The iPad Mini Is The Little Big iPad [Leander’s First Impressions]


The little big iPad: small enough for a pocket; big enough to work on.

I just got an iPad mini a couple of hours ago from the UPS guy. I took it to lunch and we’ve been playing around with it here in the office.

Couple of observations:

The screen is not great: John is absolutely right about the quality of the screen. It is manifestly lower resolution than newer Retina Displays.

I loaded several apps, eBooks and websites on my iPhone 5 and mini to compare. Text looks much clearer and brighter on the iPhone than the mini. Take email: text is a bit fuzzy and indistinct on the mini. It’s as sharp as a razor on the iPhone. In addition, the mini’s screen is markedly murkier. It’s darker than the iPhone’s screen, even with the brightness turned all the way up. Whites aren’t white: they are greyish white. Everything pops on the iPhone’s screen. Although I wouldn’t express my feelings about the screen quite as strongly as John does, his assessment is correct. It’s a pity the screen isn’t better. A Retina Display on the mini would make it near perfect.

The screen is fine: The other thing to note is that I don’t care. I don’t care that it’s not perfect. I don’t care that the mini’s screen is not Retina. I don’t care if text is a bit fuzzy. Yes, I can tell that the two screens are different in quality when I compare them side-by-side. But I’ve already forgotten that the mini is lower resolution. I simply don’t notice. When I’m using the iPad mini, I’m not aware of the screen’s shortcomings. I simply don’t see the fuzziness, the jaggies in text. I know that a lot of people *will* see the difference. And for a lot of people, it *will* ruin the experience. I’m not one of them.

A couple of other observations:

Performance: Performance is perfectly fine. Yes, it’s not as snappy as the new iPad, but it’s perfectly functional. Every app I loaded and played with performed fine. There are no significant performance lags or delays to report (so far).

Size: The form factor is amazing. It’s the little big iPad: significantly bigger than an iPhone but small enough to hold in one hand or stash in a pocket. It easily fits in the pocket of the sleeveless vest I usually wear. It even fits in the inside pocket of a suit jacket, although it makes a bulge from the outside. It’s as light as a feather and beautifully made. Like the iPhone 5, it’s almost too thin and light. Yeah, that’s a ridiculous thing to say, but I’m a bit nervous about it about clumsily knocking it out of my hands. I can see it ruined before the weekend is out.

Typing: The screen is just big enough to work on. You can’t touch-type on it, but I’m not a touch typist anyway. So far, it’s been fine for my two-finger hunt-and-peck typing style. I already do a lot of my work on the iPad. I ditched my MacBook for an iPad 3 several months ago. I’m curious to see if I can ditch the full-size iPad for the mini and use it as a fulltime device. I’ll report back in a few weeks, but so far, it looks like it might be possible.

The iPad mini is small enough to fit in the pocket of a suit.
The mini is big enough to type with both hands — if you’re a two-finger hunt-and-peck typist like me.
Thumb typing is even easier.