Style Name: 16GB, Wi-Fi, Space Grey
(Please also see update at foot of this review)
Still undecided about whether to get the iPad Mini? Then maybe this will help, based on my own buying experience. By way of background, back in early 2012 I was looking for something small and portable, mainly to use at home whilst slumped in front of the TV, and for occasional use away from home via wifi hotspots. There was less choice around then so in the end I took the cheapest option and got a 7" Android tablet. However, I was never completely happy with it, it seemed quite slow (1.2GHz chip), the capacitive screen was not very responsive, the wifi connection was a bit hit and miss, and I personally did not particularly like Android 4.0, so it spent most of its time in a drawer. In fairness, it was from the budget end of the market, and the instructions that came with it were absolutely useless, so I probably got off to a bad start, but first impressions etc.....
Move on a year and I came across an iPad Mini on display in a shop. (I had never previously owned any Apple products, so I did not start off with any preconceptions.) Anyway, as soon as I got my hands on the demo model I felt completely at home with it - very simple and intuitive to use, very responsive, and very solidly made. So, after a bit more research when I got home, I took the plunge and ordered one on Amazon.
Some tips: if you do buy online, then whilst waiting for delivery, download a copy of the instructions from the Apple website for a little light reading, and also set up an Apple ID as you will almost certainly need one unless you never want to download any Apps - even free ones need an Apple ID. You might also want to set up iCloud on your PC to get the most out of the Ipad and to synchronise with your PC.Read more ›
This iPad Mini is not quite the most recent model (it's been upgraded to the "iPad Mini with Retina Display" and the full size "iPad Air"), but it's still an incredibly beautiful device. Oddly enough, it's so beautifully easy to use (my one year old daughter loves playing with it), it's almost doesn't feel like a computer at all.
I bought one for my daughter and she absolutely loves it. We sold the previous Android tablet as it just sat in a drawer not being used.
A word of warning - this review is written for people who've never owned an iPad before - and are wondering what all the fuss is about. Don't read this if you already own an iPad or Mini and are thinking about an upgrade - I'd recommend you simply buy a mini with Retina or an iPad Air.
Just what's all the fuss about? --------------------------------------
I used to own a laptop for work, and (very occasionally), it'd sit on my lap on the sofa, and I'd use it for pleasure (eMail, watching films or playing the odd game). Then I bought my first iPad, and the laptop became redundant, a boring "work device". Hard to explain, but the fact the iPad is so small and light, and you navigate around with your finger by pointing and gently swiping the screen makes the whole experience a lot easier - a lot more fun.
Even my most "luddite" of friends have been won over.
It's incredibly simple and easy to use (it only has one main button), and everyone from my one year old daughter to my 85 year old dad have taken to without problems. It's size and shape also support using it like a book (literally to read a book or web page), but you can also watch TV and films.Read more ›
The build of the iPad mini screams "quality", even more so than the iPad (3) which we also have. It's very easy to hold and the design is immaculate with the screen filling more of the tablet (almost) edge to edge.
I think that the viewing experience when using streaming apps (Netflix, sky go etc) does suffer with having to play on the smaller screen (compared to the iPad) but with the pixel ratio compressed in size, the detail is arguably marginally better again.
The device is ideally sized for my wife and step daughter as they have smaller hands but to me it does seem like it has a more slippery feel so a good case to protect it is an absolute must.
You know what you're getting with apple products and iOS specifically and it was that which was the main hook for the ladies in my house. I actually think its overpriced compared to other mini tablets on the market but that won't matter to those who already have iPhones etc and want to complete the apple experience. In fact, its only really the price that prevents this from being a 5 star review.
*Edit 08/11/12* Now that I've used this for a more substantial period of time, I wanted to update the review to make it more useful and give a better idea of the iPad mini's strengths and weaknesses.
Strengths: - The aluminium chassis gives the iPad mini a premium feel straight from the box. - Light weight, comfortable and easy to hold. This makes it accessible, and useable, for every member of the family. - Handles multitasking and all apps without lag or problems (apps used include Netflix, Sky Go, Facebook, Twitter, Sky news/sports news, BBC iplayer) - As well as the 16gb (or 32/64) there is 5gb of cloud storage.Read more ›