When rumors of a smaller iPad started to circulate, I was one of the first to dismiss the notion. I guess, in my naivety I went along with Steve Jobs’ “iPad is the perfect size/7-inch tablets suck” speech. Let’s put that down to being well and truly sucked in to the infamous Reality Distortion field. As time progressed and rumors got more frequent, and leaks and concepts started to make their way online, my mindset changed – a lot. I started to see a place for the smaller iPad on the market. In fact, I think it was one of the concepts that convinced me it could work. Kindle Fire’s were selling like hot cakes, and the Nexus 7 was greeted pleasantly. I thought, if iPad can become smaller, Apple’s got a real chance of killing it, like it did the MP3 arena.
By the time I’d had my iPad 3 (I’m calling it that for convenience’s sake) for more than a few months, there were some things I started to hate doing on it and with it. Primarily: holding it. Apple’s third generation tablet is hardly as light and nimble as a ballet-dancing fairy. It’s quite a substantial weight, and I started feeling the edges dig in to my hands when I was playing games, reading, or generally just gripping it for too long. It was too awkward to just let it rest in one hand, so, I just made the best of it, wishing I had something lighter and smaller.
By the time the iPhone 5 event came around, I was longing for Apple to announce a smaller, more comfortable tablet. I’d considered buying the Kindle Fire or Nexus 7, but I wasn’t keen on having a device outside my established ecosystem that I know and love already. So, I pre-ordered the iPad mini as soon as it was available. It arrived virtually 24 hours ago from time of typing this sentence.
Obviously, the first thing I noticed was the display. When you switch on a device, it’s always the first thing that gets your attention. I’d been bracing myself for 7 days, hoping that the resolution wasn’t going to be awful. At 163ppi (1024 x 768 resolution) it’s virtually the same pixel density as the original iPhone. But, it doesn’t look bad at all, as long as you don’t place it directly next to the 3rd or 4th generation iPads. Thankfully, I use it much further away from my eyes than I would the iPhone, making the individual pixels a little less obvious.
As far as I’m concerned, the display is the only negative with this device. Although it has an A5 powering it, app switching and loading isn’t noticeably slow. In fact, its speed hasn’t frustrated me one bit, as it handles all my usage with ease. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a powerhouse by any stretch of the imagination. But, it does what it needs to do.
My biggest pleasure with this device is its size, design and weight. It looks and feels fantagmagastic. (I know it’s not a real word, but, had I used actual Oxford English Superlatives, I’d never have been able to sum it up as well.) The thinness and lightness combine with the svelte curved edges to achieve a sensation of near perfection. I love it. In fact, I love the way it feels and how comfortable it is to hold so much, that my iPad 3 is virtually always being used by my family. The iPad mini is “my precious”. No one else has touched it since it arrived. It’s mine. All mine (insert stereotypical evil laugh here). Its small frame and design makes it exponentially more personal than the larger tablet. Perhaps why I’m having attachment issues with it. The only thing missing is the Retina display, that’s it. Dare I say it: it’d be a perfect small tablet with a Retina density screen.
Apple – this is quite possibly my favorite iDevice yet. Thank you.