With all the speculation surrounding the popularity of Apple's baby tablet, reviews of the new iPad Mini are flying in thick and fast with the major gadget sites giving it a thumbs up.
Aesthetically, the 7-inchers are all nice considering their price. The mini is nice, period. It’s glass on the front and aluminum on the back, and at least as deluxe-feeling as any other iPad Apple has ever made. But the company didn’t quite stick an iPad in a photocopier and press the Reduce button.
…If your budget’s got more wiggle room, the iPad mini is the best compact-sized tablet on the market. Apple didn’t build yet another bargain-basement special; it squeezed all of the big iPad’s industrial-design panache, software polish and third-party apps, and most of its technology, into a smaller thinner, lighter, lower-priced model. The result may be a product in a category of one – but I have a hunch it’s going to be an awfully popular category.
MG Siegler of Techcrunch (major, major fanboy)
The iPad mini isn’t perfect – for one reason [the lack of a Retina screen] in particular – but it’s damn close to my ideal device. In my review of the Nexus 7 (which I really liked, to the shock of many), I kept coming back to one thing: the form-factor. Mix this with iOS and Apple’s app ecosystem and the intangibles I spoke about earlier and the iPad mini is an explosion of handheld joy
…But how will a $329 tablet fare in a world of $199 tablets? It’s hard to know for sure, but my guess would be in the range of “quite well” to “spectacular.”
The biggest change in the software on the iPad mini that you need to be aware of is… everything is smaller. 99 out of 100 times while using it, this wasn’t an issue, but it did take some getting used to in places. For instance, because the screen real estate is so much larger than an iPhone but icons are now roughly iPhone size, apps with lots of navigational elements can be a little less intuitive to navigate. Furthermore, the keyboard size feels altered — most notably in portrait — and the keys don’t see tall enough for my fingers.
In our standard battery run-down test, which entails looping a video with WiFi enabled and a fixed display brightness, the iPad mini managed an astounding 12 hours and 43 minutes. This gives it the longest battery life of any tablet we’ve ever tested, besting even the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 by 42 minutes. Indeed during the course of our testing the battery on the iPad mini exceeded our expectations, expectations that were already high thanks to the consistently great battery life offered by the iPad family.
Yes the reviews think it’s great and despite the price it’s looking as though the iPad Mini will sell in the millions. However, with Apple generally refreshing the iPad line between April and May do you really want to have a device for seven months before they release an even thiner, lighter and higher resolution version? I think not.