- Editor's Rating
- Excellent Form Factor, design and build quality
- Fantastic battery life
- Very portable and practical
- Lack of Retina display and lower resolution will be a deal breaker for some
- Price higher than anticipated
- First generation device, lots to improve on
Quick TakeA fine tablet for surfing the Web, reading books, playing most games, or checking Facebook.
After what feels like a lifetime of rumors and speculation, Apple is finally jumping into the 7-inch tablet market with its iPad Mini. Although the company has long reigned supreme over the 10-inch tablet world, it now finds itself in a highly competitive 7-inch market, highlighted by such heavy hitters as the Google Nexus 7, Kindle Fire, and Nook, among others. With those successful devices already sporting impressive specs at competitive price points, is the iPad Mini a case of too little, too late? Or does it deserve to be the smash hit its bigger siblings already are?
Well, the answer probably lies somewhere in between — for now, at least. Sporting a 7.9-inch frame that only weighs .68 lbs, the device certainly earns the “Mini” portion of its name. In fact, the Mini was so light that TabletPCReview’s review says that it makes the iPad 4 “feel like a brick” by comparison. Thankfully, the iPad Mini also features the wonderfully sleek and comfortable form factor we’ve all come to expect from Apple’s tablets by now. TPCR notes that it makes other 7-inchers “feel cheap” as a result of its smooth, metal casing and iPhone 5-esque attractiveness. Apple fans can rest easy — this is still very much the kind of iPad many have come to love.
But the problem comes in just which kind of iPad the Mini is taking its lead from. While it does feature the same OS (iOS 6), apps, long battery life, and sexy look of its most recent predecessors — all in a smaller, more travel-friendly package — the iPad Mini only has an A5 processor. For those who don’t know, that was what powered the iPad 2 almost two years ago. This might not make much of a difference to casual users who just want to check email and Facebook every now and again, but those who hoped for more powerful performance will be, as TPCR terms it, “crying bloody murder.”
Beyond that, the Mini’s screen is a tad disappointing, especially considering how Apple has been touting its top-quality Retina display tech so much as of late. The Mini, in contrast, features a 1024 x 768 resolution display, falling short of the capabilities of its primary 7-inch competitors. At the relatively high price point of $330 at the time of review, TPCR says that those looking for a better deal on a tablet of this size would be best served opting for something like the Google Nexus 7.
But while there are plenty of things to gripe about when it comes to the iPad Mini, the tablet is still very much a “nice start” for Apple in the 7-inch market. As TPCR’s review proclaims, there’s plenty of hope for the future too: “Once Apple updates the next generation Mini with everything that this is currently lacking, it will be an invincible device.”