86
6.0
final rating

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Criteria Comments Rating
  • Features No comments good
  • Display No comments so-so
  • Battery life No comments good
  • Ease of use No comments so-so
  • Storage capacity No comments great!
  • Design and form factor No comments so-so
  • Portability (size / weight) No comments so-so
  • Durability No comments good
Detailed review
I returned my iPad Mini in less than 24 hours!

I pre-ordered my iPad Mini and it came on November 2nd as expected and returned it back to apple on November 3rd, 2012.

As usual when ever I unboxed an apple product my expectation is set very high and Apple has always delivered in past. Our immediate family and parents combined have iMacs (2), iPhone 4s (1), iphone 4 (1), ipod touches (3), Original iPad (1), ipad 2 (1), Apple TV (4), MacBook Air (1) and several apple accessories. Our family loves Apple.

So anyone who is going to read this blog please understand it breaks my heart to tell you iPad Mini is not a Steve Job's Apple product and the $329.00 price is not justified.

iPad Mini was a disappointment in many levels and here is my short lived experience with it:

When I opened the package I admired the hardware first before even turning the screen on. It was well finished and beautiful just like the new 5th Generation iPod Touch (4 inch). In fact I felt that outer design and hardware spec. is almost identical to the new iPod touch. I personally don't care for the anodized aluminum it feels very cheap compared to the original ipad or ipad 2's aluminum material.
After admiring the hardware for a minute I turned on the ipad Mini. I was instantly disappointed with the home screens icons and label sizes. It felt as if you were holding a bigger iPod touch (5th Gen.) with small tiny icons & text. Instead of making the icons and labels slightly bigger proportionate to the 7.9 inch screen size just like they have done it on the iPad 9.7 inch.
I thought ok the main screen of icons and labels was disappointing let me see if it will grow on me and tried to convince myself otherwise. Next I tried to surf the web using safari. I look at the address bar and search bar labels and text that you type it was so tiny you could barely see it. Here I felt may the Retina Display would have made the difference but I still feel Apple as company should have put lot more efforts to make the software design match to the hardware size spec. of the iPad Mini's 7.9 inch.
A5 chip performance was sluggish especially when you are trying to install apps from the App Store or launching books from the iBook's app. Screen paints slowly when you search for apps and you go to purchased tab the load of all the apps very slow. Here Apple is marketing the iPad Mini is just like iPad. Not true.
I tried news and rss feed app: Flipboard. iPad Mini as eReader is a fine device choice but $329.00 for a eReader?
Next I tested the video and audio by playing trailers and they were fine no disappointment there.
I started to type some notes and write on the tablets using the built-in Notes App and Penultimate. I felt screen size was fine for this purpose. I was trying to evaluate can I replace iPad 9.7 inch and use the iPad Mini more than just media consuming device. I think you can but I felt this iPad Mini fell short.
I configured my Mail and that worked fine. Than I thought I have my iPhone 4s why would I open this device and send email. Most likely I will probably use it for reading emails but most of the time my iPhone would do the job to read and write.

The biggest disappoint was the first gen. iPad Mini fell short of my high expectation that I have of Apple. I strongly feel if Steve was alive he would have stopped iPad Mini Project or would have pushed the team to another level to extract the perfection that he always aspired and demanded.

If the following improvements were made to iPad Mini I would pay $329.00 or even $349.00:

iPad Mini has to fulfill a certain need. Portability and eReader is not enough for the current price point asked. Apple will never create $199.00 iPad Mini. iPad Mini cannot be iPad even though it is marketed that way. Ask yourself do you really want to carry iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini & MacBook?

Retina Display is needed and make the home screen page's icons and text proportionate to 7.9 inch hardware size. When see iPad 9.7 the icons and text are beautiful. Apple team please put some thought and effort.

Please put a A6/A6x chip with 1 GB of RAM. The whole experience is sluggish and disappointing especially App Store and iBooks.

Improve Safari's experience with bigger address bar, search bar & tab labels bigger.

Please rethink using Anodized Aluminium it feels cheap. Lighter and thinner should not be the overarching focus but the overall experience and making the hardware more durable and pleasurable to hold even-though some times it might be heavier. Here I feel iPhone 4/4s, iPad (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th gen) and iPod (3rd, 4th gen) are far superior to hold and durable even-though they are thicker and heavier.

If all of the above is done I will definitely buy the iPad Mini and replace iPad 9.7 inch.

As it stands the current iPad Mini is worth only $299.00 same pricing as iPod Touch 4 inch. (5th Gen.). Even then I would personally buy iPad 2, iPad 3 refurbished or iPad 4 and that is money well spent.

I feel after this experience Apple needs to put lot more concentration on the Software iOS and be careful with the Hardware design (thinner and lighter should not be the primary focus).

I hope the recent Apple's Management shake up hopefully make the company stronger and up hold on Steve's maniacal pursuit of perfection of products that intersects Technology & Liberal Arts.

Tim Cook's Apple still have to follow universal principle of Brutal Honesty to create delightful and innovative products and services and not an answer to the competition. I hoping Apple is still "Staying Hungry! Staying Foolish!"

PLEASE GO TO YOUR NEAREST APPLE STORE TRY TO SPEND SOME TIME WITH
THE IPAD MINI and IPAD 9.7" VARIANTS BEFORE YOU DECIDE TO PURCHASE IT!

Comments (10) subscribe to this review's comments

grapehead

Apple has never been "brutally honest" -- you've been drinking too much of Steve's kool-aid.
rahhb

Just cant seem to get over you calling the A5 slow for downloading apps......not trying to nitpick but that is a fairly serious accusation and to me it reduces the credibility of the rest of the review.

Some of the size complaints seem to be related to the whole 7" market of tablets, not just iPad mini.

Everyone is aware of the display issue. It's "fine" but we've gotten spoiled on Retina. It will be in the iPad mini 2.

I'm sure the icons are the exact pixel size as they were on the iPad 2. Part of the deal.

Anodized aluminum feels cheap? Get the white version.

I'm trying to take this review with a grain of salt. I was wanting to read some of the more critical reviews, but each of the more negative points I think are a bit off base.

Just my 2cents.
gsubu1

Rahhb: Downloading the app is fine. I am talking about when you go to the purchased tab I have over 50+ apps. The loading of those apps to install is slow.

If you compare the size of the icon and text on ipad 2 vs. ipad mini. iPad Mini's icon and text quite small it feels as if Apple just trying to make the two different size to fit the software sizes. Instead trying make the icons and text larger for the iPad Mini. To me it feels like you are using a big ipod touch (5th gen). I am sure the Retina display will fix the clarity issue. I have an iPhone 4S (Retina Display). Once you use Retina you do not want to go back.

Apple always tries to build the market in phases but this time i feel the A5 chip and no Retina is actually step backwards when there are better tablets out there with much better display and processors.

We as Apple customers are giving Apple more power by buying these new products with mediocre specs which are almost two years old. I just could not help but express my frustration.

I feel Steve Jobs would not have released the ipad mini if he did would have put the Retina Display on it on the 1st gen iPad Mini.

I still love Apple and their products.

Cheers!
virtuosity

I just can't take any review seriously that states "Steve Jobs wouldn't have released it like that"...
StonehamMel

I must admit that, after using my iPad 3 since March, I would have preferred the Mini with a Retina screen. However, that's simply because I'm spoiled - when I compared the Mini to an iPad 2 in a local mall Apple store, the Mini resolution looked better than I expected, probably because it packs the same number of pixels in a smaller screen. I had no need for a Mini, personally, because I use my iPad 3 with a Zaggfolio keyboard like an "iPad Air." For those who never had an iPad 3, the Mini is most likely to compete with the iPad 2.

I dropped by the Samsung island store and the pop-up Microsoft store at a local mall. The SIII is a good competitor if you just want to surf the Internet and can accept a smaller but nice screen. The Samsung tablet is clunky. The Surface RT is, frankly, a major disappointment.

It's a weak point for the techies, but when it comes to classy design, none of the Apple competitors come close.
Firky

I think the anodised aluminium is a welcome touch to the iPad mini. I think it gives it the a far better look. I hope apple doesn't go crazy with the colours tho the iPod nano and touch look silly with the white front and non matching back ( but that's a whole different matter ). I too was disappointed with the display but I'm spoild with the iPad 3rd gen.... Comparing it the iPad 2 seems to be a better comparison but there isn't much in the price point. I personally really like the idea of the iPad mini.
joum

this has to be the most half-witted fanboy review ever!

i bought an iPad 2 for my girlfriend about 3 months ago and just recently bought an iPad mini for myself. performance-wise they are perfectly equivalent. i can't really complain about the screen because it does what i expect it to do, as does every other bit of hardware this thing has... there isn't anyone really surprised with the premium cost of Apple products by now, is there?

their strategy was getting the price point lower to reach other markets and people. they sacrificed performance, true, but nowadays, when you see people using tablet devices, you see that most people don't need ultrafast performance, they just need something that works well enough. with this, Apple will reach many news markets and segments that hadn't comitted to tablets just yet.

this device isn't targeted for someone who already has an iPad, it's targeted for those people who still don't have one and felt it wasn't needed because they had laptops. it is the perfect intermediate device. nowadays, i just use the laptop to work on some specific software that isn't avaiable and/or usable on an iPad. and my phone is just used for calling and texting, as its pains me to even try to read/reply to mails on a freaking cellphone

its a great device and while i feel that the price difference to Nexus 7 is too high, i also feel its somewhat justified that it costs more, because its a better product.

and please, stop with the "Steve Jobs does not approve" stuff... it's lame...
StonehamMel

joum: Agree completely. I came to look again at the iPad offerings yesterday, when my girlfriend's fashionable, slim 21 year old daughter was looking for an iPad to take to her semester abroad classes. Her mom and I expected her to select an iPad Mini. But instead, her daughter selected an iPad 4 - she felt the iPad Mini was "too small" - and she was looking for something she could use for more serious classroom work. The choice between the iPad 2 and 4 was more difficult, but she opted for the latest technology. In the Apple store, with only a 13-inch MacBook Pro and iPhone 4 as her 3-year Apple experience, she didn't fully appreciate the difference of a retina scree, despite her iPhone experience. She's probably a more typical consumer model: Either you want the small form factor or you don't - and thus, any sales Apple misses with the Mini are unlikely to be lost to a competitor in that size to a Kindle Fire or Nexus (she was unfamiliar with either brand - as I am sure is the same for all but the most informed consumers.
basss89

Interesting review. You answered most of my questions about the mini's display and performance (A5 chip and 512MB of RAM)...
I had decided to wait for the mini 2, and now your review made me more sure about my decision.
Thanks!
dvond

Thanks. Great review from someone who knows and loves 'most' Apple products. Definitely leaning toward the Galaxy Note 8 now.

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