch iPad Mini.
Apple products are known for their alluring packaging; I’ve always kept the containers of my past purchases because the boxes themselves are almost as beautiful as the products they contain. The iPad and iPad Mini are not exceptions. As iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches have been around for several years and come bundled with roughly the same operating system, I’ll focus on the iPad Mini in the context of design and usability.
SETTING UP THE IPAD MINI
Unlike older mobile devices by Apple, the newer generations of iPads, iPhones and iPod Touches can function as stand-alone devices, without the need to configure the device on a Mac or PC. Right out of the box, I was able to turn on my iPad Mini and set it up (although I did plug the device in first for a fully charged experience). First time users will need to create an Apple ID and complete a few minutes of virtual paperwork before deploying their new device.
Those with an existing Apple ID may just sign in and customize their Mini with relative speed and ease. Apple is known for creating user-friendly devices with intuitive operating systems, so it’s rare that one encounters a problem during setup.
THE IPAD MINI’S HARDWARE
The iPad Mini is rather unremarkable to look at. It looks not unlike a large iPod Touch or smaller iPad, which may be exactly what Apple was striving for. The Mini has front (1.2 megapixel and rear (5 megapixel) facing cameras and is capable of shooting HD video and engaging in video chats (over Wi-Fi or cellular). The Mini sports Apple’s newest and fastest mobile charging and accessory port: Lightning, which unfortunately renders all of the accessories collected for past Apple devices unusable.
The home, sleep, and side volume buttons are all modeled after the devices we’ve come to know and love. The speakers on the bottom are fine for YouTube videos and the like, but audiophiles will want to plug headphones into the top or stream content to a home entertainment setup for full enjoyment. Of course, Apple’s reluctance (or strategic marketing ploy) to adopt industry standards such as HDMI or Micro-USB ports will continue to be an annoyance.
Interestingly enough, the iPad Mini includes very similar specs, at least in terms of processor speed and resolution, to the iPad 2, although the Mini does have a better camera and higher pixel density.
So far, the Mini seems to deliver fairly well on hardware specs. What does it lack then, compared to the full-size iPad? After all, its ultra-slim and lightweight profile still allows for a remarkable ten hours of battery life (I have experienced even longer times), making it the perfect all-day companion in the city or on a long flight. The answer lies in the screen. The iPad with Retina display has – you’d never guess it – retina display! The Mini’s display, at 1024 X 768 pixels, doesn’t offer the same visually stunning graphic experience that the iPad with Retina display does (the latter crams in four times as many pixels with a 2048 X 1536 pixels).
The iPad with Retina display also features Apple’s A6 chip for faster processing speeds, and is the first iPad ever to offer a 128 GB memory option. These upgrade options make the iPad with Retina display a more viable replacement for a personal computer while the Mini serves more as a great mobile side-kick.
Click here to continue to Page 2 – Using the iPad Mini
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