Q: Should I Buy an iPad Mini?

Photo courtesy Gizmag.com

A: The iPad Mini is available for pre-order today, and already I’ve been asked by several clients if they should buy an iPad Mini or stick with the “normal” sized one. The answer to this question is both simple and complex. It completely depends on what you would like to do with the tablet devices. I’ll try to answer this as succinctly as possible.

One problem with answering this question is that the iPad Mini is not yet available for sale, so I have not had a chance to physically test it. However, from all indications, the iPad Mini works exactly the same as any iPad (or other iOS device like the iPhone). The only major functional difference is that the iPad Mini has a smaller 7.9″screen as compared to the 9.7″ screen of the other iPads. The other significant difference is that the iPad Mini starts at $329, as compared to $399 for the older iPad 2 model and $499 for the current iPad model.

The fact that the iPad Mini is smaller (and cheaper) means the iPad Mini will be a great tablet for kids (and parents who are trying to save money). I expect that children will be a core market for the iPad Mini, and if you were considering an iPad for your kids but were waiting for something less expensive, your wait is over. As compared to other competitor tablets, if you are buying your kids a tablet because you would like them to use it for homework or at school, there is no substitute for an iPad. The iPad Mini (or current iPad for that matter) is head and shoulders above any similarly-sized competitor.

The current iPad models are extremely portable as compared to most laptops. However, for some people, they are still just a little too big to be comfortably portable. The iPad Mini will fit in nicely for people who want a more portable iPad. Because of this, I’m sure women (who carry purses) will be another huge market for the iPad Mini.

That being said, the smaller screen will have some drawbacks. The simple fact that there will be less surface area means that doing things like web browsing or reading e-books will feel a little more constrained as compared to a larger iPad. Playing games may be a little easier (or fun) on a bigger screen. For many, this won’t be an issue. But for people who are – or will be – heavy users of their iPads might benefit from a larger screen.

In further regards to the screen, the iPad Mini does not have a Retina Display like the current iPad model, which means its screen will not be quite as sharp (note: the iPad 2 which is also still for sale also does not have a Retina Display). The difference may not be quite so noticeable, however, because the screen is smaller which means that the pixels will be “tighter”. The difference in resolution will need to be seen in person to make a definitive conclusion, but I suspect that for many people, it won’t matter anyway. Other factors will be more important in their purchase decision.

Finally, the processor in the iPad Mini isn’t as fast as the processor in the current iPad. It is the same processor as the iPad 2. For some people this may be important, but for most people I don’t expect this to be a noticeable issue. If you are the type of person who would be concerned with raw performance of an iPad, you’ll be doing your own detailed research, I’m sure.

So the bottom line with the iPad mini simply comes down to what factors are most important to you. If the price of current iPads were holding you back, the iPad Mini may be your answer. If the current iPads were not portable enough for you, the iPad Mini may fit your lifestyle better. But if you are an iPad “power user”, then perhaps the 9.7″ models are still more your speed.

I’d be happy to answer any other questions you have about iPads or tablets in general, so don’t be shy! Comment below or send me an e-mail.