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Mini Me Too

November 5, 2012 - Dave Hecei
The new Apple iPad mini hit the shelves on Friday November 2nd, and so did over 3 million customers. Over the weekend, Apple reports they have sold 3 million iPad minis and new 4th generation iPads.

While the full-sized iPad was a surprise, the new mini was not. I think that the mini was the more sought after tablet since anyone with an iPad 3 really wasn’t looking to upgrade. But going smaller is a whole other matter. If you have an iPad 3 there is no real reason to look at the new iPad unless you think yours is dog slow on your favorite App. The only real difference is a faster processor.

The iPad mini is something completely new. Apple basically took the iPad 2 and shrunk it down from a 9.7-inch screen to a 7.9-inch screen. The mini shows the same number of pixels, 1024 by 768, and has about the same performance.

What the iPad mini gives you is all the same things in the iPad 2, just in a smaller easier to handle package. Because it retains the same pixel resolution of the iPad 1 and 2, the mini will run all the same Apps. The mini also keeps the same aspect ration, the ratio between the height and width of the screen. It is still 4:3. The new Android based 7-inch tablets, like the Amazon Kindle HD and Google Nexus 7, have a 16:9 aspect ratio, which is what HD video is based on.

I like the 4:3 for a tablet over the 16:9 HD aspect ratio. If you want to mostly watch HD movies and TV shows, plus HD sized games, then 16:9 will work better. If you mostly want to work or read documents, like e-books and web pages, then 4:3 works better. The HD format is just too narrow when you hold those other tablets vertically. If you turn it sideways, the vertical resolution is still too small. It’s like looking at a web site through a small slit.

While the screen size is nice on the mini, there it the fact that Apple decided not to use a Retina display. Retina is Apple’s trade name for a display that has very high pixels-per-inch. The idea is that at normal viewing distances you cannot see the pixels in a Retina display. Apple uses Retina displays in the new iPod Touch, iPhone 4/4S/5, and 4th Generation iPad. There is no real reason that Apple did not put a high-resolution display in the mini. Of course it will probably be in next years model.

And now we get to the price. This is the other sticking problem, and one that I think sticks the hardest. There are essentially two very popular 7-inch class tablets out there and both are priced well below the iPad mini. This is even more of a problem since Google just dropped the prices on the Nexus 7 tablets. The 16GB is now $199 and the 32GB is now $249. This makes the 16GB iPad mini $130 more and the 32GB mini $180 than the comparable Nexus 7.

Pricing is going to be the deciding factor in choosing a small tablet device. If you already have an iPhone and an iPad and you really got to have a mini, there is nothing I can say that will really stop you. If you are new to tablets, or have a much older one and want to upgrade, then I have to give the advantage to the Google Nexus 7 – especially at $199.


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