My Take on the iPad Mini After 7 Weeks

I bought the original iPad, the iPad 2 (though I protested), and even the iPad 3. However, I eventually stopped using each of them. I could not find a compelling reason to carry it over my MacBook Air, other than to read books. For that function, I used a Kindle.

Michael Hyatt Holding His iPad Mini

My biggest complaint with the iPad was it was just too big and too heavy, especially for reading. I know, this would be a laughable complaint just a few short years ago. But compared to a book, it was uncomfortable.

However, with the announcement of the iPad Mini, I decided to give it another go.

The scratch that still itches for me is my workflow for taking notes in face-to-face meetings. Hauling out my laptop feels too intrusive. Writing in a Moleskine or EcoSystem notebook and then scanning the pages is too much work.

I chose the black, 64GB, Wi-Fi + cellular iPad Mini. It arrived at my home a day earlier than Apple promised, which was a nice surprise. The packaging (as usual) made for a great first impression.

There were three attributes that stood out immediately:

  1. The Size. The size just feels right—a little bit wider and a bit shorter than a Moleskine notebook. At 10.7 oz, it’s more than three ounces lighter than Platform, my most recent book. It’s less than half the weight of the my iPad 3.
  2. The Speed. The speed of the Mini is comparable to the iPad 2 and 3. It seems plenty zippy to me. Applications load quickly, and I have not experienced any lag, other than a slight delay when opening apps.
  3. The Screen. If you are used to the retina display of say, the iPhone 5, or the iPad 3, you will notice a difference. But if you are comfortable with the screen of a newer model MacBook Air (not retina), it is comparable. The colors are vivid and bright.

Overall, the machine is beautiful. I immediately took to it.

I have been consistently getting ten hours of battery life per charge—the same as my iPad 3. Unfortunately, Apple changed the power connector to the the Lightning model used with the iPhone 5. I already had several of the 30-pin connectors, which I couldn’t use.

However, I appreciated the fact that I had immediate access to more than 275,000 iPad apps. This ensured I had zero learning curve. All my favorite apps were available on the Mini.

In fact, when I signed into my iCloud account, all my apps were downloaded to the Mini. I soon felt right at home. In addition, whenever I download a new app, it is downloaded on my Mini and my iPad 3. This is a preference setting you can turn on or off.

Though I don’t use them regularly, the Mini also has two cameras. The front-facing FaceTime HD camera sports 1.2 MP photos, 720p HD video, face detection, and FaceTime calling over Wi-Fi. The back-facing iSight camera creates 5MP photos and has auto-focus, face-detection, and a 2.4 aperture.

So the big question was whether or not I would actually use the Mini.

This brings me back to where I started. I am now reading all my books on the Mini. I have ditched my Kindle and haven’t looked back. (I am, however, using the Kindle app on the Mini.)

I am also taking the Mini whenever I leave my office or home to run errands. I use it while standing in line, waiting at the doctor’s office, or sitting at a restaurant. Cellular Internet access makes this remarkably convenient and surprisingly fast.

Best of all, I am using the Mini in meetings to take hand-written notes. I am really impressed with how far the note-taking apps have come since I last evaluated them. I downloaded all the major ones and tested them.

I’ve settled (for now) on the Moleskine Journal app and the Bamboo stylus. With it, I can export my notes to Evernote and the text is even searchable, though that takes about 24 hours to be processed through Evernote’s servers.

Does Apple have room for improvement? Certainly.

I really wish they had included a retina display. This obviously wasn’t a technological challenge, since they are already using this display on smaller devices (the iPhone 5) and larger ones (the iPad 3 and 4). Undoubtedly, Apple choose to forgo retina to keep the price point down and make the Mini more competitive.

But other than that, I am pleased with my purchase. The Mini has become an important part of my workflow and made me more productive. This is what the iPad should have always been.

Question: What do you like or not like about the iPad Mini? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Want to launch your own blog or upgrade to self-hosted WordPress? Watch my free, twenty-minute screencast. I show you exactly how to do it. You don’t need any technical knowledge. Click here to get started.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • Pingback: My Top 10 Favorite iPad Apps | RAKESH

  • Pingback: Kindle Fire HD 7 Continues to Score Big Here | The Z Section

  • Pingback: One of the best purchases ever! | Petter's Blog

  • ELHRINC

    I have enjoyed the review. Thanks.

    I bought the iPod Touch 4th generation about a year ago. It is my business. I started a small business in 2012 and The iPod Touch is the reason I am still up and running. In August my sister lent me her discarded iPad 2. It is remarkably similar to my iPod Touch! Only BIGGER. Which I loved. After doing so much on the touch it was nice to be able to read the screen without terrible discomfort. But I agree with your assessment that the size is cumbersome. It never fits comfortable in my hands I am constantly tilting back and forth to type and reach on the screen (5’2″ tall and small hands to match). After a month and a half I converted back to using my touch. It’s Lighter and easier to use.

    Anyway I am considering purchasing the Mini but my Touch was only $200.00. I am not a Mac-head (I own a Sony vaio, original kindle, And a blackerry bold 9930). If I sell my iPod touch I can scrape up enough to get a MINI with wifi + 3G but I am not sure if I want to take the jump.

    My question is this: will sacrificing my iPod touch be worth grabbing a Mini?

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  • http://jeffmedders.org/ J.A. Medders

    Great post! I wonder how the Mini would do for preaching / public speaking? 

  • Taneya Tay

    I like the ipad mini because I can place it in my purse. You’re right, the apps load very fast .  I actually received a Kindle and an iPad for Christmas. I felt a little bad because my boyfriend bought the ipad and my dad bought the Kindle. Sorry but I gave the Kindle back. The ipad is far more superior. It just so happened that I asked my dad for the Kindle because it was a little cheaper, but the mini is well worth the extra $150 to $200 bucks. I feel like I have the best of both worlds :) 

  • smith

    You wrote: “This insured I had zero learning curve.”

    I think you meant ensured.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Good catch. Thanks.

  • http://www.mindinventory.com/android_application_development.php android app development

    iPad mini is really very good hardware support than other two. I am recommend to my all friend to must buy.

  • Richhaefeli

    Is the iPad mini perfect? No, but is a lot closer than anything I’ve seen so far; all of the strengths of its competitors, solid battery life and perfect size for those of us that like to read while pacing. Would have liked retina imaging, but it certainly performs as advertised.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      I imagine retina screen is coming in the next round for the mini, right? I just wish they would make the iphone even bigger.

  • Fluffypig336

    i am waiting for my iPad mini to come I’m a little disappointed by seeing it being 4 days now but, i will wait years knowing how fantastic it will be

  • Fluffypig336

    i don’t know what case i should buy on amazon i have found very suitable cases..
    one just like a smart case apple only makes for iPads 1,2,3, and 4

  • Jrseygrl

    I purchased my ipad3 the week it came out & I absolutely love it!!! The Retina display is Amazing!! Like you mentioned, if you’ve grown accustomed to it well then why use any other device!! My opinion, the ipad mini is great for traveling…Hands on use wherever you go~perfect size:) and I agree that the ipad3 is a little heavy for using while on the run compared to the mini! We purchased the mini for our daughter, perfect for her needs & wants!

  • http://twitter.com/jpkneifl jpkneifl

    Excellent post Michael, you’re a great writer and I enjoy reading your posts. You make me want to check out the iPad mini being an Apple lover. Right now, I take my Apple Macbook practically where ever I go because it seems to be the most multi-functional device for me to use. My wife and I have two kindles that get used for bedside reading, but not much as I prefer audiobooks. We also have two iPads a 2 and a 3 (which I think is just the iPad)  both with 64gb, 3g, and wifi. I use to use mine a lot at first, but not as much anymore, probably due to the size. My wife loves hers for her real estate work and gets a lot of use out of it. I can see myself going for something a little bit smaller, but I’m going to wait on it as Apple seems to be putting out new products all of the time. Also, I agree with a lot of the points you brought up in your post basically saying it’s more efficient and think it would be easier for me as well. Thanks, Jon Kneifl

  • http://twitter.com/clickhost ClickHOST.com

    Very interesting Michael. Same thing happened to me…bought the iPad 1 and started using it less and less. Eventually bought a MacBook Air (11″) and loves it. See: http://www.beyond438.com/2011/03/11/not-getting-an-ipad2/.

    I’ve played with the iPad Mini a few times and like the form factor. I just got settled into my notes in Journal–>scan into Evernote routine. 

    I think I’ll wait for the next version of the MINI and will try again.

    Thanks for always provided practical interesting information.

    Best, Carel.

  • Melywely

    i like how it is smaller and cheaper than the normal ipad so i can take it any where i want,how ever the retina display is a little bad like u said

  • Melywely

    hello this is me again i had a question, um i am really wanting a ipad mini but i have to tell my mom good reasons why i should get the ipad mini can u tell me some besides the ones that u said in the letter thingy

  • Mynamesaj007

    i think you are a apple fan…..

  • Gary Boyd

    Brilliant article Michael and a parallel to my experiments and where I ended up, The Mini 3G and Air combo is clear winner. I used to carry a Mifi in my bag and now use the Mini for this using personal hotspot feature to tether with.
    The Kindle is still in my bag and will have to make a call if it stays or not, I try to limit what I carry each day in my Tumi backpack as I’m a “Air Warrior”. The new connector is a PITA, all the docks at the house and most offices are 30 pin. A quick search of eBay and I have a handfull of “charging” adapters for 2.50 each. An SD card port would be a nice touch fro memory expansion and quicker means of turning the 3G on and off.

  • Silvana Cabrera

    Michael, I loved your review, I’ve heard many good things about the Ipad mini, but I’m still debating whether I should get the Ipad mini or the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1… I’m not much of a techy person but I do need to get something that it’s comfortable because I’m starting Med School in the following days and I’d rather have all the eBooks than carry those huge texts around. I would really appreciate your take on this issue, thanks!

  • MEnonymous

    Your comments about the size and weight being just the right are spot on.

  • VJ

    Just exchge my mini to ipad4

  • Linda Fawkes

    I bought an i pad 2 which I loved but then decided to get an i pad mini! It was so light! It was hard getting used to the smaller screen but I take it everywhere with me now! My i pad 2 I gave to my son! I think it is great butI only wifi so I am thinking of getting another one! Would not be without it!

  • http://www.todosmisdias.com/ Johan M

    Michael,

    Finally I sold out my iPad 3 and got my iPad mini. I’m so happy. You were right when you said this is what the iPad should have always been.

    Right now I’m looking for a really good stylus. I got problems with Bamboo’s tips and I’m not 100% satisfied with the Cosmonaut stylus after using it a couple of days ago.

    If you have any other stylus suggestion I would appreciate it. Maybe a theme for a new post =)

    Thank you again, since this review helped me a lot to make a wise decision.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I’m now using the JotPro and love it.

  • http://twitter.com/Ianthetechman ian walker

    I picked up my mini a couple of weeks ago and i also think it is the perfect ipad. The battery and overall look and feel of the machine are verging on perfect for a tablet.
    I also had the first 3 generations of the ipad and although i really enjoyed using them i did find because they are pretty large when faced with taking a device to work etc the Macbook always got the nod, So the fact that that the mini is being used so much at the minute is really nice.

  • Faysal Sulatch SPHR PHR

    Nope. They forgo the retina display for the mini so they can impress us the next year with the retina display. We are consumers after all, so we consume like cows mindlessly.

  • Ipad 1 is fine

    I don’t really see why so many people need to zoom on the ipad mini. Is book text small than that of the Internet? If so I can understand but if not why zoom to just see the pixels? Retina display will make the mini thicker and Apple will want more for the retina display I think everyone will get Retina but you will have to pay up to $100.00 dollars more for the first year until other pads catch up with Retina. So, are you really willing to pay $429 for a Retina. Of course some are but maybe apple was trying to get there products in everyone’s hands for a change! Wow! That would be a change for apple…….I know people are going to bash this but it is true apple is usually for people who do not care what things cost as long as they are ahead of everyone else.

  • Pingback: How to Get Your Kindle Highlights into Evernote | Michael Hyatt

  • brandi

    I love everything about my mini except for the lack of a back button. I think life would be much easier.

  • Rowan

    “The mini is what the iPad should have always been” – I totally agree with that! My mini is my first iPad, and I can imagine myself struggling to hold a “big” iPad. This is not the first product line where the “normal” version is too big and heavy, I’m also a PC user and my 10″ netbook feels just right (iPad mini) whereas a 15″ laptop is just unecessarily big and heavy (“big” iPad)

  • McKenna

    I have been wrestling with the idea of an ipad for school, my one problem though was that i liked taking my notes by hand. This was very helpful that you suggested some of those sort of apps that you have found to work well. My only other problem is flash drives. Does anyone know if you can type on an ipad, put your document directly on a memory stick from the ipad, and then open that file on a non-mac computer? I cant find very much information on anything like that, but it doesn’t seem too unreasonable.

  • Robert Blake

    I have a MacBook Pro, and an iPad 2 so I’m not yet obsessed with retina display, the portability sounds appealing to me. I’ve been shopping around and with your article I kind of made the final decision, thanks! The plans are good http://www.bell.ca/Mobility/Products/Apple-iPad-mini and you can always use wifi. I’m sure it’s better than trying to work on the run on my iPhone.

  • Robin Krieger

    Thanks! Only difference for me is I almost need glasses with mini display and don’t with ipad 2….but the weight and size MORE than make up for this.

  • http://tikesbestfriend.com/ Tim Dahl

    I noticed in the comments that you use the BookBook case for your mini from TwelveSouth. They look great!

    My question is, and maybe the community can answer; are there any recommendations for cases for an iPad2? In particular, I’m looking for something that looks good/professional that I can hold while I officiate weddings and funerals (and other speaking events).

    Again, I physically hold my iPad 2 when I speak/officiate things.

    Thanks!

    Tim

  • sylvain V bolduc

    Fonts are tooooo small
    Into calendar apps: impossible to increase the side in the setting!!
    So bad !

  • Nelly Ramos

    I used an Ipad 2 for eleven months and finally switched to the Ipad mini. It has been rewarding: less weight in my backpack, more manageable , great resolution and large capacity… Thumbs up!

  • http://teachingstewardship.com/ Brian Horvath

    Michael, as in most times, before I buy, I go to MichaelHyatt.com. I am “this-close” to getting the iPad mini retina. Do you have this one? If so, what are your thought on it? Also, what are your thoughts on a keyboard/cover protection (all-in-one)?

    Thanks for everything.

    Brian Horvath
    Teaching Stewardship.com (in the beginning!)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      It’s a great machine. However, I don’t use it as much as I should. I have the all-in-one keyboard, but it just doesn’t feel natural to me. It is almost just as easy to take my Macbook Pro to a meeting as the iPad. I think it comes down to personal preference.

      • http://teachingstewardship.com/ Brian Horvath

        Thanks so much. I am eager to get it in my hands (upgrading from an iPad 2) and just recently purchased the JotPro 2 from Adonit with the bluetooth pen tip for use on the mini.

  • http://ipadrepaironly.com Brian Jones

    Hi Michael

    I really enjoyed your article (although I read it a bit late) as I feel exactly the same way the iPad Mini is perfect for everything I need and if I need more power or want a keyboard I can use the MacBook Pro. I do disagree on one point I’m glad they didn’t use the retina display, just look at the new iPad Mini and imagine how much bigger it would have been a couple of years ago. I think it would have ruined the iPad Mini as it would no longer have been Mini. This is the only reason I hold off buying the new Mini due to the weight and the inability to open it and repair area myself. I occasionally write for iPad Repair so this is kind of important. Otherwise I really enjoyed your article, how do you feel about the iPad Mini retina?

    Best wishes
    Brian