My thoughts on the iPad mini:
You know, I have really wrestled with the decision of which iPad to buy. I waited for the mini. Than it came out and while the weight and size of it was fantastic, the screen quality was a big let down for me. Grainy text is everywhere and is impossible not to notice. Pixels seem to just pop off the display. I really thought I was being too harsh, so I told myself to give it some time and visit the Apple store again to see if my mind would change with time. After about four or so visits to the Apple store in the last few months to compare the mini with the full size iPad, I can confirm without a shadow of a doubt, that the iPad mini has a really terrible screen. If this were released two years ago, before retina iPads, it would have been a good product - still not a great display, but not poor. But judging it by today's standards, with retina iPads, and countless other tablets offering higher resolutions, it is just awful and will not hold up well over time.
Now, I'm fully aware that I'm a "visual" person, I could care less about stereo vs surround sound, but my TV has to be 1080P, I prefer to scale up all of my games to maximum settings, and yes, I had to replace every single DVD in my collection to Blu-Ray, pretty much based on image quality alone.
However, the low resolution is not the only problem with the iPad mini. The apps themselves have been designed for the larger iPad. Every icon and tab is smaller. It kind of reminds me of the user experience of using apps on your phone, but with a little bit more breathing room. When you use a full sized iPad, I do believe the user experience is enhanced. Everything is just slightly more effortless and enjoyable.
My thoughts on the iPad 4:
The iPad 4 has a very beautiful display. Everything is sharp and crystal clear. I cannot fault it in any way. The unit itself is somewhat heavy to hold for extended periods of time and for this reason, I understand why the iPad mini has been so popular. The iPad mini has the small form factor and weight thing going for it, but that's pretty much it. The mini also has stereo speakers, which I admit is a nice feature when compared to the mono speakers found on the iPad 4. I have not compared the sound quality of the iPad mini vs the iPad 4, since retail stores are noisy, so I would be interested to hear your thoughts if you have compared or used them both.
I find the weight of the iPad 2 perfect. The iPad 3 and 4 just barely crosses the uncomfortable weight threshold for me. I noticed the increased weight immediately after comparing both of these devices. Perhaps in time one would get used to it, but that is not something I'm willing to gamble with. I never buy something unless I'm sure I'll keep it.
Right now, I am leaning towards buying the iPad 4. As I cannot accept the poor quality display in the iPad mini. As much as I love the form factor, it just feels like a product that will seem very outdated extremely quick. Once I buy an iPad, it will have to last me for many years. I'm still not certain if I'm going to hold off for the iPad 5 redesign, which is rumoured to mimic the iPad mini design and have thinner bezels and a lighter weight. That would be great, but the question is, is it worth waiting 8 months for...