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Apple iPad Mini Review: Our New Favorite Size, But...That Price?

Apple's iPad Mini Is Nice, But We Like Our Alternatives

In a world peppered with Ultrabooks, convertibles, and tablets, it's more difficult to pick a favorite form factor than it is to find a favorite device. We have notebooks laying around that date back several generations. And while some of us appreciate the potency of a mobile workstation, most would rather go thin and light, and then get back to home base as soon as possible for any gaming we might be missing out on.

If a tablet makes it into our bags, that's because, much of the time, we don't want to wait for a laptop to boot up, we don't want it resting on our legs, and we have no desire to do battle with a touchpad. Historically, based on what was available, we usually ended up toting a ~10" tablet.

Now, I know it's not selling particularly well, but Microsoft's Surface is the first device we've had in the lab encouraging multiple people to drop the whole laptop/tablet tag team and use one device that can live between both worlds. Suddenly, the allure of a big, dumb $500 consumption-oriented device is a lot less pronounced.

At $600 with a Touch Cover, the Surface isn't for everyone either, though. And that's where the 7-8" tablets come into play. Form factor-wise, you have a smaller, lighter, easier to carry device with just as much functionality as the larger models. Only, in the case of Google's Nexus 7, you can get it for as little as $199. Pshya. That makes sense. No wonder we gave it an award.

Then there's Apple's iPad mini. It's thin. It's light. It's all of the things we like about smaller tablets. We're not big fans of buying new Lightning connector-compatible accessories, and the mini could certainly benefit from a higher-resolution, higher-quality LCD. But it feels good in our hands. We get why folks would spend as much (or even a little more) on this thing as they would a Nexus 7.

But Apple doesn't ask you to pay a little more. The iPad mini starts at $329 and can quickly shoot up as high as $659 for the 64 GB cellular-equipped version. That's insane. As we transition into 2013, we'll be heading out to Las Vegas for CES with Microsoft's Surface. If a tablet makes it into our bags as well, it'll be the Nexus 7. There are just so many other things to do with $130 out there that we simply couldn't recommend spending the difference on an iPad mini.

  • Hellbound
    The iPad mini is overpriced.
    Reply
  • azathoth
    While the device is certainly nice, I don't like the fact that it has no support for MicroSD, and I would be unable to tinker around with it as I can for an Android based device.

    ...And the price. I'm not going to give a second thought when I see a $200 tablet with removable storage versus $330 for 16GB of internal storage and no expansion options.

    If the device was closer to say $260 for the 32GB version, or just included an option for removable storage... Then I would certainly see the iPad mini as being a viable option even for someone used to Android.

    The main factors (in my opinion) for a great device are,
    1: A good quality screen, it needs to have vibrant, accurate colours.
    2: Even if during benchmarks the device is slow, if it FEELS snappy and quick, that's all that counts.
    3: Removable storage for god sake, I know by practice apple enjoys their closed system, but COME ON!
    4: It doesn't need to have some amazing 15 hour battery life, but I certainly don't want it to die on a full charge after a movie and a few youtube videos.
    Reply
  • hardcore_gamer
    I'm waiting for a 7 inch version of surface. It is the only productive tablet out there.
    Reply
  • _Pez_
    Those devices are a JOKE !
    Reply
  • mikenygmail
    iPricey
    Reply
  • Darkerson
    Overpriced, but thats not really a surprise, since its an apple product. Sadly, people are eating them up regardless.
    Reply
  • shikamaru31789
    It's definitely overpriced, but I've come to expect that with Apple, you're mostly paying for a name and some unique styling with them. It has some features going for it, but I wouldn't buy one, not when there are several cheaper options in the mini tablet lineup. That's not stopping the legions of Apple sheep from buying it though.
    Reply
  • Tomtompiper
    This is a blatant rip off of the Samsung Tab, I hope Samsung sue their ass off :kaola:
    Reply
  • Jigo
    AzathothWhile the device is certainly nice, I don't like the fact that it has no support for MicroSD, and I would be unable to tinker around with it as I can for an Android based device....And the price. I'm not going to give a second thought when I see a $200 tablet with removable storage versus $330 for 16GB of internal storage and no expansion options.If the device was closer to say $260 for the 32GB version, or just included an option for removable storage... Then I would certainly see the iPad mini as being a viable option even for someone used to Android.The main factors (in my opinion) for a great device are, 1: A good quality screen, it needs to have vibrant, accurate colours.2: Even if during benchmarks the device is slow, if it FEELS snappy and quick, that's all that counts.3: Removable storage for god sake, I know by practice apple enjoys their closed system, but COME ON!4: It doesn't need to have some amazing 15 hour battery life, but I certainly don't want it to die on a full charge after a movie and a few youtube videos.
    you're right
    I'm glad that i bought the Nexus7. 16GB is enough, and rootet i can plug in external device. And as for all my techy stuff, i doubt i've to send it in before the 2y warranty expires
    Reply
  • godnodog
    The screen in tablets are too big, i want something with 1 or 2"!!!
    Reply