I was skeptical as I purchased my 4th iPad, the new iPad mini on Friday when it arrived at my local Apple store. I was expecting lower performance or at least to be unimpressed by the smaller screen size. But in the end, this could be one of the best holiday gifts this season, especially for children.
Overall, the iPad mini is great for reading, including book apps and has access to a sea of iPad content for education and gaming. The smaller size can be a downside for video (especially since the iPad Mini lacks the retina display & processor of the latest iPad), and this tablet may not be ideal for advanced gaming experiences, but is more than enough for most users.
To see more about our thoughts about the iPad for educational content overall compared to Android, please read: The new iPad vs Nook Color vs Kindle Fire: Who has the best family tablet? and iPad vs Nook vs Kindle vs Nexus? The Tablet Wars Heat Up …
You can also see our updated device comparison grid, including our ratings of content selection & prices for education and reading apps for the iPad Mini, full size iPad 2/3, Nook Color, Kindle Fire, and Nexus 7.
What we liked:
Great in portrait mode for reading and light enough to hold like a paperback for hours
Easier to handle for children, almost as if it was built as the “iPad for Kids”
Nice stereo sound & most iPad apps function beautifully, so access to lots of great content
Nice size for school or other education use in particular
Great size for travel, very portable, unlike full size iPads
What we didn’t like:
Processor is slower than new iPad
Screen resolution is lower than other new Apple devices, which can make text harder to read, especially on a smaller device
New charger not compatible with older iPads (although easier for users of iPhone 5 & other new Apple devices)
A bit too large to slip into a pocket or small purse, like the smaller Android tablets
Size – 7.9 x 5.3 – larger than other ‘small’ tablets like Kindle Fire & Nexus
Weight – .68 lbs (less than 1/2 the weight of latest iPad)
Thickness – .28 lbs (possibly the lightest tablet on the market)
New plug + Access to Siri (unlike iPad 2)
Same resolution for cameras (front 720p & rear 1080p) & video capability as newer iPads
What’s old (similar to iPad 2):
Same processor as iPad 2
Same screen resolution as iPad 2
All buttons, settings, apps & iOS the same as current full size iPad