There are plenty of reviews already published about the iPad Mini Retina. John Gruber of DaringFireball.net and Anand Lal Shimpi of Anandtech are the ones I felt captured my feelings towards the device.
What follows are my own insights on the device, after having had the opportunity to “kick the tires” with it for the past two days.
My saga started a few weeks ago, when Target announced a terrific buy-back program for 1st and 2nd generation iPads. In short, Target offered $200 for an iPad1 or iPad2 in good condition, making the net cost for a 16GB iPad Air only $279. I brought my trusty iPad2 on the last day of the promotion, and sure enough, all iPad Airs were sold out. Understandable, I suppose, because the deal was really, really good.
I was pretty bummed.
That evening, I put my iPad2 up for sale on Gazelle.com. Gazelle offered me only $160 for the device, but I was able to bump up the value to $168 by taking my earnings in the form of an Amazon gift card. This was before I realized that Amazon (at the time) did not stock the iPad Air in its own warehouses.
Again, I was bummed.
Fast forward a few weeks:
I had my mind made up that I would purchase an iPad Air 32GB model. I walked into the local PeachMac store in Citrus Park Mall and noticed that they had a few iPad Mini Retina models on display. It was wicked fast. Much faster than my old iPad2.
I compared the iPad Air against the iPad Mini Retina model. It was a tough call, but I pulled the trigger on an iPad Mini Retina with 32GB of storage primarily for the fact that typing on it felt much easier. I bought AppleCare+ for the device. With it, I have the piece of mind knowing if any accidental damage occurs (up to two times), Apple will exchange my tablet for a new one. On a side note, I was a bit surprised that Apple doesn’t offer any type of educational discount on their iPads.
My use case for the iPad2 has always been surfing, reading publications and checking email. It’s my couch machine, accompanying me in the living room while I watch TV. Reading on the iPad Mini Retina was surprisingly very pleasant. My initial concerns that the text would be too small were unfounded, thanks to the clarity of the display.
The smaller form factor makes it much easier for me to use the touch keyboard. Typing on the iPad2 always felt a little clunky to me, primarily because of the width of the keyboard. The iPad Mini Retina is a pleasure to type on. It’s just large enough to accommodate my hands.
Siri is also baked into the iPad Mini Retina. I used this to dictate a few emails and it did a reasonably good job of correctly capturing my dialogue.
All in all, I’m very pleased with the device. In my opinion, the iPad Mini Retina is an excellent device for consuming content. It’s a huge step up from the iPad2, which ironically, is still available for sale. If you’re on the fence about which iPad to get, my suggestion would be to spend some time playing with both devices at the Apple Store. I never expected to go for the Mini, but testing it hands-on made all the difference.
And Gazelle is a great place to sell your old electronics. I’ll definitely use them when the time comes to sell my older devices.