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on April 12, 2013
The product itself is fantastic and my stars are based on the product being a great deal and a great device.

But for anyone thinking of buying from Amazon, be warned. I purchased one of these for someone on her birthday and it was listed as new. Amazon seems to only sell iPad minis from third party sellers, not from itself, meaning another company gets the iPads from any source they want, sends them to Amazon, and Amazon ships them. One of these sellers listed an iPad mini slightly above retail price, but cheaper than all of the other iPad minis on Amazon. In fact, when I searched for iPad mini, it was the seller and product page the site automatically directed me to. The page indicated it as new, and sold it to me via Amazon. When my friend got her iPad mini, it looked new, was packaged and sealed like new, but when she turned it on, it was tied to someone else's icloud account. I called apple and gave them the serial number. Sure enough, the item was used, only had about 60 days left in the warranty (instead of 90) and was registered through Apple to a different customer. If I wanted a used iPad Mini, I would have paid less. Much less.

I even emailed the user who had previously owned it (since her email address via iCloud was showing up when my friend tried to access the app store. I emailed the previous user just to make sure it wasn't a stolen product. She explained that she had purchased it a few weeks back from At&T, not from Amazon. She wanted a wifi + 3g version, not just wifi, so she returned it and somehow, the third party seller got their hands on it and sold it to me as new.

In the defense of of the third party seller, once I got their phone number from Amazon and called them (most seller numbers are not on Amazon, you have to call and request a phone number), they provided a scary explanation: They explained that there are problems with Amazon's FBA system (fulfillment). Sometimes, iPads are returned with nothing but index cards in the box and Amazon thinks there is an iPad inside. Sometimes, products mingle, and so another seller's used iPads might be with a different seller's new iPads. They explained that they have a very legitimate source of iPads and have been selling iPads for years and that this is a rare occurrence, although it has happened before. I have no way of verifying any of this, so I can't blame Amazon or the seller. All I can say is that for such a large purchase, and one that is a gift, you are better off buying from a major retail store that doesn't sell used items at all (or buying from Amazon when it is shipped and sold and fulfilled by Amazon). Right now, this product is actually on sale at Walmart.

Amazon refunded me but now my friend has to return her birthday gift. I recommend buying from someone other than Amazon. For this particular product, it's probably the cheaper route to do that anyway. If you do buy from Amazon, call Apple with your Serial Number and verify it is a new, unregistered product with a full 90 day warranty. Don't get scammed.
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on December 2, 2012
Conceived from its sleek, glossy 10" counterpart, the new iPad Mini boasts one gigantic new trait over the full-sized iPad: the ability to hold it in one hand. This almost revolutionary twist on the device that sparked a frenzy in the tablet world has finally brought joy to those that have held out hope of such higher portability in an iPad for so long. But does the iPad Mini live up to the hype? Absolutely.

Turns out, the iPad mini is indeed more than simply a shrunk-down iPad, though there may be an argument for it actually resembling something more along the lines of a blown-up iPod touch. In any case, the big question: is the iPad mini right for you? I'll endeavor to answer that for you here by taking you hands-on with the new model, plus I'll share from my past few years of iPad ownership experience altogether, especially for those who haven't yet had an iPad to call their own.

Plus, in hopes of making this the most helpful iPad mini review on Amazon, I'll also reveal a treasure trove of info on how you can legitimately download tons of quality apps and games for free!

For those interested, I've also compiled two iPad listmania lists:

Must-Have iPad Accessories:
iPad vs. Other Tablets:

My reviews tend to run long, so I've organized information by section, with headings, to help you quickly locate any specific info you're after. For example, see the heading "Downloading Apps and Games" for the info on obtaining free apps and games!

First, let's compare hardware specs between iPad mini and iPad, and what each means for you:
+ Device: iPad mini vs. iPad (4th gen)
+ Weight: 0.68 lbs vs. 1.44 lbs -- over twice as light as the iPad
+ Thickness: 0.28" (7.2mm) vs. 0.37" (9.4mm) -- thin as an iPod touch
+ Display: 163 vs. 264 pixels per inch -- less-crisp text, but equally long life for a smaller battery
+ Resolution: 1024 x 768 vs. 2048 x 1536 -- half as many pixels as the current iPad, but still sharper than an iPad 2
+ Battery: 10 hours (16.3 Wh) vs. 10 hours (45 Wh) -- smaller, lighter battery lasts just as long as the iPad
+ Processor: A5 (dual core) vs. A6X (dual core with quad core graphics) -- same as the new iPod touch, but not quite as powerful as the latest iPad, yet it doesn't need to be because the iPad mini display totes a quarter as many pixels!
+ Price: The iPad mini has a price tag that is indeed much more attractive than the 10" iPad. It's actually closer to that of the iPod touch.

===== First Impression =====

At first sight, there's a feeling of novelty to the iPad Mini, especially if you've used a 10" iPad or tablet. The more you use it, however, the more you realize that this is the size an iPad was meant to be: perfectly portable. The 10" iPad is so bulky and heavy in comparison, and I felt uncomfortable, embarrassed and awkward taking it with me and using it places, especially waiting in line. Not so with the iPad mini! It's super light, more than half the weight of the 10" iPad, and its sleek rounded edges are much more comfortable for carrying than the sharply-tapered edges of the iPad.

My initial reaction to the unveiling of the iPad mini was one of slight disappointment, mainly because it was closer to 8" than to the desired 7" of other tablets in its class. Why would Apple bother bringing a smaller iPad to market that's still not quite as small as some of the other 7" tablets floating around? Ah, but I was wrong.

Until I held it in my own hand, I failed to realize that Apple had made better use of the iPad mini's size than most 7" tablets do. What matters in a 7" tablet class isn't the screen size but the actual device size. The iPad mini is 3mm shorter and 7mm wider than the 7" Kindle Fire HD, yet it touts nearly an inch more of physical screen size.

===== Interaction Experience =====

Naturally, the iPad mini shares the iPad's same phenomenal multi-touch interface that is undisputedly second to none. Android tablets and other devices may tout "multi-touch" support, but usually this just means they support 2-finger gestures like pinch-style zooming. Apple, on the other hand, gives a whole new meaning to the term, supporting up to ten simultaneous touches, and app developers have certainly leveraged that capacity. For example, one popular app supporting ten simultaneous touches is the Piano app.

===== So What Can the iPad mini Actually Do? =====

Naturally, there are things you can do with the iPad mini right out of the box. You can browse the Web with Safari, set up your email, download your photos and videos from your computer via iTunes, as well as shoot new photos and videos using either of the two built in cameras. You can also surf YouTube via Apple's built-in YouTube app. There's also an iPod built in, so you can listen to your favorite tunes via the Music app, or download new music, movies and media via the iTunes app. Another popular app is iBooks, which lets you download and read e-books on your iPad mini. You can also jot notes, manage your calendar and contacts. You can even chat face-to-face with other Apple-device users via FaceTime.

Of course, the fun and usefulness of the iPad mini doesn't stop there. The App Store app is your portal to unending games and utilities. One thing Apple has been really good at is showing off just what you can do with an iPad, and the same goes for the iPad mini. All iPad apps work on the iPad mini. After all, the iPad mini is still an iPad. App developers have undoubtedly been busy creating unique experiences through their iPad apps, most of which have yet to be rivaled by (or ported to) Android and other tablets.

When Apple first announced the iPad they didn't tout it so much as an ebook reader as they did a "netbook killer" (due to its ability to surf the web, check email, watch videos, listen to music, and do a lot of the simpler tasks that netbooks were originally designed to do. But along its path to success, it sparked a revolution in the publication and delivery of full-color magazines, news and now even ebooks via Apple's iBooks app. Now, it's quite clear that Apple had the goal of a much more comfortable ebook reading experience in mind when they set out to create the iPad mini. You can easily hold it in one hand, just like a real book, and it's as light as a real book, two traits many users have been hoping to see come to fruition soon.

On the other hand, to use the iPad mini for more productive purposes, such as editing office documents, you'll need to download Apple's productivity suite iWork, a trilogy of apps including: Pages (word processing), Numbers (spreadsheets) and Keynote (slideshows). Each of the three apps can be downloaded separately for $9.99 each. Completely reworked for the iPad, the complete iWork suite will set you back a whole thirty bucks. So be aware of that before you go ahead and grab the iPad mini for use with work-related document editing, and so forth.

Also note that if you do intend to use the iPad for heavy writing or word-processing purposes, you'll find that your ability to type quickly will be greatly inhibited by the virtual keyboard. Thus, you should snag the external keyboard as well (Note: I'll also explain some typing techniques below). Either way, be prepared to pay more than merely the price for the iPad mini alone. There's clearly more than meets the eye if you intend to transform the iPad mini into something a little more productive than it might be for you out of the box.

===== Downloading Apps and Games =====

Downloading apps on your iPad mini couldn't be easier. Once you set up your iTunes account with a password and credit card (or iTunes gift card), all you need to do is launch the 'App Store' app, browse or search to find the app you want, tap the download button (usually it says the price rather than 'download', which then changes to 'install app' after you tap it), then tap again to confirm. Enter your password, and voila, you just bought an app. Behind the scenes, Apple then charges your card (or deducts from your gift card balance) the amount of the app plus tax, while you're already off enjoying your new purchase. This ease of access is a blessing and a curse, because you can easily empty your wallet if you're not carefully considering each purchase.

All apps in the App Store range in price from Free and 99 cents on up, always incrementing in whole dollar amounts (1.99, 2.99, 3.99, etc). The maximum price for an app is set to $999.99, of which there are only eight currently priced so outrageously. And don't even think of toying with them. Apple does not allow refunds on apps you have purchased--all sales are final!

Now for the juicy money-saving secrets of the App Store! With the proper resources, you can legitimately download thousands of high quality apps for free. I do it all the time and it's perfectly legal. You see, Apple allows developers to temporarily put their apps on sale (and even drop the price to free). Usually they do this in hopes that you'll write a rave review for the temporarily-free app. The secret to your success here is having the resources to help you spot these special app sales--so you know when and where to get them during these often extremely-limited-time promotions.

In hopes of making this the most helpful review on Amazon for the iPad mini, here's how to obtain these special promotional-sale and temporarily-free apps for yourself!

There are several resources you can use, both on the Web and on the iPad mini itself. I prefer to use an app called "AppShopper" which lists all apps that recently went on sale or dropped to free. You can filter just iPad apps, or show iPhone apps as well, and you can also filter just the free products or just the sale apps. But so many apps go on sale, making it hard to cut through the clutter, which is where AppShopper truly shines: the "popular" tab shows only the most popularly downloaded sale apps. If several other people aren't downloading an app, you won't see it listed there! AppShopper is a phenomenal little gem, and it has gotten me tons of apps FREE! It also has a companion website that lists the same apps. You can even create an account and track the apps you own, so you don't end up trying to redownload them if they go on sale again! It also supports watch lists (via your account) with push notifications, and can alert you whenever an app you're interested in goes on sale. It's a real thing of beauty! There are other apps such as AppZappPush, AppSniper, AppAdvice, Apps Gone Free, and more, but none of them leverage the power of the masses to help you filter out the unwanted apps. Feel free to check them out if you like, though!

===== Typing on the iPad mini =====

Typing on the iPad mini has certainly become a bit less burdensome than with its 10" iPad counterpart, especially in the way of thumb-typing. However, typing lengthy messages can still be a concern. Obviously, the iPad mini is no laptop--you won't be speed-typing, so it may not be conducive for heavy usage like typing lengthy emails or blogging, let alone writing this review. With that in mind, there are a couple approaches you can try to determine what typing method is right for you. The ideal method might also change depending on where you are and how the iPad is oriented when using it.

Typing Method #1: Thumbs
The most flexible approach is to type with your thumbs, which can be done whether sitting or standing. In portrait mode: grasp the bottom of your iPad with your palms facing each other, and your pinky fingers towards you for the iPad to rest on. To stabilize the iPad and prevent it from flopping over and falling out of your hands, stretch both of your index fingers upwards towards the top of the iPad as much as is comfortable. Using your thumbs, hunt & peck the keys on the virtual keyboard to your heart's content.

Alternately, if you press and hold the show/hide button on the bottom right corner of the keyboard, you can choose to split the keyboard, which makes it easier for your thumbs to reach all keys. You can also choose to undock the keyboard, which centers it vertically on the screen, instead of at the bottom. Undocked keyboard can be split or merged, per your preferences.

Typing Method #2: Two Fingers
If thumb-typing isn't your style, try holding the iPad mini in one hand, like a book, and use your index and middle fingers to go back and forth across the virtual keyboard. Alternately, if the iPad mini is resting on a surface and is in landscape orientation, you could try using two fingers from each hand, but I don't think the iPad mini is big enough to type with your full range of fingers like the 10" iPad is.

Typing Method #3: Speech to Text
With iOS 5 and Siri, Apple has brought us an even more convenient way to type, thanks to Siri! Just hit the microphone icon on the lower-left side of the keyboard, and start speaking. In most cases, your words will be transcribed into the currently active text field, with potentially mis-interpreted words underlined in blue. Just select any such word, and a list of possible alternates will pop up for your choosing.

You can also speak most punctuation, such as 'period', 'question mark', 'exclamation mark', 'open-paren', 'close-paren', 'hyphen', 'single quote', 'double quote', 'ellipsis' and more. Siri is built into the iOS software and is a free service, but one caveat of using Siri for speech transcription is that you must be connected to the Web at the time of transcription, because Siri is a primarily Web-based service (albeit a free one). At times, network congestion has been known to hinder the ability for this feature to work properly, but that happens much less frequently now and usually only occurs if your device is connected to a poor cellular signal instead of WiFi.

Other methods of typing on the iPad include the external keyboard, as well as third party speech-to-text transcription apps like Dragon, but with Siri's voice transcription feature built in, the latter is no longer necessary.

===== Web Browsing =====

Alongside email, and spending money in the app store, Web browsing is one of Apple's biggest suggestions for using the device. The iPad mini's small stature is no less capable, and its screen resolution of 1024x768 tends to concur, especially in landscape mode. Most websites are around 800-1000 pixels wide, so when the iPad mini is in landscape orientation, Apple's built-in Safari Web browser or Google's downloadable Chrome app will render any sites that are less than 1024 pixels wide at their intended original size, meaning you see them at their true size, rather than seeing a smaller, more compressed version of the site. Chrome lets you keep an unlimited number of browser tabs in the background, while Safari limits you to 9 tabs (at least until iOS 6 is released).

The good thing about Web browsing on the iPad and iPad mini is that you can rotate the orientation. Content on the Web was born to be viewed vertically (in portrait orientation), not horizontally (landscape orientation) as most laptops and desktop computers use. In general, I tend to prefer browsing the Web in portrait mode, since web pages are almost always taller than they are wide. Still, even in portrait mode, the iPad mini allows you to see more content at a still-decent size. Of course, even in portrait orientation, the compressed pages rendered are still easily readable without squinting your eyes, which isn't often the case for Web browsing on the iPhone/iPod Touch. Plus, you can always zoom into any section by quickly double tapping any region of the active page. Even zoomed-in regions are displayed with crisp clarity, and the browser's interface is swift and responsive.

However, not all your sites will work desirably on the iPad. Apple closed-mindedly refuses to support Adobe Flash on the iPad (as it has with the iPhone/iPod Touch). Flash content is now being used less and less, in favor of newer content technologies like HTML5's canvas and JavaScript effects, which can emulate some of Flash's most familiar capabilities, but sites using Flash do still exist. Flash is often used for advertising, video playback, browser-based online gaming, and for many other interactive site components, from graphs to product demos. However, the Flash experience on tablets that do support it is still quite poor in the interactivity department, especially considering that Adobe never intended for it to be used on touch screens. Thus, certain Flash content may expect a mouse hover and you can't emulate that with a finger on a touch screen.

While I found browsing the Web with a 10" iPad to be a literal pain in the neck, the lightweight and small stature of the iPad mini has certainly improved the experience. It's easier to handle, to hold upright with a single hand while browsing the web with the other, and it's more comfortable to hold. Since I didn't surf much with my 10" iPad, I have no qualms about the lack of a retina display. I'd rather have this iPad mini with the same resolution as the iPad 2 and a 10-hour battery life with a much smaller batter, than to have an iPad mini with a retina display and either a 4-hour battery life, or a battery as heavy as that of the 10" iPad!

===== Email, IM and Social Networking =====

Email on the iPad mini's Mail app is best viewed in landscape mode, as it allows you to see both your list of messages on the left as well as the selected message itself on the right. It also makes managing emails easier, such as moving messages to other folders (or to the trash). Another reason for landscape mode is to make typing those lengthy emails easier (using typing-method #2 mentioned above).

You can have multiple email accounts, including Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, MobileMe, Microsoft Exchange and other custom POP3 and IMAP accounts.

Important Note: With the growing number of portable web connecting devices, there is one concern I want to express on your behalf. When you close the Mail app, it continues running in the background, even after disconnecting from one WiFi hotspot and reconnecting to another. My concern with this is that if haven't set up your e-mail with a secure connection, and you connect to a public WiFi hotspot that a malicious user is monitoring, then the instant your mail app connects to the hotspot to check your e-mail, your e-mail credentials may be suddenly compromised. To avoid this you definitely want to be using some kind of secure connection for your e-mail if at all possible. Web-based email such as Gmail typically support this out of the box, and Gmail accounts are the easiest to setup on the iPad mini.

===== Media =====

If you own an iPhone or iPod Touch, it's comforting to know that you audio/video experience will be similar on the iPad mini. You can watch videos via the YouTube app, which has been updated for the iPad mini to show YouTube HD videos beautifully. While the 1024x768 resolution of the iPad mini is a standard 4:3 ratio, not a widescreen 16:9 ratio, the HD videos as well as other video (including downloads from the iTunes store) display just fine, albeit with black bars. Some may not like that though, but I don't see a wide-screen iPad mini coming to market for a while.

The Netflix and Hulu+ apps are great for members of those online video streaming services. Netflix videos stream quickly and even moving the play position back and forth in the timeline, the movie starts playing very quick without much time rebuffering the video. For those who want to watch live TV, I also recommend getting yourself a Slingbox and snagging the SlingPlayer app to stream live TV to your iPad mini. I do that, and it works quite well!

===== Photos and Video =====

The new iPad mini brings a phenomenal new high-quality 5MP camera to market that picks up where the iPad 2's half-megapixel camera left off. 5 lenses inside the aperture, and the more powerful processor, combine to create the sharpest iPad image yet. Even low-light pictures are better than ever, though there's still room for improvement there. There's also a new iPhoto app from Apple that lets you organize, edit and share your photos right on the iPad mini!

Plus, you can now record full-HD (1080p) videos, instead of just the previous 720p videos. Though I must warn you, if you plan to shoot a lot of video with the iPad mini, you'll want to go with a 32GB or 64GB model! These incredibly high-quality videos take up an incredibly large amount of storage space!

===== E-Reading =====

Whether it's books, magazines or news, the iPad is making an impact on the future of media reading on a whole new level. Apple has been under-emphasizing the e-book and e-publication reading capabilities of the iPad to date, but I feel it's one of the iPad mini's greatest strengths, especially with it being about the size of a book. Magazine, newspaper and now book publishers have been jumping onboard the iPad bandwagon by creating their own iBooks and iPad apps, taking their publications to a whole new level, interactively and financially too.

My experiences interacting with some of these digital representations of magazines and newspapers have been a breath of fresh air. Being able to read them on a screen simply isn't enough. The ability to still touch them, combined with a rich interactivity on a level that can't be matched by their printed counterparts has really given new life to what I feared was becoming a dying trade. Of course, another big perk for me has been the ability to save space because now I can keep all my magazines around without ever taking up more than the size of a single book.

As far as Amazon ebooks go, you're not losing out by passing up on their Kindle line of tablets, because you have full access to Kindle books on the iPad mini via Amazon's Kindle app. If you read a lot outdoors and don't mind reading in shades of gray rather than in full-color, then perhaps the Kindle Paperwhite (not Kindle Fire) is more your style. Kindle uses e-ink which is much easier to read in the sunlight.

All in all, the iPad mini is an great e-reader on a whole new level. Had it touted a retina display, text would be slightly more crisp, albeit at the cost of long battery life. I'll take longer battery life over slightly more crisp text any day. Text on the iPad mini looks fine, unless it's really small, and that's usually only the case for an occasional website, but not ebooks.

===== Productivity =====

Productivity carries numerous definitions. Usually its "getting something done" though some people tend to believe that it's the ability to focus without being distracted, which I see as one of the iPad mini's strengths because of its single-app-at-a-time multitasking approach.

In the context of software though, applications that allow you to edit office documents are commonly referred to as productivity software. Apple's own suite of productivity apps, collectively called "iWork", lets you do just that. For work-minded individuals, it will probably one of the most popular uses of the iPad mini. There are three apps in all: Pages is a word processing app that allows you to create and edit word processing documents, Numbers allows you to create and edit spreadsheets, and Keynote, which lets you create or edit presentations and slideshows (including PowerPoint files). Keynote has been pretty invaluable in giving personal presentations within small groups or one-on-one meetings with an iPad, but I'm not sure the iPad mini would be as comfortable using for presentations.

There's also a productivity category in the App Store dedicated to additional apps geared towards helping you be more productive. Remember, any app that works for the iPhone and iPad will run on the iPad mini, but do note that there are some exceptional productivity apps specifically made or updated for the iPad and iPad mini. Some notable iPad-specific productivity apps include Bento (personal organization/information management), Things (project management), iTeleport (remote desktop/VNC), Layers (drawing/painting), and GoodReader (best PDF+ reader around).

===== Gaming =====

If you're like me, you probably don't have time for games. Ultimately, I still see the iPad as a productivity device more than as a gaming console. Regardless, the iPhone and iPad changed the game on that. Millions of people use their computers for gaming, and with the iPhone and iPod Touch having taken on a clear role as a gaming console that has been as revolutionary for mobile gaming as the Wii was for living-room gaming, it goes without saying that the iPad mini is, and will continue to be, a decent platform for playing games. Most Android games look terrible on tablet-sized screens, but iPad game developers have taken care of iPad users with good quality iPad versions of most iPhone games. Board games and lap-friendly games are better for the 10" iPad than the iPad mini. Meanwhile, games heavily dependent on device-rotation and other accelerometer-based interaction are much conducive for use on the iPad mini than the 10" iPad.

===== Printing =====

Printing with the iPad mini is really hit-or-miss. Apple's iOS 4 brought the ability to print documents from their devices, but there are some caveats. Your printer must support "AirPrint" or, if yours doesn't, you might have success using Printopia software, so long as you have a Mac with a shared printer. Search Google for 'AirPrint' or 'Printopia' for more info and printer compatibility. From there, printing is easy, for apps that support it. The first time you attempt to print something, the iPad mini will walk you through the process of locating the printer and setting up the printing options. For more information about printing with your iPad mini, I'll link to some informative off-site pages in the first comment for this review.

===== Security =====

With portable devices, there should always be some level of concern regarding the safety and protection of your data. The iPad mini delivers surprisingly well in the area--it provides several layers of security to protect your data. You can require complex passcodes to securely access important information, encrypt data whether stored or transferred over WiFi, and even remotely wipe everything from your iPad instantly in the event of theft or loss (with subscription to Apple's MobileMe service). Apple even provides a free device-location service.

===== Praise =====

+ Clever use of space to cram an 8" screen into a 7" class of device that can be held with one hand!
+ Apple continues its trend of creating the best multi-touch experience around. Android doesn't even come close.
+ High performance 1GHz A5X processor - provides performance power for cutting-edge gaming and multitasking.
+ Multitasks like a dream with iOS 5 and the dual-core A5 processor, despite the same 256MB of memory as the third generation touch.
+ Rear camera - 5 megapixel photography goodness, plus it can do HD video.
+ 4G LTE - It's clearly the next big thing for improving connection speed when away from WiFi
+ Supported on Sprint - previous iPads only supported Verizon and AT&T
+ Lower iPad entry price point

===== Caveats =====
+ No Retina Display - But at the added benefit of a lighter battery that holds its charge just as long.

===== Disappointments =====

+ No GPS (or assisted GPS with 4G model) - IP based location just doesn't cut it at times. GPS has no subscription fee or contract to use
+ No NFC - Near Field Communications is what powers PayPass in credit cards, and there are certainly uses for it in devices, especially for data transfer, if not for making payments or redeeming passes with the Passbook app.
+ No 128GB model - would have been useful for high-res videos, or hold more of those 1080p videos you can shoot
+ No USB or SD card slot - for storage expansion, or more importantly, for importing pics from your external camera for use with the new iPhoto app
+ No numeric character row in keyboard, despite plenty of space on the iPad and iPad mini's screen.

===== The Bottom Line =====

There's really not much to complain about in an iPad now. Sure, retina display would be nice, but if we'd been given that, we'd be complaining about battery life, heavy weight or performance issues. Meanwhile, the 10" iPad has its uses, but portability isn't one of its strong suits. The iPad mini now fills that gap, and it's really been a dream to use. If 10" is comfortable for you, go with an iPad. As for me, the iPad mini has mostly lived up to my tablet desires.

Do you really 'need' the retina display? The honest truth is, no. See, Apple has certainly come to spoil us with its latest and greatest hardware, including the retina display, but I really don't see the iPad mini's less phenomenal display as a real deal breaker. I also a believer that the original iPad or iPad 2 are still great devices if you like the 10" class of tablet, and they don't have the retina display. So, really, why wait around another year for something better to come along? Then again, there's no absolute guarantee that the next iPad mini will even have that retina display.

The bottom line is, don't wait around and waste these precious cycles of your life hoping and betting on something better to come around, when you can always buy the current iPad Mini now, enjoy it now, and resell it down the road. Apple products always hold most of their value for a long time, because they're in such high demand.

I hope you've found my hands-on review helpful. Feel free to keep the discussion going via the comments! :)
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on May 24, 2013
First of all I need to say that this product arrived perfectly on time. It was as brand-new as you would have bought in the Apple store.
The product itself is a top class technology. iPad Mini is very mobile, which is the biggest advtange over the regular iPad. It has all necessary and far from necessary functions. Battery life is absolutely amazing. Display quality is not as high as retina, however, you will not even think about its bad sides. If you are an iPhone user and this is your first iPad - you will need to get used to the little specifics of the keyboard on Mini. 1080P HD video is just a beauty to watch. No lagging whatsoever, just pure class. Overall this is a high class product that will let you feel the whole world in your one hand.
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on November 18, 2012
First off, I'm not going to rip this thing apart. I feel the Mini is an absolutely wonderful form-factor, and I recommend it -- just not yet.

The good:

The size of the mini is just short of an inch wider than your typical competitor. You might not think this is much, but seriously, it is. I absolutely love this aspect of it. In addition, the Mini is just wonderfully light and easy to hold (I have big hands, though).

As much as people rip on the screen, it is comfortably bright, and the battery life seems to last quite well, even if brightened up a bit. No complaints there.

The bad:

That same screen, as others have said, suffers from its low resolution. Had this tablet come out a year ago, it would have been earth-shattering. Now, when other offerings from Android are coming out with far better resolutions, it's just meh (the Apple Mini's contrast and color are still superior to the Nexus 7 by far, though). If you are someone coming from an I-pad 2, you won't care about the resolution so much. For everyone else who is used to I-phones with substantially smaller, yet sharper resolutions, you will notice the difference.

Also, and this is a big one for me, I have found that the I-pad Mini is slow to buffer YouTube videos. I'm pretty sure this has to do with it having half of the Ram of its larger pad family members. Cutting the Ram in half was a big mistake. It also seems to cause lags in surfing on only some sites that are more graphic intense. I wasn't sure if this problem was one of my own, so I tried out some other Mini's in the store side-by-side with I-pad 2's and Retinas. Same thing... slow Youtube buffering. Quite a bit slower.

I want to tell you to buy this thing, but I just can't. I want to tell you to wait until next year when the tech is there to up resolution and add more Ram. For the price, the Apple Mini disappoints.
4848 comments|1,307 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 27, 2013

Before I give you the review, let me tell you about my background. I am a college student who is very into tech. I've owned many tablets, and even more phones. I buy them used and sell them used, so I swap between a lot of devices. It's a bad habit, I know, but I really want to find that perfect device.

Tablets I've owned:

-iPad 1,2,3
-Galaxy Tab 10.1
-Nexus 7 (2012)

I bought the iPad mini because I recently bought an iPhone 5 (from Nexus 4) to compliment my Macbook Air. I always went with Android devices because of how cheap they were, but I decided to splurge on an iOS/Mac ecosystem and see how well they sync together. I chose the iPad Mini because I think that the original iPads are too big. Also I like how thin the bezels are for the mini.

So now you know why I bought the mini, here are my list of Pros and Cons.


- Display. Yes I know, it's not retina, but it is still an IPS display. I would take an IPS display with 720p over any other display with 1080p. It's vibrant, colors are sharp. A retina would make it even better, but for me it's not that big of a deal.

- Size and weight. So slim and light it's sexy. This is the main reason I picked this Mini over and iPad with retina. All the old iPads I've used, I never find myself using them often because it's tiring to hold them up for anything longer than a few minutes. WIth the mini, it's much easier.

- Build quality. The main reason I've always envied apple users, their products are always such beauties.

- iPad specific apps. Android tablet apps are just scaled up versions of phone apps, which makes the experience very dull. On the iPad, many apps have iPad versions, which uses the screen real-estate much better.

- Internet. Browsing the web in safari is much better experience than on an Android tablet. It's faster, smoother, and everything just fits on the screen.


iTunes. The lack of file management in iOS. This is the MAIN reason I'm having such a frustrating time on the iPad. I like my iPhone, but dislike the iPad because of iTunes. It boils down to what I do on my iPhone vs what I do on my iPad. On the iPhone, I generally use it to go online, call/text, take pics, siri, youtube, email, etc. Very common stuff. On the iPad however, all I really do is read ebooks and watch videos. Given that, the reason I dislike the iPad is that it relies on iTunes way too much. I can't simply drag and drop video/ebook files into the ipad like I can do with any android device, I have to sync through iTunes. That itself is not that big of a deal, EXCEPT that iTunes only recognizes SOME of the very common files. For example, I have a lot of TV series saved on my Computer. Mostly all TV series files and some movie files are in AVI format, which is an extremely common video file type, but iTunes does not support it. If I wanted to get those files onto my iPad, I'd have to convert the entire collection from AVI to MP4 individually, then drag them into iTunes, then sync it up with my iPad.

Lightning. It's rare, and very expensive. Basically all the microUSB chargers I have are useless now. Not many people have the new 8pin lightning cords lying around, so you're SOL if you go out without your cord and your iPad dies on you. With android devices, there are microUSBs all over my house and in my car, so do most of my friends, so it's no worry. Also the lightning cords are very expensive. Often $20+. MicroUSBs, on the other hand, is often less than $2. The only clear advantage I can see of owning a lightning is that you can plug it in any side you want...big whoop.

Lack of stereo speakers. Since I watch videos on it all the time, I wished it had stereo speakers like the Nexus 10 and the new Nexus 7.


So there's my reasons. I am not a fanboy of android nor apple, they both have their pros and cons. The iPad is still the best tablet to browse the web for, which is probably what a lot of you will do. But if you're like me and sees yourself watching videos on it and reading ebooks, and has a huge library saved in your computer, then you might want to get an android tablet.
33 comments|53 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 13, 2015
Pretty dissatisfied with my purchase. I bought two and they both came with defects.
review image review image review image review image
0Comment|38 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 22, 2013
I echo Reader44's review (above) about getting a supposedly new iPad Mini from Amazon that turned out to be used. My Mini arrived on Friday with paperwork showing that it was being provided by Freebie Electronics. I had no problem getting it configured on my wireless WiFi network Saturday morning. I then called Verizon and provided the necessary information to connect using 3G. However, it would not connect even though I had the Verizon logo and three bars on the screen. I called Verizon back, and another person told me there was a "problem," and I needed to speak with the Fraud Prevention department, which was not open weekends. Or I could go to a Verizon store and have someone there look at it. I opted for the latter and drove to the Verizon store in Torrington, CT. Someone there checked it out, entered some data from the Mini on her computer, and confirmed that the Mini had been previously sold to someone else. The unit was "blacklisted" because that someone had neglected to pay his or her Verizon account. No, Verizon won't unlock the Mini, so I have to return it to Amazon for a replacement. Amazon's web site says Freebie Electronics gets 4.9 out of 5 stars, which seems hard to believe if that company makes a habit of providing used electronics to Amazon for sale as new. Needless to say, I am very disappointed with Amazon. I have bought lots of stuff, not just computers, from Amazon and certainly expected better.
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on May 25, 2013
Everyone else already covered the essential characteristics, features and functions of the ipad mini, so instead, I'd approach this review on a practicality basis to let you know how it works for me.

Things I'd like to touch on are non retina, slower A5 processor, screen size, and physical build quality


I've seen countless reviews of people complaining that the non retina display on the ipad mini is a pain to use and the fuzziness of texts is unbearable to read's not!!!!! Yes the ipad mini screen display could've been a lot better and sharper than it currently is but to be honest, I think users of iPhone 4/4s/5, ipad3/4, and all other iDevices that currently use retina screens are just spoiled by being accustom to apple having retina that they have a state of mind that they won't accept anything less than retina quality from apple.

A lot of other mobile companies have screens a lot worse than retina but yet still people accept it mainly because their expectations for the other brands aren't as high as what they'd expect from apple...people love the non retina MacBook Pros...and reading texts on that machine isn't a pain or unbearable right?

I'd love to see retina on the next releases of the new ipad minis schedules for later this year but in the mean while, I'm pretty satisfied with the existing's not great, but it's also far from being bad.


This is the reason I took away 1 star from making this product earn a 5 star review....the major blow to me of this device is that it has an A5 processor and not that it lacks a retina display...for those who are unaware, the A5 chip comes with built in RAM which only has the capacity of 512mb...doing basic things on the ipad mini doesn't require an A5x or aA6 chip but with the more intense apps like Waze, graphic intense games, and even Facebook, you'd begin to experience some slow downs on your device...again, not unbearable, but definitely not a smooth experience as one would like.

Is it a dealbreaker? If I'm relying on just specs on paper, then YES....however, if I'm basing my purchase of an ipad mini on actual use of the device forgetting specs and just seeing how the device works in real life situations...then NO...although the ipad mini only has 512mb of RAM it's not a slouch. iOS is very hardware efficient and you won't feel the lack of 1gb RAM on iOS as much as you would on an android device running jelly bean for example.


this is honestly the best screen size I've experienced on any tablet thus far. You can easily type with both thumbs while holding the ipad mini in portrait mode (something that wasn't possible with the classic sized iPads unless you split the keyboard).

A 7.9" screen is a joy to carry around as its not too large and not too small neither. My sentiments are that 7" is a little too small for a tablet as they're phones already close to that size such as the galaxy note series. At first I wasn't too sure how I'd feel about the extra .9 of an inch thinking to myself that it's not a significant amount of extra real estate to satisfy me seeing as I previously owned an ipad 3, but to my suprise, it's just the right size for my personal taste.

I know you probably heard this countless times before but I too think that this should've been the size of the iPads all along as now that I own a mini, I'd never go back to that 9.7" of the classic iPads...I find myself carrying around and using my ipad mini a lot more than I did with my ipad 3 even though it was faster and had a better display....this ipad mini simply is what a tablet is supposed to be....PORTABLE!!!


The ipad mini is a wonderful piece of hardware. Detail given by apple in the production of this machine is simply amazing. From the moment you hold it in your hands you'd feel the love and great R&D they put into this device. It does come with a few drawbacks but the pros by far outnumbers the cons.

It is the nicest lookin ipad yet, best screen size in my opinion, best with regards to portability and it does everything it's bigger brothers do, a bit slower, but in real time it's only a few milliseconds slower though which to me is not substantial.

Next gen ipad mini with a faster processor and retina screen WILL be the best ipad you can possibly get, but for now I'm pretty satisfied with the ipad mini and can safely recommend this device to anyone looking for an excellent, lightweight and portable tablet
0Comment|30 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 9, 2013
First off, this re-seller got my Mini out to me on time. Or actually, Amazon did (I think it was fulfilled by Amazon).
The Apple ID numbers were covered up by a sticker attached by the re-seller. I had to carefully peel this back so I could call Apple and get the smut on this particular device (more on that below). I wanted to make sure that is was not a repackaged, used device, as others have reviewed, or that it was refurbished, or purchased over 30 days ago (and thus ineligble for AppleCare- also reviewed below). I was able to peel off the sticker without ruining the plastic wrap, which would have made my return 'opened'.
A corner of the box was slightly dinged in, and the plastic wrap on the box looked pretty well scuffed up, and definitely gave the appearance that it had been bounced around quite a bit.
I did not open the box, as I found out from Apple that this was not actually a brand new device.

I looked for but did not find a Mini sold directly by Amazon. It appears (and an Apple Tech confirmed this) that Amazon does not sell Apple products, instead relying on resellers to take on that onus. Is this all cause of the Kindle?
What impact does that have on us? In most cases, you will be ineligible for AppleCare. AppleCare is a huge benefit for most purchasers, covering all types of damage up to 2 years. If you buy an Apple product from someone other than an Apple store, you can still enroll your device in AppleCare, but it must be done within 30 days of purchase, and it must be done at an Apple store.
When you purchase an Apple product through Amazon, you are getting a device that in most cases was purchased by someone like us, at a BestBuy, WalMart, Target, etc, at some point in the recent past. They then 're-sell' the device on Amazon. Apple uses the origianl date of purchase from the Apple vendor (the BestBuy, Walmart, Target, etc) to start the 30 day AppleCare counter. In my case, my Mini arrived on the 30th day from original purchase. I had 3 hours to get my device down to an Apple store, get it enrolled in AppleCare, or else I would be SOL. Fortunately, Amazon's incredible return policy enabled me to just go online and in a few clicks print out my free return label.
As an FYI, Apple stores are the absolute best way to purchase an Apple device. Not only are they cheaper (mine was actually the same price, with tax, as it was from Amazon), but they will spend over an hour with you getting it set up, linked to your iTunes, your iPhone, iCloud, etc. It's an amazing experience, and it's all free with your purchase.
I challenge Amazon (and Apple) to combine their two excellent companies and develop a strategy for online buying experience that actually enhances each other's products/services, rather than detract from them as they do now.
55 comments|132 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 4, 2013
I placed an order for the iPad Mini 64 GB WIFI. I ordered it from TechGiant. The order was shipped promptly. However, to my surprise, when I went to register the device to qualify for Apple's free one year warranty, I was informed that the device had already been registered by another user in 2012 and that I only had 119 days remaining in the warranty. That might explain why the battery was 20% low when I plugged it in and it prompted me to restore files from iCloud. I plugged the device in and the charger didn't even work. I paid $519 for a device that was advertised as new but it was not. I didn't have a way to contact the shipper so I contacted Amazon. They instructed me to return the item for a refund. They also gave me a link to try to contact the seller. I called a phone number on the seller's website and left a message explaining the situation. I stated I wanted to give them the opportunity to correct the problem. This was a few days ago and I still have not received a return call from the seller. Needless to say, I am very disappointed and still don't have an iPad Mini I need for a trip I have coming up.
22 comments|87 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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