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Old Dec 8, 2012, 03:29 PM   #1
Saberon
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Insight for those on the fence [Mini vs 4]

I've used an iPad 4 and an iPad mini extensively and I see a lot of people struggling with which to go for. Hopefully my post here will help you make that tough choice.

Display: There isn't a doubt in my mind that the iPad 4 has a superior display. However, while the Mini's screen is not as technically impressive that doesn't mean you should rule it out right away. The display on the Mini is not as crisp, but it is not as bad as everyone makes it out to be. I certainly don't feel like it's poor, I would call it "Good, but not great". The iPad 4 has an "excellent" display. The Anandtech Review has an fantastic comparison here: http://www.anandtech.com/show/6472/i...-2012-review/2

Weight: This is very significant and should be a major factor in your decision. The Mini is exactly 2.75x as heavy as the iPhone 5. It definitely feels very lightweight for a tablet.

The iPad 4 is significantly heavier, weighing just barely under 6 iPhone 5's. It definitely is more uncomfortable to hold for longer periods of time vs the Mini. My leg always seems to fall asleep after a while with the iPad 4 on it. It all depends on how you intend to use your iPad.... are you going to be sitting on the couch/bed using your iPad? Or is it going with you everywhere you go?

CPU: A6 vs A5 seems kind of a interesting debate right now. Some are claiming it's a negligible difference, others are saying its a big jump. Let me just say this at least, the A5 and A6 are very fast dual core CPU's. iOS is only going to get more demanding and the same with Apps/Games. The difference isn't that great right now, but in 1-2 years the gap will have definitely widened.

RAM: I'm a big advocate of "the more RAM the better". The Mini has 512MB (Same as iPhone 4/4s and iPad 2 and iPod Touch 5). To me, this is a bare minimum amount. For those of you with 512MB on their iOS device, check how many Low Memory errors show up in your Settings, there's probably tons. Apps and Safari pages reload fairly often as well.

The iPad 4 has 1GB (1024mb) which is much better, twice is amount! As iOS grows it's going to continue to demand more and 1GB is a pretty good amount to be at this point in time. iOS 6 already hogs a fairly large of chunk of RAM, and the more RAM for your apps/Safari, the better.


Closing Thoughts

Keep in mind that the Mini has the same internals as the iPad 2 (as far as SoC goes) released in early 2011. The iPad 4 internals are all new for late 2012.


And finally, this may be the most important tip of all. Please, please go check the devices out for yourselves at the store. Hold one in each hand and compare weight. Look very closely at the displays, compare websites/games/apps. You can read specs all day long but in the end sometimes you have to make the decision based on which one "feels" better for your usage.


Hopefully I've been able to help even a single person. I struggled with my decision for over 2 weeks. I ended up buying the 4 just for the added CPU/GPU/RAM power for future iOS updates and the beautiful display. Many thanks to my friend who let me borrow his Mini for a week so I could see for myself.


*If there are any questions you have for me, please feel free to ask. If I have made a mistake somewhere in this post please let me know as well!*

I know some of you may disagree with some things I've said but that's OK, it's just my personal opinion.

Last edited by Saberon; Dec 8, 2012 at 03:56 PM.
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Old Dec 8, 2012, 03:45 PM   #2
ThatsMeRight
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saberon View Post
(...)
Nice post, and it's great to see someone to "just post some useful stuff". A few remarks, though:

- RAM
Yes, the iPad 4 has 1 GB of RAM but that's because the system and apps use more RAM because of the Retina graphics. In the end, there should be a fair balance.

- "Same internals as iPad 2"
Actually, it's got the following over an iPad 2
• Higher pixel density, less reflections
• FaceTime HD, higher quality front facing camera (pictures as well)
• iSight camera: 5 MP, 5-lenses-system, autofocus, IR filter
• 1080p HD video recording with video stabilisation
• Faster Wi-Fi (up to 150 Mbps), energy-efficient Bluetooth 4.0
• Lightning connector (most future accessories will be made for Lightning)
• LTE model (and GLONASS)
(Software: • Siri)

And it's also got stereo speakers, while the iPad 4 is still mono.

So the iPad mini has, in fact, better internals than you think.

Again, nice post.
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Old Dec 8, 2012, 03:49 PM   #3
Saberon
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Thanks for the feedback. I've edited the post to be more clear so when I refer to "internals", I'm talking purely about the SoC

My Wife's 4S has the reloading tabs quite often whereas my iPhone 5 never does because it has 1GB. I still think 512MB is just barely enough to function comfortably, especially in iOS 6.

Last edited by Saberon; Dec 8, 2012 at 03:56 PM.
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Old Dec 8, 2012, 04:08 PM   #4
didgeridoo
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Nice summary of features.

I finally saw a mini in the flesh yesterday and as suspected it's unacceptable after using the retina iPad. Text is almost blurry in comparison. The mini would be fine for watching video while reclining though. I'll revisit the mini when it gets retina-ized which it most certainly will. The only quest is what that resolution will be and if it will remain 4:3 or be changed to 16:9 or 16:10.
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Old Dec 8, 2012, 04:13 PM   #5
ThatsMeRight
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Quote:
Originally Posted by didgeridoo View Post
Nice summary of features.

I finally saw a mini in the flesh yesterday and as suspected it's unacceptable after using the retina iPad. Text is almost blurry in comparison. The mini would be fine for watching video while reclining though. I'll revisit the mini when it gets retina-ized which it most certainly will. The only quest is what that resolution will be and if it will remain 4:3 or be changed to 16:9 or 16:10.
The iPad will remain 4:3. There's not a single good reason to go to 16:9 or 16:10 for a tablet.
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Old Dec 8, 2012, 04:22 PM   #6
didgeridoo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThatsMeRight View Post
The iPad will remain 4:3. There's not a single good reason to go to 16:9 or 16:10 for a tablet.
4:3 is better for surfing but 16:9 "wastes" less screen real estate when viewing most current videos.

Got a guess about the mini retina res?
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Old Dec 8, 2012, 04:32 PM   #7
ThatsMeRight
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Quote:
Originally Posted by didgeridoo View Post
4:3 is better for surfing but 16:9 "wastes" less screen real estate when viewing most current videos.

Got a guess about the mini retina res?
16:9 is simply what you have now on the iPad without the black bars. So you actually lose that content - even if it are only black bars.

The resolution will probably be 2048 x 1536, just like the current iPad 4. It's easy scalable and maintains app compatibility.
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Old Dec 8, 2012, 05:22 PM   #8
rowspaxe
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Restatement of the obvious, really. What is interesting is that there is such a definate schism of opinion on the weight and screen issues. Usually there is a resolution to a majority view, but in these forums there is an intense polarization as to whether the ipad is too heavy or if the ipad screen is acceptable.
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Old Dec 8, 2012, 05:40 PM   #9
didgeridoo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThatsMeRight View Post
16:9 is simply what you have now on the iPad without the black bars. So you actually lose that content - even if it are only black bars.

The resolution will probably be 2048 x 1536, just like the current iPad 4. It's easy scalable and maintains app compatibility.
Both the current iPad and iPadMini ratios are 4:3. Ratio generally refers to the the horizontal to vertical pixel dimensions of a screen in landscape mode.

I agree that 2k x 1.5k would be ideal but this didn't stop Apple from adding to just one dimension on the iPhone5 changing the ratio to 16:9.
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Old Dec 8, 2012, 05:42 PM   #10
ThatsMeRight
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Quote:
Originally Posted by didgeridoo View Post
Both the current iPad and iPadMini ratios are 4:3. Ratio generally refers to the the horizontal to vertical pixel dimensions of a screen in landscape mode.

I agree that 2k x 1.5k would be ideal but this didn't stop Apple from adding to just one dimension on the iPhone5 changing the ratio to 16:9.
The iPhone is an entirely different device. Think about it: what fits better in your hand? A square or a longer rectangle?

A 16:9 just seems logical. Heck, even 20:9 seems logical. That's how it fits best in your hand.
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Old Dec 8, 2012, 05:53 PM   #11
didgeridoo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rowspaxe View Post
Restatement of the obvious, really. What is interesting is that there is such a definate schism of opinion on the weight and screen issues. Usually there is a resolution to a majority view, but in these forums there is an intense polarization as to whether the ipad is too heavy or if the ipad screen is acceptable.
Once the screen is fixed, the Mini format may be perfect. You comment does bring to mind an interesting point about how opinions would change if the iPad were the same weight and thickness as the Mini.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by ThatsMeRight View Post
The iPhone is an entirely different device. Think about it: what fits better in your hand? A square or a longer rectangle?

A 16:9 just seems logical. Heck, even 20:9 seems logical. That's how it fits best in your hand.
Yep, once I saw that they just made it taller, I wondered why they stopped there. Maybe they'll increase it in steps. One problem is surfing in landscape mode though. As the horizontal grows, there are fewer lines of text if the font size remains the same.

I wish someone would make a 10-15" screen that fits in the hand like the iPhone5. Maybe some new dimensions of physics will be discovered... But more likely, a foldable screen will be developed.
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Old Dec 8, 2012, 06:07 PM   #12
richardmu
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Tried a mini but returned it. Felt a bit like an expensive toy!

Picked up a 4 on Black Friday because of the small but useful discount.

However, I still prefer my 2 as I can only see a slightly better resolution on the 4 and the 4 is noticeable heavier. Goes to prove that the 2 is probably the best iPad that Apple have made. I would recommend the 2 to anyone.
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Old Dec 8, 2012, 06:12 PM   #13
polee
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I am reading all your posts here on a mini and I do not miss the retina display of my ipad 3.
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Old Dec 8, 2012, 06:38 PM   #14
rbrian
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rowspaxe View Post
Restatement of the obvious, really. What is interesting is that there is such a definate schism of opinion on the weight and screen issues. Usually there is a resolution to a majority view, but in these forums there is an intense polarization as to whether the ipad is too heavy or if the ipad screen is acceptable.
I think we can all agree that "the new iPad mini with Retina display" will be much better than either of the current options, both of which are flawed in different ways.
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Old Dec 8, 2012, 06:42 PM   #15
darngooddesign
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Quote:
Originally Posted by polee View Post
I am reading all your posts here on a mini and I do not miss the retina display of my ipad 3.
You might not miss it enough to get rid of your mini, but I have a hard time believing you don't miss it. Even if it's just a little.
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Old Dec 9, 2012, 06:25 PM   #16
beerglass007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saberon View Post
I've used an iPad 4 and an iPad mini extensively and I see a lot of people struggling with which to go for. Hopefully my post here will help you make that tough choice.

Display: There isn't a doubt in my mind that the iPad 4 has a superior display. However, while the Mini's screen is not as technically impressive that doesn't mean you should rule it out right away. The display on the Mini is not as crisp, but it is not as bad as everyone makes it out to be. I certainly don't feel like it's poor, I would call it "Good, but not great". The iPad 4 has an "excellent" display. The Anandtech Review has an fantastic comparison here: http://www.anandtech.com/show/6472/i...-2012-review/2

Weight: This is very significant and should be a major factor in your decision. The Mini is exactly 2.75x as heavy as the iPhone 5. It definitely feels very lightweight for a tablet.

The iPad 4 is significantly heavier, weighing just barely under 6 iPhone 5's. It definitely is more uncomfortable to hold for longer periods of time vs the Mini. My leg always seems to fall asleep after a while with the iPad 4 on it. It all depends on how you intend to use your iPad.... are you going to be sitting on the couch/bed using your iPad? Or is it going with you everywhere you go?

CPU: A6 vs A5 seems kind of a interesting debate right now. Some are claiming it's a negligible difference, others are saying its a big jump. Let me just say this at least, the A5 and A6 are very fast dual core CPU's. iOS is only going to get more demanding and the same with Apps/Games. The difference isn't that great right now, but in 1-2 years the gap will have definitely widened.

RAM: I'm a big advocate of "the more RAM the better". The Mini has 512MB (Same as iPhone 4/4s and iPad 2 and iPod Touch 5). To me, this is a bare minimum amount. For those of you with 512MB on their iOS device, check how many Low Memory errors show up in your Settings, there's probably tons. Apps and Safari pages reload fairly often as well.

The iPad 4 has 1GB (1024mb) which is much better, twice is amount! As iOS grows it's going to continue to demand more and 1GB is a pretty good amount to be at this point in time. iOS 6 already hogs a fairly large of chunk of RAM, and the more RAM for your apps/Safari, the better.


Closing Thoughts

Keep in mind that the Mini has the same internals as the iPad 2 (as far as SoC goes) released in early 2011. The iPad 4 internals are all new for late 2012.


And finally, this may be the most important tip of all. Please, please go check the devices out for yourselves at the store. Hold one in each hand and compare weight. Look very closely at the displays, compare websites/games/apps. You can read specs all day long but in the end sometimes you have to make the decision based on which one "feels" better for your usage.


Hopefully I've been able to help even a single person. I struggled with my decision for over 2 weeks. I ended up buying the 4 just for the added CPU/GPU/RAM power for future iOS updates and the beautiful display. Many thanks to my friend who let me borrow his Mini for a week so I could see for myself.


*If there are any questions you have for me, please feel free to ask. If I have made a mistake somewhere in this post please let me know as well!*

I know some of you may disagree with some things I've said but that's OK, it's just my personal opinion.
what a complete waste of a post and 2 minutes of my life
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Old Dec 9, 2012, 06:52 PM   #17
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what a complete waste of a post and 2 minutes of my life
Whenever I see a post like that I think, 'pedantic' and skip it.
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