The Wi-Fi only iPad mini has been out for 2 weeks and the 4G version comes out today. Should you buy the iPad mini? That wasn't a question, stop thinking. Let me tell you the reasons why should/shouldn't buy the iPad mini. Read on.
- 7.9-inch dispaly with 1024 x 768 resolution (163 ppi pixel density)
- Apple A5 dual-core processor
- 7.87 x 5.3 x 0.28 inches (200 x 134.7 x 7.2 mm)
- 0.68 pound (309 grams)
- 16GB/32GB/64GB storage options
- 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
- Optional 4G LTE connection
- 5 megapixel back-facing camera, 1.2 megapixel FaceTime HD camera
- 10 hour battery life
- Lightning connector
REASONS TO BUY
The hardware design is great. It borrows many design elements from the iPhone 5, which is the right way to go. Everything from the chamfered edges to the anodized aluminum shell feels just right. I had no trouble holding up the iPad mini in one hand, because the mini weighs less than half the iPad with retina display. It's a joy to hold and to look at.
iOS ecosystem is a major advantage of the iPad mini. Every app that runs on the iPad 2 will run on the iPad mini, because their internals are identical. Every game and app I threw at the iPad mini ran great, although some apps became harder to use with smaller touch targets. iPad mini's massive catalogue of tablet-optimized apps is definitely one of the reasons to buy it over 7-inch Android tablets.
REASONS TO AVOID
The display. Oh, the horror! It has a 163 ppi pixel density (compared to the current 9.7-inch iPad's 264 ppi display), which is identical to non-retina iPhones. I could feel my eyes burning with disillusionment as I attempted to read some e-books on the iPad mini. Contrary to what Phil Schiller said at the Keynote, iPad mini's display is not a big improvement over the iPad 2's terrible display.
This is sad, because the iPad mini is the perfect size and weight for reading. If only it came with a retina display, the iPad mini could've been the best 7-inch tablet on the market today. However, the 1024 x 768 display just doesn't cut it in 2012.
The A5 processor inside the iPad mini, while fully usable at this moment, is another reason to avoid the iPad mini. It's almost two years old at this point, and there will soon come a point when new apps will have difficulty running on it. It's not future-proofed.
Although there are good reasons to buy the iPad mini, the display is too major a deal-breaker for me. Knowing that there will be a version with retina display released in the near future, it's really hard to recommend this year's iPad mini for purchasing. If you want a 7-inch tablet, you should either wait or get the Nexus 7. The first-gen iPad mini is not good enough.