03 November 2012

iPad mini first thoughts

I’ve had the new iPad mini for about a day, and have been trying to use it whenever practical (I got the WiFi model so I can’t use it in the car).

My main impression continues to be: it is very light. Partly that’s because I’ve sort of been trained to know how heavy an iPad is: 1.46 pounds (662 g) for my current 3rd generation device. My mini is 0.68 pound (308 g). Somehow it feels almost the same as the iPhone 5, which is 3.95 ounces (112 grams). I’m not sure how to explain that, other than the iPhone 5 always feels really light too, and they must be about the same density. Light is good, and I can’t wait to use it on the subway (the iPad has always been a little tricky to hold while standing and holding on to a rail).

The other thing that is the same is pixel size. It’s true that the iPhone 5 has a retina display and the mini doesn’t. But the mini has exactly the same pixel density as the original iPhone, and the recent iPhones really have the same pixels in terms of layout (the pixels are just capable of better detail).

So buttons, text, any screen element you need to interact with is the same size (in millimetres) on iPad mini and on any iPhone. The basic pixels are the same size, you just have more of them.

By contrast, the iPad (3rd or 4th generation) is blown up slightly, as well as having better pixels.

What this means is that text isn’t as crisp as the iPad retina display, but it does seem better than the iPad 2 (it is smaller but harder to make out the pixels).

I think less expensive and lighter are going to make this the device to recommend to most people. I’m still waiting to see how it works on the commute to have a final judgement for myself. I do think Apple has another winner.