iPad Mini Reviews (and Some Thoughts)

If the Mini had a retina display, I’d switch from the iPad 3 in a heartbeat. As it stands, I’m going to switch anyway. Going non-retina is a particularly bitter pill for me, but I like the iPad Mini’s size and weight so much that I’m going to swallow it.
In addition to using the iPad mini in my normal daily tasks, I also found that I would pick up the mini and use it where I normally wouldn’t use the iPad. For instance, if I’m on a phone call, I would typically use my iPhone to look things up while I walk around or type notes, look at Web sites and things like that. Now, I’m using the iPad mini because it’s compact enough to carry around, but not so large that it’s cumbersome.
But to think of the iPad mini as a companion to the 3rd or 4th generation iPad — some kind of secondary player to the bigger version — would probably be a mistake. With a price tag starting at $329 and heading all the way up to $659 (with LTE and 64GB of storage), this isn’t really a step down from the existing iPad (well, the iPad 2 at least) as much as it is a step to the side.

So far, every review I've seen of the iPad Mini has been very positive. Lately, I've been thinking about finally picking up an iPad (I've never owned one), but now I'm a bit torn between the Mini and the iPad 4.

The Mini would be the clear choice if it weren't for the fact that it doesn't have a Retina screen. As noted above, Gruber's willing to make that tradeoff for the incredible lightness of the device, but after being used to the Retina display on my iPhone 4S, I don't know how much I would like taking a step backward. Plus, since this will be my first iPad ever, I want to make sure I'm absolutely making the best choice, and having a Retina display is more likely to make me keep the device around for a few years longer.

Either way, I will probably opt for an LTE-capable model, but I'm still unsure of what size HDD to get. My iPhone 4S is a 16GB, and it seems to do okay most of the time, but every so often it will reach max capacity due to all the photos and videos I capture with it. Otherwise, I do a lot of streaming via Spotify, Instacast, and sometimes Netflix/Hulu, rather than storing a bunch of media on the drive itself.

I figure that I probably won't be using the iPad camera nearly as much, so that won't be a problem, but on the other hand I might be more inclined to start purchasing the occasional movie from iTunes and syncing them with the device, something I don't feel compelled to do with my iPhone since I don't watch many movies or shows on it. In addition to that, I've heard a lot about how iPad apps take up more space than their iPhone counterparts.

At this point, I'm leaning towards a 32GB + LTE model of whichever iPad I finally choose. Now I just need to sort out whether I want the iPad 4 or the Mini, and also which color (black or white). My iPhone 4S is white, and I love it, but maybe I'll want something different for a change. We'll see.

Once I get the device and use it for a day or two, I'll let you guys know what I think.