A week with the iPad mini: I made the jump

I was a bit skeptical about buying the iPad mini because of what it lacked, which seemed like a lot at the time. Nevertheless, after a whole load of thought and confusion I decided to take the leap and buy it without even trying it out myself, so you can imagine how nervous I was when I first opened the box. A week later I’m proudly giving a certain Apple device my stamp of approval. The iPad mini absolutely wowed me, it’s perfect form factor and featherlight weight instantly made it my device of choice.

I’m extremely particular about the resolution of a screen, I simply cannot look at low resolution screens, my case is literally that bad. This is one of the reasons buying the iPad mini was so scary for me. But I was surprised at how good the display was, it’s no retina display but it definitely exceeded my expectations. The color saturation, color accuracy and contrast ratio is as good as it is in my iPhone 5, which is a massive feat on such a large and underrated screen. 720p videos are not natively supported in the iPad mini and even if you can somehow put 720p videos on the iPad mini through some 3rd party app, the screen doesn’t have a high enough resolution to play the video to it’s full potential. That’s a big let down to a person like me who loves high definition video.

The battery life of the iPad mini has to be one of my favourite things about it. I use it all the time, whether its playing games, listening to music, reading e-magazines, browsing the Web or watching videos I have never seen the battery drop to lower than 70%. Music takes an almost negligible toll on the battery life and video playback can go on for hours and hours. Even games surprisingly don’t use up much battery.

The device is ultra thin and light and build quality is top notch as always. The white version in particular shines like a jewel. To clarify, that’s a good thing. The stereo speakers really impressed me, though when I played it next to my ancient original iPad I couldn’t spot much of a difference. However, I use headphones anyway.

I play a lot of games on my iPad, many of them with high end graphics. So, getting a device with the old A5 was something that I didn’t think was a good idea. It plays most of my games smooth as silk, but some heavy games like amazing Spider-Man and bladeslinger saw the occasional frame rate drop. The amazing Spider-Man actually crashed pretty often on this device, though I suspect that’s due to lack of optimisation on gamelofts part and not because the A5 chip is too slow or 512MB RAM is too less. I can make a statement like that because heavier games like Infinity Blade 2 and GTA vice city played without a stutter. Many games will be forced to work well with the A5 chip because the iPad mini, iPhone 4S and iPad 2 still use this “outdated” processor. While this may be holding the industry back, it comes as good news to iPad mini owners.

The iPad mini is in a crowded market and it has a lot of competition from various other tablets like the Nexus 7, Nook, Kindle fire and it’s bigger brother, the iPad with retina display. It also comes at a premium price of $329, which increases if you increase storage or add LTE. This tablet is not for everyone, but no one could go wrong with buying it. It delivers an amazing experience in a small package and that’s something I just can’t turn down.

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