My big iPad Mini Review

My last two posts have largely been about the iPad Mini, the good and the bad, so of course it makes sense to conclude this trilogy right!

So I caved in as soon as I played with it at the Apple Store. Reading about it online initially made me think I didn’t want one because of the crazy price and what it might be lacking. Wrong. I love my iPad Mini.

Hardware

iPad Mini and iPad 2

At 7.9″ it means it’s wider than your average 7″ Nexus or Kindle and is literally a scaled down version of the bigger iPad 2. When I first played with the Nexus 7, I felt a bit claustrophobic and I can see why now. That extra width means a lot more to me due to the various different apps that I use. It’s perfect.

The weight, to everyone’s delight, is mega light being the lightest 7+” tablet in the market. I can comfortably hold the iPad with one hand around the edges on one side with no issues.

And the screen, oh, the screen, everyone talks about the screen. It’s not Retina display, oh no. And it really is oh-no if you’re used to it. I thought I would be affected because of the iPhone 4S retina screen but nope, after several days now and hours staring at it, I’m pretty okay with my screen at the price I paid. Any more however and I would be complaining for a retina version.

The battery, as per usual, is Apple-standard. Advertised at 10 hours usage, it’s been tested to last up to 12. A few days worth of usage before charging for me!

I chose the Apple REDelicious Smart Cover. It serves its purpose to protect the screen but I find it doesn’t snap quite as accurately as the bigger version and thought it didn’t sit correctly on my screen when I saw it stick up in the middle, but turns out all you need to do is make sure you snap and slide to the right. [UPDATE] Oh, I see it now, it really does not snap to the screen very well when it’s sideways in my bag. It’s practically coming off. That really is no good 😦

4G LTE? Not rich enough to spend an extra $40 per month for 1GB of data, nope. I will tether my iPad to my iPhone which works perfectly okay, besides it killing my iPhone battery and also my data. I found I can download most of it at home anyway before heading out so that saves me a load, like SMH.

Did I mention it looking really pretty? Its design is really a hybrid iPhone 5 + latest iPod Touch, rather than the iPad and it looks fantastic – the black one. In summary, it feels and looks great.

Apps and choosing the right size – important

I looked at my iPhone and my mom’s iPad 2 data usage and thought a 16GB version would be more than enough to last a year before upgrading (also because the 32GB is a stupid $110 extra). An iPhone will typically be used to store your camera photos and videos, music and your apps. The first three would most likely take up most of your space and why most people opt for a 32GB version, because they like to go snappity snap with a phone camera. For an iPad, I thought my usage wouldn’t include snappity snap so of course the 16GB was perfect, right? Wrong. They really shouldn’t have been classed together like that. What you do on your iPhone isn’t the same as on your iPad. Let’s have a look at why, after a few days only, that I only have 9GB left on my new iPad Mini.

I bought Wine Simplified after seeing it on Gizmodo because I am a complete newb with wine and it looked like an informative, fun and interesting interactive read. $11. 380MB

Reading manga woo!

I’m an avid manga reader so I bought Manga Storm for $4.50. This allows me to stream or download manga to read on the go from various sites including the popular mangafox and mangareader. The iPad Mini was made for this, I’m certain of it. It’s a thousand times better than reading it on my laptop or PC. That extra width I mentioned? Looks bloody great on it and is super easy to use. Love it. I downloaded around 90 chapters of Billy Bat and that was 400MB already. You can see how this could easily take up loads of space.

iTunes U! Free university courses! Yay, if that’s your thing. I subscribed to Stanford’s iOS App Development course, downloaded the notes and ONE lecture video. 800MB. That’s 700MB per lecture so if I’m ready to download the entire course, that will cost me the rest of my 9GB I’m afraid.

I also like playing games so I downloaded Bejeweled and some Zombie game. A few hundred MBs. That’s only 2 games. Two.

Then there’s Apple’s NewsStand. Provided I’m cheap for magazines so only found SMH and Emporium Myer as free subscriptions, that’s probably a few MBs too. Mind you, they look greaaaaat.

So there you have it. I haven’t even added my music yet. And maybe some movies to watch on the go when I travel? Some books? :[ Now it just means I actually have to be aware of my data and delete when necessary, something I don’t have to bother with on my 32GB iPhone. I hadn’t realised I could do so much more with a portable iPad and I only just started. I thought I would be ‘trying’ to look for things to do but now I have too much to do.

iOS6

Yes, I still hate Apple Maps. It still sucks and it still gives me crap directions compared to Google Maps. I hate it and pray that Google quickly release their own version soon.   Other than that, I don’t really notice it being too different from iOS5. I do however appreciate that we can FINALLY download and update apps from the App Store without leaving the damn App Store.

Tips and Tricks

The thing with Apple products, and this is inclusive of iPhones, iPads and MacBooks, is that you’ll always find new tips and tricks and be wowed. I’ll write a new post around what I know but here’s a trick that I didn’t know about and has apparently been there forever for iPads.

Swipe both your thumbs from inwards to out and the keyboard splits in half! So as to allow for ease of typing. HUH. But. It was pretty amazeballs to me.

A new advertised feature for the iPad Mini is when your iPad recognizes that you’re ‘resting your thumb on the screen rather than using it’ trick. This was much needed because the iPad Mini has a surprisingly thin bezel on the sides which means you will end up placing your thumb on the screen sometimes. I end up avoiding it but I find it works in some apps and not some other apps, like Manga Storm.

Overall

I’m loving my expensive new toy. I find myself going for it instead of my MacBook Air at home sometimes which is pretty crazy, and love using it on my train trips. I never wanted an iPad, mainly because of the size and weight. This, this is good. If you’re deciding on choosing a tablet, I say check them out in store! Because this time round, it’s largely to do with how good it feels in your hands.

UPDATE

Apple’s 14 day return policy! I am going to swap it for a 32GB version, if they’re in stock.

Further Update

I successfully swapped my 16GB with a 32GB and already, I only have 15.3GB left. Ta daaaaaaaaaaaa.

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6 thoughts on “My big iPad Mini Review”

  1. Great review. I’ve just ordered the new Ipad (with wifi etc) through my work. Should have it in a few weeks. Super excited, I’m such an tech geek.

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