iPad mini iPad Mini Worthwhile?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by HLxDrummer, May 27, 2014.

  1. HLxDrummer macrumors newbie

    Apr 25, 2014
    A little background:

    I am about to enter my third year of medical school where I will be in the hospital all the time. I kind of want a tablet so I can look up references, take notes, read if I have down time, maybe patient education, etc.

    I have an original Kindle Fire now. I put a "normal" version of android on it so it works ok. Somewhat slow.. but the biggest problem is it is heavy. Carrying that around all day in my pocket will kill me (when I already will have stethoscope, tuning fork, reflex hammer, phone, etc).

    Another issue is that I am broke. Tuition is 50K a year and I am getting married in a few weeks..

    1. If I get the iPad Mini will I regret not going for the retina? I can get the iPad Mini used or refurbed for pretty cheap whereas the retina is basically full price still.

    2. Is the iPad Mini worthwhile over something like a Nexus 7? (I know you guys are biased)

    3. If anyone has experience using a tablet for what I want, how did it go? Is it worth the expense?

    Any input at all is welcome. Thanks!
  2. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    I'm still using a non-retina mini and I love it
    I didn't feel the need to upgrade, and yes, I do a lot of reading on it
  3. Saturn1217 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 28, 2008
    I know that my fiance who is a pediatric resident uses an iPad mini (his hospital bought them for all the residents). He is not very good with technology and doesn't use the iPad mini all that much but I think it still helps him? I know when I have snooped on his iPad he always has tons of case reports open and he can see his hospital schedule in the calendar app.

    If there are medical specific apps you want to use (I suspect there are) then an iPad might be better than a Nexus 7. Both (I have a nexus 7) function fine as mini tablets if all you need is internet access on something larger than a phone.
  4. HLxDrummer thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 25, 2014
    Thanks for the replies so far!

    One of my main concerns with the original is that it may be so slow to be useful (if I want to look up something quick but it is taking forever to load apps). I know it is based on the iPad 2 but haven't really used one of those..

    The main reason for considering Apple is for the app selection. I am pretty sure their medical app selection is better (probably in quantity as well as quality) than Android. If it wasn't for that I would probably just get a used Nexus 7 (although it will be nice to sync the iPad with my iPhone).
  5. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    Even on the iPad 1, apps never took time to load. The only apps where loading speed is an issue are games. Otherwise, most apps load instantaneously. The bottleneck in looking things up is your internet connection speed.
  6. bnekic macrumors 6502a


    Sep 19, 2013
    Cleveland, OH
    Buying the original iPad mini now is stupid in my opinion, you'd be behind 2+ years in hardware. The retina iPad mini with the A7 chip and retina display is a huge upgrade and well worth the additional cost. Check Craigslist or eBay to see if you can save a couple bucks on a used one.
  7. Dambuster43 macrumors member

    May 20, 2013
    Small enough to fit a " white coat" pocket, retina gives sharp images if you need to use with a patient. Have seen doctors taking photos of X-rays/scans.

    Choose your apps to suit your work requirements....

    iBooks app can deal with ePub and PDF books/docs

    A useful gadget to have fir your work and pleasure.
  8. RickTaylor macrumors 6502a

    Nov 9, 2013
    I upgraded from the mini to the rmini for the sharper screen, and while I'm happy with that, it's not something I needed to do, the mini worked fine for storing and viewing documents. I like the mini over the nexus 7 because the mini has 7.9 inch screen and a 4:3 aspect ratio, which makes it about an inch wider, and nicer for reading material.
  9. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I think the rMini is a better decision for now and the near future. The technology in the mini is a couple (few?) years old. I wonder how long apple will update iOS for the Mini. Plus newer versions may not run so well. Given the price of the mini vs. the rMini I'd recommend the retina based model - just my $.02

    btw, my wife and kids still use their Minis, my point is less of what you can do now with it, and more about what you'll be able to do with it in the future
  10. SHirsch999 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 19, 2011
    Either mini will be fine for your purposes. I use a retina mini now and used the full-size iPad prior to this one. I would recommend the retina one over the non-retina version for one reason I haven't seen anyone else discuss yet. Pictures of lesions as well as x-Ray images will be much sharper and show detail better on the retina version. Also, considering you are spending many thousands on your education the $100 difference between the 2 versions is merely a drop in the bucket.
  11. HLxDrummer thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 25, 2014
    Thanks for all the input guys! Seems like both sides have a point. Think I will definitely end up going iOS, however. Most likely retina (future proof) but depends what kind of deals I can find.
  12. east85 macrumors 65816


    Jun 24, 2010
    iPad Mini Worthwhile?

    If you can't seem to find a good deal on the retina version I just want to say I'm typing this from the original bought refurbed as well and it runs smooth on iOS 7, it's doable. Good luck.
  13. HLxDrummer thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 25, 2014
    Do you guys anticipate there being 16GB WiFi refurbs from Apple anytime soon? Looks like just their more expensive ones are available.

    I am looking at eBay but they seem to be going for around $350 for nice ones.. wondering if I should just go refurb or new at that point. Anything to look out for with used ones other than them being locked?

    I can also get 5% off Best Buy with my credit card.. so it would be ~$480 brand new from there.

    Edit: Walmart says they have it for $369. Is that correct? I can get 5% off there, too.. Should I just do that? Brand new for ~$350.
  14. Robster3 macrumors 68000

    Dec 13, 2012
    If you can get a brand new retina mini for $350 can you get me one and post to Australia. I will pay you no problems:) $479 here.
  15. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I'd go that route, as you can get one now, instead of waiting and hoping to see one in the refurb section.
  16. Altimax98 macrumors 6502


    Mar 26, 2012
    Lakeland Fl
    Best Buy open box... that's all I can say. If you have one near you go to the site every day and see what they have got.

    I just picked up a 64GB rMini for $429. It was an open box w/missing manuals and box. (I got the Tab, Cables). For $170 off I will not complain about the missing useless stuff, and its still backed by Apples warranty (although its from the Original purchase date, not yours) so usually they will have a month or 2 missing. But thats the best most cost effective method I have found. Plus this week they had the 10% rewards points for using the Best Buy CC... couldn't argue with it.
  17. Badrottie Suspended


    May 8, 2011
    Los Angeles
    Get Nexus 7 it is the best and you have used with Android before. Oh it is $250 cheap than iPad Mini. :apple:
  18. HLxDrummer thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 25, 2014
    Just wanted to let you guys know I did pick one up and I LOVE it. The aspect ratio alone makes the iPad worth it over Android. So much easier to read textbooks. The surface area of the screen is also much bigger than the Kindle although the diagonal length isn't much different. Perfect size IMO.

    It is also light, thin, fast, and the screen is beautiful. I think the regular Mini would have worked ok but I would have been bummed I didn't spend a little extra for the newer model.

    The only downside is I am terribly worried I am going to break it/drop it /etc lol!

    Also if any medical students are reading this in the future, check out this link:

    Thanks for the advice and information, everyone!
  19. AustinIllini macrumors demi-goddess


    Oct 20, 2011
    Austin, TX
    Congrats! I just bought one, too. Absolutely love it.
  20. TWO2SEVEN macrumors 68040


    Jun 27, 2010
    Plano, TX
    If you are worried about dropping it you can add AppleCare+ for $100. It will cover up to two accidental incidents over the next two years.

    EDIT: There is a $50 deductible for each incident, forgot to mention that.

    Enjoy your new iPad!
  21. Tiger8 macrumors 68020

    May 23, 2011
    If you can wait, why not get the rMini after October? We are only 4+ months from the next iPad mini (Probably Retina 2).
  22. MH01 Suspended


    Feb 11, 2008
    The mini is great, the mini retina is even better.

    Though vote with your wallet, its only tech, spend the extra money on you marriage/honeymoon!

    There will always be something better next year.
  23. Saint.Icon macrumors regular

    May 11, 2014
    EDIT: Should have read the whole thread. I see that HLx has already purchased a mini, but I'll leave this response should there be someone searching for similar answers.

    I have the original Mini, as well as the Air. I also own a Nexus 7.

    1. I wouldn't say you'd regret it. Just expect it to not last quite as long. At $250 for a refurb Mini, you aren't really out much when you sell it and upgrade in a year or two.

    2. Absolutely. I bought the Nexus 7 as it was supposed to be a powerhouse tablet on a budget. It's decent, but the user experience, battery life, and professional grade application support are all severely lacking. It's lightweight and has a good screen (better than the original Mini), but from the usage standpoint, my Mini and Air both get used daily. The Nexus 7 collects dust, and I haven't even been able to sell it for half of what I paid. I definitely prefer the Mini to the Nexus 7 - by miles.

    3. I use my Mini for some similar things to what you're going for with great success. It's been reliable for me, and is my go-to device for quit note-taking and references. The keyboard can be a bit cramped, but it's easy to adjust to. Worth noting, there's far more room on the keyboard than you'd get on a Nexus 7, which is - in my experience - extremely cramped for typing.

    I think you'd be happy with the Mini. Personally, I'd say a refurb retina mini is a better buy, just for screen quality and spec boost (meaning longevity), but there's certainly nothing wrong with the original Mini, and it's well worth the $250 that you'll pay for a refurb.
  24. itjw macrumors 65816

    Dec 20, 2011
    There is NOTHING wrong with the original mini. For all of the crap it gets for it's screen, it's a BETTER screen (in terms of ppi) than the iPad 2. Go read reviews of the iPad 2 and tell me what the reviewers thought of the screen? "Beautiful" "Breathtaking" "Gorgeous" it goes on... No one, and I mean NO ONE complained about it being unusable, or hard to read, or whatnot... It was almost universally acclaimed, and the 1st mini is BETTER.

    The trouble is, technology has gotten BETTER too. If that bothers you, spend the extra money... but don't listen to these people who act like the original's screen is reading a newspaper in the dark, it's not.

    The A5 is also perfectly capable. Sure the A7 will smoke it, but so what? It will still do everything except play the most hardcore games flawlessly. It even runs XCOM just fine... It's again, a JOKE to say it's sluggish, underpowered, or whatever else. Technology has gotten better, but the A5 is still plenty capable.

    If all things were equal? Go with retina. It IS much "better". But for half the price? No shame in going for something that works fine, but isn't bleeding edge. Just because things get better, it doesn't render old things (especially things like this) unusable. Especially if cost is a concern, they can be a great deal.
  25. AustinIllini macrumors demi-goddess


    Oct 20, 2011
    Austin, TX
    Will Google ever learn? Seriously. My Nexus 5 lasts until about 6 PM. The reason to get an iPad is battery life.

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