As many Malaysians eagerly wait for the launch of the iPad mini (and also the iPhone 5), we were hoping to get our early hands-on with the device so that we can put up a review for everyone to enjoy and to help decide if one should get the smaller iPad. Good thing, we really got our hands on one and we unboxed it few days ago here.
Now let’s move on with the photos.
Honestly, we were stoked to be able to see it with our own eyes. The box itself is half the size of the one that contains the big iPad. Lifting the mini out of the box instantly gave us one impression. IT IS VERY THIN AND LIGHT.
As you can see from the photo above, it’s made out of very solid aluminium unibody material. The volume rocker now looks the same as the new iPod touch. It’s easier to be reached and has a bigger surface for each button.
The black version of the iPad mini (which is the one we are reviewing now) has a tint of dark blue to it so when you hold it under a light, it actually turns to ash blue. It looks good to be honest.
As good as the matte back feels, it is a fingerprint and smudge magnet. Not sure if you can see it from the photo above but smudges were all over the back. They are however easily removed by just wiping them off using a cloth of tissue. The glossy Apple logo gives it a very premium feel. We like that.
Oh just so you know, the iPad mini comes with a stereo speaker. It is the only iPad til now that sports that. Audio seems to very clear, though we hope it could be louder.
The moment we switched on the screen, we instantly noticed the lower resolution screen. As we have been using the iPad 3 with Retina Display for more than half a year now, we got so used to the high res screen that it was hard to accept when we saw the one on the iPad mini. Icons and button controls look kinda blur that we had to rub our eyes a few times just to make sure what we saw was really blurness or just very visible pixels.
This will definitely not be a problem if you hold it at reading distance. But never hold the iPad mini any closer as you will be dissapointed by the screen. Nonetheless, colour production was very good. Everything looks contrasty and vibrant, just like any other Apple devices out there.
Since it is everyone’s first encounter with an iPad with such a size, no one can actually imagine how big or how small it is. Here’s a photo to compare it with the iPad 3. If you think that it’s a small tablet like one of those Samsung 7 incher, you are wrong. It’s actually quite big as it has a 7.9″ screen. Apps and photos look the same compared to the bigger iPad and all apps, whether its an iPad or an iPhone app, work well on it.
Here’s another photo of the 2 side by side. We prefer the size of the iPad mini as it is a lot more convenient to hold with one hand when watching a movie or reading a book. We can say that it is ridiculous to hold the mini with 2 hands as you really don’t need to.
OVERALL & CONCLUSION
Though running an A5 chip, 2 generations older than the iPad 4(launched same time as the iPad mini), this smaller tablet is very snappy and fast. Loading of apps was as quick as the iPad 3, though some games take longer to load. Camera works and acts the same as the other iPads and photo quality is similar to those from the iPad 3.
Is this THE iPad to buy? We would say, YES. Though we know that next year Apple will launch a new iPad mini with Retina Display, but for now this is the only iPad that is super convenient to carry and hold. The thinness and the weight are good enough reason to justify the purchase. We particularly like the black version as it looks better to our eyes.
Watch this video below as we unbox and review everything about the iPad mini, all in 3.5minutes.