Friday, January 18, 2013

Forget "the New iPad". Go Mini

So I've had an iPad2 for about a year and half. It's great. Mobile, powerful, multi-functional. Everything I thought I'd want in a tablet. But then our team received iPad Mini's to review just before winter break. Now I'm not sure where the old iPad is because it means nothing to me now. The Mini has taken over all my needs. 

Now before you say that the new mini must be a system upgrade, let me tell you the stats. The iPad2 I was using was 32 gig with 3G capability. The Mini is 16 gig, wifi only. Because I am usually in wireless zones at work and home, losing 3G wasn't an issue. In fact, I never signed up for any data plan on the old iPad. I was a bit concerned about losing half my storage capabilities when I moved to the Mini. But that hasn't been an issue. 

We've only deployed 16 gig iPads to our teachers and schools. There are usually between 120 and 160 apps on the iPads I help deploy to our schools. Space has not been a problem. Personally, I loved the need to start over on my work iPad. When I set up the Mini, I was able to only install the apps that I use the most, not the hundred others that I thought would be cool but don't use regularly. With my work, I demo a lot of apps for teachers. Apple's Cloud fits my needs perfectly here. If I need an app, I visit my purchased content and install it. Then I can delete it if necessary. At this point, I have 4.8 gig of storage left on the Mini. And that includes 159 songs.

The size of the Mini is perfect. I can fit the Mini into my coat pockets quite easily. It's so thin, even in a case. And the screen size isn't an issue. In fact, it's not a lot smaller than the full sized iPad. It didn't take me long to start thinking that the normal iPad was too big. The first thought I have when I pick up an iPad2 now: it's so huge. 

The most surprising aspect of my switch as been with typing. On the iPad2, I was always a one finger typist. Inefficient, yes, but it got the job down. With the Mini, I'm splitting the keyboard and using the dual-thumb approach, or the "teenage-girl texting method". Because of my demographic, I can't compete with your junior high daughter. But I'm getting better. In fact, I think I'm faster in the end because I'm not trying to go quickly. 

Other features that are superior on the Mini:

  • The Mini's camera is much better: 5mp back camera with full HD
  • 1024x768 screen resolution. It's not retina display, but it allows better pixels per inch than the full sized iPad2. It's noticeably crisper.
  • Siri
  • It's less expensive: $309 if you are buying ten-packs for schools
Everywhere I go, teachers ask my opinion when they see the Mini. My answer is always the same: go with a Mini for students, no question about it. It's a perfect size for the little hands of elementary students and for the mobile needs of secondary students. Teachers might be a different because, well, teachers are different. But the majority of teachers who already have iPads have said they would prefer the Mini. 

Basically, I'm over the "New iPad". Go Mini. 

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