Sunday, November 17, 2013 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Retina iPad mini

This sounds like the one I’ve been waiting for, although a 6- or 7-inch version would probably be even better for reading.

David Pogue:

Apple says that itty-bitty pixels require greater brightness to look good, and that drains the battery faster. To keep the Mini at 10 hours of juice, Apple had to give it a bigger battery, which makes it 7 percent heavier and slightly thicker than the original Mini (by three tenths of a millimeter, for you caliper-wielding types). You’d notice it, but only if you were holding the original Mini in your other hand for comparison.

John Gruber:

I cannot emphasize this point enough. After three days of extensive use of the Mini (a review unit on loan from Apple), it works and feels exactly like the iPad Air. Everything about it is of equivalent or identical quality: the display, the cameras (front and back), the performance, the battery life.

Anand Lal Shimpi:

The Retina mini now features a 44% larger battery (23.8Wh). That’s nearly the same battery capacity as the original iPad (25Wh), but in a chassis with only 1/3 of the volume. This is also the highest capacity battery we’ve ever seen in a tablet of this size. The negligible impact on weight and thickness is pretty impressive.

Jason Snell:

Though the new iPad mini with Retina display is lighter than the iPad Air, it’s actually more dense. Picking up the iPad Air feels a bit like picking up a movie prop; like the iPhone 5 series, it’s almost impossibly light. The Retina iPad mini definitely feels more solid, like a whole lot of technology got packed into a very small space.

Dan Moren:

Whether you opt for this or the iPad Air comes down to essentially two factors: size and price. If you want the smallest and lightest iPad around, the mini wins, though not by as much as it used to; it’s around three-quarters of a pound to the iPad Air’s 1 pound. Its small size may be even more of a selling point, especially if you want something that’ll travel easily wherever you go: About the size of a trade paperback, the mini can fit comfortably into a purse or a small bag. And even though the new iPad Air is light enough to be held in one hand, the iPad mini still beats it, well, hands-down in that category. In particular, that makes the mini great for reading books or playing many games.

Marco Arment:

If the LCD panel has an image retention issue, a faint impression of the checkerboard will still be visible on the solid gray image, usually fading over the next few minutes.

Well, I picked up my Retina iPad Mini tonight, and it failed[…]

Here’s his image-retention test page.

2 Comments

Mine just left Hong Kong, according to TNT. I’m on an iPad 3 with a shady glass repair job and half-functioning home button so it can’t get here soon enough.

Having waited since before the original mini, I’ve run the numbers on the upgrades on every axis - it’s less than half the volume, a little more than half the weight, many times faster on both CPU and GPU (A5X to A7), denser resolution, finally multiple stream 802.11n, stereo speakers and I’ll get to toss all 30-pin cables. Any two or three of these would be solid, so it’s by far the best iOS device upgrade I’ve made.

I was torn between it and the iPad Air, but only for a short while. One-handedability isn’t of interest since I spend most of my time in landscape, so the remaining reason is the significant difference in weight. (The mini + a smart cover is just a hair above the weight of an Air without a cover, says the Internet - still significantly lighter than my iPad 3.) The weight in hand is finally approaching appropriate numbers for the intended uses. A lot has happened since the original brick iPad 3.5 years ago.

As a victim of late-onset image retention on my MBP (poor me), I’m wary of this issue, but if it manifests itself like the MBP issue or weaker, it is certainly livable over the lifespan of the product. That said, I’ll run the test very early on and see what the 90 day warranty has to offer.

I still need to decide on a device to replace my iPad 2. I use it pretty heavily, often with a Bluetooth keyboard, for productivity apps and as a Mac/Windows remote desktop client. Despite iPad 2 being currently sold, its speed is really an issue —the iWork apps’ startup time borders on interminable) I never considered the iPad 3/4 because of the speed (3)/size/weight regressions.

The display issues on the iPad mini — not image retention as much as the not-improved-since-iPad 2 color gamut — are in favor of the Air, but I’d also love something smaller. I think I just need to spend some quality time in a store with both of them to see.

I have had some home button flakiness with my iPad, but am fully converted to using gestures for app switching—and just open the Smart Cover to wake it up—so I never touch the home button any more.

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