updated 06:42 am EDT, Wed October 31, 2012
The new iPad mini features excellent design and build, screen disappoints
Early iPad mini reviews are in with most overwhelmingly positive. The majority of reviewers agree with Apple's sentiment that the iPad mini is not a dilution of the larger iPad experience, and some even go as far as to say that it is the best tablet that Apple has yet made. Criticisms were relatively minor with the lack of a Retina-class high dpi display being the biggest drawback, while price was also mentioned as a negative though most feel that its build quality justifies the difference over the competition.
Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal says that "...I've been testing the iPad mini for several days and found it does exactly what it promises: It brings the iPad experience to a smaller device." David Pogue of The New York Times commented along similar lines saying "Overall, the mini gives you all the iPad goodness in a more manageable size, and it's awesome. You could argue that the iPad mini is what the iPad always wanted to be."
John Gruber, however, was quite taken back by the lower resolution of the iPad mini. "If the Mini had a Retina display, I'd switch from the iPad 3 in a heartbeat," Gruber said. "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." Scott Stein of CNET adds, "If the iPad mini had a Retina display, a newer A6 processor, and a slightly lower price, it would be the must-have Apple gadget of the year. Even without that, it's still incredibly appealing."
Rich Jaroslovsky of Bloomberg captures the matter of the iPad mini's price well. "How much is Apple's superiority in software and content worth to you? How about $130?" Jaroslovsky proposes. "I can tell you the iPad mini is the best small tablet you can buy. The question you'll have to answer for yourself is whether it's that much better." MG Siegler of TechCrunch believes that the relatively high price of the iPad mini will not stop it from succeeding. " ...But how will a $329 tablet fare in a world of $199 tablets? It's hard to know for sure, but my guess would be in the range of "quite well" to "spectacular."
Josh Topolsky of The Verge holds the view that " There's no tablet in this size range that's as beautifully constructed, works as flawlessly, or has such an incredible software selection." Tim Stevens of Engadget was similary effusive in his praise for the iPad mini. "This isn't just a shrunken-down iPad," says Stevens. This is, in many ways, Apple's best tablet yet, an incredibly thin, remarkably light, obviously well-constructed device that offers phenomenal battery life."
Stay tuned for the MacNN take on the iPad mini over the coming days, as we take our customary deep delve into its pros and cons.