Discussion about

November 22nd 2012 8:51 pm

iPad mini or iPad 4

Hey everyone,

I'm a techie that has yet to indulge in a tablet, my parents have been through a few iPad's and swear by them. I've been an iPhone user for a few years now and I am reasonably committed to the app space, but I cannot for the life of me decide between the mini or the updated retina display. I've gotten used to 'retina land' on my iPhone but I really like the mini's form factor. I'm not looking to get an LTE radio because I really don't think I would tote it around all that much -- that's what the iPhone is for, right? I just graduated from college and hook my still acceptable 4-year-old dell XPS laptop to a large monitor, so this iPad might serve as a desktop replacement if you will.

However, I foresee myself using the iPad primary for reading which makes me lean toward the mini, except for a few things: the A5 and the lack of retina display. Seems like I need to take a leap of faith...


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4 replies

Honestly i really think this one comes down to personal choice.

I think every one is expecting an A5X or an A6 with Retina next year if you go mini either expect to sell it for a new one next year or plan to live with it for a year or two.

When it really comes down to its the thinner size and smaller screen that really make the mini appealing. I have both the 4th-gen and the Mini i have the say the mini has become the tablet that is grabbed and carried around.

if i had to give up one or the other and both were 64GB 4G i would keep the mini and give up the 4th-gen. its the size and portability of it that i feel set up apart from the larger one. i think if next year we see it bumped to Retina and A6 its going to be hands down the best iPad.
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I definitely agree I love the form factor of the Mini but I am so used to the retina display I am going to hold on to my third gen iPad until the Mini gets the A6 and Retina. Since you want the iPad to be a desktop replacement however you might be more inclined to get the 4-th gen iPad since you have some more screen real estate.
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I've been using tablets for about two years and have experimented with several types and sizes. I've used first gen iPad which at the time was the only tablet to have, but once I had one of my own(as opposed to a work provided one) I soon lost it to my wife. She loves it and has completely tossed her laptop aside in preference to the iPad. My third tablet was Nook Color which I rooted and used extensively, however the battery life on the color was abysmal with Ice Cream Sandwich. In addition the rooted ROM didn't support audio on the color. My Fourth tablet, a Velocity Micro Cruz T301, was purchased from Woot.com. I was looking at the 7" form factor primarily from a price point of view and the T301 didn't disappoint in that regard, however the MIPS processor had some issues with apps and it was too slow to support many games. Still for reading and comics it was great, however this one too had issues with the sound (Hardware defects this time) and while sound wasn't my biggest priority I found myself missing it. So I sold the T301 and bought an Archos G9 101 Turbo. This one had a 10.1 inch screen that I found to be a much missed feature after having lived in 7" land for a while. I don't see myself going back to a 7" screen any more. The Archos used ICS out of the box and was updated several times by Archos while I had it. It handled video and audio very nicely and with the HDMI port on it I was able to output video easily and cheaply to TV's in hotel rooms when traveling. This was a great tablet that would still have today unless I had won an iPad 4 in a Raffle. The iPad 4 is fast, the screen is bright, and big, but I find myself missing the Archos HDMI capability and it's configurability. The iPad seems to be stuck in one configuration with no options for changing it. It is fast though, and since it was free, a good replacement for the Archos.

I used all of these tablets for reading and they were all adequate for the job, screen resolution wasn't an issue except when reading comics and my eyesight is such that unless I have a 10" screen I can't read some of the text on any device. The biggest issue for reading on all of these wasn't the screen resolution, but the screen brightness. Almost all of them don't hold up well in a brightly lit environment. The iPad 4 does better, but by far the biggest feature on an iPad I like better than anything else is the battery life. For everything else, Android rules.
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If you are serious about the tablet possibly replacing a desktop system (something that may not be realistic for many of us) and if portability is not a big requirement for you, then I don't see why you wouldn't want the iPad 4. That said, I don't see you dumping your XPS notebook in favor of a device that can't really take advantage of the large monitor you are currently using with the XPS. I am skeptical of tablets really being ready to displace more conventional computers.

However, if you want to experiment with a tablet that actually can replace a conventional computer, why not check out the tablets that run Windows 8? I would suggest waiting to see how Microsoft's Surface Tablet with Windows 8 Pro turns out, but there will be plenty of alternatives to it.

If the primary use for the tablet is reading, why not go with a dedicated ereader? You will save money, and have a better reading experience. With the money you save, you can buy more books! While I have no experience with this, I hear that some libraries lend ebooks. Should patronizing the local library appeal to you, you should probably consider an ereader that is supported by the library.

FWIW, a full size iPad is an OK ereader, and a great one if you throw in graphic novels, comic books and magazines. If those forms of media are relevant, an iPad 4 is far better than the mini would be due the retina display and for more closely matching the original form factor of those media types.
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