Apple Fan Corner: The iPad Mini

The iPad Mini with Retina Display is smaller than an iPad Air, but bigger than an iPhone 5S. Photo courtesy of

The iPad Mini with Retina Display is smaller than an iPad Air, but bigger than an iPhone 5S. Photo courtesy of

Tal Norvell/Sun Star Columnist

Mar. 11, 2014

The iPad Mini may be small, but it is mighty.

Apple’s midsize tablet has a screen size that represents the “missing link” in their mobile devices. With its high pixel density multi-touch display, the iPad Mini is just as capable as its siblings.

At 7.9 inches in display size, the iPad Mini with Retina display is nearly four inches larger than the iPhone 5S and two inches smaller than the iPad Air.

iPad Mini gets stuff done quickly with a 64-bit A7 chip that makes graphics look amazing.

I’ve owned an iPad Mini for several months now and have only one minor critique.

The display looks sharp, but it lacks in color saturation compared to the iPad or iPhone. Photos and graphics just don’t pop as much. It isn’t very noticeable unless you place a full size iPad next to the Mini, where you can definitely see the difference.

Display shortcomings aside, the iPad Mini is a fun device. Its size makes it nice for reading ebooks, playing games or taking notes.

In fact, my favorite game from the App Store to play on the Mini is “Crush the Castle” by Armor Games. The castle siege game, similar to Angry Birds, lets you fling boulders and bombs out of a medieval trebuchet.

Playing this game on an iPhone is all right, on an iPad, just fine, but something about the middle size of the iPad Mini makes for a better experience.

For productivity apps like Pages, Keynote or Numbers, the iPad Air’s larger screen seems more logical. But for playing games on the go, iPad Mini fits the bill just right.

iPad Mini has Siri, Apple’s voice activated personal assistant. (Check out last week’s column for more on that.) The artificial intelligence has a witty “personality” and can answer questions like “How is the weather?” or “Where am I?” Ask Siri to tell a story, sing a song or ponder the meaning of life. You may be surprised by her silly responses.

The iPad Mini has two cameras: a front-facing 1.2 megapixel and a backside 5 megapixel.

The backside camera can record full 1080p HD video, while the front-facing camera used for FaceTime video chat can do 720p HD. For comparison, iPhone 5S has a better camera than the iPad Mini, with 8 megapixels of clear, sharp detail.

Now, why would someone buy an iPad Mini if they already own an iPad and an iPhone? From a practical standpoint, they wouldn’t. But if you’re looking to buy a new iPad, the Mini is a viable option. What it all boils down to is price and size.

The iPad Mini costs $400-$700 depending on storage capacity (16, 32, 64 or 128 gigabytes) while the iPad Air costs $500-$800 in the same storage range.

That’s $100 cheaper for two less inches of screen space. There’s always the competition to consider as well.

Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Samsung and others all have capable tablet devices you should consider checking out.

But it’s hard to resist that shiny chrome Apple logo, is it not? For more information on the iPad Mini with Retina Display, go online to YouTube, Engadget or CNet for a wide variety of reviews. 

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