Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

David Zax

A View from David Zax

The iPad Mini Reviews Are In

Mostly favorable–though the screen is no Retina Display

  • October 31, 2012

Reviews of the iPad Mini, Apple’s recently-announced 7.9-inch slate, are trickling in, and the view is mostly favorable. In a word, if the $129 price difference between the iPad Mini and the $199 Kindle Fire HD or Nexus 7 doesn’t seem daunting to you, reviewers are mostly saying it’s a no-brainer. For a more granular look, read on.

First, let’s talk about the screen, which everyone is talking about. It’s not a Retina Display. It doesn’t look like a Retina Display. It has the feel, apparently, of the screen on an earlier-generation iPhone, with a resolution of just 1024 x 768. Reuters calls this a “big step backwards.” (It’s the same resolution as the original iPad, which I have, and which I certainly never complain about–but then again I have yet to taste the Edenic fruit of Retina.) “There’s no question that to the naked eye this screen does look lower in resolution than its nearest competition,” says The Verge’s Joshua Topolsky. And though CNET calls the screen a “comparative letdown,” but points out that its wider aspect ratio makes it even better for reading on than rival tablets.

How about the battery life? WSJ’s Walt Mossberg put it through his “harsh battery test”–back-to-back videos, 75% brightness, WiFi on. Even so, the iPad Mini went beyond Apple’s claimed 10 hours of battery–27 minutes beyond. That was a good deal better than the Kindle HD, and nipping at the heels of the Nexus 7. Topolsky was “more than satisfied.” Engadget’s Tim Stevens ran it for an “astounding 2 hours and 43 minutes.” Rest assured, the iPad Mini will get you through a long day.

Are people bothered by the smaller size of the device? Hardly. They love it. David Pogue of the Times says the Mini is “more manageable,” and perhaps even “what the iPad always wanted to be.” Walt Mossberg noted that “I was able to use it one-handed and hold it for long periods of time without tiring.” His main frustration, at times, was that it was simply too wide for his pocket.

As for the software ecosystem, it should go without saying that Apple is leaps and bounds ahead of the competition here–the main complaint leveled against the Microsoft Surface, for instance.

I personally have recently become an iPad user, and what I’ve mainly noticed is how the iPad has taken up residence on my bureau. It lives there, mostly, and so that part of the room begins to feel, spatially, “smart,” or perhaps “wired” (though of course wireless). As prices come down on devices like the iPad Mini, I wonder about a near-ish future when some people buy multiple devices (or buy new ones, while retaining the old), simply to have windows to the Web throughout the house–consoles to check email, spew forth music, and so on.

Something tells me Apple wouldn’t mind that at all.

Couldn't make it to EmTech Next to meet experts in AI, Robotics and the Economy?

Go behind the scenes and check out our video
More from Intelligent Machines

Artificial intelligence and robots are transforming how we work and live.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Plus.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    Print + Digital Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

    Technology Review PDF magazine archive, including articles, images, and covers dating back to 1899

    10% Discount to MIT Technology Review events and MIT Press

    Ad-free website experience

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.