iPad Mini Early Reviews: Mostly Stellar

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iPad mini in smart cover stand

A number of early reviews of the iPad mini have now hit the web. These are reviews from a number of ‘A List’ sort of journalists who’ve had the pleasure of the iPad mini’s company for around a week prior to its public release.

These early reviews are mostly very positive about the iPad mini. The only two negatives mentioned often are the lack of a retina display and the price being a little higher than some would like to see.

Here’s a selection of quotes from some of these reviews that caught my eye last night and this morning:

Jim Dalrymple at The Loop:

I was wrong. I have wondered publicly whether or not a smaller tablet would fit into my workflow and even suggested the larger iPad would be better. I was wrong. I picked up my iPad mini and iPad 4 from Apple just after the special event ended last week in San Jose and have been using them ever since. I haven’t used the mini to the exclusion of my iPad, but I wanted to see where this new device would fit into my lifestyle without being forced. What I found was surprising to me. I actually used the iPad mini more than my iPad.

Walt Mossberg at The Wall Street Journal:

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. Every app that ran on my larger iPad ran perfectly on the Mini. I was able to use it one-handed and hold it for long periods of time without tiring. My only complaints were that it’s a tad too wide to fit in most of my pockets, and the screen resolution is a big step backwards from the Retina display on the current large iPad.

Joshua Topolsky at The Verge:

It doesn’t feel like Apple is racing to some lowest-price bottom — rather it seems to be trying to raise the floor.

And it does raise the floor here. There’s no tablet in this size range that’s as beautifully constructed, works as flawlessly, or has such an incredible software selection. Would I prefer a higher-res display? Certainly. Would I trade it for the app selection or hardware design? For the consistency and smoothness of its software, or reliability of its battery? Absolutely not. And as someone who’s been living with (and loving) Google’s Nexus 7 tablet for a few months, I don’t say that lightly.

The iPad mini hasn’t wrapped up the “cheapest tablet” market by any stretch of the imagination. But the “best small tablet” market? Consider it captured.

Tim Stevens at Engadget:

This is, in many ways, Apple’s best tablet yet, an incredibly thin, remarkably light, obviously well-constructed device that offers phenomenal battery life. …To consider it just a cheap, tiny iPad is a disservice. This is, simply, a great tablet.

Vincent Nguyen of Slashgear:

In the end, it’s about an overall package, an experience which Apple is offering. Not the fastest tablet, nor the cheapest, nor the one that prioritizes the most pixel-dense display, but the one with the lion’s share of tablet applications, the integration with the iOS/iTunes ecosystem, the familiarity of usability and, yes, the brand cachet. That’s a compelling metric by which to judge a new product, and it’s a set of abilities that single the iPad mini out in the marketplace. If the iPad with Retina display is the flagship of Apple’s tablet range, then the iPad mini is the everyman model, and it’s one that will deservedly sell very well.

MG Siegler at TechCrunch:

The iPad mini isn’t perfect — for one reason in particular (more on that below) — but it’s damn close to my ideal device. In my review of the Nexus 7 (which I really liked, to the shock of many), I kept coming back to one thing: the form-factor. Mix this with iOS and Apple’s app ecosystem and the intangibles I spoke about earlier and the iPad mini is an explosion of handheld joy. …

While we’re on the subject of the screen, let’s not beat around the bush — if there is a weakness of this device, it’s the screen. But that statement comes with a very big asterisk. As someone who is used to a ‘retina’ display on my phone, tablet, and even now computer, the downgrade to a non-retina display is quite noticeable. This goes away over time as you use the iPad mini non-stop, but if you switch back to a retina screen, it’s jarring.

John Gruber of Daring Fireball:

If the Mini had a retina display, I’d switch from the iPad 3 in a heartbeat. 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.

Nothing I’ve seen so far has dampened my enthusiasm for the iPad mini. Quite the opposite in fact, I’m raring to go line up tomorrow night / the wee hours of Friday morning to go get mine.

What do you all think of the early reviews of the iPad mini? Which ones have drawn your attention?

Image Source: MG Siegler, TechCrunch

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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