iPad mini Hands On - Updated with More Photos & Videosby Anand Lal Shimpi on October 23, 2012 2:25 PM EST
We just spent a good amount of time with the iPad mini and the easiest way to describe the device is that it's lighter than you'd expect. The build quality and finish both feel good as you'd expect, but the device is just considerably lighter than the iPad which results in superior in hand feel.
The display doesn't feel cramped either thanks to the reasonably large diagonal size. It's clear that the iPad mini is a nod to those who want something even more portable than the standard iPad.
In terms of performance, there's a pretty noticeable difference between the A5 in the iPad mini and the A6X in the 4th gen iPad as you'd expect. I do wish that Apple had brought the A6 to the mini, however something has to give in pursuit of the lower price point.
The LTE version of the iPad mini has an RF window at the top of the unit similar to the standard iPad, although it does blend in a bit better on the black model.
Check out more photos and impressions in the gallery and video below.
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fr33h33l - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - linkI cannot help thinking that the iPad Mini is the first device that truly shows that Apple is not the same without Steve Jobs at the helm. Not that I liked his personality, but he at least brought unity, consistency and clear direction for the company.
The iPad Mini feels both like a halfhearted and desperate effort, trying to catch up with the competition. As said below, the low screen resolution (how come a non-Retina display is so amazing all of a sudden?), and old SoC are far from innovative and the long running comparison to Nexus 7 just shows how lost Apple has become without Jobs (if I were Larry Page, I would call up Tim Cook and thank him for a 5 minute free commercial). Also, from a technical standpoint, the Nexus 7 actually looks superior, both in terms of SoC and screen resolution - at a much lower price.
The extremely early upgrade of the iPad 4 (or whatever it is called) also feels merely like a counter-move towards the competition, not something that can be viewed as innovative. Granted, twice the graphics performance vs. A5X sounds quite nice, but why already now if Apple weren't feeling threatened and worried, especially by MS Surface and rumored Google/Samsung 10-inch Retina beating tablet? If nothing else, a good way of alienating existing "New iPad" customers.
EnzoFX - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - linkWow you are ridiculously overdramatic.
No one said 1024x768 was AMAZING. At best most are saying it'll do fine. You're getting lost on the fact that this is supposed to be a low end item by comparison. To cry over no retina is like crying that the cheaper 13" mac pro doesn't have retina. Or the Mac Book Air. This is a stupid argument so long as there are still product lines that DON'T have retina. Get over it.
cmdrdredd - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - linkActually no...see Apple claims it does everything better. Every keynote makes it sound like they have some magic wand to make their product better and stand out. This thing falls flat on its face a million times over compared to what else is out there. For the record is is much easier to hold and much better for movies to have a rectangular product not a square one. This is why the Nexus 7 is superior from the beginning. Before the CPU, before the resolution, and before the customizable OS. It has a 16:10 aspect ratio which is a hell of a lot better for everything than 4:3. Especially if you are trying to watch HD movies, 1024x768 isn't even 720p so playing back an HD video will not be as crisp at all.
EnzoFX - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - linkEverything? Not for webpages, which you can see Apple is still prioritizing, rightfully so, seeing as that's what we mostly do on them. It's that same old argument. Watch movies on your TV, not on a 7" device. =P
Hopefully Retina comes early next year for the same price heh.
Calista - Monday, October 29, 2012 - link>1024x768 isn't even 720p so playing back an HD video will not be as crisp at all.
Don't be silly, few if anyone would be able to tell the differens on a 720p clip being played back on a WXGA vs a XGA panel. Pixel density is one of the least important things to define a great picture.
Alucard291 - Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - linkRight right so when the iphones had nothing going for them except "shitty-na" displays everyone COULD REALLY tell the difference. And now 60ppi doesn't make any difference?
Can we just make our minds up on whether 60ppi is significant or not? ^^
FearfulSPARTAN - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - linkHe makes a good point actually in my opinion
fr33h33l - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - linkIf my only argument would have been the low resolution (and, as cmdrdredd points out below, the outdated aspect ratio), then possibly I would have been overdramatic. However, if you read my post again, you should be able to conclude that's not the case.
Even though most people are still underwhelmed (again, a fitting description) as far as specs go, the most troublesome fact for Apple in all this is that they are now reacting instead of acting, which for a company who basically claims innovation monopoly is not a good sign.
Zink - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - linkI wouldn’t say the iPad 4 is a countermove because it is purely a performance increase. Copying other tablets would be a countermove, but they have to make it faster sometime between today and 6 months from now, why wait? The way the timing worked out they already decided to release their new CPU on the iPhone instead of the iPad. It wouldn’t make much sense so be selling iPads half as fast as the iPhone for 6 months. Like you said, the GPU upgrade is “nice” but doesn’t really help make the UI any better unless we start seeing PS3 level graphics in games.
Moving back to the old res on the Mini is definitely not amazing but I think their presentation is largely about the user experience. iPad apps are designed around this res and the panel is too small to fit a 3MP screen this year. Higher resolution would have been nice but it would mean stretched apps and a poor user experience for a 40% increase in PPI. I guess they could have avoided making this product entirely but I think many people will like having something smaller.
The slow CPU and small RAM sucks but I don’t see customers caring. It’s about the UI and if people like using this better even with 512MB ram then it looks like a good product. The software is designed to perform with these limitations so I’m sure it isn’t too painful. I don’t think you can say the Nexus 7 is superior for the average consumer based on specs alone, more important is what you can see on the screen and how seamlessly it can be interacted with. There are $150 tablets on ebay with “superior” specs but I don’t think iPad users care. The Nexus 7 is definitely crushes crapgadget tablets but not with superior specifications.
The side by side comparison of apps seemed to me to be in bad taste with regards to Google because Apple already dominates sales but if anything I think it will help kick app developers in the right direction. I think the comparison of web page viewing in landscape was necessary as I had no idea that the Nexus 7’s small screen + wide aspect + on screen controls would mean only seeing 60% of the content. With a Nexus 7 already on the screen for area comparison, I guess I can’t fault them for taking the shots they did.
Pricing is one area where I think they got it right. Apple’s products are premium products and they already have great sales. Trying to compete on price isn’t something Jobs did and this is the same Apple.
Impulses - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - linkWho browses in landscape mode on a tablet tho? Like...why would you?
I'm not knocking the mini tho, I think the intended market will eat it up. In a sense it's a lot like the first IPad... Not really the best tablet they could produce, but it was the best possible time to put one out.
The price point and size on the mini are things people really wanted out of Apple, and they're giving it to them without sacrificing perennially high profit margins for a better SoC or display. Next year's model will probably be a big jump on both accounts.
Me I'm anxious for a Nexus 7 refresh... I'll probably be giving one away as a Christmas gift this year but I'm holding out for the next rev (and possibly Win RT hardware) before upgrading my year and a half old Transformer, which I bought for $300 mind you... 10" 1280x800 :p (crazy Staples $100 off tablets special)