Would you recommend the Ipad Mini ?
January 22, 2013 4:20 PM   Subscribe

Do you have an Ipad Mini ? - would you recommend it and why ?

I don't generally have much enthusiasm for apple - but i've tried the Ipad Mini and it feels like such a lovely device, Garageband in particular - there is nothing comparable - but i'm needing a bit of support to hypocritically switch from pc to mac after all these years - if you have an ipad mini, could you be so kind as to relate your positive experiences with it thus far ?

thanks in advance.
posted by sgt.serenity to Computers & Internet (27 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
The thing that got me wanting an iPad Mini was mathowie's review of it here.
posted by The World Famous at 4:25 PM on January 22, 2013

i'm needing a bit of support to hypocritically switch from pc to mac after all these years

I think you're making more of a big deal about this than you should. You can use computers and tablets made by different companies without it reflecting poorly on your own personal integrity. If the iPad mini does what you want, then it's a useful tool. You can still keep your PC.
posted by aubilenon at 4:26 PM on January 22, 2013 [10 favorites]

Yeah it's a better size than its big brother and cheaper too. I have a bunch of Apple products through work (iPhone, MacBook Pro) but the iPad Mini is the only one I'd have bought myself. Be forewarned that a better screen will almost certainly be announced for it sometime this summer.
posted by 2bucksplus at 4:27 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

I love it. It's the right size for me. It's basically a replacement for my ancient laptop, for home use--lots of reading: books, magzines, web sites, pdfs and other docs; Facebook (of course), email, gps for travel. I just figured out that it sits nicely on the treadmill while I'm walking. I can read it at night with the lights off. There's a Google Drive app so I can download stuff from work to read. I really though it would be too small for reading, especially one-handed, but it's great; the regular iPad would have been way too big for that.
posted by orange (sherbet) rabbit at 4:32 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

I passed on the full size iPad because it was just too large. Lighter than my Macbook, but still big. The Mini is a perfect tool when I don't need the portable workstation power that the Macbook offers. If I'm simply reviewing and transmitting photos from a shoot, watching movies, etc its perfect. My iPhone is now for when I have to go absolutely minimal but the Mini is almost the everyday tool. I've got an iMac, Macbook pro, Mini and iPhone - they all have specific jobs they do better than the others.
posted by blaneyphoto at 4:33 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

I have a mini!

I owned 4 ipods in 2005 and they all stopped working within that year, and I swore off apple products forever.

then I got a ipad mini a couple months ago, since I was at staples (to get an android tablet) and it was just so charming. it's a great size for carrying around (I don't need a tablet at home, I have a great computer.) and it's big enough to play games and sketch and read the internet, but small enough that I find it much more portable than the classic ipad. my bf has an ipad and carries an extra bag for it, but the mini just gets thrown in my purse (with a good cover, of course)

there's also several things that are nice about owning one apple product. there's lots of apps and programs that are still exclusively apple, and are nice to be able to use, for instance I have a fitbit, which can sync through bluetooth to an iphone app, but I have an android and it's not supported. the ipad can do that!

honestly, it's great. it's cute, the screen looks great since it's really high resolution since it's condensed into a smaller space, the touch screen is much more reactive than my android devices, better for notes, drawing, anything that needs accuracy.

just go for it. I had a zune! it was great! I insisted it was great! but there's also something nice about just having the popular stuff. my cord breaks, grab a new one from any corner store. things just natively work with it, it syncs with everything.. it's pretty great. :)
posted by euphoria066 at 4:34 PM on January 22, 2013

I have an iPad and an iPad mini -- I also have used Windows PCs for several years and recently changed to a Mac.

I don't think you can compare an iPad to a Mac or a PC -- they do different things.

If you want a tablet device, it seems to me that you have 3 choices:
1. iPad with the iTunes and AppStore ecosystem.
2. Android tablet with the GooglePlay ecosystem.
3. Microsoft Surface tablet with WindowsStore ecosystem.

All three devices can download books, movies, music in a variety of formats, interact with the web, take pictures, etc...

I like the mini because I like the form factor -- I travel a lot and it seems like just the right size for an international flight in coach -- not too big (like the iPad) and not too small (like the iPhone or iPod Touch). I also have bought into the Apple ecosystem and have a lot of apps I like to use.
posted by elmay at 4:36 PM on January 22, 2013

I have a regular iPad, which has been gathering dust since the day I got my iPad mini.

My number one selling point on the mini? I feel like I can hold it without getting my elbows in other people's business when I'm on an airplane.
posted by banannafish at 4:37 PM on January 22, 2013

IMO, the screen isn't as good as it should be for its price point and I agree that the next gen will fix that issue. That said, for internet surfing, I use mine all the time now - it's replaced my small laptop for that stuff. I'm otherwise a PC and Android person and I never really warmed up to the larger iPads, but this size has ended up being perfect for me. If it's not urgent, I'd wait several months for the better screen.
posted by quince at 4:38 PM on January 22, 2013

I love my iPad mini. I'm using it now. It pretty much replaced my MacBook Pro for web surfing, email and the like. And is my go to device for ebooks and games. I take it everywhere. The size is perfect. Bigger than my iPhone but smaller than my Mac.

I switched to Apple in 2002 so it obviously fits into my ecosystem. I love it can run my iPhone apps even if there isn't an iPad version. And thr icloud syncing between devices is nice. I have iTunes Match too.
posted by birdherder at 4:55 PM on January 22, 2013

As a reading device, the size is absolutely phenomenal - if you are a big reader of news/magazines/ebooks whatever, it's incredible. I thought the lack of retina might bug me, but it's really not that bad, though of course a retina display will eventually come and will improve the device even more.

It's not remotely close to a replacement for my laptop, but as a reading device or as device for very light webrowsing or bashing out quick email replies, it's perfect in size. I've never owned a full-size iPad, but was instantly drawn to the mini when I handled it at a store.
posted by modernnomad at 5:00 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

This doesn't have to be some huge shift in your personal electronics philosophy. I'm not a fan of other Apple devices, but I do like and use my iPad. This from a woman who returned both and iPhone and iPod.

You don't need to join the cult to buy the mini. It's a solid device.
posted by 26.2 at 5:24 PM on January 22, 2013

An iPad is not a computer. It is a tablet. You can do many things on an iPad that you can do on a computer, but an iPad only replaces a computer for a very select percentage of the population. Buying one while still having a PC is not hypocritical so stop making this out to be some kind of Big Thing. It's really not!

An iPad mini is a good buy because of its portability and ease of use. Its size is much more conducive to light reading, gaming, web surfing, and email answering than the iPhone and the full iPad, and it is nowhere near as cumbersome as some other tablets in its size family. You're getting all the excellence of a full iPad in just the right size for your hands and your bag/pockets/purse. It's just a nifty thing to have and everyone I know who's gotten one so far is utterly in love with it.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 5:46 PM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

Yep, the iPad Mini is a lovely device. It really is the perfect size for reading: big enough for good-sized text and lots of whitespace, and small enough that you can easily hold it in one hand. I wish it had a retina display, but I haven't found any comfort problems reading on the non-retina screen.

Also, it's a great size for games.
posted by Georgina at 5:48 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

A story overheard this weekend in a bar in Venice Beach:

In the middle of the broadcast of Oprah Winfrey's interview with Lance Armstrong, the head of Discovery Channel ran out of his office to an Apple Store in L.A. to buy an iPad Mini because the head of Oprah Winfrey Network (owned by Discovery) told him he was watching the interview streaming online on his iPad Mini, and had spoken with Lance who was also watching the interview online, on his iPad Mini, in Austin.

The story continued with details about server load balancing and those jerks at Akamai, and peaked with tequila shots and high-fives.

What I got out of it is that for streaming video, the iPad Mini is the tablet of choice for network executives and championship liars. It may also work for you.
posted by Kakkerlak at 6:01 PM on January 22, 2013 [10 favorites]

Wait for a version with a Retina display. Your eyes will thank me later.
posted by Yowser at 6:16 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

My livelihood revolves around mobile devices and so I end up using many different tablets and currently own (hey, I can justify this, it's my job!) eight of them. The iPad Mini is the best of the bunch. Probably the closest competitor for its size is the Nexus7 and it's a more delightful device. I don't think you'll be disappointed in a Mini and it will change (in a good way) your relationship to the Internet.
posted by donovan at 6:59 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm using my iPad mini right now, bought it three weeks ago with some Christmas money. I am really liking it and am getting a ton of use out of it. I was between this and a Nexus 7, which sounds awesome and is much more attractively priced. I have an Android phone and love the Android system and am very suspicious of the Apple phenomenon due to my curmudgeonly need to dislike popular things (and particularly things popular with rich people). I am also a PC user. The world continues to turn.

What made me decide to get the mini in spite of all that was its size (it is wider than the Nexus 7, which to me seems more comfortable for watching videos and playing games), the higher quality of apps for the iPad vs Android tablets, and the access to games that just aren't available on Android. I know the screen is supposedly shit, but Jesus, it's not that bad. I am perfectly happy with the screen quality of my new high-tech, space-age device.

Anyhoo, it's nice to have a device in this size and format so you can hang out on the Internet but feel kind of like you're reading a book, which is way more cozy. As an Android person there have definitely been some ease-of-use and customization issues that have bugged me, but I was expecting that. I was between purchasing a tablet and a point and shoot camera and ended up with this because I figured I'd get more use out of it. I was right - I'm actually surprised how much I use it. I had been using my phone a lot for surfing the Internet at home, and this has pretty much taken over that role because the size is so much better.

PS - you can buy an Apple product and yet still be really creeped out when you walk by the Apple store and its swarms. I give you permission.
posted by imalaowai at 7:12 PM on January 22, 2013 [3 favorites]

I just got an iPad Mini last week. My neighbor has a full-sized iPad and it's just too big for me... I have small hands. I find it is a lot easier on my arms and wrists than the laptop trackpad and I enjoy using it to read news feeds (via Newsify and Google Reader) and watch video (it doesn't freeze up like my netbook does). I still find it awkward to type on, in both portrait and landscape... I may get faster as I get used to it. But so far if I'm going to type on an iOS device, I'm much faster with 2 thumbs on my iPhone. For lengthy comments, I break out my netbook.

The one thing I won't do with my iPad Mini is read books. I'm sure it's a fine ereader, but I am prone to migraines, and one of my triggers is looking at backlit screens for long periods, so when using my netbook or iPad Mini, I try to be sure to take frequent small breaks. I prefer the Kindle Paperwhite (which is frontlit, not backlit) for reading books. It doesn't trigger migraines, happily. If you are not a migraine sufferer and you can read on a backlit device, then more power to you. :)

And as for being a hypocrite, you're not. Unlike what the commercials would have you believe, you don't have to be either a Mac or a PC. You can use both.

I like to game and I will likely never give up on my PC because of that. My neighbor's college kid has a Macbook Pro and I don't much care for it. I used to jailbreak all my old cell phones - dumbphones - by putting the company-branded firmware on them rather than the AT&T-provided firmware - because AT&T had a habit of disabling features like the GPS. So at one point I'd replaced my aging iPod Mini with an iPod Touch, and I needed a new cell phone. I started out with a Sony Ericsson Android phone, and after 3 hours of fussing with it, upgrading to the newer version of Android at the time (which was supposedly supported but made the phone slower than heck), and still not being able to get MMS to work, I took it back and said JUST GIVE ME THE iPHONE 4! I had the iPod Touch, I knew the iPhone would just work. Thus ended my days of jailbreaking my phones (the iPhone does everything I need on its own) and I have happily coexisted with Windows and iOS since.
posted by IndigoRain at 7:55 PM on January 22, 2013

For all those telling you to wait until the retina version is released - be warned. Retina is a burden. Yes, yes, all those dazzling pixels are nice, but at what price? It's going to be heavier and more expensive.
posted by shew at 9:52 PM on January 22, 2013

shew, the iPad 3 — first Retina iPad — is .1 lb heavier than the iPad 2, but the price at launch was the same. No reason to assume that will be different for the iPad Mini. Keeping the price consistent is a hallmark of Apple's product strategy.
posted by wemayfreeze at 11:53 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

If your first impression is that the iPad mini is a lovely device, then I suspect your later impressions will be the same (unless you get a rare lemon, in which case, you should get Apple to exchange it). For my own part, I was impressed by the weight and size and build quality of the Mini, but coming from retina iPad, I was disappointed in the screen the first time I saw it. The next time though, the screen didn't seem as bad, and now, when I use the one I got my wife, the screen resolution isn't a real issue.

As for reasons others have given why you might not want to buy one yet, as I've said, I don't think the current screen resolution should be a deciding factor (and to be clear, I really, really love the retina display on my own iPad, and Macbook). Further, I think it is going to be a while before we see a retina display in the Mini since price and weight are quite important to its position in the lineup. Putting a retina display in the Mini would either be more expensive and require a significantly bigger, heavier battery, or it would be even more expensive due to a newer display technology, and might still require a somewhat bigger, heavier battery.

Whether or not you buy one, I'm just going to suggest that you might want to find a way to put more space between your sense of yourself (and, likely others) and the computer/tablet you/they use. There are certainly plenty of people whose own identities are wrapped up in their use of Apple products, but for at least as many (and probably much more), they use Apple because they actually suck less than the alternatives when measuring suckage across the entire cycle of selecting, buying, and using the product. This is perhaps even more true when something goes wrong, or when it is time to retire the thing and buy a new one and you make a few clicks and wait a while and then all your apps and settings and data are just there, on the new machine, ready for you to use.
posted by Good Brain at 1:25 AM on January 23, 2013

It may depend on where you're going to use it. Note that most of the replies mentioned travel. If you're going to use it as a mobile device, the smaller size is best. On the other hand, if you're going to use it at home primarily, as research shows that most tablet owners do, I'd recommend a full-sized tablet. I own both a Kindle Fire and an iPad 4th gen. Since I'm primarily a home user, I prefer the big tablet for reading, surfing, and typing. The Kindle Fire is now the family's MP3 player.
posted by markcmyers at 7:11 AM on January 23, 2013

We own a couple of iPads (1st gen and 3rd gen with Retina display), and they have certainly changed my wife's relationship with her email or the internet. There's an absolutely amazing immediacy in the instant-on, always connected iPad. But I'm hankering for a mini - I'm more comfortable with my iPhone than a full size iPad, and the mini really hits the sweet spot for reading or crosswords or casual games without being too obtrusive.

Yes, there will be a retina iPad mini before too long - but that could be anything from 6 months to 2 years. With Apple, the usual recommendation is to check the rumors (e.g.) and unless an update is imminent, buy the best spec that meets your needs right then. 6 months from now, you'll have had 6 months of delightful use from a tablet.
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:39 AM on January 23, 2013

Wirecutter: The iPad mini is the best tablet, but the Google Nexus 7 is the best cheap tablet. Based on that I bought a Nexus 7 and love it, personally.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 9:50 AM on January 23, 2013

I have or have immediate access to an iPad 2, 3, Mini, and a Nexus 7. I prefer the Mini by far. I do miss the retina display but the form factor is just so good. My normal advice is an iPad Mini to compliment a laptop, a full size iPad if you are replacing a laptop.
posted by Silvertree at 10:58 AM on January 23, 2013

Thanks for the encouraging answers - I've got one now, it is indeed very well designed - I expected to feel dirty crossing over the great divide there but you know what ? I actually feel cleaner and possibly look younger as well : )
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:53 PM on January 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

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