So apparently, Apple is going high this time of the year, and plans on launching not one, but two iPads this season, which brings it up to a total of 3 iPads this year (the iPad 3 in March, and the iPad 4 announced along with the iPad Mini). Some might well call it the year of tablets, what with Microsoft going big too and releasing its Surface RT tablet (and Surface PRO possibly later this year). But we call it fun! Two giants going head to head, and releasing one enviable gadget after another. Now that’s more like ‘the digital era’, or whatever :). The tablet we’ve picked up today is the iPad Mini, announced by Apple in San Jose last week. So let’s dive right into and see what’s all the hype about.
The whole point of the iPad Mini is its size. It’s smaller than the regular iPad, which means it will fit into just one hand, and is hence more portable. It measures 20 cm by 13.47 cm, and is just 7.2 mm thick, as compared to 9.4 mm for the regular iPad. It weighs only 308 grams (add 4 grams for the cellular version).
The iPad Mini’s display is, I am afraid to say, disappointing. It is a 7.9 inch LED-backlit IPS LCD, 1.8 inches smaller than the regular iPad diagonally. The resolution is where the disappointment lies. It has 1024 x 768 pixels, four times lesser pixels than iPad 3 and 4, talking us back to the iPad 2 age. And despite the smaller screen, the pixel density is only 163 ppi, far below the Retina display standard.
Processor and camera
The iPad Mini comes with a dual-core A5 chip, which is kind of a let-down, because the iPad 3 had an A5X chip, whereas the new iPad has the A6X chip. But processor isn’t a problem though, because it has to deal with four times less pixels, so the performance should be roughly the same.
The camera is one of the few things that’s unchanged. It has a 5 MP back iSight Camera, and a 1.2 MP front-facing HD camera, the same one that you get with the iPad 4. Hence, the camera is the one thing that an iPad mini owner can be proud of.
Memory and Connectivity
The iPad Mini comes with 512 Mega Bytes of RAM, and the usual selection of storage limits i.e. 16/32/64 GB. It comes with Wifi built-in, with an additional charge of $130 if you want cellular connectivity. And it comes with the iPad default Bluetooth 4.0. The old 30 pin connector has been replaced in the iPad mini (and iPad 4) by the better designed Lightening Connector.
Yep, that’s right! Another thing iPad Mini owners can be proud of. Siri first appeared in the iPhone 4S, but was surprisingly absent from the iPad. Now, it has found a new home in the iPad Mini, and will now come as default in this and any subsequent versions of the iPad mini.
The price is perhaps the best part. The entry level iPad mini costs $329 (16 GB). Add a $100 for 32 GB or $200 for 64 GB. And add $130 if you want cellular. This is a pretty good bargain, especially when the iPad 4 costs $499, and the revised iPad 2 costs $399.
All-in-all, the iPad Mini isn’t a very bad deal. It’s larger than its other 7 inch counterparts, and yet much cheaper than the regular iPad, while being just as fast. The camera and Siri add more color to it, and the low price especially makes it a good deal, considering how over-priced Apple usually is.