If you’ve been on the Internet at all in the past few days, there’s a good chance you’ve seen a promotional video for the iPad mini. The video features the standard Apple cast of Jonathan Ive and white backdrops to show you how revolutionary the newest Apple product actually is. While all of the glamor of an Apple event may not excite you, we think that what’s inside the Apple mini will probably get you going. If you don’t already own an iPad, now may definitely be the time to jump on the bandwagon.
Obviously, the first thing anyone ever talks about when it comes to a new Apple product is the screen size and type. The iPad Mini features a 7.9 inch screen at a 1024 by 768 resolution (163ppi). This is the same screen resolution as the iPad 2. There’s also about 30% more screen real estate on the iPad Mini when compared to regular 7 inch tablet displays.
There’s also a bit of new technology in the design that prevents fingerprints from showing up as readily. It’s called oleophobic coating. We’ll let you look that up on Wikipedia on your own time.
There’s a dual core A-5 processor inside this thing and it’s quick. There’s virtually no lag when loading up applications or trying to scroll from page to page in a document. This is a wonderful improvement from other tablets that have a bit of a slowness to them when trying to read a document without having to wait from page to page.
The iPad mini is just 7.2 millimeters thick. This has a lot to do with the new single cell battery design that Apple has come up with (we’ll get to battery life below). It’s 23% thinner than the current iPad available on the market, as well as just over 50% lighter as well. It’s a dream to hold this thing that essentially feels like a giant iPhone. It weighs 0.68 pounds.
Wifi or Cellular
As you’d expect, the Mini comes in WiFi and Cellular connection versions with service plans from AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon available. The only difference between the two is that the Cellular version weighs 0.01 pounds more. If that’s going to give you arthritis, we suggest sticking with just the WiFi model.
The iPad mini has 2 cameras on it; a front facing camera and a standard rear facing camera. The Facetime camera on the front, designed for video chat, is a 1.2 megapixel camera that can shoot 720p HD video.
On the back, the camera is a bit slimmer and streamlined than you may be used to, but it is still capable of 5 megapixel shots and 1080P video capturing. All of the cool features such as stabilization and face detection are available as well, but we wouldn’t really consider them to be “extras” at this point in time.
10 hours of battery life! The battery is a 16.3 watt rechargeable lithium ion. While we haven’t been able to test the full capabilities of the battery, Apple claims that it’s capable of 10 full hours of web browsing and video watching. If that’s true, this claim should be enough alone to get you to want to buy this new handheld tablet.
Ins and Outs
There’s a lightning power connector, which is Apple’s newest way to get you to buy a new power cable for your devices (we mean more efficient way to power things of course). There’s a headphone jack as well as a built in speaker and microphone. The sound quality out of the speaker isn’t phenomenal, which is why we recommend using headphones if you can. The newest Apple headphones aren’t that bad to be honest, but they are a little uncomfortable for long periods of time.
The only difference in inputs and outputs between the iPad Mini cellular model is the SIM card slot that allows you to connect to the cellular network.
Alright, so the iPad Mini sounds pretty cool, but is it actually worth your $430? (They start at $329 and go up to $529).
We have mixed opinions here about it. There’s no doubt that the iPad Mini is a cool device. It has a sleek design, as you’d expect an Apple product to have, but does it actually offer anything that you wouldn’t be willing to live without to justify the price point?
Other similarly sized tablets (about 7 inches), including the new Amazon Kindle Fire and the Google Nexus tablet are looking to be priced at right around $200 for the full featured models. Yeah, there’s a bit less space in each of them, but can that be fixed with an SD card as opposed to having to pay for a bunch of extra built in space?
The biggest complaint other reviewers seem to be having about the iPad Mini is that the screen just isn’t up to par with its competitors. The Mini has 163 pixels per inch(ppi), which is much lower than the Nexus’ 216 and the new Nook HD’s 243. Apple says that the reason they did this is to make designing apps a lot easier for developers since that screen size and pixel density is consistent across both the regular iPad and the iPad mini.
We haven’t had any issue with the lower pixel density in terms of view-ability, but just knowing that the Mini is somehow lacking when compared to other products is a little worrying.
Apple products have always been more expensive than their competitors for one reason: They deliver an experience. Apple’s Tim Cook says that he wants the iPad Mini to be a device that people use for years to come and don’t look to upgrade as soon as the next update comes out. Unlike other tablets that seem to be in it just for the money, Apple tries to streamline the user experience and make things easier for consumers to handle.
While we disagree that consumers may not be beating down doors to get the next version of the iPad Mini, we think this iteration of the product is extremely solid and will be everything an iPad is without overwhelming the senses or completely breaking the pocket book. Only time will tell as to how the market handles the newest iPad edition and whether it’ll stand up against Google and Barnes and Noble’s newest products too.