iPad Mini Review – A Perfect Tablet For Anyone Not on a Budget

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iPad Mini Review – A Perfect Tablet For Anyone Not on a Budget

iPad Mini Review from a Student

I study game design and as a student, I thought it would be cool to have a tablet where I could draw, doodle, take notes, and surf the web without having to carry around my laptop. I’m not really that good at research but I am most fond of my 2011 Macbook, so decided to go with an iPad rather than any of the other number of choices. With that out of the way, this is an iPad mini review and not a comparison of it vs. other tablets. I have never owned another tablet and my love of the Mini is purely biased.

iPad mini review

What’s in the Box?

When you get the iPad mini you get a cardboard box with a bunch of protective foam, a lighting USB connector, and USB power adaptor and of course, the iPad mini. Fortunately I think Apple headphones suck anyway so I wasn’t too disappointed about them not throwing in a free pair. If you’re looking for headphones of the same quality, you can pick up a pair for $10 at your local Walmart or a little cheaper if you go on Amazon.

The Design, Weight, and Size

The first thing I noticed about the iPad mini is that it is really light, even for its size. I’ve held the Kindle Fire HD which is only 7” as opposed to the iPad mini’s 7.9” and I think the iPad Mini is lighter. A lighter weight is definitely a pro because it’s easy to carry around, easy to hold, and really actually lighter than most of the hardback books I own.

The size is not bad either. I personally think that the screen could be a little bigger but then I would have had to pitch in more money for the iPad instead of the Mini. The iPad Mini is perfect for reading books but slightly too small if you’re a comic book addict and want to see the pictures really well.  Screen is really clear but you can see the pixels if you lean in close, I personally don’t think this is a problem, but I know some people do prefer the highest screen quality available, in which case, go for the iPad 4 with Retina Display. The box says that the iPad mini has 1024-by-768 resolution at 163 pixels per inch, but if you’re like me then you have no real idea what that means. In laymans terms, I think it translates as ‘good but not the best you can get’.

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Pros of the Design– One thing I really love about the iPad mini and am mentioning it in my review is that it looks cool. Compared to some of the other tablets, the iPad mini is a lot sleeker, better designed, and obviously has a lot more attention to detail. I got mine in black. The bezel is a good size and I really do think that if you want a smaller sized tablet, the Mini is a great choice for size and design.

Cons of the Design – If you’re holding the iPad Mini in a perpendicular position you can mute the speakers with your hands, this sort of sucks if you’re playing a video game or watching a movie.  Usually you have to be careful where you put your hands if you’re planning on using the sound without headphones. It can also be a little difficult to pick the iPad mini up without touching the screen, so I do recommend that you get a screen protector.

iPad mini review

Power and Performance

Probably the main reason I chose the iPad Mini is because they are usually pretty solid in the power and performance department. My iPad mini features a dual-core A5 processor, 16 GB of hard drive storage, and 512 mb of RAM. Despite the relatively low RAM, I haven’t noticed any sort of lag, even when playing Need for Speed: Most Wanted on the device.  However, the screen could be bigger for in-depth games like Need for Speed, so for the most part you should stick to a bigger tablet, or a computer if you want to play these games.

Cameras on the iPad Mini

There are two cameras on the iPad mini, a front facing 1.2 megapixel camera and a rear facing 5 megapixel camera. Both are sort of disappointing in terms of quality compared to even my smartphone, so I’m definitely going to have to leave a negative review on them. I think Apple could have spent a few more bucks and put in a better camera for the money, especially since they want you to use the Mini for Facetime calls. Fuzzy face talking? No thanks.

The 1080p Full HD video recording is adequate, but really only works in well lighted conditions, otherwise the image will be very grainy and not really worth uploading.

Pros of the iPad Mini

  • Lightweight
  • Lots of Apps
  • No Lag
  • 9-10 Hour Battery Life (6-7 if you game on it the whole time)
  • Sleek design
  • Easy to use
  • Siri

Cons of the iPad Mini

No review would be complete without cons added into the mix, so here are the biggest faults I have with the iPad mini.

  • Difficult to pick up
  • Cameras Suck
  • Expensive

iPad Mini Review

I think that the end result of my iPad Mini review is to say that if you are concerned about budget then the iPad mini might not be your best choice. However, it performs very well under most conditions and I would definitely give it a 4.5 out of 5 stars. The pros far outweigh the cons, the device is lightweight and easy to use, has tons of great apps, a long battery life, and the design is pretty much fabulous.

Do you own an iPad mini? Tell us what you think.

You can also read a review of the Kindle Fire HD from one of our other High Tech Society writers.

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About The Author
Katrina O'Reilly
Kat goes by her game handle MissTRex. Born in Jaynesfield Wisconsin,she is currently studying game design at Full Sail University where she will graduate in 2015. She plays games and frequently purchases, rent's and borrows new ones. Come back each week to read her new game reviews on the High Tech Society.