Tried & Tested

Tried and Tested: iPad Mini

4 Mar 2013 by Tom Otley

Does the world need a mini iPad? After all, I wasn’t sure we needed iPads until they came along. I hadn’t previously noticed an iPad sized whole inside of me, but once I had bought one – for work purposes only – I could see their point, and next thing, they had taken over the Western world.  

People seem to react to iPads either by buying one, wanting to buy one, or formulating once again their reasons for (a) not buying anything from Apple, (b) not buying any new technology or © declaring once again, nothing beats a paper diary.

I was in the group that got the first generation iPad, and have been using it on and off ever since. The off periods normally coincide when the children discover a game like Minecraft and I don’t see it for six to eight weeks, and even when it comes back, it takes more screen wipes than I have to make it useable again.

Since my iPad still works, I was sure I wouldn’t like the iPad Mini or even see the point of it. Yes, my “old” iPad is rather brick-like compared to the newer versions, but it is lighter than my laptop and for day trips or even overnight trips to Europe I take it instead of the laptop, relying on a Bluetooth keyboard if I have to type anything longer than a couple of lines.

The iPad is also a good size for reading, and very economical compared with printing out large pdfs of company annual reports, for instance. I have grown used to it performing some tasks well, and being utterly useless for others (watching videos with flash, for instance).

The iPad Mini, however, has changed my perception of the iPad, and also the larger format phones that are coming in. It has me wondering whether there could be a truly convergent device in this space, something a bit smaller than a iPad Mini, for instance, but larger than the Galaxy S3, for instance.

Assuming you’ve already got a tablet, why would you want a iPad Mini? Well, if you’re happy with what you’ve got, you probably wouldn’t. But having played around with it for a few weeks, if I had to buy another, I would go for this smaller format.

Why? Well, it is light, the 7.9 inch screen is wonderful (1024-by-768 resolution at 163 ppi), it has the latest software, a great camera for both pictures and video conferencing , and reading things it isn’t as difficult as I thought – in fact, because it is so light and can be held easily and comfortably for some time with one hand, it means you use it a lot more than you do a "large" iPad. It even fits in a reasonably sized pocket without causing you to lean over to that side with the weight.

You can buy various versions of the iPad Mini – mine was from Vodafone which meant it also had 3G internet access – which worked well and seemed to have a better reception than my old iPad, but by now I was comparing it in every department and it won in all of them.

I suppose the only disadvantage is that it is so desirable that Minecraft and Temple Run were immediately downloaded onto it by the children, along with Talking Tom, still the single most annoying and pointless app I have come across.

  • Verdict a pleasant surprise. Expensive, but once you’ve picked one up, it quickly becomes another of those must-have items. Except now I’ve given it back.
  • Price iPad mini, £40.83 on 24 month Vodafone Business price plans from £22.50 per month, including 2 GB UK data (then 5p for each extra MB) and 2GB of UK Wi-Fi. (exc VAT).
  • Display 7.9-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit Multi-Touch with IPS technology
  • Storage 16GB, 32GB or 64GB
  • Cellular data UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA, GSM/EDGE, CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B LTE
  • Wireless data 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi (802.11n 2.4GHz and 5GHz)
  • Dimensions 7.87 inches by 5.3 inches by 0.28 inch; 200 mm by 134.7 mm by 7.2 mm
  • Weight wifi model: 0.68 pound (308 grams); wifi and Cellular model: 0.69 pound (312 grams)
  • Contact
Tom Otley
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