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iPad Hardware and Accessories Discuss the iPad hardware and accessories

Picked up the iPad mini today


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Lifeisabeach

 
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I decided to plunge for the iPad mini today. I've had the first-gen iPad since they were first introduced and have long felt it was too heavy and a little on the large side. Since now it won't run iOS6 and is a little on the laggy side, I decided the time was right. I was on the fence about that vs the iPad 4. I really wanted a Retina display, but from the reviews I've read, the lightness of the iPad mini and the ability to hold it comfortably with one hand put that over the top for me. I don't expect there will be a Retina version of the mini for some time yet. Not without compromising the battery life or the weight.

I've been using it for a couple hours tonight amidst watching TV with my wife. Tomorrow, I'm returning the iPad mini. Although it certainly is much lighter than the full-size iPad, it's not so light that I can hold it indefinitely with one hand. Grasping it from the back (palming it, more or less) as some reviews have demonstrated isn't all that it's cracked up to be. I couldn't stand doing that for more than a couple minutes. And since it's not as comfortable holding with one hand as it's cracked up to be, I found myself wanting to hold it with both hands or by laying it on my knee while legs crossed. If I'm going to hold with both hands, it's just as well as if it was the larger iPad. In fact, it felt rather awkward holding it with two hands as opposed to the iPad 1. When resting/propped on my knee, the smaller size really becomes a negative due to the increased distance away. And finally, that narrow bezel on the long side really is a negative. Sometimes iOS is good at knowing you are just holding it, sometimes it's not. And sometimes when you are just holding it, the thumb is also in the way of what you are looking at. And finally, the display resolution just isn't going to cut it. I'm quite used to the Retina display on my iPhone 4S and the resolution on the iPad mini just sucks. It's poorer than really anything out there. The pixel density is higher than the iPad 1/2 so on paper it should look better than those. In practice, the smaller screen made for objects harder to see even if they were technically sharper. At least on my iPad 1, you can see objects better just by virtue of the larger screen size, even if they are a tad fuzzier than the iPad mini. Of course the iPad 3/4 would win on all accounts with the crisper and larger display.

I'll just keep holding on to my iPad 1 for a bit. If they are going to a 6-month cycle, then hopefully the iPad 5 will be a bit lighter/cooler and I'll be ready to pop for that.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by lifeisabeach View Post
I decided to plunge for the iPad mini today. I've had the first-gen iPad since they were first introduced and have long felt it was too heavy and a little on the large side. Since now it won't run iOS6 and is a little on the laggy side, I decided the time was right. I was on the fence about that vs the iPad 4. I really wanted a Retina display, but from the reviews I've read, the lightness of the iPad mini and the ability to hold it comfortably with one hand put that over the top for me. I don't expect there will be a Retina version of the mini for some time yet. Not without compromising the battery life or the weight.

I've been using it for a couple hours tonight amidst watching TV with my wife. Tomorrow, I'm returning the iPad mini. Although it certainly is much lighter than the full-size iPad, it's not so light that I can hold it indefinitely with one hand. Grasping it from the back (palming it, more or less) as some reviews have demonstrated isn't all that it's cracked up to be. I couldn't stand doing that for more than a couple minutes. And since it's not as comfortable holding with one hand as it's cracked up to be, I found myself wanting to hold it with both hands or by laying it on my knee while legs crossed. If I'm going to hold with both hands, it's just as well as if it was the larger iPad. In fact, it felt rather awkward holding it with two hands as opposed to the iPad 1. When resting/propped on my knee, the smaller size really becomes a negative due to the increased distance away. And finally, that narrow bezel on the long side really is a negative. Sometimes iOS is good at knowing you are just holding it, sometimes it's not. And sometimes when you are just holding it, the thumb is also in the way of what you are looking at. And finally, the display resolution just isn't going to cut it. I'm quite used to the Retina display on my iPhone 4S and the resolution on the iPad mini just sucks. It's poorer than really anything out there. The pixel density is higher than the iPad 1/2 so on paper it should look better than those. In practice, the smaller screen made for objects harder to see even if they were technically sharper. At least on my iPad 1, you can see objects better just by virtue of the larger screen size, even if they are a tad fuzzier than the iPad mini. Of course the iPad 3/4 would win on all accounts with the crisper and larger display.

I'll just keep holding on to my iPad 1 for a bit. If they are going to a 6-month cycle, then hopefully the iPad 5 will be a bit lighter/cooler and I'll be ready to pop for that.
Aww. I have longer fingers than most so I can hold it for long periods of time with one hand. >_<"

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Originally Posted by CrimsonRequiem View Post
Aww. I have longer fingers than most so I can hold it for long periods of time with one hand. >_<"
I have pretty big hands. Actually placed against the mini, with the bottom at the base of my palm, my middle finger is over the top and the two fingers next to that are right at the top.

Maybe I'm just starting to get all arthritic in my old age.


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Here's a little perspective on why the narrow bezel is such a negative. This is the most comfortable and "obvious" way to hold it. But my palm is hanging over into the display.

IMG_1791.JPG


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That's a really interesting insight about the lack of a significant "dead zone" on the sides of the iPad Mini. I guess that's just something you don't get a real feel for until you actually use the machine for some time.

I also wondered about typing on the on-screen keyboard. It's already kind of tight with a standard-sized iPad, I can't imagine it's any easier with the smaller and more densely packed keyboard on the Mini. Can you comment on that piece, or did you just use the split screen keyboard?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by lifeisabeach View Post
I'll just keep holding on to my iPad 1 for a bit. If they are going to a 6-month cycle, then hopefully the iPad 5 will be a bit lighter/cooler and I'll be ready to pop for that.
Thanks for all the "watch-outs" on some possible downsides of the new iPad Mini. Lots of folks like to write about the upsides…but it's certainly equally important to hear about downsides as well…BEFORE plopping down $329-$659.

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Sometimes iOS is good at knowing you are just holding it, sometimes it's not.
A review I watched suggested that the iOS build for the Mini includes functionality to try and better differentiate between holding and actual input along the edges of the device. I was wondering how well that worked. From your experience, it sounds like it's a bit of a mixed bag.

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I also wondered about typing on the on-screen keyboard. It's already kind of tight with a standard-sized iPad, I can't imagine it's any easier with the smaller and more densely packed keyboard on the Mini.
Again, from the same review (The Verge), the issue seems to be more with the keyboard in portrait mode - it's not tall enough so everything seems squished. However, I'm not sure that's an Apple thing since a keyboard on just about any 7-8" screen is going to be considerably more compressed (especially in portrait).

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Thanks for the review. I was on the fence here - as you can get a refurbished iPad 3 for about the same price as a new iPad Mini. I was looking for my wife - as it could be used as a 4G hotspot.

I would have thought the smaller size would be appealing - but with the smaller bezel maybe it won't be. My wife has small hands. Also since we are getting a bunch of digital media (books and magazines) I think the Retina Display of the iPad 3 is a better choice - especially after what you said compared to the iPhone 4S.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwa107 View Post
That's a really interesting insight about the lack of a significant "dead zone" on the sides of the iPad Mini. I guess that's just something you don't get a real feel for until you actually use the machine for some time.

I also wondered about typing on the on-screen keyboard. It's already kind of tight with a standard-sized iPad, I can't imagine it's any easier with the smaller and more densely packed keyboard on the Mini. Can you comment on that piece, or did you just use the split screen keyboard?
I didn't type extensively on it, but it was clumsier. I went ahead and reactivated it to make some more detailed observations. In portrait, forget thumb typing with two hands. My palms are over the keys on the sides. In landscape, with two hands, I can thumb it ok but it's a little bit of a stretch to the center, and I have big hands. My wife can't do it with her smaller hands. Her palms also hang over a bit in portrait mode like mine did. Basically... if you are going to type, hold it in landscape with one hand, hunt/peck with the other hand. Or use Siri.

One other point to make is that holding it with both hands requires the wrists to be flexed a little more than they would be with the larger iPad. Not a whole lot more... I just compared and it's more at the elbows than the wrists that I found myself adjusting with, but it does feel a little more awkward.

My impression here is that Apple made a mistake by narrowing the bezel. They should have left it thick all the way around. I think they should have kept the size as is; thickened the bezel and in the process make the display the same aspect ratio as the iPhone 5; tightened up the pixel density so the resolution matches the iPhone 5; and allowed it to run iPhone apps with their Retina assets. Actually the pixel density would have to be tighter to accommodate existing non-Retina iPad apps also. So rather than 1136x640 to match the iPhone 5, it'd have to be 1364x768. This would also make it more competitive with other devices like the Nexus 7, which I was considering. Right now, I think the iPad mini is just overpriced given the lower res display.

Long-term, here's what I think Apple should be doing to accommodate the demands of the market in the near future. Make 2 models of the iPhone and the iPad. One model of the iPhone matching the current aspect ratio of the iPhone 5, and a second that is wider that matches the iPad "maxi" at 4:3. Make the iPad mini the 16:9 aspect version of the iPad line and leave the iPad "maxi" as-is (16:9 just won't work at that size). Drop support for non-Retina iPhones and the iPad 1/2 so developers can target Retina iPhone/iPod touch; Retina iPad; and iPad mini. It will be a very long time before they can do a Retina version of the iPad mini without compromising battery life and weight anyway.


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This is all making me happy to have chose the Nexus 7 especially since it has the thicker bezel:

2012-11-04 11.28.57.jpg

I can also "thumb type" comfortably with two hands in portrait mode but landscape is awkward (and I think this is more of a form factor issue, not a device specific one). As for the screen, I don't know how much you'd notice. As someone who doesn't have an eye for this type of thing, I can't comment. With regards to specs, the Nexus 7 has a higher resolution (1280x800 v. 1024x768) and pixel density (216ppi v. 163ppi) but that does necessarily mean that one is better or worse than the other. There's something to be said for the resolution though - it was chosen to respect the aspect ratios and designs of current iPad apps. So, I suppose it's a clarity v. suitability issue.

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I can also "thumb type" comfortably with two hands in portrait mode but landscape is awkward (and I think this is more of a form factor issue, not a device specific one).
Agreed. Also the size of one's hands and the way it's being held are factors.

EDIT: I suspect the iPad mini would be well-suited for children. The narrower bezel shouldn't be as much a negative factor, and the reduced weight would be a plus.

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As for the screen, I don't know how much you'd notice. As someone who doesn't have an eye for this type of thing, I can't comment. With regards to specs, the Nexus 7 has a higher resolution (1280x800 v. 1024x768) and pixel density (216ppi v. 163ppi) but that does necessarily mean that one is better or worse than the other. There's something to be said for the resolution though - it was chosen to respect the aspect ratios and designs of current iPad apps. So, I suppose it's a clarity v. suitability issue.
Going back to my "proposals", if they simply widened the bezel to the point that it'd be a 16:9 ratio as-is, you'd have a resolution of 1024x576. At the aspect of the Nexus 7 (which is a littler wider than 16:9), it'd have to be 1024x640. Compared to the Nexus 7 at 1280x800, that's clearly a poorer screen and I have little doubt I'd notice that.

If they jacked up the pixel density as I "propose" to make it 1364x768 at 16:9, it'd be a closer match to the Nexus 7 and very superior to the alternative of 1024x576. Let's see... that'd be 1,047,552 pixels vs 589,824 pixels. That'd make a PPI of about 290 if I'm not mistaken, which would put it fairly superior to the Nexus 7. Since I really doubt a "proper" Retina display is going to come any time in the next few years for the iPad mini, re-doing the display in this manner makes more sense. The available hardware can easily accommodate that now and eliminate a very real disadvantage.


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It's a bit of a shame that at the price point, the Mini doesn't have a better screen especially when you consider Apple's position on having the best screen possible (the marketing after the retina display was introduced alone makes this clear).

Interestingly, reviews seem to be pointing out the lack of pixel density and/or a comparable resolution but this doesn't seem to be an issue for many. As someone who doesn't seem to have the eye for this kind of thing and as someone who has never used an iPad Mini, I can't really say how much of an impact this has so I'll defer to you.

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It's a bit of a shame that at the price point, the Mini doesn't have a better screen especially when you consider Apple's position on having the best screen possible (the marketing after the retina display was introduced alone makes this clear).

Interestingly, reviews seem to be pointing out the lack of pixel density and/or a comparable resolution but this doesn't seem to be an issue for many. As someone who doesn't seem to have the eye for this kind of thing and as someone who has never used an iPad Mini, I can't really say how much of an impact this has so I'll defer to you.
It's one of those things where you don't know how bad it is till you see how good it can be. I was fine with the display on my iPhone 3GS until my wife got the iPhone 4. That pretty much marked the point when I became more aware of how factors like the PPI can affect clarity. Not that I didn't know beforehand, but the difference between the two really drove it home. Of course some people are satisfied with a lower PPI or not particularly bothered by it. Nothing wrong with that. I've just gotten very fussy in this regard. It could be because I've become a bit far sighted, so maybe clarity in displays of these devices is becoming a more noticeable factor for me.

EDIT: BTW, the guy at Best Buy tried to talk me into getting a case for it to get past the problem with the narrow bezel. I guess that would work, but at this point, especially after analyzing the screen specs in this thread, I'm increasingly convinced that it's just not a good value. I may go ahead and get a Nexus 7. I've long been wanting to dip my toes (well fingers!) into Android some. I'm just not sure about the size now.


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BTW, the guy at Best Buy tried to talk me into getting a case for it to get past the problem with the narrow bezel.
I suppose. That or it'll creep in on the screen real-estate.

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I've long been wanting to dip my toes (well fingers!) into Android some. I'm just not sure about the size now.
Hopefully this is a litte more helpful than measurements for you:

2012-11-04 15.19.09.jpg

That's an iPod Touch (4th gen) and a regular piece of 8.5x11. While I'm sure the iPad Mini has made you aware of how big it might be, I thought I'd offer this anyway.

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That's an iPod Touch (4th gen) and a regular piece of 8.5x11. While I'm sure the iPad Mini has made you aware of how big it might be, I thought I'd offer this anyway.
Thanks. After using my old iPad for a bit tonight, I have to say I'm sticking with that size. The 7-ish inchers are just too small for my liking. I'm definitely going to hold out for the next iPad though in the expectation that the iPhone 5's screen tech makes it to the new one.


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