Nov. 03--This might just be Apple's best tablet yet.
Holding it for the first time, I couldn't help but think that the size of the iPad mini is what iPad should have been all along. At 7.9 inches, you can grip it with one hand and type with the other. It feels like an e-reader, the size of a book. It's the best content consumption device on the market, and it makes its predecessor seem as if it has been trying to be too many things.
The screen resolution is the same as the iPad 2; the pixel density is higher. The camera is better, and battery life is far better. The overall design is sleeker, with its thin, rounded corners reminiscent of the iPod Touch's slim frame.
The amount of innovation that Apple packs into such a svelte form is impressive. For that reason, this isn't just a shrunken down iPad.
No, this doesn't boast Retina Display. But requiring that on a sub-10-inch tablet is like trying to win a spec horse race. Unless you're hovering over it with a monocle, who cares?
The question many will have is whether it's worth sinking between $329 and $659 into the mini, or if it's better to spend $199 for the Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire. There are two big considerations: Heavy movie-watchers might prefer the picture on Nexus 7, and voracious readers might like Kindle's lack of glare. But while the Kindle and Nexus don't feel quite as high-end, the mini is pure top-shelf.
One thing that confounds me is why Apple still sells iPad 2. The iPad 2 costs $399 for the WiFi-only 16 GB version. For up to $60 more you can purchase a version of the mini that will have far better rear- and front-facing cameras, HD video recording capability, higher storage capacity and Siri. Plus, at about .68 pounds, the mini is half the weight.
So while a choice between the mini and its similarly sized competition can be a tough one given pricing, the choice between a mini and the iPad 2 is a no-brainer.
The late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who famously knocked the idea of a smaller iPad, was, it seems, very wrong on this one.
(c)2012 the Boston Herald
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