The iPad mini: Will It Set The Nexus 7 On Fire?

The iPad mini has just been announced by Apple, along with the 4th generation iPad (which makes the 3rd generation iPad obsolete), the new Mac mini, the new iMac, and the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display. So, what exactly is an iPad mini? Is it a smaller iPad? A blown-up iPod touch? A big iPhone minus the phone features? Or is it something else?

ipad mini
Image by Apple
Join me as I give you a rundown of the iPad mini's launch and see if it is something really worth buying. Will it be a real threat to the Google Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire HD? Or will it cannibalize the sales of its bigger sibling (iPad 4th Gen)?

ipad mini
Image by Apple
With a 7.9-inch IPS LCD (display), at 7.2 mm thick, and weighing just 0.68 pounds, the iPad mini is indeed a mini version of the original 9.7-inch iPad. It is also lighter and much thinner than its main rivals, the Google Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire HD. It still retains the shape of the original iPad and looks like it in every way - this time, it is just smaller. The body of the iPad mini is made from a unibody aluminum like that of the iPhone 5 and iPod touch (5th Gen). And like the iPhone 5, the iPad mini comes in two color variants: White & Silver and Black & Slate.

ipad mini
iPad mini, Amazon Kindle Fire HD, Google Nexus 7 (Image by GSMArena.com)
The back chassis of the iPad mini looks very much like that of the iPod touch (5th generation), where you can find the Apple logo and the brand name "iPad". There's also a 5-megapixel snapper at the back (albeit without LED flash), which comes as a surprise treat and gives the iPad mini an edge over its competitors. On the front part, you will easily see the Facetime HD camera and the home button. On top of the iPad mini is the power button and the 3.5mm jack for your headset. The volume rocker and sleep/mute button can be found on the right side (instead of left on the original iPad). And underneath, you'll find the loudspeaker and the all-new Lightning port. As mentioned, the design of the new iPad mini is nothing new but I must commend Apple for the very thin bezels on the front. Overall, design-wise, the iPad mini looks sturdy, solid, and sleek.

ipad mini
Image by Apple
ipad mini
Image by Apple
The 7.9-inch IPS LED-backlit LCD of the iPad mini offers 35% more screen estate than the usual 7-inchers. Like all iOS products, the display of the iPad mini is protected by an oleophobic coating. With a screen resolution of 1024-by-768 (which is the same as the iPad 2), there's really nothing spectacular about it. But because it is smaller than the iPad 2, the pixel density is relatively higher on the iPad mini at 162 pixels per inch, resulting in a more crisp and sharper screen resolution. I would have hoped for a Retina display but knowing Apple, they would not give everything to the consumers in one go.

ipad mini
Image by Apple
Let's move on to the iPad mini's primary camera. It is equipped with a 5-megapixel iSight camera that records 1080p Full HD videos. With an ƒ/2.4 aperture, a hybrid IR filter, and a five-element lens, it captures light efficiently to produce a sharper and brighter overall image. The camera of the iPad mini also features a backside illumination sensor that captures great-looking pictures whether by sunlight or candlelight. Auto-focus, tap to focus, tap to set exposure, automatic video stabilization, and face-detection features are on-board as well. The actual capabilities of its camera and video recorder still remain to be seen but if we were to base it on the iPad's (3rd Gen) camera, then we could expect decent images and video footages from the iPad mini.

ipad mini
Image by Apple
The iPad mini is powered by Apple's A5 chip, which is the one used in the iPad 2 as well. For those who do not know, the A5 chip has a dual-core 1 GHz Cortex-A9 CPU and a PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU. Since the iPad 2 is known for its fast, fluid performance (especially after the iOS 6 update), the iPad mini will surely not disappoint. And yes, the iPad mini will also have the same battery life of the other iPads that can last up to 10 hours on a single charge. And with over 275,000 apps dedicated to the iPad from the App Store, you'll surely get busy with the iPad mini. And did I mention that the new iPad mini is 4G LTE-capable? Unfortunately, like all other iOS products, there is no option for an expandable memory so better buy the 32GB or 64GB version than be sorry for buying the entry-level 16GB. The iPad mini has 512MB RAM.

ipad mini
Image by Apple
The iPad mini will run on iOS 6 out-of-the-box, which features Siri, a new Clock app, new Maps and navigation app, better iBooks app, better iCloud integration, Facebook and Twitter integration, better Game Center, App Store, AirPlay, AirPrint, and whatnot! The iPad mini also has Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, Internet hotspot and tethering features, accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, GPS (for the cellular version), and so on. The question now is...what is missing? Well, it now lacks a native YouTube app so you will have to get an alternative from the App Store. The Google Maps app is also nowhere to be seen. Considering that both apps are from Google, this is no surprise especially if you are an Apple user. If you know what I mean.

ipad mini
Image by Apple
The iPad mini also has a Smart Cover, which can be bought separately. You know it's the same cover that wakes up, stands up, and brightens up the iPad, it's just "mini" now. Magnetic technology built into the iPad mini and its Smart Cover really pulls them together. The Smart Cover snaps perfectly into place to protect the iPad mini's screen without adding bulk. How I wish Apple could come with a Smart Case for the iPad mini as well. The Smart Cover for the iPad mini is available in 5 different colors plus a (PRODUCT) Red color exclusive to the Online Store.

ipad mini
Image by GSMArena.com
Now that Apple has decided to enter the ultra-portable tablet market, how does the new iPad mini stack up against the competition? We all know that iOS is the dominant platform in the large tablet class and that the iPad is the best-selling tablet ever. Does the iPad mini have what it takes to challenge the Google Nexus 7 and the Amazon Kindle Fire HD? All I can say is that competition is far more advanced when it comes to the chip, CPU and GPU that is. The Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire HD have a higher resolution as well. Both doubles the RAM that the iPad mini has. However, what the iPad mini seemingly lacks in terms of processing power, it makes up for it when it comes to features such as the bigger screen estate, a 5-MP iSight primary camera, and 4G LTE connectivty. Moreover, the iPad mini is thinner, lighter, and looks more premium than what the competition offers. But did I mention that it is also US$129 more expensive? It's a close call to say which among the three devices is the clear winner. It depends on which features matter more to its user. Let's just wait and see how fast-selling the iPad mini would be (or not). But if you're really on a tight budget, sorry no iPad mini for you.

ipad mini
Image by Apple
The Wi-Fi version of the iPad mini will be available for pre-order on Friday (Oct. 26, 2012) and will be shipping as early as next week, starting on November 2, 2012. It will first be available in the following countries. Check out the chart below.

ipad mini
Image by GSMArena.com
The price range of the iPad variants are as follows:

ipad mini
Image by Apple
While it's too early to tell if the iPad mini could extinguish the wildfire the Kindle Fire HD and the Google Nexus 7 have created, it's always good to know that there are now more choices when it comes to 7-inch tablets. An iOS device in a sea of Android tablets is indeed a breath of fresh air. While the iPad mini has its shortcomings, it certainly makes up for it through constant software updates from Apple and a more cohesive app market and ecosystem.

So, that's about it. I can't wait to get my hands on the actual device.

Check out my review on the new iPod touch, the new iPod nano, the iPhone 5, the new iPod shuffle, and iOS 6.

Images above taken from Apple's website unless stated otherwise.

Til then...

xoxo Nash

2 comments :

Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
thank you :)

Thank you. =)

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