So after spending some time with the mini, would we recommend it? First off, essentially, the mini really is a ‘miniature iPad’. There are few compromises, and you don’t at any time get the feeling you’re using an oversized smartphone, but rather a fully-fledged iPad tablet in its own right. Much of this is driven by the 4:3 shaped 7.9 inch display, which lends to apps, web browsing, viewing maps, tweeting, status-updating and reading emails perfectly.
While 16:9 shaped screens do have their merits, they make more sense with larger tablets, or on smartphones. In the 7-inch tablet space, Apple has found the sweet-spot.
The mini is certainly a very easy device to like, and grows on you quickly, with its attractive design, sound ergonomics and quality metallic finishes. It is very easy to carry with you, and provides a lot of punch in a small package. You also get the undeniable benefit of Apple’s ecosystem, which provides you with around 275,000 apps, along with iCloud synching, iBooks, Newsstand, iTunes and more.
If you already have a full sized tablet, you’ll probably struggle to find uses for both, however, for those with a laptop looking for a more portable companion, the mini fills the gap nicely.
The only major drawback of the mini is its price. Apple’s competitors, the key ones being Google’s Nexus and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, are priced aggressively and start about $100 less for a similarly specified entry-level unit. For more on Google’s latest price drop, click here. Also, at the top end, at $729, the mini is not that far off a top-of-the-line iPad with Retina display, which is $899.
If you are already firmly part of the Android camp, sticking with the Google Nexus or Samsung Galaxy Tab units probably makes sense, and they are good quality devices in their own right. However, there is no overlooking the fact that the mini has the best screen shape for a device of this size, and as such, it provides a superior ‘tablet’ experience. So yes, you’ll need to pay more to put Apple’s iPad mini in your bag, but in return, you’ll be rewarded with the best 7-inch tablet experience money can buy.