My relationship with new electronic devices is that of a revolving door policy (kinda like the Australian cricket team, hey-ho). I don’t purchase anything with the intention that it will be with me for very long, as my needs and my tastes change rapidly. I have owned an iPad since day one and besides the fact Apple has released new ones, it’s probably the Michael Clarke of my device line up. It’s in the team, pretty much no matter what.
When Apple released the iPad mini on the 2nd of November 2012, I immediately grabbed one and put my 3rd-generation iPad back in it’s box, ready for sale. I never actually sold it, because the iPad mini was always one one of those devices constantly having to prove itself, a bit like Shane Watson.
My iPad usage breaks down into a few scenarios:
- On the couch, because it’s easier to use than a laptop and there’s less distraction.
- Out and about, because I don’t want to lug the laptop around just to read stuff and spout crap on Twitter.
- Working (writing & researching) whilst out and about, because the laptop is just a pain to carry around all day.
On the couch, the iPad mini loses out, significantly. I found the screen to be cramped compared to the larger iPad, as most apps are designed for the larger screen, making areas to touch buttons or words difficult. There’s also no bezel around the screen to grip on to, making it hard to hold in portrait mode. My fingers would inadvertently touch the screen, or obscure it, making the app currently open do weird stuff, or I’d lose position within a text field. The bezel on the larger iPad makes it great for holding, whatever the orientation.
When away from home and on the move, the iPad mini is fantastic. It’s way lighter, and obviously, smaller. It can fit in the pocket of some cargo pants (fuck you fashion) or a purse and is very practical. The screen size compromise is worth it when on the run. But when using the iPad mini for “work”, I find it difficult to touch type on, and to highlight text for copy & paste. Maybe it’s just my fat fingers, but the smaller screen on the mini really does make tapping targets more difficult than it should be.
Then there’s the display, which is pretty damn nice, but hasn’t got the crispness of the larger Retina iPad. I can live without Retina, but it’s just a cherry on top for why the larger iPad is just that much nicer for me.
The iPad mini is a great product compared to the other small screen tablets out there, but it smells of “me too” from Apple. It’s pretty obvious, after using an iPad mini and a larger interchangeably, that the 9.7″ iPad is the iPad that was designed and researched as the perfect product and the way tablet computing works best. That isn’t to say the iPad mini sucks, but it’s a compromise and for me, that compromise (smaller size) isn’t worth what I lose from the larger iPad (usability). So I sold the iPad mini and I’m back on to the big iPad, until Apple releases new versions – that I’ll buy and sell, just like these ones.