iPad Mini: So Nearly the Perfect Tablet

My experience of transitioning from the iPad 3 to the iPad mini

Until Friday, the Radford household consisted of an iPad 1 and an iPad 3. I had the iPad 3 and my wife, Rachel, shared the iPad 1 with our two young girls. Thanks to a little inheritance money, we’ve now added an iPad mini into the mix. I’m using the mini as my main iPad, Rachel now has the iPad 3, and the girls are sharing the iPad 1. (We’re so going to end up as a one-iPad each family.)

I say all of that to lay a little context for a few thoughts I wanted to jot down about the iPad mini. In short, the mini is so close to being the perfect device. I love the size and weight, and the look and feel. It’s an absolute delight to use. I’m hooked. I can’t imagine going back to a larger iPad. Having a tablet that I can hold comfortably and easily with one hand makes a bigger difference that I’d anticipated.

In one significant way though, moving to the iPad mini has been a big step backwards. And that’s the lack of a retina screen. I’ve been so used to having a retina display on both my iPhone and iPad 3 that, at first, using the mini was actually quite jarring. It’s not that it’s a poor quality screen—far from it. It’s just that once you’ve used retina, it’s really hard to accept anything less.

But, with every day I’m using it, my eyes are adjusting and I’m noticing it less and less. Give it a full week or two, and I suspect I’ll have more-or-less trained myself to not even think about it. There’s no doubt though that the iPad mini with a retina display would be a truly stunning device. It sounds like it may be 2014 before we see one but, when that comes, Apple really will have hit the sweet spot and have a truly perfect tablet device.

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