On October 26th, I got up at 3:00 AM EST (12:00 AM PST) to order two iPad minis. One was black (my husband’s) and the other was white (mine). Other than that, the configuration was the same — 64GB of storage and Wifi + Cellular (Verizon). While the Wifi only models were to be released on November 2nd in the U.S., the Wifi + Cellular models were given a ‘mid-November’ date. But I still got up at 3:00 AM anyways. Crazy, right?
First, a little personal iPad history. I have every iPad up to the release of the iPad mini. Each was better in some way — faster, Retina display, lighter — but other than that, they were basically the same to me. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy that I bought them but the evolution of the iPad wasn’t particularly all that exciting to me.
When the iPad mini and 4th-generation iPad were announced by Apple CEO Tim Cook and Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller on October 23rd, I was definitely intrigued by the iPad mini. I take my iPad everywhere I go. I use it both at work and at home. Could a smaller version of the iPad work for me?
So, as I said earlier, I got up on October 26th to order two iPad minis. Eventually, I got word from Apple that our iPad minis would arrive on November 19th but they actually came four days earlier, on the 15th. So I’ve had my iPad mini for about a month and a half.
In many ways, the iPad mini is a scaled-down version of the iPad 2 with Siri thrown in — same processor (A5) and same resolution (1024 X 768). The outward appearance (other than size) is the same except that the back of the black iPad mini is black slate, not silver.
I found that I could do everything on the iPad mini that I do on my full-size iPads — read, surf the web, listen to music, stream video, play games — with no significant loss in experience. While I will admit that sometimes I wish it had Retina display, if I never owned an iPad with Retina display, I wouldn’t even miss it. I do own up to streaming video on my full-size iPad sometimes, though. Old habits are hard to break.
The 7.9” screen size of the iPad mini is smaller than the 9.7” screen size of the ‘standard’ iPad but still plenty big enough for anything you want to read, stream or play.
The iPad mini is almost 53% lighter than the iPad with Retina display, weighing in at a svelte 0.68 lb. (308 g). When I first got it, I kept checking my purse to make sure I had it because it is so much lighter. The size is also a nice form factor. Its dimensions are 7.87 inches (200 mm) long by 5.3 inches (134.7 mm) wide by 0.28 inch (7.2 mm).
Pricing ranges from $329 for the 16GB Wifi only model to $659 for the 64GB Wifi + Cellular model. Available sizes are 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. Each step up in storage costs an additional $100. Adding Cellular will cost you another $130 on top of that. The Wifi + Cellular models are available on AT&T, Sprint and Verizon.
Am I glad that I bought my iPad mini? Absolutely. It is a great little tablet that packs a whole lot of features.
For more information on the similarities and differences between the iPad mini, iPad 2 and iPad with Retina display, check out So Which iPad Should I Buy?