iPad mini iPad Mini. A 3 month review

Discussion in 'iPad' started by danpass, Jan 17, 2013.

  1. danpass macrumors 68020


    Jun 27, 2009
    Miami, FL
    The iPad Mini
    A 3 month review
    Model: MD541LL, 32gb black slate cellular (Verizon)

    Question: Do I love it?

    Answer: YES

    How's that? Well ......... I suppose sommmmme background is in order. I'd always loved the idea of having just a small laptop screen with a GPS built in upon which I could load maps and aviation charts and even nautical charts.

    And finally Apple came out with the iPad (1) and I quickly picked one up ...... and quickly sent it back. See I had gotten the wifi-only version which I discovered doesn't have the GPS chip in it. Too quick on the draw lol.

    So the cellular version made it's way home with me. But a little extra play with it this time revealed that it was too large, too heavy and too pixelated to really meet my needs and desires. Sold it.

    The concept was great, smooth OS and attention to detail in the hardware.

    Then Retina. I thought maybe the 3 might make the difference. Nope. Still had that large, heavy, unwieldy feeling.

    Returned it.

    Three weeks later, Oct 23, 2012

    iPad Mini announced! I knew immediately that it would be perfect overall. Same resolution as the iPad 1 but in a smaller screen would mean tighter pixel density and it really is just fine.

    What I didn't expect is how much easier it is to type on it, horizontal or vertical and even better still after discovering the split keyboard function lol (fingers on the H and J and separate. But before letting go you can slide the split keyboard up/down).

    Another surprise was the thinness. That wasn't a requirement but it has turned out perfect.

    The rounded edges, the lightness, the attention to design details and to sweeten the pot, incredible battery life, 10-12 hrs for me ...... it all adds up to a top notch package.

    A little more on battery life; web surfing, some games, some video, but mostly content creation! Yep, creation.

    Content Creation

    This review for example, written entirely on this Mini using Pages for iOS (then copypasta into this forum). No external keyboard.

    iMovie for iOS and iPhoto for iOS, well worth the price for each.
    The camera connection kit adapters, both the USB adapter and SD adapter, have made it into my bag. Easy, breezy, beautiful import of video and RAW pics. I've brought in 1080p30 video from GoPro, Canon 7D and 1DX and 720p24 from a Nikon P7000 as well as RAW photo files from each of those cameras.

    iMovie video: http://youtu.be/yVVx4SsW9G0
    Shot entirely on GoPro, imported direct to ipad, edited in iMovie and uploaded to YouTube. Just to say that I did it that way lol.

    iPhoto screenshot:


    Even GarageBand is in here too! Still learning some music technique and theory.

    Aviation Use

    Sure, not something everyone uses it for but the Mini is soooooo much better for this vs. the regular iPad.

    So far I've only tried it on a kneeboard (there are yoke mounts, suction mounts, etc). I didn't like any of the commercial kneeboards so I made my own concoction out of a basic kneeboard I had.


    Onscreen there is Foreflight. It makes for proper flight planning, weather checks, terminal diagrams and of course keep track of yourself while in the air.

    Another extremely useful app is Cloudahoy and once again that internal gps chip comes in handy. This app will run in the background and it keeps track of your flight path, altitude, speed, etc. With the companion website you can later review it in 3 dimensions using Google Earth (it can also be done on iPad if you're part of the Cloudahoy beta).

    This screenshot is a landing into MIA.



    Yep, I run the Mini naked. Well, I use an Apple Smart Cover. I like its utility for watching movies and reading. That's right, reading. Perfectly fine on the Mini. Sure it will have retina one day but if it impacts battery life negatively then I'm staying with the original until resolved.

    I understand about protecting the Mini. But I don't want to ruin the thinness hehe. What I have done is put some strips of gaffer tape on the back. Maintains the Mini's svelte nature while providing separation from the surface it's resting on. Also, being gaffer tape instead of duct tape, it provides some grip and having a rubber based adhesive, instead of a glue base, it leaves no residue.


    Yep, I love it. It's a near replacement for a laptop. It's what I took to New York for a week and I didn't lack for utility. The Remote Desktop apps work just fine. Web surfing is fine.

    It's all good :D
  2. D.T. macrumors G3


    Sep 15, 2011
    Vilano Beach, FL
    Wow, that's the most epic review ever. 10/10 rating. :D
  3. JPNFRK7 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 27, 2012
    Great review! I also love my Mini and have replaced my laptop with it at school for notetaking.
  4. Fruit Cake macrumors 6502a

    Mar 31, 2012
    I like the mini for the reasons you mention except screen. For my uses I use the retina screen for rdp and I can't go back to 1024x768. The galaxy note 2 fills the niche for me where I thinka iPad mini may have been nice to have.

    Who knows, maybe next ios7 apple will have the ability for gfx to scale rather than a 1 size fits all approach, then apple can go retina without going to the level of the full size iPad, something android users can do(albeit the tablet apps suck at this point in the game).
  5. HazyCloud macrumors 68030


    Jun 30, 2010
    Fantastic review. I love my 32 Black AT&T as well and your review is making me consider dropping my back cover. I don't want to scratch it, but I've also used them naked in the past.
  6. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    I don't like the Mini much at all, but the Mini in your review sounds fantastic! It's great to see someone enjoying a purchase and getting so much out of it :)
  7. Random 995K macrumors 6502

    Nov 3, 2012
    QFT... Personally I prefer the 4 as it suits my needs better but what an excellent review. 2 thumbs up :)
  8. TyPod macrumors 68000


    Nov 2, 2006
    And Yourself?
    Great review, I love how you use it with aviation! I use my iPad mini with just a smart cover too and haven't even considered a back cover.
  9. AppleRobert macrumors 603

    Nov 12, 2012
  10. larrybeo macrumors regular

    Jul 8, 2008
    No One Has Anything Negative To Say About This Guy's Post?

    Wow this is a first - no one's left a bashing comment about this guy's review? Is this not Macrumors? :).... I was very skeptical about the mini (mostly the price) until I picked one up. It's not *that* small. It's nice to hear about all of the uses soemone can get out of it. I mostly use it for games and reading - though I like how you point out that content creation can be done with this. I was comparing the PC Photoshop CS with Snapseed to a friend and pretty much determined that anything we would *want* to do (being simple minded photo enthusiasts, not professionals) with a photo we can do it on an iPad - and much faster with simpler controls.

    As much as I love the iPad, it's never going to replace a laptop or a PC until it's easier to save things found on the internet to it. Email attachments, MP3s, webpages, and a lot of other content is too hard to save locally. That being said, the hard drives are way too small as well, and Apple's price points for their SSD drives are ludicrious. What world do they live in that a 32GB SSD upgrade is worth 100 dollars?
  11. paulie6978 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 16, 2010
    Philadelphia, PA
    i didnt know you cna fly a plane with an ipad mini :D

    nice review!
  12. dinggus macrumors 65816

    Jan 17, 2012
    iMovie came out awesome! Good review!

    Can we meet up one day at MIA and you can let me jump out of the plane?
  13. D.T. macrumors G3


    Sep 15, 2011
    Vilano Beach, FL
    Hahaha, well, it was well written, had terrific supporting content, actual examples of output ... plus it was coupled with a really interesting use case (i.e., aviation).

    Hell, I think 50% of the people talking about their good or bad experience with <insert_apple_device> don't even own one. :D
  14. danpass thread starter macrumors 68020


    Jun 27, 2009
    Miami, FL
    Thanks everyone and yes DT I was looking to demonstrate that the iPad can be much more than a toilet seat reader (it can do that too ... jussayin :D )
  15. AbyssImpact macrumors 6502a

    Aug 6, 2010
    Amazing review!!!:D
  16. macsrcool1234 macrumors 65816

    Oct 7, 2010
    It's a good review of the iPad but there's nothing at all that makes it suggest why a mini would be better IMO.

    Other than this:
    But then again, I don't have girl hands and am strong enough to carry the iPad around so I guess that doesn't make sense to me.
  17. flavr macrumors 6502


    Nov 9, 2011
    And there it is...the first negative comment...had a great streak going...oh well

    great review, for a great device, thanks for sharing :)
  18. Oridus macrumors 6502a


    Oct 8, 2012
    I think he said it just because until the mini was announced, people really weren't complaint about the weight..... The ipad four is definitely a lot lighter and more portable more than the average laptop. I, as well, prefer the four over the mini. I use one for work, and for right now think that the screen size is perfect for the productivity, and the retina display does not disappoint. That being said, I know a lot of people like the mini.... I just think its getting a lot of hype partially due to it being the new hotness from apple.
  19. isephmusic macrumors 6502

    Oct 31, 2012
    i cant decide between a retina mini or a full size ipad but lighter and smaller bezels. they are both rumored products but if both were to come out i would go insane trying to pick one. i want to use it for productivity but portability is especially important so ...

  20. nStyle macrumors 65816

    Dec 6, 2009
    My thing is... Sure you can process and create content on the iPad, but does it really make sense when a laptop does it so much more efficiently? I have a Mini as well as a MBP and not once would I seriously consider editing photos on the mini I am typing on now versus Lightroom. iPad for consumption, laptop for creation. There isn't a device out today the does everything perfectly, so there is no point in pretending. Yes my phone takes pictures, but does it replace a DSLR? Tablets are just another device, not a be all end all device for most people.

    The aviation uses you have found for it are great though.
  21. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    I agree that the girl hands remark is uncalled for, but I also feel that the OP shows how an iPad can be a great productivity device, but not how a mini is a better productivity device than a full-size iPad. I read the list of things OP does on his mini, and I kept thinking, "yes, but they are even easier to do on the bigger iPad." I understand that for the OP, the lighter and more compact format of the mini is probably important, and I too now mostly take the mini with me when I go out. But when I'm home, I definitely prefer my iPad 3 -- anything that can be done on the mini is easier to do on the 3 because bigger screen means more space. Everything is just easier to see and manipulate.
  22. danpass thread starter macrumors 68020


    Jun 27, 2009
    Miami, FL
    If I had both then yes the laptop would take precedence.


    I only wanted one ipad. The mini fits the cockpit area MUCH better. But even so, in general, the bigger ipad was a hassle to use as a portable tablet.
  23. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6


    Aug 17, 2007
  24. JoshMKB24 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 5, 2013

    Nice review!

    What types of planes are you flying?

    I'm assuming you are a commercial or private pilot? My dad has a few airplanes, I always told him to buy a jet, but he said you need 2 pilots for it
  25. maxosx macrumors 68020

    Dec 13, 2012
    Southern California
    Hell, I think 50% of the people talking about their good or bad experience with <insert_Apple OR Android OR AnyOther_device> don't even own one.

    Yes... it's incredibly refreshing to read a well written review, sans the immature comments by others.

    To the OP, Kudos!

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