"Hits all the right marks"5.0 starson by Donald-Gordon
Pros: Fantastically smooth
Battery is fantastic
Speakers are rich and loud
Extremely easy to jailbreak
Slim, sleek, and light
iPad specific apps
Great UI (user interface)
Cons: Non-retina display
Summary: I was a bit hesitant to spend $300+ on a non-HD tablet, seeing as the Nexus 7 is only $199, but I'm very glad that I did. I am by no means an apple fanatic, I traded my iPhone 4 for a Galaxy Nexus and never looked back. However, the tablet ecosystem is much different than smartphones right now. I find myself using the iPad mini almost always over my phone now, aside from texting and calling. Here's my list of pros and cons:
Fantastically smooth- seriously. You really don't need to compare android tablet specs with iPad's. The iPad will always have a lower clock speed and less ram, yet somehow perform beautifully and rarely have a hiccup. This has a dual core 1ghz, and my phone has a dual 1.2ghz. Yet, the iPad rarely skips a beat, while I have to occasionally kill apps or reboot my phone to keep its performance smooth.
Battery is fantastic- I use this thing a LOT. Like, a few hours throughout the day. I blast music on the speakers, surf the web, tumblr, facebook, flipboard. Yet I only have to charge it maybe once every other day. I've played a half hour of music from the (also fantastic) speakers, and the battery moved 1%. It's great.
The speakers are rich and loud as hell- I often used my roomie's laptop before I bought the ipad, and it worked. Now I have to use my ipad to listen to music, simply because it's louder and richer than the laptop speakers. And it's not a netbook, it's a standard 15.4 incher. The iPad mini is LOUD, in stereo. The bass even rocks. It's not extremely prominent, but it's a step up from the tinny wannabe bass from this laptop or my phone.
Extremely easy to jailbreak- for the tinkerers out there. I love to tinker, thus the android phone I own. But with evasi0n jailbreak, you literally plug the iPad into the computer, hit a button, 5 minutes later, jailbroken.
Slim, sleek, and light- This thing is a feat of technology, reminiscent of the first iPod nano. It just makes you think, how the hell did they fit all that into this tiny case? Holding the ipad mini for extended periods proves to be comfortable and painless, and it literally just slides into my backpack effortlessly when I'm traveling. I never wanted an iPad before, simply because they were too big, and 7 inch tablets were too narrow and small. This ipad gets it right.
iPad specific apps- This is a big point in the android vs iPad wars. Android tablets are generally cheaper than iPads, with faster and higher capacity internals. On paper, they win over the iPad in every way. But where the iPad really outshines them is the apps. Many 7 inch android tablet apps are just scaled-up versions of their phone counterparts. But the iPad, being popular as it is, has developers writing entirely new versions of their apps specifically for the larger tab. And they look great. They're functional, convenient, and reliable. Apps like flipboard, youtube, and tumblr come to mind. Whereas on a Nexus 7, these apps are just scaled up (10 inch tabs get a tablet version of youtube, which is actually pretty cool though).
UI (user interface)- Apple is known for taking simplicity and perfecting it for the masses. The iPad's UI is the pinnacle of their design. It just works, and it works well. Apps are organized in a 4x5 grid, with room for 6 on the dock at the bottom. The notification bar pulls down from the top just as it has since iOS5, and holding the home buttom gives you a nice greeting from siri. But the multitouch gestures are really where it shines. 4 fingers swiped up opens the multitasking bar. While in an app, 4 fingers swiped side to side switches between other open apps. And my favorite, 5 fingers pinched in at any point takes you back to the home screen. I had always griped about having to hit the physical home button, and this solves that issue. Also, swiping to the left of the multitasking bar gets you to quick settings, such as music control, brightness, volume, and orientation lock. Nifty.
The non-retina display- Honestly, I think the only reason this bothers me is because my phone has a 720p HD display, which is becoming the norm these days, with high end phones getting 1080p this year. The screen isn't bad, it's bright and colorful. It's just not extremely crisp. It's especially noticeable when reading smaller text. I'm sure later this year Apple will find a way to cram a retina display in, and maybe I'll upgrade. But probably not, because it's honestly not that big of a deal in everyday use. The device is still an extreme pleasure to use. And this is my only con.
Overall, I'd highly recommend the mini. It's a great tweener for the iPhone and full sized iPad. It's become my go-to device, and I really enjoy using it everyday. If you have the extra capital and are in the market for a reliable, responsive tablet, go for the iPad mini.
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I hope it helps.