iPad mini review - 4 months later!

Rene Ritchie

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Back in October Apple introduced the iPad mini. We posted our iPad mini review, of course, and you told us how you felt about it in our iPad mini forums. But that was first blush. That was the romance and judgement of something new. It's been 4 months now. It's been a third of a year with a smaller, lighter form factor, and a non-Retina display. So it's time for a checkpoint. How has the iPad mini held up? If you dismissed it before, has it grown on you? If you embraced it, have you fallen out of love? How are you using, or not using, the iPad mini now, some 4 months later?

Give us your best, short review, and we'll pick some to feature on the front page this Saturday!
 

ThomasJL

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Oct 26, 2011
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Just got mine last week. So far I cannot put it down. Having a blast with it. Perfect size. Perfect weight. Great battery life.

Reading, games, email, iMessage, videos, music, surfing, etc. The perfect casual web consumption device. Lack of retina is a non-issue. I'll take retina but only if they can maintain the same footprint & battery life.
 

qtrim

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Feb 20, 2013
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I used it for a week, then sold my iPad 2. I only use the mini. Retina means nothing on a device this small. I love it. Just needs a bigger storage option, 128gb.
 

nottingham_sel

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I bought my iPad Mini on launch day and since then it's not left my sight!! I love it I love I love it! I read on it constantly, iBooks and amazon kindle, I read magazines constantly on Zinio which is fantastic,( I can get international magazines at a low cost). I write notes in noteshelf, I type letters to my sons school on Pages! I love doing digital art on sketchbook pro...and since I've had it I have only looked at my laptop 3 times! So much better than the iPad 3 which I sold shortly after and can use any handbag I have to transport it! It is so light and handy, I find my self many times stirring a curry with one hand and reading on my iPad on the other! Thank you apple! The retina display is not a problem because if you change the settings you pretty much can't tell! And Benedict Cumberbatch has never looked so good!
 

Tzanellis John

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I have mine quite a while now. I wasn't so fond of using tablets initially and my first one was an Android device. As soon as I got my iPad mini though all of this changed. Not only did I got to love the mini specifically but I became a tablet convert altogether. The wonderfully small, but bigger than a 7 inch android tablet, screen. The excellent simplicity of the iOS , the incredible battery life and the portability made it an essential assistant for my day to day needs. If anyone needs convincing that tablets have reach the point where they became an essential tool for us then the iPad mini will make a believer out of him.
 

Squigglyline

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Before the iPad Mini came along I'd only ever used other people's iPad's. They were nice enough, but I felt to expensive for my use. That said I've bought iPad 2's for both my parents and farther in-law. Both of whom use it as the primary computing devices, they are all 70+. But enough about that. When the iPad Mini was introduced last October, I ordered one right away for my 7months pregnant wife. I thought she would get lots of use out of it in the coming months. That turned out to be pretty accurate, but I also found I was using it when she's put it down for 5 minutes. At any rate, to cut a long story short, she bought me my own 32GB Mini for christmas and since then I've sold my laptop (replaced it with a Mac Mini desktop) and the iPad mini has become my main browsing/media consumption/note taking/photo sharing/photo editing/video chatting device. In fact some of that list I only started doing once I had the mini. My wife and I take our mini's almost everywhere with us. We've become almost inseparable. In the last 2 months since I started using the mini, I've retired my paper notebooks and appointment books and have been using the mini to take notes but also make presentations at work. I don't think I would have done that with a full size iPad, it just seems to big and bulky to carry everywhere, but the mini has been just perfect. The absence of a retina display hasn't really been an issue, you don't miss what you never had in the first place. Maybe when the mini goes retina I'll consider upgrading (with my wife's permission). But as of now, the question I get asked the most at work is "what don't you do with your iPad Mini".
 

iLoveiStuff

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iPad Mini, 4-months later

First, my initial thoughts. Let's rewind a bit to just months before the iPad mini was announced by Apple. The rumor mills were quite busy, and so were my eyes as I would instinctively roll them at every iPad Mini rumor. "What's the point? There's no need for it. And besides, not enough people want one for Apple to actually put it into production." I think Steve Jobs would have said something along the lines of:

"How do people know what they want if they've never even seen it?"
(Spoiler: turns out he was right)

Now, let's skip the part where I warm up to the idea of a "mini-market", and fast-forward to Apple's iPad Mini announcement, last October. First off, my mind was made up before the keynote was over: "I've got to have it. I 'need' it". I was filled with excitement and confusion, and my brain started to over-heat like a MacBook running Adobe Flash. "I'm not sure if the trade-off of my iPad 3 for a non-retina iPad mini is a downgrade, or the trade-off for a thinner, lighter, more portable, more comfortable iPad is worth the upgrade." (You know the drill, all the usual doubts and questions on every tech blog here on the inter-webs). Anyway, after using my brother's iPad mini more than my own (iPad 3) he began to ask why.

Well, when I first picked up the iPad mini my iPad 3 instantly became too (everything), too heavy, too big, too laptopy, much too heavy, and too much to carry around in hand (without my bag). Granted, I've always had this issue with my iPad 3 before, but now that there's an alternative, I began to almost resent my own iPad for it. The iPad mini cute. It's small enough, light enough, and has a big enough screen for me to use anywhere in place of my iPhone and 3rd generation iPad. Its size and portability places it smack dab in the middle, and to be corny, yes, it's the best of both worlds. All my iMessaging, web browsing, gaming, everything became perfect to do on my (brother's) iPad mini. It never got too tiresome to hold, never felt too big (or small), always my go-to device for everything except phone calls (of course) and camera functions. Perfect, right? But then there's the screen.

Owning all retina-equipped devices (iPhone 5, iPad 3) my eyes became accustomed to perfection, and anything less "felt like sand-paper on my pupils" in Rene's words. I would constantly notice the duller, less-dense display differences from my other retina devices (as if the mini were mine to begin with). I'm a lot like Rene, I'm a design diva and the retina display (or lack thereof) was a deal breaker and I had to wait for iPad mini 2 with retina display. But I had to have it, anyway. No, I'll wait ... - my decision to sell my iPad 3 to buy the mini constantly shifted from 'yes' to 'no' to 'I don't know'. But somehow, 4-months later, I type this message from the best iPad ever!

-Sent from my iPad... Mini.
 
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pstmstr

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I bought an Ipad Mini, returned it during the 14 day period, then bought another one a few days later. If the truth were told, I could get by just fine with my Iphone 5 and 13 inch Macbook Air. I enjoy the mini when reading or surfing and was fortunate enough to sell my 3rd gen iPad a week before the announcement at a nice price. If I had it to do over, I'd get the mini again but then again, I don't really need an ipad at all.
 

kingofkats

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"Excited?" asked the Apple Store rep?. "A bit," I lied. The Mini marked the first time in years that I didn't feel that new-Apple-gadget rush.

BUT THEN. The Mini sneaks up on you.?

First you're shocked at how much you DON'T miss the Retina screen. Side-by-side with my?Nexus 7, in fact, the Mini wins in a walk. Yes the Nexus has HD res. But the Mini boasts far better blacks, colors, brightness and angle-of-view -- all, right up there with iPads 3 and 4. Even with text, the Mini scores high,?thanks to Apple's famed prowess with fonts. The letters aren't quite as sharp as on the Nexus, but they pop more. Just as readable. Would I love more DPI? Of course, but the Mini makes every pixel pull its weight.

Then you notice how often you DON'T put down your Mini. Not just because it's so thin that you feel like you're peering through a Euclidean plane. But also because it feels so smooth, so solid, so finely fit together. The Foxconn assembly teams should take enormous pride.

Finally, you find yourself NOT picking up big-brother iPad that often. Yes, I still use my iPad 4 for text annotation and other tasks where a bigger screen rocks. But I even found myself writing this review on the Mini -- without a keyboard -- almost as fast as I would at my desktop.?

So three months in, I'm in love, even though I harrumphed to the sales rep. I'm not going over the top with Mr. Gruber -- no, it's not the world's best or even second-best computer -- but it sure as heck may be the world's best tablet.
 

zeteo

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I have loved the iPad. I have given one to my children and my wife. When I first heard about the Mini I was not interested at all. I am disabled and spend the majority of my time in bed so I use the iPad extensively, on a lark I decided I would try the Mini. Well, I absolutely love it. And my daughter loves the one I bought her! :)

I use mine daily and love it. Not having retina display is no big issue to me, although I do use the iPad 4 for video's etc.
 

ruscolinni

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I bought iPad Mini back in December and I'm totally in love with it. I'm a musician, and a couple of my band mates have an app called "Deepdish Gigbook" on thier iPad 1's and 2's. It basically lets you read music as PDF's and with the bluetooth AirTurn pedal, makes turning pages a breeze! That was probably my main reason for getting it.... not having to schelp 4 books of music back and forth to a gig.. now it's all on the Mini. At first I thought it would be hard to read music on a 7 inch screen but it's not too bad. Some songs are easier to read in landscape but over all I'm happy! And with a dropbox linked, all the music i need is an import away. For me as a musician, the Mini is soo portable and Apples app market for the music industry is awesome... best of both worlds for me.
 

rdmedina7

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After reading thoroughly, this is convincing me more to get a mini. I'm loving retina on my iPad 3, but my smallish (😞😒😣) hands get tired of the size of the 3. I'm sure the A5 chip in the mini isn't that much slower than the A6 in the 3. I don't do heavy gaming. Mostly note taking in classes, web browsing, iMessage, movies and shows, etc. Any of you here who went from the iPad 3 to the mini, no regrets? I have a 64 gb so it'd be ideal to get the 64 mini as well.

Typing shouldn't be a problem either, since I do have a Zagg Solo keyboard.
 

Arelunde

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I, too, am totally "in love" with my Mini, particularly as there are now a variety of external keyboards and spectacular cases. I realized recently that I never use my iPad 2 since I bought the Mini on pre-order. The other day, I picked up the iPad 2 and it seemed so very heavy, and even bulky! I was really surprised. I loved the iPad 2 before the Mini, but now, I'm a total Mini fan. It's small, light, portable, and everything the iPad 2 was. Plus it has Siri and a decent camera. The screen is bright and easy to read. In fact, I compared it to the iPad 2's screen resolution and the Mini is considerably better! So, farewell iPad 2. Having an MBP, iPhone 5 and an iPad Mini is a "complete" set.
 

rdmedina7

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I am now an official owner of the iPad Mini 64 GB Wi-Fi only in black. And so far I have absolutely no regrets in selling my iPad 3 to get it. It's super light and portable. Only difference I see is the display but it's not a deal breaker for me. Just need a case for it and screen protector and I'll be more comfortable to take it out and about.
 

ladyc0524

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I'm seriously considering getting an iPad mini for the same reasons mentioned in the previous post. I get tired of lugging my ipad 2 in my purse, and that makes it even heavier.
 

Charles Isaac

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I am now three months into my iPad mini. My most favorite Apple products are in order: 128K mac, Mac Book Pro, and powerbook 100. Each item I loved for years and used everyday. However, there is a problem. My iPad Mini outshines all of them and now goes to the front of the line. I was carrying my Mac Book Pro around all the time. Now I only carry my mini. I was carrying my iPad 1 for awhile but it was to heavy.

This is the one device I cannot love more.
 

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